Review of "Designated Survivor" on ABC From The TV MegaSite
 

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Designated Survivor cast 

"Designated Survivor" review by Suzanne 10/13/16
Airs Wednesdays, 10/9c on ABC

Anyone hoping that this show will be like "24" may be sorely dissappointed. If you liked that show because of its non-stop action and it's right-wing, paranoid viewpoint, you will not get that here. If you liked that show because of the handsome hero (Kiefer Sutherland) and the political conspiracies in the white house, and other conspiracies among terrorists and other people, then you may indeed enjoy this show as well. It's a little bit like West Wing, but without all of the humor and pithy dialogue (and largely without the soap opera-excesses of that show as well).

Sutherland plays the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Kirkland. He's unhappy because the president is not using his input in his speeches (and presumably in his plans), but then the president suggests that he might be better off as an ambassador somewhere else. Essentially, he fires him. Just after that happens, though, the President and almost everyone else in the government is killed in a bomb in Washington, DC.

Tom was chosen before this event as the "designated survivor," something that, I guess, they do in real life. He's the one who gets to be sworn in as president if everyone else dies. Perhaps the DS is chosen well in advance, and that's why they chose the same man that the president fired that same day (seems unlikely). A Republican Senator, Kimble Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen), also survived as the secondary DS.  I don't believe they ever say which party Tom and the late President are, but I think we're supposed to think that they're Democrats.

Tom is unsure, at first, whether he event wants to be President, but he is forced to adapt to the job as best he can. He has to learn how things really work, and quickly. He has to be tough and not let everyone walk all over him, but he wants to make the right decisions.

They don't know who set the bombs. There are clues, but some of the clues may be fake. This is the big mystery.  Maggie Q plays an FBI agent that helps uncover the truth. Kal Penn, who briefly worked in Obama's White House in real life, plays a former speechwriter who becomes White House Press Secretary.

Tom's family are a big part of the show. He and his wife seem to have a good relationship, but there are some secrets there. Tom's son, Leo, likes to party.  Tom's family has to also quickly learn to adapt in their new home, and their new life.  The other characters are Tom's Chief of Staff, his Senior Advisor, and more.

Many of the people in the show seem to have their own secrets and agenda, and they're not all on Tom's side. I love Sutherland, and this show is very good, and enjoyable. I could do without all of the flag-waving (the bombing is supposed to remind us of 9/11), but otherwise, it's a good show, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out. I don't watch "Scandal" or "Madam Secretary," so I can't tell you how it compares to those other political dramas. Check it out!

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