If you’re worried that Madam Secretary might wind down the suspense as the first half of its season draws to a close, we’ve got one word for you: nyet.
Because Sunday’s fall finale (CBS, 8/7c) finds Elizabeth and President Dalton traveling to Switzerland to try to find a solution to their Russia problem — easier said than done, considering Russian ruler Maria Ostrov is gunning for World War III.
“We’re leading into everybody trying to get together and figure out how to deal with this radical leader in a way that can help everybody avoid world conflict,” executive producer Barbara Hall tells TVLine.
Meanwhile, tension grows between the secretary of state and her spy husband, given that they’re sworn not to discuss certain aspects of their jobs with each other, executive producer Lori McCreary adds.
“Not only are their interests not aligned at all, but because of the importance of their positions, the stakes just get higher and higher,” she says.
One of those stakes — Dmitri, the very freaked-out rookie spy Henry is handling — spends much of the episode pleading with Henry to extract him from Russia.
The conflicted Henry is “a passionate, caring human, so he cares about Dmitri,” Hall says. “But he also has to keep the bigger picture in mind — something that’s much easier to do when you’re not staring into the face of this person.”
In the end, McCreary says, Henry’s integrity may be his undoing.
“We’ve made him into this character, and I think Tim [Daly] has taken it even further, whose word is his bond,” she says. “This is going to be one of the first times when we see that he might not have control over that.”
In short: No one is getting out of the Russia situation easily, especially not after the episode ends in a cliffhanger that won’t be resolved until Madam Secretary returns on Jan. 10.
As for Russia? The EPs say it was an easy choice to pit against the fictional Dalton administration.
“We always look at where the most interesting points of world conflict are or could be, the countries that we have issues with,” Hall says. “We look at, ‘What are situations that could suddenly turn ugly, even though they’re under control right now? Where do we have tenuous relationships?’ We turned our attention to Russia because it’s always a fraught relationship, even when it’s under control. There’s history there.”