Sep. 21, 2016
Returning Series
60 min.
ABC TV Network

Top Contributors

Designated Survivor tv show photo

Designated Survivor

A low-level cabinet member is suddenly appointed President of the United States after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.

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Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • This will be the second collaboration between Kal Penn and Kiefer Sutherland since 24 (2001).
  • Both Kal Penn and Italia Ricci guest starred in How I Met Your Mother and House (2004).
  • Designated Survivor was officially picked up to series on Friday, May 6, 2016. Although it was ordered straight to series back in January by ABC, Deadline reported that ABC still had the option to not go forward with the series.
  • Kiefer Sutherland's character Tom Kirkman is the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when he becomes the designated survivor. In the TNT Drama The Last Ship, Mark Moses' character Jeff Michener was also the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when he becomes the designated survivor in Season 2.
  • The premise of this series is similar to the plot of two of author Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders.
  • Kal Penn, who plays a White House staffer in this show, has actually worked as a White House staffer in his real life. In 2009, his character on House was killed off so that Penn could take a job as Associate Director of the Obama administration's White House Office of Public Engagement (working there under his birth name, Kalpen Modi). He took a leave from that job in June 2010 to film A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas and returned to the White House after filming ended, in November 2010. He also worked for Obama's reelection campaign and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
  • Kiefer Sutherland originally wasn't interested in starring in another television series, after his eight season run on 24 and the limited series 24: Live Another Day, but changed his mind after reading the script for the pilot and was blown away at how good it was.
  • LaMonica Garrett (Mike) and Adan Canto (Aaron) have similar names to two main 24 characters playing opposite roles - Chief of staff and secret service agent.
  • Abu Fayed was the "bad" guy in Season 6 of "24." Danny Fayed was the name of the kid killed in "Designated Survivor."
  • President Tom Kirkman has used the term "Damn it" 2 times in the first 5 episodes of Designated Survivor. That was a go to line for Jack Bauer in every season of 24.
  • Episode 2 names the late FBI Director as "Jacobs". In the early books/movies in the Jack Ryan-series by Tom Clancy the FBI Director is called "Emil Jacobs". Might be a tribute to the author of the books that probably inspired this interesting show.
  • Kevin McNally (Harris Cochrane) appeared in the final episode of 24: Live Another Day as the Russian agent who takes Jack Bauer to Russia
  • Virginia Madsen's brother, Michael Madsen also worked with Kiefer Sutherland in four episodes of 24
  • Natascha McElhone and McKenna Grace play mother and daughter in Designated Survivor. They both starred in Mr Church (2016) but had no scenes together. Natascha was McKenna's grandmother in the movie.
  • Jail scene in Season 1, Episode 6 filmed in the Segregation Unit of the Metro Toronto West Detention Centre which has been recently torn down.
  • Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on the show, previously played a character named Ben Carson in Mirrors (2009). In 2016, the same year the pilot of the show was released, Ben Carson was officially nominated (& subsequently sworn in) for the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • In episode 2, in the White House corridors, we can hear the 24's office ringtone.
  • SPOILER: In episode 9 (season 1) the document shown at 11:30 has a spelling mistake below the signature: "Peter MacLeish, Captian United States Rangers."
  • SPOILER: Ashley Zukerman plays a character on the show who becomes the Vice President. In real life, Zukerman is 33, two years too young to serve as Vice President.
  • Second ABC political series to promote a speechwriter to press secretary. "Commander in Chief" (2005-2006) was the first.
  • SPOILER: S1 E12: President Kirkman utters the statement, "What a monster," upon learning that Vice President MacLeish is part of the conspiracy. The same phrase is used by each President portrayed in the series "24".
  • Geoff Pierson, who plays former President Moss, played President Keeler on 24. Keeler was the president who beat Palmer in the election, but ultimately died in Season 4 and his VP, Charles Logan, was sworn in. Pierson and Sutherland's characters barely interacted on 24.
  • SPOILER: Mariana Klaveno the redhead that kidnapped FBI director, Atwood's son also worked together with Maggie Q (Hannah Wells) in the show, Stalkers
  • Uses the same set for the oval office as House of Cards
  • many of the news reporters are actual news personalities on WNEP-16 ABC affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • In April 2017, cast member Kal Penn tweeted a close-up photo of an on-set prop, a set of white boards with post-it notes intended to display a breakdown of "Yea" and "Nay" votes. Penn revealed that several of the senators presented as votes on the board come from nonexistent states: a senator named "Penna" is listed as being from a state abbreviated "AV," and one named Engram is from a state abbreviated "VR." Neither of these are abbreviations for US states.
  • SPOILER: This is the second time Maggie Q has been in a TV show or movie involving the United States Capitol Building being blown up. The other is Live Free or Die Hard (although the Capitol in that movie is a model).
  • Was so highly anticipated that the pilot's ratings (2.24 rating/18-49 demo with 10.037 million viewers) were almost twice the ratings of Nashville (2012)'s fourth season premiere in fall 2015 (1.22 rating/18-49 demo with 4.91 million viewers). However, Nashville's pilot four years earlier had 2.8 rating (18-49 demo) with 8.93 million total viewers. Both pilots aired on ABC on Wednesdays.
  • General Cochrane requests that President Kirkman instruct the U.S embassies to go to DEFCON 2 (Defense Condition 2). The U.S military has not used DEFCON alerts since the 1990s. The U.S military currently uses FPCONS (Force Protection Conditions).
  • SPOILER: The episode contains a meeting between the President and the Iranian ambassador. The US has not had formal diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980. Because of this, there is no ambassador to the US from Iran.

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