Designated Survivor (2016–2019)
6 user 18 critic
A low-level Cabinet member becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.


Paul McGuigan


David Guggenheim (created by), David Guggenheim




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kiefer Sutherland ... Tom Kirkman
Natascha McElhone ... Alex Kirkman
Adan Canto ... Aaron Shore
Italia Ricci ... Emily Rhodes
LaMonica Garrett ... Mike Ritter
Tanner Buchanan ... Leo Kirkman
Kal Penn ... Seth Wright
Maggie Q ... Hannah Wells
Mckenna Grace ... Penny Kirkman
Kevin McNally ... Harris Cochrane (as Kevin R. McNally)
Malik Yoba ... Jason Atwood
Arjay Smith ... Nolan
Alex Quijano ... Lawrence
Richard Bekins ... President Robert Richmond
Peter Outerbridge ... Charlie Langdon


US President Richmond will be making his next State of the Union address later today. In his Cabinet is Tom Kirkman, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, which is on the lowest rung of Cabinet positions. Non-elected Tom, who was appointed from an academic career, and the President often do not see eye to eye, the latter who is losing political respect for the former. As such, the President has not included any initiatives raised by Tom in the address, and has informed Tom through his Chief of Staff Charlie Langdon that he will soon be demoted to a position based in Montreal (which is framed as a promotion) or fired if he does not accept the demotion. Further, Tom has been assigned the designated survivor for the address, meaning that he will be housed in a secret secured bunker while the rest of the Cabinet enjoys the public visibility by joining the President at the Capitol for the address. Things for all involved change drastically when the Capitol is bombed during the address... Written by Huggo

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TV-PG | See all certifications »





English | Latin

Release Date:

21 September 2016 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


According to the time on the television on which Tom Kirkman is viewing the State of the Union address (10:15 p.m. Eastern) and the time shown in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (10:39 p.m.), Kirkman was moved to the White House and sworn in as President in fewer than 25 minutes. See more »


Both the Senate and the House establish a designated survivor. Each federal agency has a continuity of government plan that determines their line of succession. So, in this event, there would be an acting president, Speaker of the House, president pro tempore of the Senate, and Cabinet. See more »


[first lines]
President Richmond: There are times when we make history, and there are times when history makes us. This is a crucial moment for our nation, and America's colors burn brightest when we meet challenges head on.
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References This Is Spinal Tap (1984) See more »


Designated Survivor Theme
Written & performed by Sean Callery
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User Reviews

A bit thin
13 June 2019 | by tunix_2008See all my reviews

The premise of the whole show is a bit thin on the reality aspect. It seems outrageous to me that a building as complex as Capitol Hill could be as devastatingly obliterated as they had it. I'm no engineer but I guess one would need to put a charge on a whole lot of foundation columns to bring the entire building down like that. Even a half-blind security guard could see that much explosives coming inside what's supposed to be one of the most secure buildings in the country. But, of course, there won't be a tv show without suspending reality just a little bit. Sutherland's acting hasn't convinced me yet that he is this out-of-his-depths underdog whose genuine heart always saves the day. For me Jack Bauer is in there somewhere trying to wake up this torture-induced dream so he can escape the Russian imprisonment he was politically traded for. I will continue watching this though because I obviously still have a 24 hangover. I keep yelling at Sutherland, 'What are you doing in a suit inside an office when you should be on the ground hunting down these terrorists?' And after he told the Iranian ambassador, "Three hours, Mr. Ambassador," I totally expected the screen to split and hear the 24-clock start pounding the countdown.

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