As horrendous as that, our reality, is, what we see in Designated Survivor is worse: the Capitol building is demolished during a State of the Union address, and the President, VP, and his entire cabinet except the Secretary of Housing are killed. And also the Supreme Court, most of the Joint Chiefs, and likely most Senators and Representatives.
This set-up for the designated survivor requires someone who can rise to the task. Who better than Kiefer Sutherland, aka Jack Bauer, to step up - or allow himself to be put up, might be a more apt description. Sutherland's newly minted President Kirkman correctly doesn't have much of the swagger of Jack, but he has Jack's strength, and Sutherland has already made him a memorable character.
Natascha McElhone as the President's wife is also good, playing essentially the same character as she did in Californication (not a President's wife, but the same persona), and it works for Designated Survivor. Kal Penn as a speech writer and the other supporting roles are also apt and well-played.
But the key here is the story. Kirkman has to navigate the potentially disastrous currents of world diplomacy, while the FBI and Federal investigators try to figure out who blew up the Capitol. I'm guessing, based on what we saw tonight, that it's a domestic group.
It's an especially strong scenario, made more acute not only by the terrorist attacks this weekend, but by the fact that we're of course in the final weeks of our very real and harrowing contest for the succession to the Presidency - i.e., the election of 2016. If the attacks this weekend had taken any lives, the debut of Designated Survivor would no doubt have been postponed. But our real campaign for President would have continued, as it should. That's the difference between entertainment (the debut tonight) and real life.
Good for ABC for providing a little more drama to all of this - fortunately, in this case, fictional, which we can sit on the edge of our seats and enjoy.
terrorist squirrels and bombs in NYC