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Kiefer Sutherland returns to TV in 'Designated Survivor'

Posted at 10:41 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 22:41:34-04

In his return to television, Kiefer Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level cabinet member suddenly appointed by the president after an attack on the U.S. Capitol during the State of the Union.

In the series, Kirkman will struggle to keep the country and his own family from falling apart, while navigating the political arena and searching for the attack suspect.

"Designated Survivor" airs Wednesday Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. on ABC2

The designated survivor is an individual in the presidential line of succession, usually a member of the cabinet, who arranged to be at a physically distant, undisclosed location when the president and the country's other top leaders are gathered at a single location. In the case of a catastrophic event, killing both the president, vice president, the surviving official, possibly the designated survivor would become the acting president. 

The practice of naming a designated survivor originated during the Cold War amid fears of a nuclear attack. Only cabinet members who are natural born citizens over age 35 who have resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years are eligible to be designated survivors. Since 2005, members of Congress have also served as designated survivors.

“Designated Survivor” stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Adan Canto as Aaron Shore, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter with Kal Penn as Seth Wright and Maggie Q as Hannah Wells.