Commander In Chief: The Inaugural Edition – Part 2

DVD Reviews | Sep 21st, 2006

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Starring Geena Davis, Donald Sutherland
Written By:
Directed By:
Studio: Disney/ Buena Vista
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The second part of this short-lived television drama picks up right where the first one left off, with President Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) fighting for everything that she believes in while trying to maintain quite possibly the most important position in the world. As usual, the cat and mouse game continues between Mac and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nathan Templeton (Donald Sutherland) with the election looming closer every day.

Part 2 of Commander In Chief has some really strong episodes and some great feel-good moments and I was not at all disappointed with anything other than the abrupt end of the show. It’s really a series killer and left a lot of loose ends that we’ll never see cleaned up. As I mentioned, there are some shocking decisions that the President makes over the course of the final episodes. President Allen has made the decision to run for re-election but has decided that she will not campaign. She will spend her time doing what a good president does best…running the country and doing her job. When’s the last time we had a president like that? In one of the better-written episodes, Templeton throws President Allen a left hook shortly before she is to give the State Of The Union address. Templeton thinks that he has her reeling and her favor slipping with both the politicians and with the general public, but the president invokes a little known constitutional right to hold the Union address in the White House and of course, the Speaker is infuriated and his plan is defeated yet again.

This ongoing dispute between the president and Templeton is what really makes the show. Both characters are strong in their beliefs and set in their own ways. Templeton of course, is the Darth Vader to Mackenzie Allen’s Luke Skywalker. His ways are right in his mind, but his goals are selfish and sometimes downright twisted. It wouldn’t matter one bit to him if American hostages were shot for just being at the wrong place at the wrong time if it meant that it would delay the vote the bill with his name attached to it. Mackenzie Allen on the other band, seems to always try to take the noble and just way to do things even if it strains relations with foreign countries or with her own family. She is the president that we all dream of having. A president who would take action to prevent a single soul from being lost in a hostage situation or a president that would put her neck on the line to lower a skyrocketing crime rate in a small community by providing direct federal assistance even if it meant hurting her popularity in the polls. After watching just one episode, you can see why President Allen wants to keep Templeton out of the Oval Office. He gets his chance due to President Allen being ill for a short time, the resignation of the Vice President and another constitutional law that puts the Speaker Of The House into the White House. In his few hours in office, Templeton manages to one-up Allen by resolving a lingering airline strike with a temporary band-aid when the President has been working behind the scenes to provide a long-term resolution for weeks. Templeton gains public support for getting a job done in hours that the president couldn’t resolve in weeks. This doesn’t sit well with the president who finally looks upon Templeton as the enemy that he is. You know how the saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

A couple of other great things about Commander In Chief would have to be the spectacular writing and the acting. The writing was just as good as Part 1 and at some times, ten times better. I’ve never watched too many political dramas in my lifetime but I would have to say that if there were more shows like this, I wouldn’t have much of a life because I would be watching too much TV. As for the acting, it would seem that some of the characters, even the gorgeous Natasha Henstridge, were born for these roles. Sometimes, it didn’t feel like I was watching a television show but that I was looking through a window at the White House with a wiretap in the room. Not many shows can draw an audience in like that, but I was trapped.

My only gripe about the series was how it just abruptly ends. There is no wrap up episode, which is a shame because even if Commander In Chief couldn’t get renewed for another season, it at least deserved a send off episode or two. There were so many loose ends. The president was fighting for the single most important thing on her agenda, making the Equal Rights Amendment a law and she was on the verge of ratifying it in the thirty-eight states needed, the Vice President had resigned and the leading candidate in the President’s mind is her African-American Chief of Staff, Jim Gardner who would be the first black Vice President serving under the first female President of the United States, Templeton has planted more of his allies, and the President’s former political advisor had just switched over to the dark side. There are rumors of a telemovie to tie everything up, but we’ll just have to wait and see about that.

With many TV shows not being worth the half hour of wasted time, Commander In Chief is one of those shows that wrapped a variety of things into one neat little one-hour package. There was a little bit of something for just about everyone, even if you’re not politically savvy. I mean, come on now…how many people would really be able to tell the difference between cortisone and Robitussin or would be able to determine the difference between post mortem stiffening and pre-surgery preparations, yet millions of people watch crime scene dramas and medical shows. When you have the perfect mixture of entertaining plotlines, relatable and likable characters and a really good DVD set, what more can you ask for other than network support? I was hooked on this show and am still frothing at the mouth for more.

Exclusive Interview with Geena Davis
Unaired Scenes
Insight Into The Show With Exclusive Creator Commentaries

Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Widescreen (1.78:1) Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions


Favorite Scenes: No Nukes Is Good Nukes, State Of The Unions, Ties That Bind, Happy Birthday, Madam President
Rating: NR
Running Time: 390 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: