The central dilemma of Commander in Chief is that a female vice president, who the president didn’t actually want to see succeed him, who many people feel should have stepped down because her independent views do not match the Republican views of the elected president, is going to have to provide ethical leadership despite efforts to bring her down.
There’s a couple problems with this premise. One is that all of the dilemma about not representing what the people voted for is easily closed down by a simple political argument, buttressed with information from the pilot: the people voted for the ticket. She was brought on board to make the ticket more centrist, and the president was losing the election without her. So by her taking the role of president, the public gets what it voted for.
The second problem is far worse. While she is being depicted as an independent, centrist alternative to the evil Republican Speaker of the House waiting in the wings (and the series does hold policy attacks on Republicans; the attacks on Democrats are on personal style), she proves herself to be horribly unethical by her very first action as a president. She threatens a violent incursion against a foreign power (and ends up with a non-violent incursion) because she disagrees with the reason and method of a single execution that is taking place there under the law. You know all that grief that George Bush is getting for invading a sovereign nation which had previously done war with the US, after aligning international backing (weak though it may have been), with the supposed justification of WMDs and thousands of killings by the government without due process? Well, take away the thousands, the history of conflict, the international support, the supposed WMDs, and the lack of due process, and think how much ethical support exists for this incursion. Particularly considering that the US has capital punishment itself. If she needs to invade some place over executions, perhaps she should start with Texas.
A good cast (Geena Davis, who I’ve liked, well, ever since I saw her in her bra and panties in Tootsie; Kyle Secor, of Homicide and Veronica Mars, and Donald Sutherland, who I prefer to remember as the guy from Animal House rather than the person who caused Joss Whedon spilkis during the original Buffy movie), but it’s hard to take most of the dramatic conflict seriously. This is not a series begging for me to watch it.