Elizabeth McCord
Elizabeth McCord 2
Name: Elizabeth Adams McCord
Status: Alive
Age: 50
Date of birth: 1968
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Residence(s): Washington, D.C.
Education: B.S in Applied Mathematics
Ph.D. in Political Science
Nickname(es): Bess, Lizzie, Liz
Affiliation: US State Department
Profession: Diplomat (Former)
College professor (former)
CIA Analyst (former)
Rank: United States Secretary of State (Former)
Father: Mr. Adams (deceased)
Mother: Mrs. Adams (deceased)
Sibling(s): Dr. Will Adams (brother)
Marital status: Married
Spouse(s): Henry McCord (m. 1990)
Children: Stephanie McCord (daughter, b. 1994)
Alison McCord (daughter, b. 1999)
Jason McCord (son, b. 2001)
Other family: Sophie Adams (sister-in-law)
Annie Adams (niece)
Patrick McCord (father-in-law) (deceased)
Mrs. McCord (mother-in-law) (deceased)
Shane McCord (brother-in-law)
Sarah McCord (niece by marriage)
Erin McCord (sister-in-law)
Maureen McCord-Ryan (sister-in-law)
Tom Ryan (brother-in-law)
John Ryan (nephew by marriage)
Kenzie Ryan (niece by marriage)
Kelly Ryan (niece by marriage)
Played by: Téa Leoni
First appeared: Pilot

Elizabeth "Bess" Adams McCord, Ph.D. is the United States Secretary of State. She was appointed to the position by President Conrad Dalton after the death of her predecessor, Vincent Marsh. She was previously a CIA analyst and Political Science Professor at the University of Virginia. She left the CIA due to her involvement in the torture of an Iraqi activist.


Early lifeEdit

A fatal car crash killed Elizabeth's parents. She was not present in the car, only her brother, Will, was because she was studying while they went out. She attended Houghton Hall Boarding School. She was co-captain of the debate team. She then attended the University of Virginia.

She married Henry McCord in 1990. They have two daughters, Stephanie McCord and Alison McCord and a son, Jason. She also has a brother, Dr. Will Adams, who is married to Sophie Adams, and with whom he has a 5-year-old daughter, Annie; both of her parents are deceased. She speaks fluent French, German, Arabic, Farsi and "a year of high school Spanish".

Career Edit

She worked for the CIA as an analyst for 20 years until she resigned from her position due to her ethical opposition to the CIA's use of torture. She then taught at the University of Virginia as a Political Science Professor. After the death of Vincent Marsh, President Dalton asked her to be the US Secretary of State.

As the Secretary of State, her first year in office was spent investigating her predecessor's death.

In "Tamerlane", Elizabeth is a guest at the home of Iranian Foreign Minister Zahed Javani when a coup d'état orchestrated by Secretary Marsh, CIA Director Andrew Munsey, and CIA analyst Juliet Humphrey, is attempted; during the attack, both Minister Javani and her personal bodyguard, DS Agent Fred Cole, were killed. In the aftermath, Elizabeth was left with some post-traumatic stress and has been seeing Russell Jackson's personal therapist, Dr. Sherman.

In "The Show Must Go On", during a communications blackout on Air Force One with both the President and the Speaker of the House on board, and with the Vice President of the United States in surgery and President pro tempore of the Senate found to be incompetent after a series of mini-strokes earlier in the year, Elizabeth is sworn in as Acting President for a number of hours.

Trivia Edit

  • Her office is located on the 7th Floor of the State Department Building.
  • Bahraini Crown Prince Yousif Obaid was her classmate at Houghton Hall Boarding School and co-captain of the debate team. ("Chains of Command")
  • According to her husband Henry, her epitaph would most likely be "she liked eating popcorn at really weird times." ("Unity Node")
  • Her Diplomatic Service code name is "Bluebird"
  • She stated that she will run for President of the United States, bidding to succeed President Dalton
  • At the end of "Ready" she submitted her resignation to President Dalton so that she could begin her campaign.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Elizabeth McCord was portrayed by Téa Leoni in all episodes of Madam Secretary.


Political offices
Preceded by
Vincent Marsh
United States Secretary of State
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ambassadors from the United States
(while at their posts)
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Ambassadors to the United States
(in order of tenure)
Preceded by
as Former President
Succeeded by

as Secretary-General of the United Nations
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Theodore Gates
as President pro tempore of the Senate
4th in line
as Secretary of State
Succeeded by

as Secretary of the Treasury