Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 5 Review: Persona Non Grata

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Jay's first week as chief of staff seemed like it went off the rails on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 5, but he and M. Sec. managed to save the day like they always do.

It was really a pretty mild crisis by Elizabeth's standards. 

Still, a sex scandal involving an ambassador opened the State Department team up to attacks from a lot of angles.

Jay had to worry about getting justice for a mother, saving an agreement that would save lives, and not giving Morejon any more fuel for the fire he's building beneath the Dalton administration's feet. 

Human Trafficking Conference - Madam Secretary

Senator Morejon continues to be the mega-villian we all love to hate. I mean, he is just the archetype of evil, dirty politician. First he's railing against immigrants when he's married to one (hmm, that seems familiar), now he's playing politics with national security. 

Next thing you know he'll be caught colluding with the Russians!  

As much as the parallels to reality (and the commentary that comes with that) tickle me, I do miss the escapist aspect. I'm not sure that it's worth losing that. 

Henry: I assure you the threat is real..
Morejon: Well, maybe the fault lies with the Secretary of State. She's the one that executes that policy.
Henry: I'm more interested in finding solutions than assigning blame, but the Secretary can only do so much with the budget approved by this congress. Senator Morejon, you ran your campaign on a platform of national security. So I'm asking, respectfully, for you to put your money where your mouth is.

Surprisingly, I didn't detest every single second of Henry's CIA work. Okay, it was mostly that amazing verbal beat down he gave Morejon, but the rest was tolerable.

I don't really understand (or believe) that he'd be heading to Afghanistan personally, but whatever. I mean, whole arc is basically pure fantasy, so why waste time nitpicking?

I just wish the setup of Dmitri as the prime suspect for mole wasn't so obvious. I mean, I don't think it's actually him. But we're supposed to think it is -- the writer's have done everything short of drawing big red flashing arrows at him while he holds a sign saying "It's me" a la Looney Toons. 

My rehab counselor says that I should try knitting. You know, it focuses the mind. And now all I can do is have dreams about cable stitch.


But since it won't actually be Dmitri, rather just a chance for him to get rightfully offended, who is it? My money's on the other guy from the CIA front, who wanted Henry to bring him wine.

His bad manners about begging for gifts were my first tip off, his attitude about Dmitri's knitting was the second. He's obviously trying too hard to come off as a nice guy to actually be one. 

Disliking him is the total extent of me caring about this arc.

Another reason Dmitri will be assumed guilty and then ultimately cleared: his upcoming relationship with Stevie.

Well, we don't know that it will be a relationship per se, but there's definitely attraction there. With the oldest McCord back on the dating market, sparks are sure to fly soon. 

Having the Russian be under suspicion when they do only gives things more of a star-crossed lovers vibe. 

In my paralysis and panic about my adequacy as a designer and human being, I forgot to book a model for the presentation.


Allison's little side story was basically pointless, and even though I like Katherine Herzer, I would have cut this.

Besides being basically pointless (other than breaking the Jareth breakup news), it was just crazy. Like that dress. Which, sorry, I wouldn't wear. There's no right occasion for that, except maybe on stage in a college production of something that's trying to hard to be deep. 

Also, Henry's pep talk was totally plagiarized. Is there anybody lucky enough to have only had this video pop in your Facebook feed once? I've seen it at least fourteen times. Every May since 2014. 

Russell: Pro tip: When you're trying to reassure, don't use a metaphor for nuclear holocaust.

Instead of focusing on unrealistic midterm projects, I would have rather had more Russell screen time. At least he managed to get some great lines in. 

I did love Jay standing up to Russell and Russell's incredulousness about that. Jay may be having a few adjustment issues, but speaking up isn't one of them. 

I do think that it's weird that Matt keeps giving Jay all this career advice. I like Matt, but he's younger and often the least serious and least focused member of the team. 

Elizabeth: This is a one time offer that will expire when we end this call: reinstate the Summit on Human Trafficking and bring all signatory countries back to the table immediately. You know that Madonna song, 'Hung Up?' I am about to hang up on you.

Jay managed to pull the fat out of the fire with the anti-trafficking summit, which seems like it should be a big accomplishment, but that sanctions threat seemed pretty basic. A move pulled straight from Diplomacy 101.

It was a win for him though, and he seemed like he might need it. The confidence boost will come in handy when he starts wading into darker waters with the captured CIA agent.

I mean, not only will it be his first life or death crisis as chief of staff, but Henry and Elizabeth are at odds on the issue. That's gong to be a tough line for him to walk. 

Dalton: I've order the evacuation of all American high ranking personnel until further notice.
Elizabeth: He means bring your ass home, Henry.
Henry: Yes, honey. And Mr. President.

Having Henry and Elizabeth at odds on Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 6 is going to make life difficult for a lot of people. Weirdly, I think I feel worst for Stevie on this one.

She may be at the White House through sheer nepotism, but she's going to have to deal with this at home and at work.

All while trying to get over Jareth. Personally, I think she's better off without him, but nobody wants to hear that right after being dumped.

Unfortunately, I think we'll mainly be focusing on that instead of letting the girl lose herself in the ethical debate of negotiating with terrorists vs saving an operative. 

I can't decide which is worse, sleeping with a foreign president's brother-in-law or being dumb enough to get caught.


We want to know what you thought of "Persona Non Grata!" Let us know what you thought about Allie's dress in the comments section. What did you think of Jay's job performance? Will Morejon find a way to get back at Henry for the dressing down? 

Catch up and watch Madam Secretary online! And remember to check out past reviews if you're a true Fanatic!

Persona Non Grata Review

Editor Rating: 3.2 / 5.0
  • 3.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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Madam Secretary Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Russell: Pro tip: When you're trying to reassure, don't use a metaphor for nuclear holocaust.

I can't decide which is worse, sleeping with a foreign president's brother-in-law or being dumb enough to get caught.