EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


'Madam Secretary' recap: Win some, lose some

Season 1 | Episode 10 | “Collateral Damage” | Aired Nov 23, 2014

Fans of CBS’s Madam Secretary have anxiously waited to meet Win Barrington, the fiancé of Press Secretary Daisy and the wedge between Team Maisy’s romance. Tonight, the wait is over, as actor Sam Daly guest stars as Win, the medical marijuana lobbyist. Also, the State Department goes on lockdown due to a gunman outside. Being confined in tight spaces leads to plenty of juicy drama.

In the episode titled “Collateral Damage,” an Iraqi delegation arrives in the U.S. to meet with Secretary of State Bess McCord. The morning of, Nadine arrives to the office, seeing Bess there bright and early. Nadine, who has a becoming new hairdo, is used to being the first one in the office. When Bess says she came to brief herself on the meeting with the delegation, Nadine states correctly that, in fact, Bess is investigating previous Secretary of State Vincent Marsh. Nadine doesn’t know why he went to Venezuela “other than what he told me, which was probably a lie,” but later gives Bess a bank slip with an account number. “I’m done keeping his secrets,” Nadine says.

Win visits Matt

Win (pictured above) is visiting Daisy at the State Department and gets introduced to Matt (awkward!). Later on, Win drops by Matt’s office, catching him off-guard, and asks, “How much do you love Daisy?” Because Win is making a video for Daisy’s birthday in which her friends say why they love her!

Right before the meeting with the delegation, Bess’ eldest daughter, Stevie, surprises her. The writers have written Stevie as smug and self-righteous, a girl who doesn’t realize how good she’s got it. Stevie’s mouth barely moves without some sort of snarky, sarcastic, or complaining remark coming out of it. Eek.

Bess and the Iraqi delegation

The meeting with the Iraqi ambassadors begins and it’s smooth sailing, until security announces that a gunman has been located outside and the building is on lockdown. Everyone must stay in whatever room they are in. As time passes, the ambassadors begin arguing; the new prime minister wants to put the previous one (a Shiite) on trial for corruption. Bess warns the P.M. that this is a terrible idea: “There are three times as many Shiite as Sunni, and they have the backing of the Iranians. Your government will fall, and your people will be slaughtered by ISIS.”

The group’s translator has been eyeing Bess the entire time, and once she begins speaking in Arabic, he recognizes her as part of the CIA group that interrogated his cousin in Iraq. His cousin never returned. When Bess was a CIA operative, she found and interrogated terrorists who were waterboarded and physically abused by others. There are flashbacks showing Bess interrogating the cousin right before he is killed by an American soldier.

The translator threatens Bess with revealing damaging information about her actions while in the CIA, and once he sees Stevie (who is also stuck in the building), he threatens Stevie’s well-being. That is something you just don’t do to Bess McCord. She informs him that his cousin was a mass murderer who killed dozens of innocent people.

“I am not your hostage; do you understand me?” Bess tells the translator (pictured below). “If you want to grieve someone, you should grieve your grandfather, the scientist, who was killed by Sadam. You’ve come from a long line of great men who built a great nation that dates all the way back to the Babylonians … I’m going to do my part to help that heroic nation. But whatever you decide to tell the Prime Minister, be sure to tell him this: Unless he releases the former Minister and drops the charges against him, the United States is going to pull our support of the new government and back the Kurds for statehood.”

That is enough to get the translator and prime minister to back off and decide to withdraw the charges against the former leader.

Bess and the translator

It’s revealed that the gunman is a mentally unstable man whose brother was a war hero killed in Iraq. The gunman went off his meds, has severe depression, and is homeless.

Meanwhile, Win has been stuck in Matt’s office. After asking Matt why he loves Daisy, Matt gets super-anxious. Win’s solution? Giving him a piece of gum—weed gum. Matt gets loopy and equally loose-lipped. “[Daisy is] really tough on the outside,” Matt states. “But on the inside she’s so tender.” Win asks if Matt hooked up with Daisy, then laughs, saying that she would never.

“She would,” Matt replies.

“Wait, did you?” asks Win.

Matt divulges that he and Daisy hooked up until just weeks before Win’s proposal. Win is devastated and wants to break up with Daisy, to which Matt exclaims, “The greatest woman you’re ever going to meet in your entire life cheated on you with me, and what, you’re just going to let it go?!” Win responds that yes, he’s going to walk away from both of them. Matt punches him in the ear just as the gunman is taken into custody, and they are released from the room.

When Daisy meets up with them, she realizes instantly that something is wrong. She learns that Win found out about her and Matt. “You deserve someone who will fight for you. It doesn’t have to be me. But it can’t be him,” Matt tells Daisy in front of Win. Later, Matt returns to the office since he left his keys.

“Am I a terrible person?” Daisy asks Matt.

“You’re asking the wrong guy because I have seen you at your most terrible and I am still crazy about you,” he replies. “For what it’s worth, I didn’t want to hurt you, and I’m sorry.”

At this, Daisy kisses Matt passionately, then leaves.

Bess decides to confide in Stevie about her past in the CIA and how the people she helped find were put through the ringer as prisoners. Stevie is disgusted and feels that she doesn’t even know her mother after all. Before heading home, Bess actually goes and sits with the gunman—who is alone and scared—at the hospital. She is so compassionate!

Finally, Bess gets home, where Stevie is very upset, saying she feels her mom’s whole life was a lie. Bess offers her daughter some advice: “If you never listen to anything else I say again for the rest of your life, please hear this: Everything is more complicated than you think it is right now, and the only way to come to know that is through experience. And that’s what this whole process of growing up is all about.”

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