Designated Survivor: Season 1
Creator: David Guggenheim
Executive Producers: Mark Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Jeff Melvoin, Jon Harmon Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Suzan Bymel, Paul McGuigan, Amy Harris, Aditya Sood, David Guggenheim, Simon Kinberg, Neal Baer
Genre: Political Drama/Political Thriller
Release Date: 21st September 2016
Streaming Platform: Netflix
Star Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett, Tanner Buchanan, Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Paulo Costanzo, Zoe McLellan, Ben Lawson
As a lower-level cabinet member, Tom Kirkman never imagined something would happen that would catapult him to the oval office. A devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the president and most of the Cabinet, the Housing and Urban Development secretary.
Suddenly thrust into his new position of power, Kirkman as the new President of United States struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos and must adjust to his new normal, unaware of what fresh horrors may await the United States.
Who is a designated survivor? This title actually does exist. The concept of the ‘designated survivor’ is – one member of the president’s staff who sits out of the State of the Union in case the rest of the government is blown to bits.
Designated Survivor Season 1 doesn’t waste any time, rather starts straight up with the night of the State of the Union when an explosion destroys the Capitol building, killing the President and everyone in the line of succession except for Secretary of housing and urban development Thomas Kirkman. Here, we must remind you that- The United States ‘Capitol’ in Washington, D.C. is a symbol of the American people and their government, the meeting place of the nation's legislature. The Capitol also houses an important collection of American art, and it is an architectural achievement in its own right. Therefore, it was not just any other building that was destroyed. This time, people’s emotions were ambushed, deeply.
Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman who is immediately sworn in as the new president of the United States of America, into the highest office in the world. There is one scene, right after Kirkman is sworn in when he goes to the restroom in his bunker and vomits from anxiety. It injects the same doubt in the audience as Kirkman:
Will he be able to handle this?
The character of Kirkman is projected as the outsider, bringing naiveté, determination, and honesty to tackle this political and military crisis. His wife Alex (Natasha McElhone) and the two children are shown to be gracefully adapting to these shocking and sudden turn of events.
As Kirkman starts to adjust to his new role and proving he is capable of leading the country. He deals with his first challenges as Commander in Chief when civil rights abuses in Michigan reach the limits and another designated survivor for the Republican Party comes forward. On the other hand, FBI agent Hannah Wells begins to suspect that the attack may be the first of many. She continues to believe that the FBI is being pointed in the wrong direction.
This is exactly why the genre fits so well with this show. While the audience gets to see the political drama happening and the greed of the power taking on, the mystery angle of the attack, carried out by the character Hannah wells is extremely thrilling and fixating to watch.