Designated Survivor tells the story of Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), an unassuming Secretary of Housing and Urban development, who is suddenly catapulted to being President of the United States after a mass terrorist attack on the State of the Union address in Washington leaves him – the Designated Survivor – the highest ranking politician in America.
A mix of political drama and anti-terror action, the show immediately drew comparisons to both 24 (in which Sutherland starred as action-hero Jack Bauer) and Aaron Sorkin’s long-running US political drama The West Wing and with international broadcasts on Netflix attracted a loyal fanbase around the world to watch Tom Kirkman’s fragile administration attempt to battle dark and present terrorist plots while keeping American politics afloat.
Is Designated Survivor returning for season 3?
Yes! Although Designated Survivor was dropped by original US Network ABC after an initial two season run, streaming giant Netflix announced in September 2018 that they would make a third season of the show as a “global Netflix Original.”
Kiefer Sutherland, star of the show said at the time: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play President Kirkman for season three of DesignatedSurvivor with Netflix, eOne and Neal Baer. I believe this format will allow us to continue to delve deeply into storylines and issues concerning the American electorate that were not previously possible.”
Seasons one and two are already available to watch on Netflix, with the third to follow in 2019 (more details below). The new run will have 10 episodes and is to be helmed by showrunner Neal Baer.
The first full trailer for Designated Survivor season three teases the realities of President Kirkman’s election campaign. As explained in more detail below, the new episodes are set to see the once-unprepared leader face up to the fact that he may have to fight dirty if he wants to keep his seat in the Oval Office. Watch the video below.
What might happen in Designated Survivor season 3?
The official Netflix synopsis for season three says: “President Kirkman will face a political reality… campaigning. What does it take to make a leader? What price will he be willing to pay? This season will explore today’s world of campaigning, smear tactics, debates, campaign finance and ‘fake news.’ Democracy, as we know it, will hang in the balance.”
“Next season would undoubtedly have to be the beginning of an election [campaign] – just the timing alone would dictate that,” Sutherland exclusively told RadioTimes.com. “And then I think you’re going to have to deal with a character who has to make the decision if he really wants to run in the first place.”
He added: “He’s gone through the loss of his wife. He’s spent less and less time with his children, and the one thing that character valued more than anything at the very opening of that show was his family – and it’s been not that slowly pulled apart. So, there’s more decisions that will have to be made.”
Cast member Kal Penn called the first Netflix season “edgier” than what had gone before as he prepared to film his final scenes.
“Definitely put the kids to bed before watching the new episodes,” he added.
Our last full week filming the edgier @Netflix reboot/Season 3! (Definitely put the kids to bed before watching the new episodes 🤭). Coming soon! pic.twitter.com/nJTNsDjhXV
Who will be in the cast for Designated Survivor season 3?
Kiefer Sutherland will reprise his role as President Tom Kirkman. It is likely he will be joined by Kal Penn (Seth Wright), Adan Canto (Aaron Shore) and Italia Ricci (Emily Rhodes) plus and Maggie Q (Hannah Wells) who all played big parts in the second season of the show.