BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — CBS will pair its returning prestige project, “The Good Wife,” with a newcomer that tries to give off a similar polish. Téa Leoni stars in “Madam Secretary” (8 p.m. Sunday starting Sept. 21) as a CIA analyst tapped to become the new U.S. Secretary of State.
Barbara Hall, executive producer of “Joan of Arcadia” and “Judging Amy,” is the showrunner behind “Madam Secretary,” which follows Leoni’s character on the job and in her home life with two children and a religious studies professor husband (Tim Daly, “Wings”).
“I wanted (her to have) a recognizable and active home life,” Hall said. “One of the things that’s challenging in trying to show a strong woman in a position of leadership is showing them going back and forth between those worlds.”
In addition to following the title character on the job handling global politics, the series also will track the politics of the State Department.
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“Interoffice politics are the same whether it’s the State Department or working at a corporation or a school,” Hall said. “Interoffice politics are recognizable, and people would see those issues happening in the State Department and feel comfortable in that environment.”
Hall said her experience as a writer on Showtime’s “Homeland” led her to add a conspiracy element to “Madam Secretary” involving the circumstances surrounding the death of the previous Secretary of State.
“I thought it would be an extra conflict or challenge to step into a place with something untoward,” she said. “It’s an extra tentacle that may affect her for a long time. It’s hard enough for her to step into this job, but she’s got to unravel some seeds that were planted.”