ABC Network has released its annual fall lineup with returners such as Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and Modern Family. A highly-anticipated newcomer added to the list is the drama series “Designated Survivor” starring Kiefer Sutherland.
In contrast to Sutherland’s role on the hit-series “24,” his character is quiet, lacking the self-confidence to carry the nation through the worst terrorist attack since September 11. But this difference shows Sutherland’s full acting abilities, as he manages to succeed in both types of roles.
Sutherland plays the role of Tom Kirkman, a low-ranking United States cabinet member under the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who is called to serve as the United States president after an explosion at the Capitol kills all higher-ranking members of the Executive Branch.
Kirkman (Sutherland) is chosen prior to the explosion to be the “designated survivor.” This is a person in the presidential line of succession who is withheld from meetings, hidden in a secure location in case of an attack.
The show, while not entirely action-packed, similarly to “24”, has a deeper, drama-driven plot that provides a look into real-life possibilities of the United States government that most civilians would not think about.
Throughout the series’ first three episodes, Kirkman, along with his wife and two children, are thrown into the White House as the prospect of war lingers and federal agents race to find the bombing suspects amid a network of terrorist groups. Kirkman also has to learn the balance between running a nation in crisis and helping his family cope with the sudden major changes that have fallen onto them.
Natascha McElhone, best known for her role as Karen on Showtime’s “Californication,” returns to television as Alex Kirkman, a similar role as doting and supportive wife, minus the interpersonal chaos of the Showtime series. She is the backbone of the Kirkman family, pushing her husband to step up and lead the remaining government agencies.
Overall, this new series is promising to fans of the ABC drama lineup. It provides plot twists in every episode so far, while also lending viewers a deeper look into the operations of the United State government.