Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 20
The Things We Get to Say
Russell has arranged for a reporter to shadow Elizabeth and write a profile -- full access. Daisy isn't happy because it isn't someone from her reporter pool and because she doesn't like the amount of access he's being given. The reporter isn't from the best paper, but he has lots of cred from his days as a war correspondent. He's struggling on how to write the piece before he even begins, and is also under some financial strain -- he took a cut in pay to be back stateside, has twins on the way, and no one seems interested in his book deal. He asks tough questions that make the staff defensive, but Elizabeth is open and honest with him, which gains some respect. He's also not a fan of Morejon...he uncovered some dirt on the Senator back in the day about how he forged a letter of recommendation for his college applications to military academies. Right after he arrives at State, a caravan of child refugees arrives at the US border fleeing gang violence in Honduras. The President has a delicate immigration reform bill in front of the Senate, but Elizabeth wants to find a way to accept the children into the US because otherwise Mexico will have to return them home. Morejon gets wind of her plans, and drops his support of the bill. He holds a press conference calling the children gangsters and thugs, prompting Elizabeth to pay him a visit. It turns out that one of his biggest donors is the CEO of a private prison company and Morejon will only support immigration reform if Dalton drops the planned executive order to cancel contracts with private prisons to house federal prisons. Elizabeth played right into Morejon's hands, which the reporter finds surprising. After running into the ex Afghani Minister of Education at an event of girls education, the reporter tries to get her to spill the tea and say something about how Elizabeth betrayed her on the record. But she surprises him by privately admitting that Elizabeth may have been right, that the only way for Afghanistan to move forward is to heal breaches and try and bring the Taliban into the mainstream and keep them more moderate. Outside his home, he's approached by an off beat publisher who usually produces books about conspiracy theories and the alt-right agenda. They want him to expand his profile on Elizabeth into a book -- preferably a hit job, though they tell him there would be no guidelines. They also give him a flash-drive with oppo research on Elizabeth. He debates over reading it, but finally gives in. The next day, he's surprised when Elizabeth adamantly opposes Russell's plan to use the dirt they have on Morejon's wife, her words resonating with him in regards to the file he was given. He continues to be impressed with her through out the day, but also expresses his disappointment that she would go to Morejon's donor and basically make a deal that would allow the immigration deal to move forward -- pitching the idea that the private prisons could be re-purposed to become resettlement centers for new immigrants. At home, he is struggling with the approach he wants to take in the profile. He's almost finished when his wife goes into labor. At the hospital, Elizabeth surprises him by showing up with a gift for the new parents (a wet/dry vac, of course) despite his not entirely kind profile on her. She says he did what was most important, and showed all the sides. As she leaves, he tells his infant daughter that Elizabeth will be her president someday.