In a crowded hotel ballroom, former first lady, Governor of Illinois, and candidate for President of the United States Elaine Barrish Hammond (Sigourney Weaver) takes the stage. Surrounded by her family-mother Margaret (Ellen Burstyn), 28-year-old sons T.J. (Sebastian Stan) and Douglas (James Wolk), Douglas's girlfriend Anne (Brittany Ishibashi), and husband and former U.S. president Bud Hammond (Ciàran Hinds)-Elaine delivers her concession speech. And then, minutes after leaving the stage, Elaine takes an even more painful step: she asks her philandering husband of three decades for a divorce.
Two years later, Elaine has discovered newfound purpose and popularity as Secretary of State to her onetime rival, President Paul Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar). Her ex-husband and his unbridled libido, on the other hand, have become something of a national joke. While reliable Douglas serves as his mother's Chief of Staff, recovering addict T.J. struggles to stay sober and round up money to invest in a nightclub. As the entire family prepares to gather for the first time since the divorce at a dinner in honor of Douglas and Anne's engagement, Elaine is confronted with a diplomatic crisis: three journalists have been detained in Iran, and the government is threatening to try them as spies and execute them within 48 hours. Though, for reasons slowly becoming clear, President Garcetti may be prepared to sit back and let it happen, but Elaine isn't.
To make matters worse, Susan Berg (Carla Gugino), a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who made her name publishing scathing stories about the Hammonds, has manipulated her way into a week-long exclusive on Elaine by threatening to release a painful secret about T.J. Now Elaine must protect her family, juggle her complicated feelings for her ex-husband, and attempt to find a way to save the Iranian hostages, all while staving off the hungry reporter. It's just another day in the life of America's most powerful woman.