One interesting “what if” in the case of a government procedural story has been “what could possibly happen if a country’s head of state/government is wiped out along with all of his possible successors along the line, except for one guy on the list?” Veteran writer Tom Clancy has touched on that with his Jack Ryan character, who became US President after a suicide attack on the Capitol killed all other leaders above him. ABC's political drama “Designated Survivor” goes on in this same vein, starring actor Kiefer Sutherland of “24” fame to boot.

Explosive premise

Just as stated, the series begins with a terrorist strike killing the President and most of his line of succession, save for the so-called “designated survivor," the one successor deliberately set away from the others in case of such a scenario. The first half of the season showed the trials and tribulations of lowly Cabinet secretary Tom Kirkman (Sutherland) in the first few harrowing days of being thrust into leadership and rebuilding a gutted government. The series went on a three-month break following the cliffhanger shooting of would-be VP Peter MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman) at his swearing-in ceremony. Now, on Wednesday, March 8, the story picks up where it left off from there.

Some viewers of “Designated Survivor” even noted certain similarities regarding the idea of a complete political outsider finding himself in the White House and learning how to lead a nation – at times by the seat of his pants – as something akin to the case of President Donald Trump. It’s a tenuous comparison at best due to the circumstances alone, and surely ABC didn’t have it in mind despite the series premiering in September of 2016.

Still, the newbie series did manage to draw attention, with 13.5 million viewers before the December break.

After the crisis

There was a running plotline throughout the first half of the season where President Kirkman’s government and agencies are pursuing the masterminds behind the Capitol bombing that put him in this position.

Kiefer Sutherland however reveals that in the second half, the story will then focus on his character’s life and family, and how they have been affected by his being President of the US with something of a free hand in forming an administration. This direction coincides with the series getting a new executive producer in Jeff Melvoin. He elaborates that the story was composed of three aspects: the conspiracy thriller, the political education, and family drama; the latter two were prominent in the past episode, and the third will figure more in the upcoming ones. “Designated Survivor” returns to ABC on March 8.