Ever wonder what it would be like to work for the CIA, solve national security issues and take orders from a TV star?
Well, you don’t have to join President Trump’s team to do all of this. Instead, get hired for a recurring role alongside Tea Leoni and Tim Daly on the CBS hit political drama, “MADAM SECRETARY.”
Actress CHRISTINE GARVER
has done exactly that. She first came into the storyline last year, but disappeared for a bit. Now, she’s back – and ready to help the team tackle the latest global issues plaguing the White House.
Some of you will recognize Christine from her role as the secretary Moira on the final seasons of AMC’s iconic series, “Mad Men.” She also portrayed Sally Field’s younger self on “Brothers & Sisters,” and appeared on “NCIS,” ”Criminal Minds” and “Stitchers.”
I recently had a chance to catch up with Christine Garver to find out more:
Give us a recap of your role on CBS’s “Madam Secretary.”
CHRISTINE: I play Molly Reid, a career CIA Analyst who got her start in Chechnya. Molly was introduced as a character in the last episode of Season 3, "Article 5," as a member of the Special Activities Division (SAD), Henry McCord's (Tim Daly's) elite team within the CIA. Henry relies on Molly's keen interpretation of incoming intelligence to help solve some of the nation's most challenging national security issues. When the series returned for season four we find that Molly is pregnant and that yes, even CIA agents have babies. After a maternity leave, I came back to the show in the winter finale. My character will continue to work closely with Henry in the CIA this season, notably in the upcoming episode "Mitya," in which I help coordinate a multi-agency sting operation against a Russian spy operating on US soil.
How is it working on a show that takes on such real-world political topics?
CHRISTINE: It's fantastic. Personally it is intellectually stimulating to me to consider how to tackle some of these complex international issues. Beyond that, it's gratifying to work on such an ambitious show that educates people about some of the challenges of government work, but always in an optimistic and hopeful way. This feels particularly important in today's fractured political climate.
Did they know you were pregnant so they worked it into the storyline?
CHRISTINE: Yes! I was grateful that when the writers found out I was pregnant that they chose to keep my character on the show rather than writing me off or replacing me. I think it's progressive that they wanted to show a pregnant woman in the workforce, even without it being a central component to the plot. I this this sets a great example for other shows.
Any interesting stories from the set that you can share with us?
CHRISTINE: One of the themes I enjoy most about the show is the effort to strike a healthy work/life balance, and this is something I think carries over to the culture of the set. Even though everyone was invested in great storytelling, this was not at the expense of family life. The days usually weren't too long. On Halloween we even wrapped a little early so people could make it home to trick or treat with their kids. Everyone was very understanding that I would need to take breaks to pump breast milk now and then. I also got lots of child-rearing advice and stories from members of the crew and especially from Tim Daly, my other co-star Sam Breslin Wright, and director Eric Stoltz over having children.
Were you a fan of the show yourself before landing the role?
CHRISTINE: I'd seen every episode. This is my favorite drama on network television. I'm particularly taken with the relationship between Tim Daly and Tea Leoni. As a happily married new mother, I love to watch the successful family and independent careers they balance.
And, now just for fun:
Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
CHRISTINE: I love Reese Witherspoon. She's played such a wide variety of roles and I think she's fearless. Especially in the last few years she's sought out complicated roles that aren't about maintaining a carefully crafted image, but about exploring the darker complexities of the human condition.
What role from the past do you wish you could have played?
CHRISTINE: Peggy from “Mad Men.” I feel funny giving that answer because I was actually on “Mad Men” in a different role, but even before I was on it I felt like that was a role I would have been great for and would have loved to play. It would have been a great opportunity to tackle a professional woman at a critical moment in history and to see how she evolved from an earnest and naive beginning into the ambitious and accomplished success she became.
Favorite movie or TV show from your childhood.
CHRISTINE: My all-time favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love thinking about what gives meaning to our lives and how success and happiness does not always come in the ways you thought it would. Plus I'm just a sucker for Jimmy Stewart and Christmas time.
Tell us one thing that would surprise our readers to learn about you.
CHRISTINE: I love spiders. I spot them all the time where other people might miss them. They're industrious and beautiful. If they ever make the movie "Arachnopilia," I want to star in it!
How can fans keep up with you?[b]
CHRISTINE: Follow me on Twitter: @christinegarver link and Instagram: @christinegarver link or "like" my fan page on Facebook link
[b]Thanks, Christine -- it's great to have you back on the show!
"Madam Secretary" - on set