Scene Breakdown: Elizabeth McCord’s Arrest in Madam Secretary “Separation Part II”

Madam Secretary “Separation Part II” Spoilers Ahead

Elizabeth McCord's arrest in Madam Secretary "Separation Part II"
Source: CBS

With the perfectly heartfelt premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place’s incredible return episode, TV’s a delightful place again that has me grinning from ear to ear. Last week’s show of choice, Outlander showed us the ramifications of Jamie’s actions and Brianna’s frustrations leaving us with another intriguing episode. But it was Sunday’s return episode of Madam Secretary that I can’t stop thinking about.

Madam Secretary is a special show, it’s the only drama that’s allowed to be 22 episodes long because it’s the one platform that highlights politics in the eyes of a character-driven cast. And both “Separation” episodes did what TV at its best does—evokes something powerful by mirroring the world we live in today. Sometimes we need to escape the treacheries of the world with fiction and sometimes, we need fiction to scream about what’s happening because it’s crucial to bettering our lives. We can try to escape and disregard politics all we want, and I’m all for people stepping back if it’s too much to bear at times, but when children are separated from their families, our voices need to be heard. And the two-part story on Madam Secretary refused to stay silent.

I wish what was being showcased was fiction, but tragically it isn’t, and the world needed to see it. Secretary Elizabeth McCord was arrested, refused to take a plea deal, and chose not to attend her own vow renewal in order to prove a point that she wasn’t going to apologize for standing up for the children taken at the border. And if that’s not the kind of woman who absolutely should run for President then I don’t know who is. The episode did a number for the faint at heart, it had me ugly crying more often than I usually do with this show, and it gave me one of my favorite scenes between the McCord family ever. But because this isn’t a full episode review (It’s times like this I wish were reviewing the show.) So the best scene of the week has to go to jail vow renewal and the news that the children are being set free. I was already a wreck, and when that scene happened, I lost all ability to can.

We can blame the superbly romantic and ever so charming Henry McCord for reading the letter he’d written Elizabeth the night before their wedding 30-years-ago. A letter that promised he’d always come back for her, fight for her, and love her. A letter that led to a gorgeously heartfelt reply, which promised all the same back. A letter that had both of them teary-eyed and more in love than ever before. And the pure elation when Stevie read the White House’s letter declaring the signatures that’d lift the separation? Indescribable. To have such a stunning, potently heartwarming moment between a family who’d support each other through everything cut to children reuniting with their mothers was so powerfully evocative, it almost didn’t feel like TV for a moment.

I also have to cheat a little and mention the moment when Kat visits her dad to plead with him to sign his citizenship application despite the fact that he has a green card because as a second-generation American, despite the fact that my family members are citizens now, I had a moment of deep fear when the chaos started erupting in America today. This series might be fiction, friends, but that moment was anything but—those fears and those heartaches are real in the lives of so many people right now, and we need to remember that this country’s beauty comes from its diversity.

To learn more about what’s happening with Immigrants seeking asylum from their countries, visit

What are your thoughts on this scene in Madam Secretary’s “Separation Part II?”

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