With Hillary Clinton running for the prime spot of POTUS in this year’s US elections, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at some of the female politicians you’ve avidly followed on your screens.
Commander in Chief
Although the first female POTUS to be created on screen was in the 1950s, Geena Davis’s titular role in Commander in Chief - in 2005 - really propelled a greater inclusion of female politicians on TV, particularly as president.
Commander in Chief may have only lasted one season, but the very same year saw another actress slip into the role of POTUS on the small screen. Prison Break not only cast a female as vice president, and eventually president, in this popular drama, but also made her a driving force of the show’s action and suspense.
While Michael Scofield was breaking out of prison, 24 was breaking television convention. Lauded for the exciting way it told its stories in real-time, the series also broke barriers with its characters. During the show’s run, viewers saw eight presidents in office, including Dennis Haysbert and D.B. Woodside as black US presidents David and Wayne Palmer, as well as female POTUS Allison Taylor, played by Cherry Jones.
The POTUS might be male, but we all know who’s really pulling the strings in D.C. Besides Kerry Washington’s tough-as-nails Olivia Pope, former First Lady Mellie Grant is just as tough and running for POTUS in Season 5’s art-reflecting-life storyline. In addition to this powerful pair of female characters, the White House Press Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Vice President are all female.
House of Cards
Just as Pope is the powerhouse behind POTUS in The Fixer, Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood backs her husband, Francis, all the way to the Oval Office. Frank may have plenty of tricks up his sleeve, but his climb to the top would not have been possible without his wife’s help stacking the deck.
Watch House of Cards Season 4 every Tuesday at 20:00 on M-Net Edge.
The show takes its name from its lead character, Elizabeth McCord, who is handpicked by the president to be the new Secretary of State. Teá Leoni, as the title character, balances the drama the role demands with a sharp wit honed from years front lining her own successful sitcom.
Watch Madam Secretary Season 2 every Monday at 21:30 from 30 May on M-Net.
State of Affairs
From a half-alien in Roswell to a doctor in Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl has cemented her place in TV history. In State of Affairs she takes on the role of a CIA analyst putting together the daily briefing for the president who, played by Alfre Woodard, just so happens to be the first black, female POTUS.
Saying “President of the United States” is such a mouthful, which is why the title has been shortened to POTUS – even the official White House Twitter handle is @POTUS. But if you think that’s a mouthful, then the vice president’s title is even more so – that’s why it’s shortened to VP or Veep. This long-winded story explains how Veep – which centres on vice president Selina Meyer – got its name. Politics may often be about scandal and drama, but Veep finds the funny side – brought to life by Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ performance in the title role.
Sharon Stone also plays a Veep. As Natalie Maccabee in Agent X, Stone is newly sworn into office, only to discover that a secret inclusion in the constitution puts her in charge of an agent responsible for protecting the country from all manner of crimes.
Which female politician would you follow? Share your thoughts on social media.