Madam Secretary Wiki

Michael Barnow is one of Elizabeth McCord's closest advisors during her time as both Secretary of State and, later, as President.

Brought in by Secretary McCord as a consultant after she takes over the State Department, Barnow becomes one of her closest political allies, developing a reputation in D.C. as the Secretary's 'hatchet man'. When she announces her intention to run for the presidency at the end of Conrad Dalton's term, he becomes her campaign manager.

After Elizabeth is elected as President in the 2020 presidential election, Barnow serves her as White House Chief of Staff for her first 100 days in office. After the successful passage of her signature ESI bill and the end of the 100th day, Barnow resigns as Chief of Staff and is replaced by Russell Jackson. Nevertheless, he remains as a Counselor to the President and one of the most senior members of the McCord administration.


He is a Rhodes Scholar with a "brilliant legal career" and a "promising political career" which was "derailed by a scandalous divorce 6 years [earlier]" according to Daisy Grant. He is currently working as "couch sitter" or someone who "moves through a cabinet member's office and dispenses cool, calculated advice" (a.k.a. firing people).

He is really attached to his Dog, Gordon. According to Mike B, Gordon was the only thing in his life which was completely truthful to him, like without any filter, and when Gordon died, Mike was deeply devastated.

He is also known as "The Hatchet Man". Elizabeth decided to bring him in as a consultant to reorganize the US State Department after her "entire staff let [her] hang [herself] in front of a nationally-televised congressional hearing". Elizabeth and Barnow both taught at the University of Virginia.

Personal life[]

He has a son named Zach who he described as a "fat loser." This description eventually became totally inaccurate. Mike didn't understand how the change happened, saying simply, "he got tall." Zach turned out to be a good student, who got into Yale, mostly because of lacrosse. He is a fluent Spanish speaker. In the Series finale Mike attempted to set Zach up with Allison McCord, Mike believed that the McCord's were an excellent family to be a part of. This idea was supported by Elizibeth McCord being the President of the United States at the time.


  • He has a dog named Gordon who he is extremely attached to.
  • He dated Nadine Tolliver for a time in season 3.
  • He has four sisters.