Season 6 of ‘Madam Secretary’ Is ‘Like Launching a New Series’, According to the Show’s Creator
Season 6 of Madam Secretary, which began last month, returned after a jump in time, picking up almost two years after the Season 5 finale.
Elizabeth McCord, played by Téa Leoni, was already the president of the United States, and the season began just before the end of her first 100 days in office.
This final season for the series, with only 10 episodes, contains big changes after seeing McCord as the Secretary of State in President Dalton’s cabinet for the first five seasons of the show.
In an interview with TVLine, executive producer Barbara Hall said there were so many changes that “It was like launching a new series.”
New office in season 6
CBS announced in May that the sixth season would be the last one for Madam Secretary. At the time, the series co-creators Barbara Hall and Lori McCreary told TVLine that they expected Season 6 to show McCord’s run for the presidency, following the announcement of her candidacy at the end of Season 5. The cancellation led to a change in plans.
The show’s creative team also realized that TV audiences might not be interested in watching fictional campaigning for office during the same year as an actual presidential election.
Hall said, “We found a way to have the best of both worlds, where we decided to jump ahead and make her president.”
The show will still get opportunities to look back at the campaign that viewers missed.
In addition to a new year and a new job, season 6 features new sets. This includes the McCord home, since they’ve left their Georgetown brownstone for the White House.
‘Madam Secretary’ cast changes
Season 6 includes major cast changes, with the departure of multiple series regulars. Several characters don’t make the switch from the State Department to McCord’s new world in the Oval Office.
This includes Sara Ramirez (Kat Sandoval), Sebastian Arcelus (Jay Whitman), Geoffrey Arend (Matt Mahoney), Kathrine Herzer (Alison McCord), Evan Roe (Jason McCord), and Keith Carradine (President Conrad Dalton), who are no longer series regulars.
Speaking to TVLine, Hall said, “The decision I had to make was, what characters need to be most prominent in [Elizabeth’s] new division and her world? It’s such a different world that some of the other [characters’] jobs were not translated into what we wanted for her, and the kids aren’t really at home anymore.”
However, many of the departed characters will still make appearances in this final season.
Other characters take on more prominent positions. Kevin Rahm, who plays adviser Mike B., is now a series regular. Erich Bergen, who plays Blake Moran, also has a new job working in the administration. Husband Henry, played by Tim Daly, remains prominent but has a new role.
With Elizabeth in the early days of her presidency, Henry is finding his cause to support as the First Gentleman.
Themes of the season
Skipping over the election permits the show to avoid the negatives of campaigning and stick with its tested formula of what it calls “aspirational” politics.
Elizabeth McCord continues to lead the way in an idealized engagement with issues and policies. However, the challenges she faces are different now that she has to focus on leadership even more than diplomacy.
“We’re peeling back the difference when a female is in power versus when a man is in power,” McCreary told TVLine. “Sometimes those things go unnoticed by all of us, and we’re really going to take a moment to point it out to the audience.”
And, despite the big changes, the show is keeping the same title, sticking with Madam Secretary.