Wow! This was an excellent hour of television.
On Madam Secretary Season 1 Episode 9 Elizabeth took the gloves off and dived into a secret investigation into her predecessor's plane crash with the help of Isabelle and Henry. They have been teasing us with this mystery since the pilot episode, so it was great to get some forward movement.
The hour flew by as we got a better glimpse of who Vincent Marsh was, and suspects began to emerge, whether they are truly the guilty party, remains to be seen.
I can't help but notice that we dealt very little with anything else but the mystery surrounding Marsh's death. There was no major conflict elsewhere that demanded her attention and the show was better for it tonight.
It began with a flashback of Marsh explaining he wanted to make a bold statement when Matt questioned if he should soften his speeches as they conflicted with Dalton's policies. Marsh canceled a getaway with Nadine and hoppen on a plane to deal with a personal matter.
Mid-flight, his plane began violently shaking. Marsh managed to make it to cockpit and pilot told him that he couldn't keep the plane in the air.
So it goes.Vincent Marsh
His simple and somewhat strange response resonated with Elizabeth, Isabelle and Henry who were listening to the exchange via the black box recorder. The NTSB report determined the crash was an accident, so it's up to our trio to find evidence proving otherwise.
There was a similar plane crash years ago involving an Iranian physicist. There was chatter of Mossad involvement, but it too was ruled an accident. Isabelle identified five possible suspects and agreed to investigate them.
Elizabeth: If Marsh was murdered, whoever was behind it had no problem killing the Secretary of State. We have to consider the kids. Maybe it's too dangerous for us to go poking around.
Henry: You know what would be dangerous? Not knowing.
The scary guy, aka Chief of Staff Russell Jackson, told Elizabeth not to poke her nose where it didn't belong. Apparently, word got back to him that she had spoken to NTSB chairman about Marsh's plane crash.
Now suspicious of Elizabeth (or more so than usual), Jackson arranged a secret meeting with his spy, who is none other than Matt.
Matt: I never agreed to spy on Secretary McCord. I won't do it.
Russell: Then think of it as keeping tabs. Come on, Matt. This is how it works. You give me something. I give you something. Don't you want an office in the West Wing?
This is a great development and a juicer storyline for Matt. Much, much better than a doomed office romance, which wasn't referenced in any way; may it never be again. Sorry to those of you who shipped Daisy and Matt.
I honestly wouldn't have pegged Matt to be a spy. As Daisy accurately noted, he's not a great liar. But I also understood why he initially agreed to spy on Marsh because they do work at the pleasure of the President.
The five suspects were clean. Henry had another theory that their killer could have exploited the known weakness of the R-47 jackscrew by sabotaging another part of the plane, knowing the jackscrew would fail and likely be blamed for the crash.
Elizabeth managed to get confirmation that the Dubai crash wasn't accidental after having a hypothetical conversation with the Israeli Ambassador. He didn't confirm or deny CIA involvement or knowledge of the plan. Remember, President Dalton was Elizabeth's boss at the CIA.
The fueling technician, John, has a hidden Cayman bank account with half a million dollars in it and now is their chief suspect. Elizabeth manages to sneak away from Allison's soccer game to interrogate John covertly because she doesn't dare bring him into the White House.
I love how she managed to exploit her daughter's game and switch clothes with one of the agents guarding her. I have to say, if the President is behind it, I'm not sure Elizabeth was the right person to replace Marsh. She may be loyal, but truth trumps loyalty for her. Plus, she may not have known Marsh, but George was her friend. She's not going to let his death go unanswered, either.
When she met the suspect, she didn't mince words.
Did you kill Secretary of State, Vincent Marsh?Elizabeth
After learning how he was manipulated into sabotaging the plane, she agreed to protect him and his family if he kept quiet about their meeting.
Now we know, without a doubt, that Marsh's plane crash was not an accident, but a carefully constructed murder. The question is who is behind it?
The key suspects are, of course, President Dalton and Chief of Staff Jackson. Matt added fuel to the fire when he confessed to Elizabeth that he spied on Marsh for Jackson and overheard a threatening conversation between the two.
Jackson: You don't backstab the President of your own party without consequences.
Marsh: Is that a threat, Russell?
Jackson: It's a guarantee. I speak for the President on this. As you might imagine, he's very upset.
Marsh: And he'll have no compunction whatsoever slitting the throat of someone who has been a staunch ally and helped get him elected.
Jackson: So it goes.
The echo of "so it goes" certainly caught Elizabeth's attention. It appears by his final words that Marsh also thought Jackson/Dalton were behind his plane crash too.
Now I am still a bit mystified as to why Marsh running against Dalton in the next cycle is such a huge threat. The likelihood of Dalton not receiving his party's nomination would be incredibly unlikely.
To me, Marsh running is something one does to see if he is a viable future candidate for President. Perhaps, proper protocol would be to inform the President upfront and not hide it, but it doesn't seem like a big enough grievance to murder him.
So are Dalton/Marsh just red herrings? Or is there something we don't know about them yet that Marsh's running would jeopardize Dalton's chances?
Elizabeth: So why tell me now?
Matt: Because now Jackson wants me to spy on you.
Matt: Yeah, in exchange for a job at The White House. I tried to tell him no, but he made me promise to think about it.
Elizabeth: Tell him you'll do it.
I love the direction this is going. Making Matt her spy and forcing him to share what information she tells him is fun. You can tell how the revelations from the past couple of days weigh on her. She obviously respected Dalton and to know that he might have signed off on her predecessor's death has to be unnerving.
I'm sure next week the show will return to its normal structure, split between home and some problem overseas. But I'm so glad they did a more stand-alone episode, and I look forward to what little information they continue to drip each week.
Share your thoughts in the comments. Do you think Dalton and Jackson are behind the plane crash? Or have we not yet meet the real killer? And don't forget, you can watch Madam Secretary online via TV Fanatic and get caught up on all the Washington intrigue at your convenience.