All should watch engrossing political drama ‘Designated Survivor’


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The engrossing concept and interesting plot of “Designated Survivor” brings the feel of “24” meets “The West Wing” with political drama and thrillers.

Creator, David Guggenheim, and producers Simon Kinberg, Kiefer Sutherland, Suzan Bymel, Aditya Sood and Nick Pepper, found a way to seemingly seamlessly to create an average American hero in compelling scenes dealing with the struggles of a nation in shambles, while eerily making some correlations and symbolic references to this year’s controversial and feared election.

The new ABC political thriller “Designated Survivor,” chronicles the events post a devastating attack on the US capitol, killing the president and almost all of the cabinet members. With a great portion of the national government destroyed and dead, the recently fired U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), who had been chosen as the designated survivor incase of great emergency, is sworn in as the new President of the United States and is tasked to bring justice and fix the nation, all in one night.

Kirkman is portrayed as a bright, logical, common everyday man who now has the fate of the world on his shoulders along with the typical family issues and is just trying to do his best for the nation as a whole, as he faces opposition and challenges from every corner. Sutherland portrays all of these emotions in his character and over time it is interesting to watch as you see this character evolve, thinking and acting more like a president traditionally would, but losing some of the thoughtfulness we originally saw.    

The flow of the show goes from watching the legal challenges and decisions Kirkman must face while also balancing his wife (Natascha McElhone) and two kids, daughter Penny (Mckenna Grace) and son Leo (Tanner Buchanan), then switching to FBI agents (Maggie Q  and Malik Yoba) conducting and uncovering pieces of the investigation on the attack. Some more air time to look more into the investigation would be nice, due to sometimes forgetting about that plot line in the show, but the overwhelmingly interesting other side of the show makes up for that, so far, relatively uneventful plot.

The development of the relationship between the White House Chief of Staff Aaron Shore (Kal Penn) and Special Advisor Emily Rhodes (Italia Ricci) is an interesting and unlikely one. We see how at first they are on opposing sides and seem to never agree on any issues that the president should make, but then as time goes on they work better with each other and a slight flirtatious friendship begins to unfold.

The uncertainty and opposition of the american people and state governors in the show towards the un-elected President Kirkman brings similar feelings and parallels to our modern times with the new president-elect Donald Trump. Much of the hopes and fear resemble much of Americans in 2016 leading into 2017, but with the show we have the comfort of knowing not all of their drama and chaos is happening in real life.

Though only nine shows into the series, “Designated Survivor” has the promise of being a hit political show with the combination of politics, thriller, drama, and intrigue. With the curiosity of development and always ending on a cliffhanger, the show always has you tuning back in each week to watch more.