Commander in Chief

Season 1 Episode 5

First... Do No Harm

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Oct 25, 2005 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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out of 10
153 votes
  • Time for the First Family to start adjusting to life in the White House

    Now that the First family is settled in and the President has begun to get her "feet wet" in office, it's time to see how the family will adjust to life in the spotlight. I can't help but feel for the children of the president who have to deal with secret agents 24/7, private life very public, taunting in school by classmates....don't know if I could handle it. That's why I love the show. If it was just the West Wing, I couldn't watch. I hate politics and find them extremely boring. But this show deals with that and family issues making it a show about family for the whole family to watch.
  • Overall, it was an above average show. I hope things do not change very much when the new producer takes over.

    I think the show was well done. I like that we are continuing to learn more and more about the type of person Mac is. I do not care much for the possibiity of conflict between the president and the first gentleman. I am hoping that things will return to norm for them ( first two episodes) but I know that (conflict) is what keeps a show going most of the time. I still love the president (Madame Allen) and her family.
    I am unsure about the new Security Advisor.
  • As stated above, this is a \"fine example\" of what drama is. Commander in Chief continues to intrigue and inspire me.

    Mac faces her first true threat. In times like these, she truly shines. Taking a hard and insurmountable stand on Human rights. She knows what she must do, and stands by her decisions despite what others may think/want. Melanie, vicariously disagreeing with the President\'s decision, tries to thwart her decision. Melanie beleives that \"torture\" is the only sure-fire way to get Amaan (Check spelling.) to talk. Thus, goes against the President\'s wishes and ends up, well, \"You are relieved of your duties.\" Hats off to ABC and the CiC team. Commander in Chief is the #1 Drama on my list. How anyone can call this \"Boring, indecisive, played-out,\" is beyond me. Opinions of course, as is mine. Thanks for reading.

  • It doesn't have to be the West Wing to be enjoyable.

    I don't see why people hold it up against the West Wing and find this show lacking. It isn't trying to be WW, it's more of a soap opera/drama sort of show, and proud of it. Why not? It's entertaining, I don't regret spending an hour watching it.

    I did find the interplay between father/son painful- Rod acted so out of character, flying off handle like that, it almost looked like he was going to beat the boy! And then later, he brings up the subject again, and I thought he would be more reasonable, but no, he goes and starts lecturing again. Maybe as a teenager, I hoped he would be more understanding, but the character was pretty blind about how to handle his son. Don't misunderstand, though, I thought Horace was an idiot for getting into a fight, but I never understood why guys choose to use violence to make their point. So who knows, maybe that was appropriate given the taunts, but I didn't like it.

    Kelly is a sweet character, she's the most human and accessible of them all. She has doubts in herself, but aims to do her best and prove herself, and I love how she dishes it out to that loser- "You're, like, so fired" she mocks him. Wonderful scene! I thought she was going to cave and let it go, but she regrouped wonderfully. Shows she's a great actress, that the audience can't predict whether she's already steeling herself to deliver the setdown, it really was up in the air whether she would let the jerk walk over her or not.

    Little kid's cute, annoying and believable. That thing where she raced in and shrieked while her mom was on the phone...typical kid thing, but poor Mac! The middle child can be a bit of a pain, always thinking she's so burdened, the world's out to get her...grow up!

    Anyway, the plot was good. I saw that "I don't want to hear about torture" implication as soon as she said it, but I guess she's so moralistic that it didn't strike her at the time, that it might be an instruction to go ahead but leave her out of the loop, so she could claim she didn't know. But I don't know that I agree with her "It's there to protect us, to protect our citizens from torture in other countries". They'd probably go ahead, regardless of whether America tortured prisoners, but I don't support torture anyway, so I'm glad that she took that stance. It's a tough question, even though things worked out well.

    And that's what gets a lot of people- that there are these nice, neat answers to everything, when real life tends to screw people over. But that's why I like watching Com-in-Chief, because I know it'll end happily, and the family will still be together and the country will be safe.
  • a good show like the west wing

    this show resembels more and more to the hit show west wing, n=but with some big twist, i like the way that the writers involve more the family life at the white house with the day and day of the diffucult job of presidency of the united states. Also that the president is play by a woman makes this show a must see every week. The actres is very good to provide a good felling to the people watching the tv.
  • This episode had to do with Mac dealing with terrorists and having to decide whether to torure him to talk. She also had a lot of family issues swirling around her which could have distracted her. Her husband had a few scenes where his character was devel

    The episode, First-Do No Harm, was one that showed some character development. The main theme was Mac having to deal with her advisors and their differing views on how to handle a terror threat. She did not agree with the use of torture and felt that the US had to set the example in order to protect Americans in the future from torture. I am not sure how it will. She also felt that even torture can cause only lies to be told by the one being tortured. She had to elevate the threat level and schools were closed. Halloween was in jeopardy. Her family was having conflict. Her son got into a fight defending his Father. His father was offered a job as Baseball commissioner. This job was tempting as we see that he feels unfulfilled as first Gentleman and needs to do something separate from his role as husband to the President. We saw how he had memories of when Mac was asked to run for Congress and NOT him. So there are some jealousy issues with him and his son calling him a whimp will only fuel his need to diverge. Mac will be losing some of his support and it will probably make her life harder. Her daughter is dealing with boys and her youngest is also missing her Mom and the life they had before the White House.
  • A push for Rod and Kelly while the main plot doesn't quite spark.

    I was surprised that the main terrorist plot was actually almost secondary here but then that is part of the show's appeal. I did like how it developed as it wasn't until Templeton said he was proud of Mac that she realized what happened. Glad to see the AG is gone as her chracter didn't exactly mesh well.

    Nice moments with Templeton here, first on the talk show where he easily minipulates the host into bringing up the terrorist issue. And I'm still trying to figure out whether or not he knew Mac didn't know about the torture when he congratulated her. I'm leaning toward the idea he didn't since he cost him a prime ally in the White House. That's how good Sutherland is in this role, it's often hard to see Templeton's true nature.

    Kelly got a great scene here with her smackdown on her aide (and, if I'm reading between the lines correctly, boyfriend), bringing up once more her nervousness about her job and desire to do well with it. I hope to see her develop more as the season goes on.

    And then we get to Rod and his obvious concern over being a national joke. I do hope he takes this job as it would bring some great tension. I highly suspect that if he did, the first thing the owners would do would be to have him try and get Mac to step in regarding the steriod issue.

    So a quieter episode than usual but nice character developments which gives hope for the show.
  • I say this every week but the Speaker is getting on my nerves.

    I read that the speaker's wife is going to make an appearance soon and disagree with him. I am actually looking forward to that plotline. The dad looks stupid taking his anger out on the son who is trying to defend him. I liked how the attorney general turned Mac's words around on her.
  • Not that real politics is anything else but backstabbing and a lot of pretense, but this episode adopted too much of the mudslinging and not enough of the character developments that made the beginning of the series great.

    Am I the only one to feel good about Leslie Hope's character getting the boot? She is VERY annoying, a power hungry shark who does little more than try to advance her own career. I suppose it's good writing to make her that person, to make her "hate-able" like this.
    Same with Donald Sutherland. Templeton is a rather predictive character, but his directness was refreshing in the beginning. Now, though, his constant manipulation attempts have become dull and predictive. I get it, he doesn't want Mac to be President; but he should start to grow up and accept defeat.
    There was at least one more of those backstabbing plots: Kelly and her assistant who crossed the line. I almost missed that part because I had pretty much lost interest at that point. It's a shame, she's a great character.
    The family storyline was equally unoriginal. I'm just not convinced by this "let's work it out" attitude anymore.
    I wish Commander In Chief stopped throwing the same obstacles at their President every week, and give her something different to do. For once, just hold on to some members of staff, rather than firing or retiring one every week.
  • President Mackenzie Allen faces her first national threat in the form of terrorist plot to blow up schools.The First Gentleman again faces a threat to his manhood,affecting both his son and his own attitude.All this with sneaky opposition from both her At

    As one of my favorite shows on TV,I look forward to each new episode.This episode contains conflict in several different fronts. The President, in dealing with a terrorist situation, is in conflict with her Attorney General.The terrorist is tortured for information contrary to the President's order ,and as a result, the Attorney General is fired.
    The Press Secetary is unsurped at a press conference and as a result the jealous associate who feels he should have had her appointment is fired.
    All this occurs in addition to family conflict with her husband and children,and resolves itself in spite of Nathan Templeton and half the hour being taken up with commercials.
    This episode is a little crowded.
    It also perpetuates the false impression that terrorists enter the country at will via the Canadian border.
    I found it not up to par with previous episodes.
  • Not in the same league as "The West Wing". Not even close.

    As an American expatriate living in Thailand, I no longer have the luxury of watching great American prime time TV programs the way they're meant to be seen. I must obtain HDTV rips that get posted to usenet and watch them at the computer. Since my usenet account limits monthly downloads, I must choose very carefully what I download.

    That being said, I downloaded and watched this episode of "Commander in Chief" after hearing it being compared to "The West Wing". Anticipating an intelligent 42 minutes of TV, I was thoroughly disappointed. This program seems to me to be "The West Wing for people who can't understand The West Wing". "Commander" to me seemed to resemble a family sitcom more than a political drama -- and perhaps that was the creator's intent... to create a program about the White House that doesn't focus on internal politics at all, but rather the first family, and the baggage that comes with living a very high-profile life. While this is all well and good for many mainstream American couch potatoes, It's not a show that I would spend three hours downloading again.

    As for the episode itself, the storylines were decent, fairly well-written, but as someone who would prefer to watch more on how the White House staff deals with a terrorist threat than what the first daughter wants to do for Halloween, I found the show to be unfulfilling.

    I enjoyed seeing Leslie Hope play a role, and found her character to be the only one in the show that actually seemed to act like a White House staffer. Her fate at the end of the episode is regretful, and assuming she will not be returning only solidifies my position to pass up future downloading of this show. I also have a bit of trouble imagining Geena Davis playing the role of POTUS. Her character is just not very believable to be portraying one of the most powerful people in the world.

    I found the production quality of this show to be very good until near the end when the kids go off for a night of Halloween antics, when I couldn't take my eyes off the towering mountains in the distance. Believability is key, and I can't fathom how the editors either missed or didn't care about that little detail. It's almost as bad as when palm trees sneak their way into the backgrounds of shows taking place in New York.

    This show does however, raise some thought regarding a female president in office. How would the country react? What *would* we call the first spouse?

    A good premise for a TV drama, but not the right formula for me.