Created by Barbara Hall, Madam Secretary is a political thriller that aired on CBS from 2014 to 2019. The series follows Bess Adams McCord (Téa Leoni), the Secretary of State for the United States who does her best to balance her political responsibilities and her personal life as a wife and mother of three. By the sixth and final season, McCord became the first elected female President in the United States.
Although Leoni is best known for her comedic movie performances, her presence in Madam Secretary proves what a superb dramatic TV actor she is as well. Much of that concerns the supporting cast of characters and the talented performers who portray them in the gripping political thriller. As such, it’s time to meet the cast of Madam Secretary.
Téa Leoni as Elizabeth “Bess” Adams McCord
As mentioned, Téa Leoni plays Elizabeth “Bess” Adams McCord. Bess is a career public servant who spent 20 years in the CIA as an intelligence analyst before becoming a professor of political science in Virginia. When the Secretary of State dies in a plane crash, Bess is appointed to be his replacement. Bess accepts the role and quickly learns that she must navigate her new political role while continuing to take care of her three children.
Leoni is a supremely versatile actor who has played action, comedy, and drama with equally convincing results. Her first big breakout role came in A League of Their Own in 1992 before going on to star in the smash buddy cop action movie Bad Boys and the TV show The Naked Truth in 1995.
Leoni’s most notable movie credits include Flirting with Disaster, Jurassic Park III, and Fun with Dick and Jane. Now that her most-lasting role as Bess Adams has wrapped, Leoni is set to voice a role in the upcoming animated film Endangered.
Tim Daly as Henry McCord
Tim Daly portrays Henry McCord in the underrated political thriller. Henry is Bess’ husband of 25 years and the father of their three children. Henry served in the Marines as a flight captain in Operation Desert Storm before becoming a theology professor. In addition to being the First Gentleman of the United States, Henry is appointed as the leader of the CIA’s Special Activities Division as the series progresses.
Daly brings a wealth of experience to the tole of Henry McCord. He is best known for portraying the lead character Joe Hackett in the popular NBC sitcom, Wings, in which he starred for eight seasons and 172 episodes. In 2004, Daly joined the cast of The Sopranos, playing the drug-addled screenwriter J.T. Dolan. When his arc as Dolan wrapped in 2007, Daly went on to star as Dr. Pete Wilder in the hit medical drama Private Practice.
Wallis Curry-Wood as Stephanie “Stevie” McCord
Wallis Curry-Wood adds domestic drama to the show as Stephanie “Stevie” McCord. Stevie is the daughter and eldest child of Bess and Henry who aspires to become a professional lawyer. As such, she applied to Harvard Law after graduating from Georgetown University. When her mother becomes POTUS, Stevie begins interning with Chief of Staff, Russell Jackson. Meanwhile, her illicit affair with undercover agent Dmitri Petrov puts her in danger later in the series.
Curry-Wood is a relative newcomer with two additional credits. In 2015, she played an interviewer in The Intern opposite Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. In 2016, Curry-Wood appeared in an episode of the Prime Video original reality TV series The Fashion Fund. Considering her lack of experience prior to Madam Secretary, Curry-Wood’s presence in 118 episodes of the show is bound to pay dividends in the next project she is cast in.
Evan Roe as Jason McCord
Evan Roe portrays Jason McCord in the heart-racing political thriller. Jason is the teenage son of Bess and Henry and the youngest of their three children. Despite his parents’ high-ranking government positions, Jason is an overt anarchist who wants to dismantle the corrupt political system in America. Jason is also a troublemaker who gets expelled from school after punching a student who made fun of his mother.
Roe began his career in 2012 and has amassed a handful of credits in the past decade. He can be seen in the Disney Channel TV series Jessie and the Nickelodeon show Sam & Cat. Roe has also appeared in such movies as Time Toys and Selah and the Spades. While Madam Secretary has provided Roe with his most visible role to date, he can be seen next in the star-studded 2023 miniseries A Man in Full.
Željko Ivanek as Russell Jackson
Željko Ivanek plays Russell Jackson. Russell is the White House Chief of Staff appointed by President Adams three months into her tenure. Russell’s role is to ensure that the President remains safe and secure and organizes the daily operations within the White House. Russell also takes Stevie under his wing and uses his connections as a Harvard Law alum to recommend Stevie for admission.
Ivanek is a chameleonic character actor with an outstanding filmography. He’s worked with some of the best all-time directors, including Ridley Scott in Hannibal and The Last Duel, Martin McDonagh in Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards, Lars von Trier in Dogville and Manderlay, and more. Ivanek can currently be seen in The Walking Dead: Dead City, which recently concluded its first season.
Patina Miller as Daisy Grant
Patina Miller plays Daisy Grant. Daisy is President Adam’s press secretary responsible for speaking on behalf of the office in public. While Daisy is good at her job, she often dates co-workers in the White House, which complicates her personal and professional life. Whether dating speechwriter Matt or undercover CIA operative Kevin, Daisy adds a lot of romantic drama to the proceedings.
Miller began her career on the TV soap All My Children in 2007. After appearing in both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay movies, Miller went on to star in the TV series Mercy Street and Word Party. Most recently, Miller gave a standout turn in the acclaimed Starz original TV show, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, and is poised to play a Witch in the upcoming fairytale horror movie Into the Woods.
Erich Bergen as Blake Moran
Erich Bergen depicts Blake Moran. Blake is Bess’ personal assistant and close confidant. Unlike the other staffers that she inherited from the former President, Bess personally chose Blake to be her helper based on their days attending college together. After trying his hand at Wall Street financing, Blake hated his job and vowed to make a difference in the political sector.
Although Madam Secretary marks Bergen’s most famous role of his young career, he’s appeared in many memorable projects as well. His TV credits include single appearances in Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives, and The Good Fight, Bergen also notably starred as Bob Gaudio in Clint Eastwood’s musical drama Jersey Boys.
Geoffrey Arend as Matt Mahoney
Geoffrey Arend stars as Matt Mahoney. Matt is Bess’s speechwriter who is responsible for carefully wording the President’s messages to the public. Matt’s main storylines involve dating his co-worker Daisy and being forced to spy on the former President by Russell Jackson. The latter subplot puts Matt in direct peril that has severe consequences as the series advances.
Arend began his career by starring in such popular movies as Super Troopers and Garden State before going on to appear in 500 Days of Summer. By 2010, Arend began working more on television after landing a recurring role in Body of Proof. While Madam Secretary marks his biggest TV role, Arend can also be seen in such recent shows as Goliath and Physical.
Keith Carradine as Conrad Dalton
Keith Carradine plays Conrad Dalton, the 45th President of the United States. Before leading the highest office in the land, Conrad served as the Director of the CIA and was a gubernatorial candidate in California. Due to their time as friends and classmates at Harvard Law, Conrad appointed Bess to the role of Secretary of State and even considered for the Vice Presidency during his reelection campaign.
A veteran movie actor who began his career working with Robert Altman, Carradine is best known for his iconic performance in Nashville, for which he won an Oscar for writing and performing the Best Original Song, “I’m Easy.” Yet, despite appearing in roughly 100 movies in his career, Carradine has given standout turns in the most popular TV shows of the past 20 years. For instance, Carradine has participated in the great 21st-century crime shows, Deadwood, Dexter, Fargo, and most recently, Fear the Walking Dead.
Bebe Neuwirth as Nadine Tolliver
Bebe Neuwirth portrays Nadine Tolliver. Nadine serves as Bess’ personal Chief of Staff who harbors deep resentments stemming from her time under the previous Secretary of State, Vincent Marsh. Nadine had a six-year affair with Marsh before his tragic death, and Nadine is deeply suspicious of Bess when she assumes the office. Over time, Bess and Nadine earn each other’s mutual trust and begin to cooperate.
Neuwirth has built an impressive resume since her career commenced in the mid-80s. While perhaps best known for her role as Dr. Lilith Sternin in the hit sitcom Cheers, for which she won two Primetime Emmys as a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Neuwirth has made her mark in everything from Jumanji and Summer of Sam to Law & Order and the recent Max original series Julia.