Madam Secretary, the popular CBS drama, had irked some of its Indian fans with an episode of its fifth season. If you have not heard of the show, it is about Tea Leoni's character, Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who finds herself with a new job title - being the United States of America's Secretary of State. The show also stars Tim Daly and Željko Ivanek. If you are in India, you can watch the entire series on Amazon's Prime Video. Madam Secretary Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Indo-Pak Geopolitics takes centre-stage in Tea Leoni's Political drama.
Which brings us back to the fifth season. To be more precise, the first episode of the fifth season, titled "E Pluribus Unum". To the outrage of some of the Indian fans of the show, the episode delves into the violence of the minorities in India by Hindu extremists and refers to mob lynchings and the government's inaction towards curbing the events. These issues are discussed when India and Pakistan are about to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty at the White House, which is engineered by McCord. A terrorist attack also happens during the episode which, much to the relief of viewers of India and Pakistan, is triggered by a white radical group.
Here's a Scene in the Episode Where McCord Talks About Why Nationalism is Dangerous, While Patriotism Isn't:
Naturally, the sequence of events shown in the episode didn't fare well with certain groups in the country. They reflected one of the major criticisms that the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government has been facing since 2014, when they came to power - of not controlling the mob hate. The episode came out on October 7, 2018, and after the initial minor furore, the discussions went silent. So the recent development came as a surprise to us.
It was Firstpost that pointed out the missing episode, so we went back to see if it's true. And here's what we found out.
As you can see above, the first episode is seen as unavailable on the streaming app. Firstpost in its article mentions that they try to get in touch with Amazon India, who hasn't responded to why they have taken down the episode.
Interestingly, Madam Secretary is hardly the first show that talks about Hindu extremism. It was also one of the relevant themes in Prime Video's Indian web-series, The Family Man, starring Manoj Bajpayee in the lead. RSS Magazine Panchajanya Calls The Family Man Anti-National; Wants Security Agencies To Look Into This 'New Type Of Threat'.
It was also the main plotline in Netflix's dystopian drama-thriller, Leila, that starred Huma Qureshi. With Amazon India opting for self-censorship with Madam Secretary, is The Family Man next in line? And will Netflix also follow suit, considering it has recently taken down an episode of Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj for criticising the royal Saudi family? Let's wait and watch this incredulous drama in the days ahead.