Commander in Chief: Season 1 (2005 - 2006)


Season 1
Commander in Chief

Critics Consensus

Though Commander in Chief is not always committed to reality, its empowering female-centered narrative is opportune, and made even better by Geena Davis' excellent performance.

82%

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Critic Ratings: 11

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2

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Episodes

Air date: Sep 27, 2005

In the pilot, Vice President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) becomes the nation's first female president---and its first independent chief executive---when her predecessor dies in office. On his deathbed, incumbent Teddy Roosevelt Barnes says he wants House Speaker Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland) to succeed him, but Templeton's patronizing attitude so infuriates Allen that she won't resign. Jim Gardner: Harry J. Lennix. Rod Allen: Kyle Secor.

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Air date: Oct 4, 2005

Machiavellian House Speaker Templeton (Donald Sutherland) meddles in the new president's search for a vice president; Mac's press secretary, Kelly Ludlow (Ever Carradine), gets a rude introduction to her new job; and Mac's teen daughter, Rebecca (Caitlin Wachs), can't find her diary, which has some things in it that her mother wouldn't want to be public knowledge. Warren Keaton: Peter Coyote. Jayne Murray: Natasha Henstridge. Tucker Baynes: Bruce Boxleitner.

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Air date: Oct 11, 2005

As damaging information concerning her VP choice, Warren Keaton (Peter Coyote), is rumored to emerge, Mac faces her first foreign crisis: the execution-style slayings of nine DEA agents in Latin America. Meanwhile, her teen twins (Caitlin Wachs, Matt Lanter) go back to school---only this time with full Secret Service details. Horace (Andrew James Allen) laps up the attention, but Rebecca (Caitlin Wachs) is terrified of it. Jayne Murray: Natasha Henstridge.

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Air date: Oct 18, 2005

While Mac holds her very delicate first summit with a Russian leader (and First Gentleman Rod hosts his first state dinner), Templeton tries to engineer a mass resignation of Cabinet members and vows to run against Mac in the next election. Meanwhile, Rebecca wants to skip the dinner: She'd rather "study" with a boy she's interested in.

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Air date: Oct 25, 2005

Mac faces her first terrorism crisis when a Saudi is stopped at the Canadian border with explosives in his car and a map outlining a Halloween-parade route in Springfield, Mo. He stonewalls the FBI, prompting a dispute over interrogation tactics between Mac and the attorney general, a Templeton ally. Meanwhile, Rod gets an offer he doesn't want to refuse; a Jimmy Kimmel joke about Rod on TV leads to schoolyard brawling for Horace; and Mac walks in on Rebecca and her new boyfriend.

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Air date: Nov 1, 2005

When an oil spill threatens hurricane-ravaged Florida, Mac and Templeton (a Floridian, as it happens) differ on how to deal with it. Meanwhile, Rebecca's request for privacy with her boyfriend has some unintended consequences; and Rod is offered the commissionership of baseball without Mac's knowledge. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer has a cameo, as does fellow former Baltimore Oriole Rick Dempsey.

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Air date: Nov 8, 2005

As the confirmation hearings for Gen. Keaton begin, the White House is rocked by a slash-and-burn book about Mac that reveals Bridges' deathbed request for her resignation for the first time. The author cites "senior White House officials" as the source. This crisis means that Rod will skip his first day as baseball commissioner. Meanwhile, Rebecca goes to a party at her boyfriend's house and Horace gets a "D" on a school paper. Keaton: Peter Coyote

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Air date: Nov 15, 2005

While Rod persuades Mac to give him an official role, Jim hears---from Jayne (Natasha Henstridge)---that Templeton is aware of Vince's HIV status. Meanwhile, Kelly obtains a video of a racist speech Templeton delivered in 1965. On the home front: Horace is caught cheating in school, and Flemming (Matt Barr) lies about what he and Rebecca did at a party. Sarah Templeton: Samantha Eggar.

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Air date: Nov 29, 2005

Polly Bergen guest stars as Mac's mother, who arrives for Thanksgiving. But first, Mac must deal with a commission's decision to close a Navy base in her hometown, and a friend from law school who wants her to commute his mentally challenged client's death sentence. Meanwhile, Rod hires a slick political operative (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), who urges Mac to run for reelection. "If you don't start running now," he warns, "you'll be a lame duck for the next two years."

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Air date: Jan 10, 2006

Part 1 of two: A U.S. sub runs into trouble in the eastern Pacific and drifts into North Korean waters, and the only way to save it will be with Chinese help. And while it doesn't hurt that the Chinese ambassador is a golfing buddy of Templeton's, his government will exact a stiff price for its assistance. Meanwhile, Mac considers running for election, but her daughter Rebecca is opposed; and Templeton wants to rehire Jayne (Natasha Henstridge).

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Commander in Chief: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Commander in Chief Season 1

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (8)

It's less a vision of what a real female presidency might be like than an extended allegory about gender politics in the workplace. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…

''Commander in Chief" loses much of the credibility it needs to be truly culturally provocative. It almost crosses the line into fantasy.

Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Commander in Chief's principal achievement tonight is that it bleeds all the first-blush absurdity out of that introduction.

Sep 11, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"Commander in Chief" offers a lofty vision of public service, but luckily, it is also veined with a more devilish look at the vanity of public servants.

Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…

This pilot proceeds like a front-runner that doesn't want to risk tripping up by taking any dramatic chances.

Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Look, even though Commander in Chief really belongs on the Sci-Fi channel, I have to admit that I love it.

Jul 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Davis fills the "leader of the free world" shoes admirably, quickly demonstrating herself to be a formidable presence when she tangles with [Donald] Sutherland.

Mar 1, 2019 | Full Review…

Commander In Chief may be this season's best dark-horse drama.

Nov 13, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Although "Commander in Chief" deals with serious matters, Lurie's writing allows for lighter moments.

Sep 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Rarely does a program feature a woman in power, let alone president of the United States, and the writers deserve much credit for the show's appropriate balance of drama and humor.

Sep 11, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's credible, thanks to Geena Davis's artful performance.

May 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Commander in Chief: Season 1

  • Jul 25, 2020
    The cast made this series really interesting. To think that this got one year and Madam Secretary got a million disappoints me.

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