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Madam Secretary recap: Lights Out

Elizabeth and Russell team up to take down Craig Sterling.

Posted on

Sarah Shatz/CBS

Madam Secretary

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Tea Leoni, Geoffrey Arend, Tim Daly

Things are heating up with Russia on Madam Secretary and I have a strong feeling that the rest of this half of season 2 will be primarily focused on how to take down madam dictator, Maria Ostrov. We haven’t seen Russia’s new leader since she declared Elizabeth a “Rusalka” over a month ago, but tonight she’s back and she is still as terrifying as ever. This episode served as the calm before the storm. Yes, there was drama, but the real drama is bubbling up and going to explode next week. At the very end of this episode we got a glimpse of what’s coming… and it’s intense. 

The drama with Russia is probably the most important part of the episode, but because we’ve been waiting all season for Craig Sterling to be taken down, I’m going to kick this recap of with the ousting of Craig — because it was wonderful. Although, I am human and when Craig said, “This is my career,” I had a very brief moment of sympathy for him, but that quickly dissolved and I went back to cheering for his shameful exit. 

First of all, Russell Jackson, Elizabeth McCord, and Mike B. are a freaking dream team and should be constantly working together to bring people down. I think it would be a wonderful thing to bring that back in various episodes. I also really liked their fancy secret meeting place. 

The plan begins when Admiral Ellen Hill (Joanna Day) announces that she’s retiring. Russell Jackson then calls in Craig Sterling for a meeting and tells him to recommend General Reeves as her replacement. Russell also confronts him about his attempt in last week’s episode to stop the Cuban trade embargo from being lifted, which of course he tries to deny. However Russell manages to convince Sterling that he’s on his side and says he doesn’t want another scandal. He even tells Sterling that he doesn’t like Secretary McCord. Obviously this was part of the plan to throw Sterling off track, although, I have to admit for a split second I believed him. 

Sterling says that he will vet Reeves and then decide whether he’s worth backing or not. 

Russell meets up with Mike B. and Bess in a secret meeting spot to talk about their plan. Basically their plan revolves around Sterling taking their bait and recommending Reeves. At this point all we know is that they need Craig to retire on his own because there cannot be another scandal involving government employees this close to re-election (referring to the coup set up by Andrew Munsey, the CIA Director). 

Mike B. gets the ball rolling by showing up at Senator Parisi’s office and asking for his official schedule over the past week. Spooked, Parisi shows up at Sterling’s gym and warns him that Mike B. was poking around. After Sterling officially backs Reeves, the plan is set in motion. Mike taps a Chronicle employee, Vanessa, and leaks that Reeves bribed Sterling. When Vanessa calls him up to comment, she says that her sources said the bribe happened at the same time Sterling met with Parisi, so of course he has no proof that there was no bribe. 

In order to hide the evidence that he conspired with Parisi, Sterling sheds his planner. As it turns out, his planner held official White House documents and shredding those will put you in jail. Elizabeth and Russell confront him about it, and Russell says he has two options, he can quietly resign and leave out the back door or be taken out the front in handcuffs. Boom. Bye, Craig! 

Now, Back to Russia. 

They have officially found the man who hacked into Air Force One. As we learned in episode 5, his name is George Lasco and he’s been discovered hiding out in Cambodia. They say he’s never stayed in the same place for more than 48 hours, so now as the episode opens, there’s a time limit on catching this guy.

NEXT: Lights out Russia