Last week’s Madam Secretary may not have had a lot of action, but it certainly made up for it with plenty of intrigue. In a rare instance of camaraderie, Russell and Bess work together to bring down their newly mutual enemy Craig Sterling.
The whole plan swings into motion when Russell receives an email from Admiral Ellen Hill announcing her retirement. Obviously the President will have to find a replacement, and Russell knows if Craig vouches for a shady candidate it would lead to his demise. But before Russell can really get this plot in action, he, Bess, and other relevant staff are summoned to the situation room. The tech guy (who I finally learned is named Oliver Shaw) informs the President and company that he’s located Dash, AKA the man they all suspect Russia hired to hack Air Force One, hiding in Cambodia. Craig urges the President to send in the Navy Seals, but Bess argues that the U.S. should take a more diplomatic approach by sending in a CIA team. Russell “agrees” with Craig’s idea, but Oliver backs Bess so the President ultimately chooses to send in select CIA operatives to get Dash.
After the meeting, Russell summons Craig to his office and offers his sympathies for Bess once again gaining the President’s favor. He assures Craig that he doesn’t like her either, and that they should team up to take her down. Even though Craig doesn’t completely trust Russell, he agrees to think about vouching for General Reeves as a replacement for Admiral Ellen Hill’s position at the Pentagon. Immediately after this meeting, Russell congregates with Bess and her associate Mike B. They realize that the only way to get rid of Craig is by forcing him into his resignation somehow. They can’t expose his attempt at foiling the Cuban Embassy reopening because it will reflect poorly on the President and his entire administration.
Not long after that little pow-wow, everyone’s called back to the situation room to hear that Dash has been located, but not alive. He’s been poisoned by some substance commonly found in Russia. Bess agrees this is rather suspicious, but she can’t vouch for taking any further action until they can get a second confirmation that Russia did hire Dash.
Later, Mike B. meets with a journalist who owes him a favor, and asks her to give Craig a little call. When she does, she claims that she has sources saying General Reeves bribed Craig to vouch for him. When he insists it isn’t true, the journalist asks for proof but Craig can’t provide it. At the time this bribe allegedly took place, Craig has it written in his calendar that he met with the senator who caused the whole Cuban debacle. Obviously he can’t show that as his proof, so he destroys the planner. Somehow Russell and Bess discover the shredded planner, and finally have grounds to ask for his resignation. By destroying his planner, Craig has broken a law which requires federal employees to keep all records of presidential meetings.
And finally the government is able to find proof on Dash’s laptop that Russia did indeed hire him to attack Air Force One, so Bess agrees to allow the United States to retaliate. The President chooses to go with the ultimate retaliation by cutting off all power to Moscow, so I’m sure we can expect even more drama from Russia this week.