ByRachel Carrington, writer at
I'm a published author addicted to the DC superheroes, Netflix, and action shows! Twitter: @rcarrington2004
Rachel Carrington

This post contains spoilers for both the pilot episode and the second episode of Designated Survivor.

Designated Survivor hit television screens on September 21st, and electrified viewers in the first 10 minutes. Kiefer Sutherland, better known as Jack Bauer on 24, takes on a more sedate role as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a family man who never expected to be thrust into the role of the Commander-in-Chief. But a bomb takes out the Capitol and all parties in the line of succession to the presidency, and Tom Kirkman's (Kiefer Sutherland) life changes forever.

The first episode places Tom in the center of the Oval Office, but this isn't just a political drama. While the Kirkman family is shuffled to the White House, the FBI is looking for the terrorists behind the bomb. Add in a couple of malcontents who don't think Tom is capable of running the country, and Designated Survivor has set the stage for a can't-miss season. And as the series was just given a full season order, I'm looking forward to the twists and turns as the weeks unfold.

Designated Survivor has something for everyone, and you don't have to be a political junkie to enjoy it. But in case you're wondering if it will interest you, consider what it offers.

A President-in-Training

I was (and still am) a big fan of The West Wing, and watching Martin Sheen as President Bartlett often brought chills. He owned that role. He was the president. Kiefer Sutherland can't be President Bartlett — yet — but there were many scenes in the pilot proving he has the capability to be what the American people need. And we get to watch as this man who comes across a "don't make waves" type of person grows into a president that would make Jack Bauer proud.

If The West Wing, Madam Secretary, and House of Cards are the shows you enjoy, you should add Designated Survivor to your list.

A City Still In Danger

After playing a government-trained assassin and the head of a detective squad, Maggie Q takes on the role of an FBI agent whose instincts tell her the danger to Washington, D.C., isn't over. The die has been cast for a season-long hunt, and with Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) convinced the Capitol is only the beginning, Designated Survivor could gives us nail-biting mystery and intrigue. So fans of NCIS and Perception will most likely enjoy this series.

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Not everyone thinks Tom Kirkman is up to the task of being president, and, in the pilot, a suspicious conversation takes place that opens the door to deception and betrayal. General Harris (Kevin McNally) makes it clear he thinks he would be a better leader of the free world in a time of crisis, putting the deputy chief of staff in a very untenable position. So if Scandal, The Good Wife and The Newsroom fit into your viewing schedule, you should probably give Designated Survivor a try!


In the pilot episode, we're introduced to Tom's family — a wife, a son and a daughter — and though it's evident love is there, we can already see trouble on the horizon. When Tom's son is tracked down by the Secret Service, he's in a bar dealing drugs. That's a job he can't keep as the president's son. Tom's wife is an attorney with the EEOC who is happy with her career, which begs the question: will she be able to retain her position or be forced to resign because of her new role?

Adding family to the mix heightens the stakes and is reminiscent of the family life on Madam Secretary. So if you enjoy family dramas, this is a show you want to check out. As an aside, Paul Redford is the co-executive producer for Designated Survivor. He was the consulting producer on Madam Secretary and the co-executive producer of The Newsroom and The Unit. That tells you the caliber of people behind this series.

So maybe you've read this far, and you still aren't sure if this show is something you would enjoy. I encourage you to give it a try. You can catch the pilot episode on Hulu and ABC.

Did you see the first episode of Designated Survivor? What other new shows are you watching? Let me know in the comments!


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