During America’s election process in 2016, ABC released a new program, “Designated Survivor.” The program, starring Kiefer Sutherland, returns to prime time television on March 8, 2017, at 10|9 CT.
“Designated Survivor” seems to mimic the unrest surrounding Islamaphobia, which began on 9/11 and continues to be a major issue. The fictional version of this subject is eerily presented on TV screens. There were some who speculated the program was potentially prophetic and might not return after its winter break, but Episode 11, “Warriors,” will plunge viewers back into the drama.
Winter Finale Cliffhanger
In the second half of Season 1, “Designated Survivor” viewers might discover answers to questions about the cliffhanger ending of Episode 10, “The Oath.” The installment reveals President Tom Kirkman, played by Sutherland, believes there is a traitor in the White House.
“Designated Survivor” audiences are led to believe that Peter MacLeish, played by Ashley Zuckerman, is the unsavory person. The character is an Oregonian senator and a veteran of the Afghan War. MacLeish is the only one who lived through the terrorist attack on the country’s capital.
Maggie Q. plays FBI agent Hanna Wells. She has troubling information against MacLeish, who is the potential vice president, and his involvement in the bombing. Unfortunately, before she can tell Kirkman about her evidence, she is in a suspicious traffic accident.
Fortunately for MacLeish, the documents disappear. As a result, the president has no reason to think the potential vice president is the traitor. The new Congress confirms MacLeish.
In the “Designated Survivor” cliffhanger, a gunshot rings out. Amidst the chaos, it is not evident who was wounded, or if the someone is dead.
Pilot Episode Aired Sep. 21, 2016
“Designated Survivor” premiere opened with a low-level cabinet member watching the State of the Union address on TV. The screens suddenly display static. As he views the horrific scene of the capital building burning, through a window, he is rushed away by the Secret Service.
At some point, he learns that members of Congress, POTUS, VPOTUS, and all other cabinet members have perished in the explosion. Sutherland’s character, Kirkman, was sworn in as the president.
The “Designated Survivor” storyline takes viewers into the minds of fictional characters trying to deal with the catastrophe that tore apart America’s political foundation. Cities become the center of chaos, brown-skinned people, presumed to be Muslim, become targets of frightened citizens. One governor calls out the National Guard and declares martial law.
It is up to President Kirkman to rebuild the political structure and forward the healing necessary to reduce the possibility of the country imploding. To assist the POTUS is his wife, children, and support staff. His personal secret service team leader displays impeccable character. He helps Kirkman navigate the terrain.
‘Designated Survivor’ Cast and Crew
Kiefer Sutherland plays President Thomas Kirkman. Actress Natascha McElhone portrays his wife, Alex, the first lady. She is an attorney working at the Equal Opportunity Commission. They have two children; Leo, played by Tanner Buchanan and Mckenna Grace; Penny.
Kirkman’s staff members are:
- Chief of Staff Aaron Shore, is played by Adan Canto.
- Italia Ricci is Kirkman’s special advisor, Emily Rhodes.
- Kal Penn plays Seth Wright. He is the White House Press Secretary.
- The president’s personal secret service agent is LaMonica Garrett, as Mike Ritter.
“Designated Survivor” is marketed as a dramatic thriller with a conspiracy twist. It is rated TV-PG and enjoys an 8.8/10 Amazon rating. The average Tomatometer is 85 percent, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting 78 percent of audiences enjoying the program. ABC Studios and The Mark Gordon Company contracted 22 episodes of this thought-provoking political drama.
By Cathy Milne
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All Images Courtesy of ABC – Used With Permission