"Designated Survivor" returns tonight with a bereaved Pres. Kirkman: "To say he’s distraught is an understatement"

Posted on: February 28th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Ben Mark HolzbergWhen ABC’s Designated Survivor went on mid-winter break, it left fans with a doozy of a cliffhanger: Kiefer Sutherland’s President Kirkman find out his wife — the mother of his two children — has died in a car crash.  Designated Survivor returns to ABC tonight, and though the episode takes place 10 weeks after those events, the White House is far from back to normal.

Kal Penn, who plays White House Press Secretary Seth Wright, tells ABC Radio, “Obviously, Kiefer’s character, the president — to say that he’s distraught is an understatement.  Obviously, he has kids, and still has to continue to make decisions as president. So we start to see how that weighs on him.”

“There’s still the conspiracy stuff that’s happening, there’s still the staff having to walk that line between supporting the president and challenging him when he’s making mistakes,” Penn continues.

But about that conspiracy stuff…was the first lady’s death an accident, or is it suspicious?

“I think everything is suspicious,” Penn laughs. “That’s the whole show. You never know who’s responsible for what and why, even episode to episode…So, without giving it away, that’s all I’ll say.”

In addition, there are three new cast members: West Wing and thirtysomething actor and director Timothy Busfield, Michael J. Fox and Sutherland’s former 24 co-star, Kim Raver, are all joining the show.

As for comparisons between Kirkman’s White House and the present administration, Penn says there really aren’t any, and that’s intentional.

“Our show lives in this alternate reality that I think is much more in line with traditionally how these [White House] roles were,” he explains. “And we wanted to be truthful to that, so that no matter what our audience’s political leanings are, they can all enjoy watching our show.”

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