Designated Survivor

A LAntern review of the TV series Designated Survivor

Every year, the President of the United States gives a State of the Union address to congress, as outlined by Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution. Every Supreme Court Justice, Congressmen, Senator, and high-ranking bureaucratic officials are in attendance. This tradition has lasted since the first year of Washington’s presidency, and probably won’t stop anytime soon. BOOM. One bomb, positioned underneath the Capital could wipe the entire elected population of the Federal Government – well, except for one: The Designated Survivor.

This TV series puts the viewer in the aftermath of what could be the largest terrorist attack in history. The Designated Survivor was thought of during the nightmares of the cold war, where a single nuclear bomb could destroy our government. To make sure that not everything fell apart, a line of succession was put in place for the Presidency, and one low ranking official was selected to stay clear of the State of the Union and be protected with the utmost security. One year it may be secretary of transportation, others secretary of agriculture, and in the series, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Kirkman (Played by Kiefer Sutherland).

The series took a break during the election, and is scheduled to resume back up in March. However, for a very political show, it does a very good job of seeing both sides of an issue. For instance, although Kirkman worked for the late-democratic president, he is actually a registered Independent. This genius move by the script writers allows for both political parties to enjoy the film, for he has a little bit of both parties in him. For instance, president Kirkman has more republican stances when it comes to the constitution and using the military, but on the other hand he is socially democratic, and follows more democratically aligned ideas such as taking in refugees and stopping bad policies affecting muslims in Dearborn Michigan.

What I have found very interesting in the series is the power politics at play. Many people don’t believe President Kirkman is there President. He’s an unelected official who has had no experience in an executive position. Governors disregard him, and foreign ambassadors test him to see if he really can led America, or if they can undermine the new president and try and benefit their nation in a new era of politics when America is no longer dominant. Throughout the beginning of the series, we can see that people finally get behind him, because it’s not good for America – especial in a crisis – if it’s leader fails. I think this effect was unintended, but it does follow a parallel for the current state of affairs our country is in, with many claiming President Trump is not their President.

Following through this what if scenario will be interesting come March, but until then viewers are left on the edge of their seats not knowing which nation or organization is undermining American Hegemony. So if Designated Survivor has been on your radar, it’s about time it becomes front a center before the series gets moving again!