Designated Survivor

Kiefer Sutherland

Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor is an American political drama television series created by David Guggenheim that aired on ABC. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Thomas Kirkman, an American politician named the designated survivor for the State of the Union address, who suddenly ascends to the position of President after an explosion kills everyone ranked ahead of him in the line of succession. Kirkman deals with his inexperience as President while looking to uncover the truth behind the attack.

The project skipped the pilot stage and was ordered straight to series on December 14, 2015, followed by a formal announcement on May 6, 2016. The first episode premiered on September 21, 2016, with a full season order coming eight days later. The series was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2017, which premiered on September 27, 2017. On May 11, 2018, ABC canceled the series.

However, on September 5, 2018, Netflix and Entertainment One (which both held the international & distribution rights to Designated Survivor) picked up the series for a third season of 10 episodes, to be released in 2019 with production being solely handled by Entertainment One.

  • First Aired:  21st September 2016
  • Created By:  David Guggenhelm
  • Kiefer Sutherland: Thomas Kirkman

Designated Survivor

On the night of the President’s State of the Union address, an explosion destroys the United States Capitol building and claims the lives of the President and everyone in the line of succession except for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Thomas Kirkman, who had been named the designated survivor. Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President, unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come.



Designated Survivor Trailer


There are 17 comments on Designated Survivor

  • Avatar Christian Brauckmann on

    Dear Mr. Sutherland,

    I just want to say Thank You for DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. It’s a great pleasure to watch it. The best for your acting and your music.


  • Dear Kiefer,

    Thanks for playing the character of Tom Kirkman. You must wonder sometimes how the fictional characters you play can influence the audience. As someone who is always looking for anyone, but particularly leaders, who are human, and have integrity, AND who are finding ways to act from it, I have just dealt with a very difficult situation very differently than I would otherwise, after watching Tom Kirkman in a particular episode. Weird, no?

    Happy that Netflix and Entertainment One have picked up your series for a third season – congratulations!

    Best regards, Nick

  • Avatar Shannon Willkie on

    I have been a fan since Lost Boys. I just found Designated Survivor on Netflix. Being that my dad was in the Army, I was raised to have great respect for our military and our Nation. For me this is your greatest work yet. Thank you

  • Avatar Bill Thompson on

    The craft of creative writing has now been forced into TV-MA. It’s like the writers already had the script for season 3 and had to add F-Bombs everywhere to match the rating. Even the Presidents daughter was forced to have a potty mouth. The first two seasons had drama and suspense along with incredible multidimensional story lines. The emphasis was character development, exploration and respect with a dash of morality. Now, Dedicated Survivor has lost it’s magic with F-Bombs flying out of young and old alike. There is a saying on Shark Tank when an investor bails… I’m out! Back to Super Natural and Blue Bloods for me. Goodbye Keifer Sutherland I am really a fan.

  • Avatar karen schimelfening on

    Loved it . but the third season i just could not stop thinking about the ending. now what happens to the next group of people? like the vp ex girlfriend? wound be nice to see what happens next . think about finishing the third season. i still think it was great .

  • I enjoyed season one and two. Season three had to ‘spice it up’ with more expletives and sex. The gay sex scene was totally offensive got family viewing- we think people have a choice in their bedrooms,but don’t force me to watch it.
    Dial it down or you’ll lose more of your audience.

  • Mr. Sutherland did a great job. I really liked Designated Survivor and watch the first two seasons a second time. Then I watched the third season. I was very disappointed because there was a change in the language; the use of fowl language. It was appalling and it looked like to me that you were having a contest of how many times you could use the f-word and the gd word! I watch all of season three hoping it would get better. Especially Julie White as Lorraine Zimmer was terribly fowl. YOU CAN DO BETTER. If you have a third season, I sure hope you would tone down on the bad language. I hope and pray that the people in Washington DC are not that fowl. I would hate to think the public would hear just junk. I hope it continues but with less junk. That is part of what is wrong with our country— moral values out the window. What are we teaching our children?

  • Washroom? S3: Ep.7. How many Americans used that word. WTF

  • Apparently Mr. Sutherland is not paying any attention to the opinions voiced on this website. ‘Twould be nice to get his reply.

  • Avatar Harry Jefferson on

    My wife and I enjoyed the first two years of Designated Survivor and looked forward to year three. However after two episodes of fowl language and a gay kiss, all of which are not related to the plots or storyline we stopped watching. Items were obviously added for effect and did not add to the show. We will not watch the rest of the series.

  • Avatar Thabo Mashiloane on

    Who are the script writers for season 3. I don’t know if these people are from the 80’s but using foul language to draw audiences is so not cool anymore. I have watched this series since it first came on Netflix and I start over every season.

    This was a nice family show with no sex or foul language and here comes Season 3 and it makes loyal fans like me want to abort and look for something else on Netflix. The storylines are perfect but the language and sex is not necessary at all. If people want some skin and language then Playboy TV has everything that they need so these script writers must identify their target market and choose who they want as their audience & eyeballs.

  • Just finished watching Season 3 of DS. My wife and I are sad to see it go. It was a great premise and it was wonderfully written, acted and directed. Let’s hope the real people in Washington (and I use the term “real” loosely), leaned a little about how the county should be governed. All the best in your future ventures.

  • Avatar Julie Castin Cordeiro on

    They could at least have built into the gay scene so I could skip it. I was just disgusted by it. Never seen a gay scene and dont think I have to have sex scenes shoved in my face especially because up until now there were no explicit sex scenes! Caught me off guard. The cursing is also bad what on earth happened?

  • I have to agree with everyone here about the offensive language and the totally inappropriate gay sex scene. I heard you say in an interview that that’s how people talk. Maybe in your world, Mr. Sutherland, but not in the majority of our people. I’ll leave you with one positive though. The older you get, the more handsome you get.

  • I’m a few episodes into season 3 but won’t finish. I have to agree with some of the other responders about the gay sex scene and I didn’t think the trans gender story line added anything to the show either. There is a segment of the American population — larger than what Hollywood understands — who believe that what people do in the bedroom shouldn’t be for general viewing. There’s an old adage applicable here that goes like this — just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I imagine your writers think these story lines are edgy and pertinent in our day and time. I would counter that Hollywood and progressive politicians have made it so. We are talking about a very small segment of the population who fit into the transgender or even gay categories. Given the great amount of attention paid to these issues, one would think a large percentage of the viewing public lives that way.
    I enjoyed the first two seasons but given the content of the episodes in season 3, I am not sorry the show has been cancelled.

  • Loved the show — all three seasons. In Episode 10, season 3 seemed to leave us hanging. Was there supposed to be additional episodes?

  • I am from Kenya,I loved the othertwo seasons,Homo sexuality ruined the third..We don’t even talk about it.I was shocked and distressed by the level of such deprived scenes..Even vivid sexual scenes here are a taboo and I like it that way. I am soo sad my best movie of all times was ruined by such inconsiderate actions.

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