Can Kiefer Sutherland still handle terrorism in ‘Designated Survivor?’

08.30.16 12 months ago

Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes, and clips and puts it all in perspective.

“There are times when we make history, and there are times when history makes us.”

These are the awful last words of the U.S. President giving his State of the Union Address in Designated Survivor. It's quite a hacky speech, I gotta tell ya. And then — KABOOM! Capitol Hill is destroyed. And one man is left standing. Kiefer Sutherland, a low-level cabinet member assigned to not be on Capitol Hill in case of this very occasion. Now he must assume the mantle of the Presidency!  

And immediately, people are worried about it? Him? It's like they've never seen a middle-aged white man become President before. Why not him? We learn that he was fired the morning before this whole thing went down. Was he fired for writing the President's speech? Because that makes sense. Is it because he's wearing a Cornell sweatshirt? Does no one like Cornell in this world? What do you want from this guy, people? They're acting as if this is David Arquette or something. 

There's a meta moment when Kal Penn's character admits he doesn't think Kiefer Sutherland is fit to be President. Kal Penn actually worked in the White House. So he would be a reasonable judge. And if he were telling this to actor Kiefer Sutherland, I could see his point. I mean, he really doesn't have the experience in this area. But he's telling Kiefer Sutherland's character, who seems perfectly capable, even if ideally he'd take off his Cornell sweatshirt for the swearing in ceremony. 

The big concept is in the pilot. After that, it's a story of a President who didn't get elected taking on terrorists. Within a few episodes, the circumstances behind his Presidency may not matter, at least dramatically, because the terrorists are a much bigger issue. Can the series hold up, the further it gets away from the catalyst event? 

Will you see this show? Tell me!

Around The Web