PHL Embassy protests episode of CBS’s political drama series
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[box type=”default” size=”large”] Due to highly negative depiction of “Duterte” character [/box]

CHICAGO – The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. has protested the next episode of a weekly political drama series “Madam Secretary” set to shown on Sunday, March 12, on CBS (9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central).

“Madame Secretary,” the lead character, is portrayed by Tea Leoni as Dr. Elizabeth McCord as U.S. secretary of state.

The Embassy deplored the episode’s “highly negative depiction of a character purported” to be that of Philippine President Rody Duterte.

The trailer of Season 3, Episode 15 “Break in Diplomacy” shows the character described in the episode’s synopsis as the “Philippines’ unconventional new president” exhibiting inappropriate behavior towards the female lead character, US Secretary Elizabeth McCord.

The Embassy said that “while Madame Secretary is a work of fiction, it tracks and mirrors current events. It is, therefore, inevitable that its depiction of world leaders will have an impact on how its audience views the real personages and the countries they represent.

“This highly negative portrayal of our Head of State not only casts doubt on the respectability of the Office of the Philippine President but also denigrates the way our nation navigates foreign affairs. It also tarnishes the Philippines’ longstanding advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality.

“In view of the injurious effects that this program will have on the interests of the Philippines and the Filipino people, the Philippine Embassy urgently calls on CBS to take the necessary corrective actions.”

The series primarily describes main character Dr. Elizabeth McCord’s fight to balance her family and her work as US secretary of state.

The series premiered on September 21, 2014. On October 27, 2014, CBS placed a full season order consisting of 22 episodes.

On March 25, 2016, Madame Secretary was renewed for a third season, which premiered on October 2, 2016.

According to its promotional information, Madame Secretary explores Secretary Elizabeth McCord’s life as the shrewd, calculating, and determined newly appointed United States secretary of state. McCord drives international diplomacy, battles office politics, circumvents and ignores protocol as she negotiates on worldwide issues.

The show also focuses on the personal lives of the characters. McCord is also a college professor and a former CIA analyst who left the agency for ethical and personal reasons. The President values her apolitical leanings, deep knowledge of the Middle East, flair for languages and ability to not just think outside the box, but to not even know there is a box.

Téa Leoni as Dr. Elizabeth “Bess” Adams McCord spent 20 years in the CIA before becoming a professor of political science at the University of Virginia. She was selected by her old boss, Conrad Dalton, who is now the President of the United States, to replace Secretary of State Vincent Marsh, who died in a plane crash.

The publicity director of “Madame Secretary” has yet to respond to a request for comment by this reporter.

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Joseph is a former reporter of the Manila Bulletin, former president of the Rizal-Metro Manila Reporters Association and former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Press Club of the Philippines. A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he and his family now live in Chicago. A prolific reporter, Lariosa writes a column and news stories for the Filipino Star News and other Filipino community newspapers in the US as well as for GMA News and the Manila Bulletin.

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