“All the president’s men are nothing compared to her.” This November, former Grey’s Anatomy actress Katherine Heigl, takes on the leading lady role in NBC’s political drama State of Affairs.
Heigl portrays top CIA analyst Charleston or “Charlie” Tucker, a woman who doesn’t follow the book. Each day, Tucker compiles a list of the top international crises affecting the country for the President’s Daily Briefing.
Starting every morning at 2 am, all personal issues are set aside, and Tucker’s priority becomes her job and her service to President Constance Payton, played by Desperate Housewives actress Alfre Woodard.
Tucker’s relationship to President Payton is both professional and personal. Alongside Tucker’s main job, she is also involved in the investigation of what really happened three years ago to her fiance, President Payton’s son.
This fall, State of Affairs will join the ranks among several other TV shows, such as Scandal and Madam Secretary, that focus on strong female heroines in the brutal game of politics in Washington.
As The New York Times puts it, “[…] what is especially striking is that in an age of deep cynicism about Washington, the new portraits of women in high office are painted in rosy shades of respect and admiration. While many of their more self-serving colleagues pursue ignoble agendas, network heroines in top positions are multitasking do-gooders trying to keep the nation safe.”
Political drama fanatics are keeping keen eyes on the upcoming show. Many have drawn comparisons with Heigl’s character to Homeland’s Carrie Mathison.
Hank Steuver from the Washington Post said, “The Claire Danes/Carrie Mathison comparisons are inevitable (especially when Heigl’s character numbs her grief with casual sex with strangers, but ‘State of Affairs’ feels like an honest NBC upgrade. After all, it was only six months ago that the network was airing that dumb drama [Crisis] about the bus full of kidnapped VIP Washington teenagers. Viewers asked for something better, here it is.”
Especially since the flop of NBC’s last poly-drama show, Crisis, State of Affairs premieres on Monday, Nov. 17 with high expectations. However, Scandal still reigns over this genre in network television. Will Heigl succeed Washington? It remains to be seen.