Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone

‘Designated Survivor’ Spoilers: Kiefer Sutherland, Maggie Q, Italia Ricci Reveal Plot’s Intricacies

Unlike the House of Cards, which can be binge-watched on Netflix, the new Whitehouse thriller Designated Survivor offers no such luxury. The drama which airs on ABC every Wednesday and gets uploaded to Netflix on Thursdays, leaving many waiting with a week-long bated breath.

The first two episodes of Designated Survivor did not garner much attention. However, after the airing of the third, there was no looking back. The show which boasts an impressive cast of Kiefer Sutherland, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, Italia Ricci, Kal Penn, Adan Canto, along with other talented actors offers the perspective of many complex minds caught up in a complex situation.

Designated Survivor has aired five episodes so far, each intriguing than the other. However, you will be surprised to know that the Kiefer Sutherland, who played Jack Bauer in the TV blockbuster 24, was not interested in playing the role. In fact, he was on the verge of turning down the “presidential role” after reading 15 pages of the script, he said in a promotional interview for ABC.

“When I read the very first script of David Guggenheim, I wasn’t giving it a serious read. When I was about 15 pages through, I was really [going] through it to kind of apologize to someone who is a friend of mine — Mark Gordon — who produces the show, and explained why I couldn’t do it. I was about 25 pages in and I went ‘Oh no!’ and I went back to the beginning and started reading very seriously. It’s a beautifully written piece,” reminisces Sutherland.

While Designated Survivor reeks of US politics and the White House, Italia Ricci, who plays special advisor Emily Rhodes, says it’s much more than that.

Designated Survivor is not a political drama. It is not about politics so much as it has an element of television for every taste. It’s got the thrilling conspiracy investigation with Maggie Q who is fantastic. It’s got the family drama with Natascha. Inside the Whitehouse is the drama of what is going on. There is underlying sort of lighter moments where you realize what the hell is actually happening. There are moments where Kal does a great job in the pilot of bringing that to life. There is something for everybody. I think the [viewers] are going to come back [for more],” says Ricci.

Designated Survivor is a relevant piece aired just at a time when the US is getting ready for its election. So far, the drama has shed light on the goings-on in the White House and the conspiracies surrounding it. The recent episode Mission throws light on “Room 105” of the Whitehouse, which a layman wouldn’t be aware of. The drama also focuses on the difficult decisions that the President of the United States has to make.

Highlighting the best bits, Sutherland says, “Designated Survivor allows us to explore things that are happening in our country … the ones we certainly—in the last election cycle—have been debating about … why the country is frustrated and we got to look at those issues.”

Unlike her vivacious roles in Nikita or Stalker, Maggie Q in the Designated Survivor plays a calm and confident FBI agent Hannah Wells. Her character is quite challenging and is one of the subplots of the drama. Wells, who is investigating the mass murder at the Capitol, is torn between professional life and personal woes.”Hannah is playing really two sides that are incredibly difficult to her. She has got a job to do but she’s also got a personal loss to deal with. She has to find that happy medium because she cannot let her personal feelings interfere with the job that has to be done,” says Maggie Q in an ABC promotional interview.

Revealing further details about Designated Survivor, Sutherland talks about the politics of it all. “I think the show reveals a very intelligent conversation about the economy, about race relations across the country, about uncertainties abroad—and all those different things.”

“The characters again are so well developed that the show ill be able to represent an intelligent view from the Right and intelligent view from the Left. I always believe that the country works at its best when both political parties are really strong. I think there are arguments to be made that that might not be the case right now. I’d like to be a part of the show that’s gonna show the country in many ways what it can be,” said Sutherland, who plays the reluctant president in Designated Survivor.

[Featured Image by Richard Shotwell/AP Images]