I’ve always loved a good political dramedy (drama-comedy). During my maternity leave with Sofia, I binge-watched every season of The West Wing. I’ve been looking for something similar to watch: a combination of witty dialogue, crisis, intrigue, and personal drama—without all the sex scenes (sorry, Scandal). So, I was very happy to find Madam Secretary on CBS, and it’s quickly become my favorite to watch on Sunday nights after the littles are fast asleep.
Tea Leoni plays Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA operative and college professor who gets appointed Secretary of State. What is fascinating about the show, other than the global and domestic issues that she has to solve, is the portrayal of her family life. The McCord home is loving and warm, but it’s also messy (physically and emotionally). Elizabeth is a woman who strives for balance, often falling short in one space or another. She forgets her kids’ activities, misses parent-teacher meetings, and gets into arguments with her kids. She even goes through a crisis in her marriage. Though the depiction of the Secretary of State’s office may be inaccurate, the family situations seem very real and relatable.
Nothing embodies the McCord family state like their townhouse. The set designer sought to slowly add personal touches to the Georgetown home, since the McCords would have just moved in. You can see how life slowly creeps into what is an impeccably designed home. Kids’ shoes on the stairs, food containers left on the kitchen island—there’s even one hilarious scene where the President comes for a visit and Elizabeth embarrassedly has to pick up a pair of socks left by her teenage son. Much of the furnishings match the period of the townhome, but more modern and retro pieces are thrown in to give the space a more homey atmosphere.
Most of the home scenes center around the kitchen. With the family’s busy schedules, it’s no wonder that they congregate around food. I love that the dishes in the glass-front cabinets aren’t arranged perfectly, and that the countertop is lined with appliances and various food things. Kon-Mari’d this kitchen is not.
A sit-down family meal doesn’t always happen in the McCord household, but even if it’s pizza night, they get to eat in this gorgeous dining room.
The formal living space right off the front foyer and main staircase is simple but shows little touches like books, vases, and an old clock on the mantel that could be a family heirloom. The furniture is elegant and comfortable, never stuffy.
Interestingly, Elizabeth and her husband, Henry, share an office. They both have beautiful old desks, but Elizabeth’s side is made a little more modern with an ergonomic chair and metal task lamp.
All the other home scenes take place in Henry and Elizabeth’s bedroom. Like any other couple, they both love and hate talking about work at home. I love the mirrored vanity shown above.
The massive headboard of the McCord’s bed is a great backdrop for all the political and familial pillow talk that happens. I think it’s sweet that their sheets don’t look designer. Instead, they look like they still belonged in the farm the McCord’s used to live in in rural Virginia.
If you love to be kept on the edge of your seat while laughing over the trials of marriage and motherhood, check out Madam Secretary. Elizabeth’s take on what to wear in a traditionally skirt-suit-only arena is equally interesting.