By Dave Andrusko
My wife and I caught up on “Madam Secretary” Tuesday night and it brought to mind a story I wrote in 2017 about an absolutely amazing episode of this CBS drama. With the March for Life less than 24 hours away, with hundreds of thousands of mostly young people assembling in Washington, DC, it made me think this might be a good time to repost what I wrote.
The episode ran May 7 and was titled, “The Seventh Floor.” I would like to revisit the one remarkable scene near the end discuss briefly why it is very, very powerful and what it tells us about helping women find a life-affirming response to a crisis pregnancy.
They are called actors and actresses for a reason. You have to watch and listen to Secretary Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) reassure a panicky and newly pregnant Daisy Grant (Patina Miller) to appreciate how it’s not just the words but the sincere feelings behind them that are so helpful to Daisy.
Just a quick reminder of the plot. Daisy had a brief affair with Joe Garcia, a CIA operator who was killed and she now discovers that she is pregnant. Daisy’s folks, she tells Elizabeth, are “church people. This isn’t exactly what they had envisioned for me” and the baby’s father’s parents know nothing about Daisy or the baby.
First and foremost, Elizabeth McCord’s voice is bathed in understanding and affirmation. Where Daisy might have expected, at a minimum, a lecture from her boss, when she asks if she “can tell you something?,” she is told quietly, “You can tell me anything.”
The importance of her willingness to listen, be non-judgmental, and shore up Daisy cannot be overstated.
When Daisy wonders (understandably) “what if I’m not up to the job?,” Elizabeth reassures her in a sincere voice that Daisy is strong–“You are one of the strongest women I have ever met. Even if you don’t feel like it right now ’cause you’re drowning in a sea of hormones.”
Later Daisy says, “Guess I always thought that I may have to do it alone, but not like alone-alone.” What is she really saying? Do I have to do this alone?
To which Elizabeth (a mother of three herself) responds, “Yeah. [Then a pause.] You know, maybe every mother feels that way, no matter who’s in their life. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just you and the baby and… It’s my job to protect him. Or her.”
But Elizabeth reminds Daisy she is not alone.
Your parents might be shocked, but you are literally the light of their lives and they’ll get over it. And Joe’s parents raised a hero, so, really, how bad can they be? Then you got all of us here. God help you [a joke].
The entire exchange is only a few minutes long and ends with this:
Elizabeth: It’s a beautiful world, Daisy. And the best ride is just about to start.
What has Daisy learned–or been reminded of? At this time when she is “all emotional,” and “having a breakdown in front of my boss,” she has emotional resources she may have forgotten; that any parent’s first responsibility is to protect the child who did not will him or herself into existence; that she is not in this alone–in addition to her family and the family of the baby’s father, Daisy has her family at her job at the State Department; and that for all the challenges that will undoubtedly arise, “the best ride is just about to start.”
Rarely do you see (as Newsbuster’s Dawn Slusher put it) “an encouraging pro-life, pro-motherhood speech” in any of pro-abortion tripe that comes out of Hollywood. But this is episode is that rarity.
Watch it at www.newsbusters.org.