Why did Bebe Neuwirth leave Madam Secretary?

Bebe Neuwirth portrayed Nadine Tolliver on Madam Secretary for four years, before abruptly announcing her departure from the show.

If Madam Secretary taught fans anything, it taught many that behind every politician, is an army of staff members attempting to keep them out of trouble. For Elizabeth McCord, played by Téa Leoni, the person leading that army for four years was her Chief of Staff, Nadine Tolliver, played by stage and screen legend, Bebe Neuwirth.

Neuwirth brought the sharp wit and steely-eyed glare that she mastered as Lilith on Cheers and Frasier to the collected Nadine. However, unlike Lilith, Nadine has a warm side and she did let her hair down. The character quickly became a fan-favourite, so when Neuwirth left the show after four seasons, fans wondered why.

Nadine’s final scenes revealed all the details about the character’s decision to resign from her distinguished post. She grew tired of the problems that go with politics, so she decided to leave Washington DC (District of Columbia) for San Francisco, in order to be near her son and her soon-to-be-grandchild. However, the explanation for Neuwirth’s exit was less distinct.

Neuwirth took to Twitter in October 2017 to announce her departure from the show, and it appears that it was the actress’ decision to leave. In a series of three tweets, the actress stated that she was very grateful for her time on “a wonderful show.” Neuwirth also thanked the network, stating, “So grateful to CBS for accepting my request to depart Madam Secretary and writing a beautiful exit for me.”

After leaving Madam Secretary, Neuwirth returned to two characters she previously played in hit television shows. The actress appeared as Judge Claudia in season two of The Good Fight, whom she previously played three times before on The Good Wife. Neuwirth also featured in four episodes of Blue Bloods’ eighth and ninth season as Kelly Peterson.

The actress also stepped back into the shoes of a character from a movie. In 1995’s Jumanji, Neuwirth portrayed Nora, who became the guardian of Peter and Judy after their parents’ death. In 2019, she reprised the role with an appearance in Jumanji: The Next Level.

The reason behind Neuwirth’s departure from Madam Secretary has yet to be revealed.