Tonight on CBS Madam Secretary airs with an all new Sunday April 12, season 1 episode 20 called, “The Necessary Art” and we have your weekly recap below. On tonight’s episode, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a difficult political situation when a Russian nuclear submarine vanishes in American waters.
On the last episode, Elizabeth worked with President Dalton to solve the Greek debt crisis, but not everyone in Washington found the fruits of their collaboration pleasing. Meanwhile, Henry had a new job offer to consider; and Stevie reignited a friendship with the president’s son. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it, we have a full and detailed recap right here for you.
On tonight’s episode as per the CBS synopsis, “Elizabeth finds herself navigating a difficult political situation when a Russian nuclear submarine vanishes in American waters; at the same time, Henry, coincidentally, is in Russia giving a lecture on fundamentalism. On the home front, Stevie breaks up with her older boyfriend.”
This is definitely one series that you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget to stay tuned to Celeb Dirty Laundry where we will be live blogging every episode of Madam Secretary’s first season.
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MadamSecretary starts in the Sea of Okhotsk in a Russian submarine. They get an order from senior leadership in Moscow that sets them on a course for a run-in with the US. Henry is packing for a trip to give a lecture in Russia. She hands him a secure cell phone to take instead of his other phone. She says it’s a big deal and helps keep the peace between their countries.
Arthur walks with Stevie and they laugh and joke after a date. His phone dings and he shows her a photo of herself. He says he has a Google alert set on everyone in the office. She sees that Allison posted a photo of her and Harrison. She goes home and chews out her sister and says Harrison needs privacy and knows he can trust her. She tells her to delete it right now.
Henry says he’s leaving and tells them to come say goodbye. Next morning, Bess is greeted by her state. Nadine says Russian war games are starting off the coast of Alaska in international waters but uncomfortably close to their border. Jay says it’s revenge for Moldova. Matt tells her Ezra Helsinger is retiring from state after 60 years. Blake tells her to get to the situation room. Russell meets her.
He says the Russian war games is heated – he says a sub broke from the others and is in their waters then vanished off of radar. She asks about cloaking technology. He says they tried to call President Ostrov but can’t reach him. She’s worried about Henry being in Russia. At the Russian Oblast, Henry arrives and is greeted by Anton Gorev who thanks him for the incomplete grade he gave his daughter.
Gorev says he overreached in asking for an A and Henry is relieved. He says it’s good to keep the air clear in times of such misunderstandings. Henry greets the group and says he will be speaking on the roots of the notions of righteous religious warfare. The session is interrupted by President Ostrov. He shakes Henry’s hand. He’s got a press crew with him. Ostrov invites him to go hunting.
He stands by Henry as photos are snapped as Ostrov mentions how beautiful and powerful his wife is. Admiral Hill tells President Dalton the Russians deny the sub is in their waters. They tell him they think it’s the Yalta, a new sub, with experimental cloaking tech. Bess is there and so is Russell. They tell Dalton that it’s disturbing that they have evaded all forms of sensor tech.
Bess says Ostrov has been working on new tech. Dalton asks what Ostrov wants. Bess says she may know someone who can talk to them about it. She asks Nadine to clear her schedule quietly and tells them to get Gorev. The staff is panicking that they may need to get into the doomsday bunker. Nadine tells them to stay on point.
Bess video chats with Gorev and he says if one of their subs got lost and is too close to Alaska, that’s an issue. He reminds her the US is planning on putting troops close to the Russian border. He says to call that plan back and maybe the sub will find the map and move out of the waters. She says to tell Ostrov to answer his message. Gorev says the President is out hunting with Henry.
Bess says they better be having a good time and nothing else. He cuts off the call. Bess is worried. Out in the woods, Henry gets a call from Bess and Ostrov asks him to turn off the phone so he doesn’t interrupt the hunt. He does. Henry isn’t happy that the camera crew is with them. They talk Russian history and he talks about his grandfather protecting his family from German invaders back in the day.
Henry asks why he’s telling him this. Ostrov tells him to tell his wife and president that Russians don’t back down. Henry says he doesn’t know what he’s talking about but Ostrov says they will then takes a shot at some birds. Henry calls Bess later and says Ostrov is using him for propaganda. She says he must have coordinated the sub to move during Henry’s visit.
Henry says this is all about the troops moving into Latvia. Henry refuses to leave and says it will look like they’re backing down. He says he has a tour with Ostrov to a historical site and she tells him to be safe. Dalton asks Bess about Henry and she says so far, so good. Darren tells Dalton that Ostrov is grandstanding with the sub. He wants to get aggressive but Bess says they shouldn’t do the same.
Darren says it’s a sign of strength but Bess says it’s posturing. Dalton says all Ostrov respects is force and tells Darren to move the fleet into the Black Sea. Daisy says Bess shouldn’t miss Helsingers retirement ceremony and Nadine says they’ll try to work it in. Blake calls Daisy over and shows her a news item about Harrison and Stevie being in a romance. Daisy says it looks like rumor.
Daisy gets a call from Stevie. Hill says they found the sub, just 12 miles off the coast of Alaska. They are violating all accords. Hill says the sub is not responding to their communication efforts and Bess says she’s not sure what Ostrov is up to. Russell says they may be on a spying mission but Darren says they may be planning on using nukes – he’s talking crazy.
Dalton asks how long for them to be able to destroy it. Hill says they can have a Navy minesweeper in 90 minutes. He tells them to tell the Russians to get that sub out of there in two hours or they take it out. Bess says this looks like an act of war but Dalton says they’ll have fair warning. Matt hands Bess some remarks to read at the retirement ceremony. She talks Ezra’s career up and thanks him.
She then goes to sit by Ezra and he says he knows about the threat of Russian war. He says he’s seen this move before. He says he saw a DOD item about the naval flagship moving. He says Ostrov is posturing with her husband on TV and she cleared her calendar so he knows something is up. She says he knows how to read signs and he says the DOD doesn’t think so.
Bess asks if he still works for her and Ezra says until 5 pm anyway. She fills him in on the situation. She says she wonders why they would turn off the stealth tech and let them see the sub sitting there. Ezra says Ostrov not talking tells them something and says the guy is a bully but wonders why he’s not bragging and throwing it in their face. Bess agrees it’s strange.
She says he should be bragging that they snuck the sub in under their radar literally. Bess says something must have gone wrong. She says the sub isn’t doing what it’s supposed to but Ostrov wouldn’t admit that. Back in Moscow, Henry takes a tour of a large church with Ostrov who kneels to pray at the altar as Henry looks around at the religious art.
Ostrov looks deeply distressed as he crosses himself. He stands and walks back to Henry who says he has great respect for St Nicholas. Gorev asks why Henry is still there since the tour is over. Henry says he’s the saint you turn to when times get tough and asks if he wants to light a candle together but Ostrov says he’s in no need of miracles. He rebuffs Henry and he walks out with his entourage.
Daisy comes to the house to lecture Allison on not posting photos. She scares her straight and Daisy asks if Harrison is her honey but she says she’s dating her boss. Daisy is shocked that she’s dating Arthur Gilroy. Daisy says this is bad from a press perspective. She says boss, intern and sex are bad words. She says the microloan program is already at risk and this can ruin the program.
She says it will also tank Arthur and her mom. She tells her to break it off. Henry calls Bess to tell her that Ostrov seemed really upset. He says he was all swagger when they were hunting but says now he seems very different. Henry is approached by a guard and they end the call. Bess tries to talk Dalton and Darren down from striking the sub. Russell says the sub hasn’t budged. He says the standard etiquette is if the sub doesn’t surface to surrender, they attack.
The Naval ship drops depth charges all around the submarine. The sub lets loose a torpedo and the ship releases counter measures then they lose communication with the ship. They get a report that there are injuries but no fatalities. Some MIGs do a fly over and saw the ship take the hit. Darren asks for permission to engage. Hill says they got a message from the sub saying they were defending themselves and if there’s another attack, they will aggressively respond.
Bess tries to talk Dalton down and says maybe the sub is stuck there and says something is off. She says the captain and crew could be off orders or the sub is not working properly. Bess begs them not to go to war over a mistake. Bess, Darren, Dalton and Russell step out. Russell tells Darren that Henry is an effective operative and his advice should not be discounted. Darren says they can’t afford to wait. Bess says they risk sending radioactive material all down the channel.
Dalton asks what she proposes. Bess says they need to talk to the sub directly without Moscow knowing and says there must be a way. They send out an unmanned submersible to approach the sub and tap on the hull in Morse code. Hill fills them in on the progress. They ask for the mission and to let them on board. Hill says the Russians are answering and a torpedo tube opens then floods. Darren says they’re going to fire but Hill says it’s their distress buoy and they’re asking for help.
Stevie is chased down by a paparazzi who asks her about Harrison when she’s on the way to meet Harrison. She’s upset and he shows her the internet pings on her. She says the press is stalking her and he says it will blow over. He says what matters is their work at the microloan program. Stevie gives him a look and then tells him she’s quitting the program and him. She says it could wreck his career since she’s an intern. He says it’s his concern but she gets cold and says he’s too old for her.
Stevie asks if that’s what he needs to hear. She says it’s been nice working for him. He asks if she wants to lose what’s important to her and asks her to at least think twice before leaving her job. She says she has to go and he says – see you around, kid. She calls him old man and goes. The Yalta’s XO transmits a message from the distress buoy. They had a malfunction and a fire in the control room. He says they lost oxygen and 42 crew are already dead. He says Moscow told them not to signal for help.
They were ordered to destroy the sub rather than letting the Americans on board to see the tech. He says the captain panicked when he thought they were being attacked and released the torpedo but is no longer in charge. The XO says they only have two hours of oxygen left and begs them to help. Becker says a Russian battle cruiser is close. They worry that the Russian ship will fire on the sub first. Bess says there may be a way to resolve this and proposes a back channel deal.
Henry talks to Ostrov and makes an offer from Dalton. Henry says it’s this or a return to the Cold War. Henry reminds him that their grandfathers fought side by side in World War II as allies. He says his grandfather knew how they could work together for the common good. Ostrov shows Henry his St Nicholas medal and says his grandfather wore this. He agrees to call Dalton to talk about the solution. The news shows the sub and says it was found with no survivors.
Daisy brings Ezra in and he says he came to pick up his gift. Nadine says Bess wants to give it to him personally and he says he’ll wait and takes a seat. He watches the news with them and says it’s interesting how it turned out. He says it makes you wonder what really happened. The rest of the staff is flummoxed. Dalton, Russell and Bess watch the Americans rescue the survivors and Russell says the Russians are pushing a story that their remains were buried at sea.
The Russian sailors will all get new lives in the US rather than being shot for mutiny if they go back in Russia. Dalton says all of this so Ostrov could save face. Russell says we won this round as far as he’s convinced. Dalton agrees and says the world is safe for another day or two. Ezra gets a framed photo from Bess of his first day on the job with John Foster Dulles. Ezra reminisces with them and talks about Eisenhower and Dulles.
Bess asks them to give her a moment with Ezra. They all leave. Bess asks where he’s going in his retirement. He says Prague, Budapest and Berlin. She asks if he ever envisioned the wall coming down and free movement. He says they always hoped if they kept talking, neither side would push the button to burn them all down. Bess says mutually destroyed destruction. Ezra says the enemies of today want to push the button. Bess says she’s hopeful and that may make her naïve.
Ezra says he thinks she’s the one for the job. She thanks him and says they should keep talking. Bess tells Stevie that Allison feels bad about posting the pic and causing problems and says she did an adult thing breaking up with Arthur. She holds her and tells Stevie they’re celebrating with a family dinner. Jason runs down and says dad is home. Bess tells her it’s not the end of the world even if it feels like it. Henry comes in with a big fuzzy Russian hat on and Bess says it’s awful. They leave for dinner.