For NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, American diplomacy is better on TV.
Mitchell interviewed actor Erich Bergen about the show "Madam Secretary" in which he co-stars beside Tea Leoni, who plays the eponymous Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord. The MSNBC host said watching CBS’s political drama comforted her by showing diplomacy that’s more effective than that of the Trump administration.
"As we've had a downturn at the State Department, at least it’s one place we can watch diplomacy in action, at least once a week on Sunday night," Mitchell said.
"The only time you get it," Bergen replied.
The show depicts a State Department led by McCord, who averted a nuclear showdown with Russia in the most recent season finale Sunday night. McCord also revealed her desire to run for president in that episode.
This plot line is reminiscent of the career of Hillary Clinton, the real-world secretary of state who ran for president in 2016 and earned the Democratic Party’s nomination before losing to Donald Trump.
Mitchell has been critical of the Trump administration’s foreign policy during the tenures of Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo at the State Department. Last week, she decried the administration’s closeness with Israel, calling the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem "appalling," and in March, she argued Pompeo’s success depends on his "backbone" in standing up to Trump.
Mitchell told Bergen the show has sparked conversation in Washington, and the actor said he enjoyed how the writers present "a serious view" of what the audience can learn from the show.
"I just love working on the show. I love what the writers do," Bergen said. "We take topics that could easily be sensationalized."
"I get stopped on the street all the time by people from all political parties who just love the show and want to talk about it," he added.