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The 7 scariest 'Madam Secretary' moments

On CBS’s political drama Madam Secretary, you definitely won’t find any ghosts, witches, or vampires. But imprisonment, bombings, and murder? They’ll all there.

In honor of the most spooky of holidays, let’s look back at the first six episodes of the Téa Leoni–starring series and check out the scariest, heart-pounding-est, most frightening Madam moments.

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1. Two teenage boys are brutally imprisoned (“Pilot,” Episode 1)
In the show’s pilot, two teenage activists from Connecticut are arrested in Syria after meeting with a jihadist group working to overthrow the Syrian government. The boys are forcefully imprisoned and would have been executed the following week if Secretary of State Elizabeth “Bess” McCord didn’t work her magic and get them out. For “Operation Stupid Kid,” Bess consults an attaché she worked with when she was a CIA operative. He negotiates giving the Syrians money, medical supplies, and food in return for getting the boys sent back home.  But at the beginning of the episode, a scary scene shows the boys crying and dragged into prison. One is even told by a guard, “Don’t be a fool. You’re going to die here.” Eek!

2. Murder #1 (“Pilot,” Episode 1)
Bess becomes secretary of state after her predecessor, Vincent Marsh, dies in a plane accident. Bess’s friend George, whom she worked with at the CIA, tells her that Marsh’s death was no accident. George shows up at Bess’s house manic and rambling, telling her that someone inside the government may have arranged for Marsh’s plane to go down. George spills that Marsh was involved with Venezuelan drug operations, weapons dealing, and money laundering. George decoded some of Marsh’s messages, found his Caracus bank account, and learned that Marsh was on his way to meet with his Venezuelan compadres when his plane went down. George warns Bess to be careful. Murder numero uno!

3. Murder #2 (“Pilot,” Episode 1)
George winds up dead at the end of the first episode! The death looks like a car accident, but Bess believes he was murdered. This storyline will continue throughout the season, but nothing has been uncovered as of yet. Murder numero dos!

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4. The Ambassador may have been assassinated (“Another Benghazi,” Episode 2)
We begin with a shooting outside of the United States Embassy that occurs while a sweet-looking family sits eating breakfast. The family belongs to the U.S. Ambassador (pictured above), and the bullets terrify the family. The shooting is caused by a heavy encroachment of armed protestors who have breached the building’s perimeters. The family is removed, but throughout the episode, the crowd gets more aggressive, and the life of the Ambassador becomes more and more threatened. But Bess saves the day by hiring private security contractors, who get the Ambassador to safety before the building is bombed. However, we don’t know this at first; we’re left thinking that the Ambassador has been blown to bits.

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5. A CIA Operative is sentenced to death (“The Operative,” Episode 3)
Cables are released that reveal private communications and secret documents leaked from the State Department, along with the identities of CIA operatives. One such operative, stationed in Pakistan, races in his Jeep to reach a U.S. Embassy building in Islamabad. In a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat scene, Bess and the White House staff watch on video feed as Schaeffer, the operative, races to make it before getting caught and executed (pictured above). To everyone’s horror, he fails and is taken away by soldiers that drag him out of his vehicle. Viewers find out that he’s been imprisoned, tried, and sentenced to death by hanging. Scary! But Bess ends up brokering a three-way deal that saves Schaeffer’s life. Russia gives Pakistan the weapons system they want, and Bess’s husband, Henry, has to give the Russian Minister’s daughter—Henry’s student—an “Incomplete” in his class. Random but useful!

6. Nuclear war looms (“Blame Canada,” Episode 5)
The threat of nuclear war has everyone on edge. Nuclear war, in itself, is beyond spine-chilling! The White House finds out that Iran is building a reactor of some kind that the government assumes will be used for arms production, even though Iran had agreed to halt said production. Iran even walks out in the middle of peace talks, leaving everyone very concerned that nuclear war is around the corner. Bess’s idea is to offer Iran something in return for shutting down the reactor; the U.S. will lift the ban on providing Iran with airplane parts, but Iran must allow weapons inspectors too. The deal works: The reactor is shut down, weapons inspectors are in the air to Iran, and the treasury announces that it will begin selling commercial airplane parts to Iran once more.

7. Genocide is imminent (“The Call,” Episode 6)
What could be more blood-curdling than genocide? In “The Call,” the most recent episode of Madam Secretary, Bess encourages world government officials to help prevent an impending genocide of 50,000 innocents in the Republic of West Africa. She helps prevent this horrifying occurrence by using a friend of her husband to broker a deal with the junta warlords. Bess saves countless lives and the massive devastation of families.

It will be interesting—and spooky—to see what creepy problems await Bess and her team in the remainder of the first season. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Madam Secretary airs Sundays at 8/7C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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