Madam Secretary's Tim Daly Talks the 'Relief' of Henry's New Gig — Plus: Watch a McCord Interrogation [VIDEO]

Henry McCord starts his new gig — as a member of the president’s terrorism task force — in this Sunday’s Madam Secretary (CBS, 8/7c). And though Tim Daly, who plays the religion professor, did not know at the outset that his character would wind up an elite, inside member of the intelligence community, he says the progression makes sense.

“Unfortunately, being a scholar of religion is also being a scholar of war, because religious conflict and war go hand-in-hand,” Daly tells TVLine. “So I thought it was great that Henry might have some insight into what was going on globally.”

Read on for his preview of this week’s episode — in which Elizabeth receives vital information about Jibral Disah, the terrorist responsible for the dirty bomb that (temporarily) took Henry down — and then press PLAY on the video above for an exclusive clip from the hour.

TVLINE | When did you find out Henry was going to become more a part of the action in this show?
After the debacle Henry goes through with his Russian operative, I didn’t know what would happen. It kind of came at me out of the blue. I really did not know that this was going to be Henry’s next thing. I think it’s cool. As long as Henry doesn’t get too much like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or James Bond, I think people will buy it.

TVLINE | How does it look and feel compared to what he was doing at DIA?
Not that different. It’s just that now there’s a place for him to go. The president has created a specific task force, and so he has an office. He has a place where he goes every day, rather than waiting for the phone to ring and going to show up at a coffee shop or an apartment. The other thing that looks different is now that he’s officially on this task force, he can actually speak with Elizabeth about what he’s doing — which is a huge relief for both of them, because they can have conversations and not have to completely leave half their life, which is work, out of their home life.

TVLINE | It seems like a good thing that they can talk about their work. Is it?
I don’t know where it’ll go, but I will say that I think Henry and Elizabeth have true intimacy, meaning that they can show each other all their bad parts and not be afraid that it’s going to fall apart. They embrace all the great things about their relationship and about each other as individuals and they embrace all the bad things about each other as a couple and as individuals. So I don’t know many people who are able to achieve that [laughs], but I think it’s really cool that Henry and Elizabeth did.

TVLINE | Some of our readers were very worried Henry was going to die in the last episode. Did you get any sense of that?
I did. Part of it was my fault, because I sent out a tweet that was a little bit provocative. [Laughs] I’m both confused and really honored that people take it so seriously. Part of me is like, “Why do they take it so seriously? It’s just a TV show.” But another part of me is like, “This is awesome. They really are invested.” So I go back and forth between those two thoughts.

TVLINE | Will we see Henry have any lasting effects from the radiation poisoning?
This is a Madam Secretary world, where geopolitical crises get solved in one episode. So I think that radiation poisoning, it only deserves an episode and Henry will be back at full strength.

TVLINE | What can you tease about this week’s episode, in which the State Department gets a lead on Jibral Disah?
Henry figures out an interesting way to find him, which at first looks like it will not work, and then once he’s found? I don’t know what happens. I honestly don’t know. So you’ll find out with me. I’m one script away from finding out what happens.

TVLINE | We also meet Stevie’s new boyfriend this week. It traditionally has not gone well when she introduces her guys to her parents. How do Henry and Elizabeth react?
I can tell you that Henry and Elizabeth are just so taken with this guy that they behave like dopes, they think he’s so awesome. [Laughs] He’s age-appropriate. He’s not a drug addict. He’s well spoken, all these great things. It feels like Stevie has made a huge step forward.

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  1. BM says:

    On the one hand, I like that they now can talk about work, on the other hand, I’m a bit wary about this new arc (and the fact that he says he has an office now makes me even more so because does that mean he’s not teaching anymore?) because I don’t want them to give him too much. After all, he’s supposed to be confident enough in his skin that he can be “just” a college professor and take care of the kids while his wife is out and about (saving the world as they like to joke on the show). I don’t want them to lose that dynamic and that angle because I think it’s a huge part of what makes this show great. I love Henry, but I don’t want them to lose focus on what the show is truly about and who the characters really are.

    • John NYC says:

      Compared to Secretary of State for the United State of America most any job is a “just” (POTUS excepted) so I expect that aspect to continue.

  2. H. Stark says:

    One of the best shows on TV. Love the family dynamics and carriage of the SoS as she goes about her duties. Look forward to each episode.

  3. eric says:

    I hope this gives the Mr and Mrs even more time together. One of the best things on the show is their chemistry. It’s even great when they’re on opposite sides of an issue.

  4. Gia says:

    It’s so refreshing to see a tv couple who can work through their issues without having to tear each other down in order to feel powerful. Tim & Téa have phenomenal chemistry. I hope this show lasts a looong time.

  5. Ana says:

    I love this show!!! All the characters are awesome. So refreshing that two people can love each other without games. I feel silly saying this but I am super vested in this show and will be crushed when it eventually ends.

  6. ljgeiger1 says:

    So last week when Henry was exposed to radiation does have his hands were completely bandaged up when he was in the hospital. This week he has no bandages on his hands and the skin is completely fine?? Come on writers! At least show little consistency and have some kind of bandage on his hand until the skin has time to heal.