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5 Fictional Women In Politics: From ‘Madam Secretary’ to ‘Parks and Recreation’

leslie knope mellie grant madam secretary good wife

Tonight is the series premiere of Madam Secretary on CBS so we thought we’d take a look at some of the other fictional women in politics we’ve had over the years.

If you didn’t already know, Madam Secretary stars Tea Leoni as Elizabeth Faulkner McCord, a former CIA analyst turned college professor turned U.S. Secretary of State who must balance her family life along with managing international diplomacy.

One of the executive producers of the series is Morgan Freeman. Supporting cast members include Tim Daly (formerly of Private Practice fame), Bebe Neuwirth (Frasier, Cheers), Željko Ivanek (this guy is everywhere), Geoffrey Arend (otherwise known as Christina Hendricks’ husband), and Tony Award winner Patina Miller.

Leslie Knope, Parks & Recreation
The lovable and inspiring Leslie Knope is played by the equally lovable Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation on NBC. She’s hard-working, determined, thoughtful, idealistic, ambitious, and extremely devoted to the citizens of Pawnee, Indiana (although she didn’t start out as such a positive influence if you go back and watch the first season). A former city councilwoman (after losing the recall election in Season 5), in Season 6, we get a flash-forward to 3 years in the future and find out Leslie runs the Midwest Parks Service in Pawnee.

Selina Meyer, Veep
The very funny and Emmy winning Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the Vice President of the United States, Selina Meyer, on HBO’s Veep. Unlike Leslie Knope, however, Selina is incredibly self-involved and far from being a likable TV character. Truth be told, she’s probably a more realistic portrayal of in-real-life politicians than Leslie Knope. Season 1 really showcases Selina’s ineptitude when it comes to her job, before she transforms into more of a key player within the Administration in Seasons 2 and 3.

Mellie Grant, Scandal
The First Lady of the United States is just as much a political figure as her husband, and there’s no one more authoritative, scheming, and power hungry than Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young). One thing is for sure: you don’t want to mess with her. She’s lied on national television about having a miscarriage, induced labor early so she could use her newborn as political leverage, ruined the reputation of an innocent young staff woman, and blackmailed and made countless threats. Yet, despite her plotting and nefariousness, we can’t help but root for the underdog – and that’s Mellie. After all, she rarely gets what she wants (including her own husband).

Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife
The Good Wife begins with Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) as a politician’s wife, one who must deal with the fallout of her husband’s cheating and prostitution scandal, before transforming into a smart and savvy litigator with – eventually – her own law firm. Deep down inside, we all want to be like Alicia Florrick, with her killer sense of style, ability to keep calm and collected, and overall fierceness. Season 6 premieres tonight after Madam Secretary and we can’t wait!

Elaine Barrish, Political Animals
The short-lived, USA Network series Political Animals featured Sigourney Weaver in the role of Elaine Barrish, a Hillary Clinton-esque figure who started her political career off as the First Lady of the United States before getting elected Governor of Illinois and then being appointed Secretary of State. Barrish, just like Selina Meyer in Veep, is divorced from her husband. Unfortunately, Political Animals wasn’t good enough to get another season or make a lasting impression.

Did I leave anyone out? Let me know in the comments!

  • hullaballumallu

    How have you left CJ Cregg from the West Wing off this list? For that matter, Abby Bartlett?

  • You forgot Pres. Mackenzie Allen from “Commander-in-Chief”