Designated Survivor (2016–2019)
4 user 17 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?


When the Federal Judge is swearing in the new President she correctly reads the oath of office, which does not include the phrase 'so help me God', Kirkman then chooses to add the phrase himself. By contrast the real Chief Justice has incorrectly added the words during the last two US Presidential inaugurations. See more »


Kirkman doesn't find out that he's been selected to sit out the speech until he's preparing to leave for the Capitol. His cellphone rings. "What's a designated survivor?" he asks. In reality, the selected official would know days before and would be secretly whisked out of Washington on the day of the address. 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

Did what a first episode should do
24 September 2016 | by ayamisrSee all my reviews

I watched House of Cards as a very good insight on how things in the white house in an excellent fictional context and I thought if any other TV series is going to realistically tread the subject again it's gonna have to copy the House of Cards format in a way, with an ambitious politician who schemes his way into a more powerful position, may be the most powerful of all, with carefully crafted lies and plays which worked greatly. what we have here is a completely different leading man, the main character of this show doesn't want to be were he ended up, in fact no one expected him to keep his own office in the first place, but then someone,more than one actually, dies and he becomes a president. but that is not why I'm now waiting for next episode, I'm waiting because of how everybody's reaction to the tragedy, fear and confusion for the most part, was shown almost perfectly by through the interactions between the different characters, and while that was just enough to attract every pit of attention I have left, I was given a very good WTF moment near the end, and the best part is, it all make sense, it's possible and this is what I want from a good political drama, and I got along with what I want from a TV series first episode. waiting for what's next

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