TV Recap + Review: Designated Survivor 1×06-1×09

ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg

Welcome back to my coverage of Designated Survivor. To catch up on previous reviews, click here.

I want to greatly apologize for my absence regarding this show for the past month. November was a particular trying month for me to find time to screen the episodes when they became available. School is a chief reason, but beyond that I have had to take on extra part time work hours this fall to balance my budget for the holiday season. Again, my apologies, but with that said, I am back to recap and review the last few episodes for you, as well as get us all set for next week’s presumably big mid-season finale. To get us all caught up, let me highlight what I thought were the big game changing moments in weeks 6 through 8.


One of the journalists in the White House entourage is introduced as a potential conflicting love interest for Seth Wright.  The journalist’s name is Lisa Jordan. They seem like a great pair with their dialogue featuring smarmy responses toward one another that showcase their respective career prowess as well as their flirtatiousness. Before things can get too heated though, Jordan drops a slight bomb when she asks for a tip regarding what Aaron found out the week prior: is President Kirkman truly Leo’s father?

  • Initially, this story line had some significant intrigue. The choice for both Aaron and Mrs. Kirkman to hide the nature of this story from the President was a bold one and I had hoped it would turn into a more dramatic and emotionally motivated side-plot that could balance out with the ongoing struggles with reestablishing Congress. Sadly, as the question of Leo’s paternity continued to pervade the show, it went from a solid B story with significant intrigue, to a D story causing too much distraction. It was all tied into a little bow with the sweet but cheesy interaction between Leo and the President saying they both did not need to open the letter holding the result of their paternity test. As well, it killed any chance of romance between Lisa Jordan and Seth when she passed the story to another reporter at her paper and lied to Seth saying she had dropped it. With it all being said and done, I’m glad this is over.

Majid Nassar was kidnapped by the Navy SEAL task force that Kirkman had authorized to go and get him. With him in custody and on US soil, they could interrogate him freely. Deputy Director Jason Atwood and Agent Hannah Wells were granted access to him due to their role in the Capitol bombing investigation. They decided to interrogate him based on their currently hidden theories about what really happened. It took some time, but Hannah was able to get Majid Nassar. Not long after though, we found out that he had been poisoned through his food supply. In the following episode, Hannah, using her CIA contact, was able to find out that this mysterious man known as Catalan, was behind the attack on Majid Nassar, as well as the possible key suspect for her investigation of the Capitol attack. As Atwood and Wells dedicate further resources towards their unproven theories, they soon find themselves the target of who they are after. Atwood’s son is kidnapped to keep him from telling the truth about who they know is behind Nassar’s death.

  • This has been the dominant story thread over the past month and I am beyond happy that it has been. It has been through Hannah’s story that I have grown more and more invested. To draw more comparisons with 24, my favourite part of that show was to see when different characters would be forced to come together and interact directly. I have been anticipating that moment all season when finally Wells, hopefully Atwood, and the President can all sit down and be on the same page. That moment still has not happened, but that is why this show has been so engrossing to this point.
  • Deputy Director Atwood is clearly stuck in rough spot. Whoever that woman is, the kidnapper, she has grinded my gears since the moment she stepped on the screen for the first time. She is an easy character to hate from the start because we still don’t know what her, or her co-conspirators, motives are. I think those motives will become a little more clear when we hit the mid-season finale next week, but I’m still in wait and see mode right now.

President Kirkman and his administration over the past few weeks have unfortunately been dealt the short end of the stick in terms of developing plot. The biggest continued event taking place revolves around getting a new congress in place and the cabinet firmly planted. Kirkman and Aaron’s pick for Vice-President is surviving congressman Peter MacLeish.

  • There has been some good drama on this main story, some other congress men and women have proved to be thorns in the President’s side, but the biggest issue with these new revolving characters is that they are only coming in for one episode and then we never see them again. It is giving the show a “villain of the week” vibe that superhero TV shows have been plagued with on the CW. That kind of conflict is not sustainable over the course of the entire season and that will need to change moving forward. Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel already. Again, the shift relies on the information that Hannah has uncovered being revealed to the President. Since Atwood has now “confessed” to the murder of Majid Nassar, (only because he is being blackmailed with his son’s life on the line), these separate threads are beginning to blend together.

Click next to read about this past week’s episode. 

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Grant is an aspiring entertainment journalist, internet personality, and novelist hailing from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. While he completes his degree to accomplish those dreams, you can find him singing Karaoke with friends or tucked away in a corner writing his next masterpiece. You can contact him on Twitter (@grantjonsson) or by email at: