After surviving a terrorist bombing in the most recent episode of Madam Secretary, Henry McCord (Tim Daly) is ready to get right back to work — which is good, because he's been tapped to head up a special team to track down terrorist Jibral Disah (Bobak Bakhtiari).
Also part of that coalition is the State Department, meaning that for the first time, Henry and Bess (Tea Leoni) will not only get to discuss their professional lives openly with each other, but will actually be working together. But is that a good or a bad thing?
TVGuide.com chatted with Daly about how Henry's new gig will affect his relationship with Elizabeth, and whether he'll suffer lingering trauma from his brush with death, as well as his experience in Russia earlier in the season.
What impact does Henry's near-death experience have on him going forward, starting with his decision to accept this new job?
Tim Daly: It has an enormous impact on him personally, because he has sort of had a toe in the intelligence community, and he's had something that was on the one hand a success, and on the other hand, personally, very difficult for him. And now that he has this personal relationship with a terrorist attack, he feels strongly that if he can be a part of something that will help thwart that kind of thing, he's going to do it. So, having been a Marine pilot, I think that he's a strongly patriotic guy — not in a hawkish way, but in a thoughtful way. I think that's interesting, that he can lend sort of his ethical and scholarly self to the pursuit of people who do very bad things.
How will Henry's new gig change his and Bess' relationship going forward?
Daly: First of all, they get to talk to each other. [Laughs] So, that sort of changes that dynamic. Honestly, it remains to be seen how that plays out. One of the things that I love about their relationship is that it's truly intimate. They show all of themselves to each other, the good and the bad. And they do it sort of without this threat of somebody walking out. They're totally in.
They've always been good at leaving professional conflicts at the office. Now that they're working so closely together, will we start to see tensions at work creep into their home life?
Daly: No. My feeling about them is that they are so strongly committed to each other and love each other so deeply that none of the noise will deeply damage their relationship.
Will we actually get to see them in professional scenes together?
Daly: We do see some of those scenes, because she comes into the newly established hub of this search for Jibral Disah. Because they now can actually speak about these things, and she as secretary of state has to know about it.
There were a few tense moments when he was thinking about going back to DIA. Can we expect more conflicts like that going forward?
Daly: They had a very difficult time about everything that's happened in Russia. So, there's the possibility that they could have another difference of opinion about the way things are being handled, in terms of the big picture government thing. Because it seems that Henry has a tendency to take things a little more personally than Elizabeth does, at least at this moment. The interesting thing is that she understands him, having once been a CIA field agent. So, she has a compassion for that. And yet, in her new job, she has to think about this enormous big picture.
Henry seems very eager to get back to work. Is he emotionally ready to jump right back into things?
Daly: Henry definitely has some PTSD. He's definitely dealing with it. ... Henry is not totally psychologically finished with his experience with his dealings in Russia and with Dmitri. And also, in his new position, he will find himself overseas in a very dangerous situation.
We know that only about a quarter of the uranium stolen byHizb al-Shahid was used to make the bomb. Does the rest of it come into play in later episodes?
Daly: It's important for them to keep it in mind because it poses a significant threat, but I don't know that it plays out. I haven't seen that yet.
On a lighter note, we get to meet Stevie's boyfriend inSunday's episode. What do Henry and Bess think of him?
Daly: I'll just say that he's age-appropriate and he's not a drug addict, so Henry and Elizabeth are overjoyed.
Madam Secretary airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)
Watch a preview of Sunday's episode here: