Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6 Review: Deepfake

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Hansen's fight against Elizabeth just got dirtier.

On Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6, he made it clear that he wants to impeach Elizabeth solely because he doesn't agree with her policy decisions.

He was far from the only one attempting to subvert democracy for his own ends, but is anyone doing anything about it besides complaining that it's wrong?

(TALL) A Fabricated Video - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

It's hard to decide who was more irritating: Hansen or Chelsea, the decision-maker over at Ur-Vid.

(As a side note, I wish shows would be more creative with their mock social media names. Ur-Vid instead of Youtube? Really?)

So the only way to regulate the attacks on me, I need the help of the guy leading the attacks. I love the irony.


Chelsea's arguments about why the deepfake video couldn't be taken down were nonsensical. 

It was ridiculous to suggest that Elizabeth was "censoring free speech" by demanding the removal of a libelous video putting nasty words in her and Henry's mouths that they never said.

Morejon Takes a Meeting - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

And her insistence that it would be too hard to tell what's a fake video and what's a satirical video was equally silly.

At the very least, she could have a process in place for reviewing videos when people complain about them. Most social media sites have a process for that, regardless of how responsible they are or aren't about policing harmful content.

It seemed like her insistence on "good speech driving out bad speech" was a poor business model on top of all the other problems.

For goodness sake, Mike got tased in his own home by a crazy person thanks to one of Shawn Olsen's conspiracy videos.

Chelsea was opening her company up to a lawsuit, and claiming that the Internet is worldwide wouldn't have changed that.

Russell Confronts Breckenridge - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

Internet companies have headquarters somewhere and people in charge. They can be sued.

Probably not by the President and her staff -- look how much controversy there is surrounding the question of whether government officials can block Twitter users from interacting with them.

But someday a deepfake will target a private citizen and then it's game on.

Anger and fear create an endorphin rush. Users need to keep watching these videos to get their fix.


Elizabeth and Henry's points about fear and anger being addictions were interesting, especially in light of the current political climate.

Susane Lee Guest Stars - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

So much of American politics is based on fear and anger right now that it's hard to see past it, and mainstream news sites often capitalize on that.

In a very real way, digital media DOES influence elections, including digital media put out by big news corporations that people rely on to learn about what's going on in Washington.

Does fear-based programming always lead to white nationalism? That seemed like the weakest part of Elizabeth's argument.

But nevertheless, this whole cycle of fear is something that's not talked about enough, and Henry and Elizabeth's discussion about it was refreshing.

Mike and Blake - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

As for Hansen, there are no words strong enough for how disgusting it is that he is using the power of impeachment to go after a sitting President over policy differences.

That kind of behavior undermines democracy, and sadly, it isn't too far removed from reality.

Since Bill Clinton's election in 1992, the partisan divide in Washington has been growing.

This has resulted in a dysfunctional Congress that gets little done, politicians, considering each other the enemy, and the possibility of impeachment being thrown around every time someone dislikes the President's policies.

That's not to say there aren't sometimes valid reasons for impeachment, but it shouldn't be wielded as a political weapon the way Hansen is doing.

At An Event - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

There will always be politicians who play dirty, who see the current leader as an enemy of democracy because they don't like his or her policies, and who are in Washington to interfere with the process instead of to participate in it.

The question, on Madam Secretary as in real life, is what is anyone doing about it?

Mike: Ask yourself: do you have to choose between the health of our democracy or a couple million dollars in campaign contributions.

Despite his political disagreements with Elizabeth, Morejon is loyal to her -- or at least to his Constitutional duties. So he didn't let Hansen try to bribe him into unconstitutional behavior with the promise of power.

That's a good start. But isn't there something someone can do to make it clear what Hansen is up to, and why?

Meanwhile, Mike B's attempt to go around Hansen and get the support of centrist Democrats instead alluded to one of the other serious threats to democracy: the influence of big money.

The Senators Mike spoke to were reluctant to confirm Rachel Ballard because their corporate donors didn't like it. That's exactly why politics needs to be divorced from corporate money.

Politicians need to serve their constituents, not their high dollar donors.

Elizabeth Schmoozes - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

When she was running, Elizabeth had the guts to stand up to a mega-billionaire donor who didn't want Henry to speak about climate change, but that shouldn't even have to happen, and those Democrats' attitudes perfectly illustrated why this is a problem.

Despite the big political issues, Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6 wasn't heavyhanded in the slightest.

There were lots of funny moments breaking up the dramatic tension.

Henry's attempt to discuss trade with the South Korean First Lady while taking a high-speed ride with her on the track comes to mind.

Cracking Each Other Up - Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6

And, of course, we had more Stevie/Dmitri drama.

Here's what Jane Austen didn't tell you. There is no 'The One.' There is only a handful. Griffin is one of them and he lives in the same city.


This is the least interesting aspect of Madam Secretary. Griffin was too perfect and too boring a guy, and it was obvious Stevie was going to end up with Dmitri sooner or later.

Now that she's slept with him, that's out of the way. The question is whether she will still be with him when the series wraps up in just four episodes.

Your turn, Madam Secretary fanatics. Share your thoughts about what's going to happen as Madam Secretary heads towards its final episode and what you thought about Elizabeth's fight with Ur-Vid to get that fake video removed.

Missed the episode? No problem. Just watch Madam Secretary online right here on TV Fanatic.

Madam Secretary continues to air on CBS on Sundays at 10 PM EST/PST.


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Deepfake Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Madam Secretary Season 6 Episode 6 Quotes

Jack it up with some old Arnold Schwarzennager clips and you've got a conspiracy theory. It's the cat video of conspiracy theories.


Mike says the kid tried to wrap a towel around his head, something about Delta waves.