Madam Secretary‘s Elizabeth & Co. couldn’t avoid a governmental shutdown in Sunday’s episode, but that was hardly the toughest blow the hour offered up: By the end of the show, Sec. McCord’s Chief of Staff Nadine Tolliver was ending her tenure at the State Department.
Just after the episode aired, Bebe Neuwirth announced her departure from the CBS series — which she requested —via a series of tweets.
During the hour, Nadine got a call from her son, Roman, who informed her she was going to be a grandma before he asked her for a favor: Resolve a travel problem for his expectant girlfriend before the shutdown and/or she’s too pregnant to relocate with him to the Bay area. Nadine decided to plead her case in person before Homeland Security, and it worked.
But when Roman idly mused that it would be awesome if his mom lived closer to San Francisco, Nadine started thinking. And by the end of the episode, she’d decided: She was going to leave her position at the State Department to be closer to her family.
“I know this is not the best time, but I really need to ask you something,” Nadine told her boss just after the shutdown became a done deal. She asked for leave to spend time with Roman and his budding family. “Something tells me you’re not coming back from that leave,” a shrewd Elizabeth remarked.
“You’re right. I won’t be coming back from that leave. I love public service, but it’s gotten so vicious,” Nadine said sadly. “Somehow, we’ve become our own worst enemy. And I don’t want to spend the rest of my career fighting.”
Elizabeth lamented that they’d made a “damn good team,” and Nadine responded that it had been her “great honor” to serve SecState. They hugged, and then Nadine took one last look around and walked out of her boss’ office for the final time as she accompanied Elizabeth to bid the furloughed (aka “non-essential”) employees a sad farewell.
Neuwirth’s co-star Erich Bergen tweeted his farewell Sunday evening:
Neuwirth has been a series regular on the political drama since its debut in 2014.