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.