“Designated Survivor” a complex thriller worth the watch

MORGAN LESTER, Evergreen columnist

Capitol Hill is a smoldering pile of ash. The president and Congress have been blown to smithereens, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is now our president.

That is the premise of “Designated Survivor”, where the Capitol is blown up as President Richmond gives his State of the Union speech, and the designated survivor, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman, is thrown at the helm of the nation. The story follows this idealist man as he attempts to rebind the country, restore confidence in the government, and find those behind the heinous attack on the Capitol.

Overall, Kiefer Sutherland does wonderful in the role of Tom Kirkman, the good guy with a backbone, the ethical badass. The plot, while a little out there, is one that easily wraps up the viewer; from the fast-paced pilot, to the clues dropped as the conspiracy deepens, and more attacks rock Washington and the nation. The characters are well balanced, and continually face down each challenge as the story presses on, and we learn more about them and the world around them.

The conspiracy is not the only plot point, however, as Kirkman is constantly being bombarded with issues across the country, from round-ups of Muslims in Michigan, to facing down the governors of each state to put together a Congress. There is plenty of intrigue that keeps the show moving, and adds a plethora of subplots that interweave with each other, sometimes merging as questions get answered, and new ones are raised as each day passes.

Another portion of the show I have come to appreciate is that, while a good bit of focus is given to Kirkman, the other characters that aid and work against him are given equal development. Take, for example, Hannah Wells, an FBI agent who is the first to question whether everything is as it seems, in regard to the attack on the Capitol. She receives a fair bit of focus and development, and is kept separate from Kirkman for a fair amount of the first season.

While it is not entirely perfect, and at times can seem a little idealistic, “Designated Survivor” is a fun, fast-paced thriller that has many a twist and turn as the plot dives deeper and the conspiracy thickens. If you’re looking to binge, and make Hulu (P.S., that’s where you can find it) question your health, this is one to watch. The second season is already broadcasting, and looks like it has much of the same thrills as the first season does.

Morgan Lester is a freshman architectural studies major from Leavenworth, Kansas. He can be contacted at [email protected].