The drama slowly, methodically unfolds on Designated Survivor



Into the “first full day” as president of the free world, there’s still (and understandably so) an ever-present air of confusion and indecision surrounding Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland).

But that’s to be expected. As the eleventh person in line of succession as Commander In Chief, he’s barely had a dozen hours to come to grips with the attack on The Capitol let alone the 900 plus lives lost as a result.

But Kirkman is stepping up in his trial by fire and weathering not only to the best of his ability but impressively so. Calling bluffs on a renegade Michigan governor to get his police to back off on police cracking down on profiling, calling out generals to be more exacting before meting out any sort of admission or retaliation as to the source of the attack, even airing out some difficult personal questions because of the unfamiliarity of his new lofty position.

He’s even throwing out self-deprecating jabs at his staff:

“Mr. President …” – Seth, standing as President Kirkman enters
“You don’t need to get up every time I walk into the room. I’m not the queen …” – Kirkman

You gotta give Kirkman his due.

All this is part of what’s made Designated Survivor a pleasure to watch over its first two airings. But that’s not all …

The show is filled with intrigue and mystery (who is behind the bombing of The Capitol? Is it really the Al Qaeda offshoot Al-Saqar?) not to mention social implications (the aforementioned governor of Michigan’s free-for-all Muslim profiling in his state and same with Seth Wright’s police detainment) and general confusion whether it be smack dab in the middle of The White House, questions about government control or right down to public opinion. For the most part, given the gravity of what’s happened and the chop-chop decisions needing to be made, things appear pretty realistic and on point in the grand scheme of things.



And … hello! There were actually two designated survivors? Another courtesy of the Republicans?!? You can bet the farm Kimble Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen) has got some cards up her sleeve she’ll be playing right quick.

Yeah … situations may be overly rushed but we only have an hour to keep things moving along in each chapter of the show so … understandable. That doesn’t detract from the realism being displayed in our living rooms. (And if you’re watching a show like this anywhere else, say your cell phone or tablet while on a commuter train, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not fully engrossing yourself into what’s unfolding.)



Now … about that unexploded dud of a bomb found within all the debris: It’s a plant. It’s got to be. Never mind the fact it’s astoundingly intact given the massive destruction rendered at the site (a bit of belief suspension is in order there) … it’s a plant. Crafty person(s) or agency(ies) who are worth their snuff would of course do just that very thing – plant a plant – in order to veer the investigation sideways. Ulterior motives and all that, you understand. Why FBI topcat Attwood wouldn’t explore all possibilities – especially given Hannah Wells’ previous work and admirable gut instincts in other fields – a shake is slipshod. The truth will be revealed.

Yep. I’m riveted so far. And ready for more.

A Bit Of Monkey Business

Still, there’s a few things on Designated Survivor that bug me. Little nits that get under my skin like these …

  • Michigan police targeting and placing a curfew on Muslim residents out of the blue without cause. Sorry … a little too far fetched. Yes, we’ve seen just this very thing on one-on-one situations in the news over the months, but on such a grand scale as suggested in the show … I don’t think so.
  • The cheesecake spotlight coming from overhead looking down on The Capitol bombing. It’s hokey looking and appears staged. Matter of fact, it would probably look better on an actual play stage rather than on the show.
  • Even though it was supposedly a dud, do we really believe the unexploded bomb found at The Capitol was being removed with so many people in such close proximity? Unrealistic. The FBI wouldn’t leave that to chance. They would be overly cautious, clear the area, contain the thing and remove it without jeopardy to anyone. And yet, as we saw, there were people milling around within yards of the thing as it was being taken away. Come on …
  • So … if Congresswoman Kimble Hookstraten was truly an additional designated survivor, how come she wasn’t installed as president? Oh, I know … because she’s not only inexperienced at the position (something Kirkman’s critics are buzzing about incessantly) but female as well. I get it.
  • And yes … there’s actual monkey business on the show in the form of lots of great comedy thrown in the mix. Mostly it’s coming from speech writer Seth Wright (Kal Penn). Kirkman’s got some good lines (as illustrated above) but Wright is winging them to and fro with wild abandon. Examples:

“Where do you work?” – police officer
“The White House …” – Seth
“Really. The White House …” – officer
“Yeah … you know … where The President sleeps?” – Seth
“You a wise ass?” – officer

“Seth Wright … that your real name?” – police officer
“According to my mother …” – Seth

What do you think of Designated Survivor? Start a conversation below!

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