Designated Survivor Season 4: Everything We Know So Far

Designated Survivor - Is There a Season 4


“Designated Survivor” is a gripping political thriller TV series created by David Guggenheim. The series was ordered to be made by ABC Network, and it premiered in September 2016. It later moved to Netflix for its third season before it was cancelled.


The premise centres on Tom Kirkman, portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland, a low-level cabinet member. He is thrust into the role of President of the United States after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address wipes out the entire government hierarchy.


As the designated survivor, Kirkman must navigate the complexities of the presidency while uncovering the conspiracy behind the attack. The show’s plot is a tense blend of political intrigue, espionage, and moral dilemmas as President Kirkman faces numerous crises both within and outside of the White House.  ”Designated Survivor” received positive reviews for its suspenseful storytelling and Sutherland’s compelling performance.


Critics praised its ability to address timely political issues and its exploration of ethical dilemmas. The series also garnered recognition for its diverse cast and its portrayal of strong female characters in positions of power.


Kiefer Sutherland was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television along with several other awards during its run. It won the Critics Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series.




Official Announcement on Designated Survivor Season 4


Designated Survivor was created by David Guggenheim for the ABC network in December 2015. The series premiered on the channel in September 2016 and received overwhelming praise. Eight days later, it was converted into a full season.


In May of the following year, Designated Survivor was renewed for season two, and it was telecast in September 2017. By this time, the showrunner was changed multiple times due to various reasons.


The series ratings were also declining. Hence, ABC Network cancelled the show in May 2018. The production company, Entertainment One, approached Netflix with a proposal for season three, and it was accepted in September 2018.


Netflix released season three in June 2019 and in the following month, announced that season three was the last season, but all three seasons will continue to be available on Netflix.


The season for its cancellation at Netflix was the problem with the actors’ contracts, they were signed on for a one-year deal only. Netflix announced that season 3 was a satisfactory finale; hence, it would not renew the show for season 4.




Previous Seasons and Episodes of Designated Survivor


The show is a political drama that was full of intrigue, mystery, dirty scheming, assassinations and all. When it premiered in September 2016, the series received high critical and audience reviews.


Initially, it was slated for a season with 13 episodes, but within eight days of its premiere, it received the contract for a full season of 21 episodes. It started out with Tom Kirkman, a US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the designated survivor after the entire cabinet was killed in an explosion at the Capitol building during the State of the Union address.


He becomes a novice president who has to handle the fallout of the explosion, its investigation, and the numerous issues that plagued the nation. The political intrigue wowed the audience and the critics with its bold handling of current issues.


It was renewed for season two, which came out in September 2017 and had 22 episodes. The series continued to tackle more current issues and ramped up the scheming and drama in the political corridors.


At this point, the audience felt that the show did not need to touch on certain burning issues of that period. They were not too happy with the series, and the ratings fell.


While it still had a dedicated fan base, the ratings dip led to its cancellation. Later, Netflix picked up the show for release in June 2019. It only had 10 episodes before it was cancelled again.


This time, however, the showrunner ended the series with a semblance of order and closure on at least a few questions.




Where to Watch the Show


Although the series was created for ABC network, the production company, Entertainment One signed a deal with Netflix. This gave Netflix the right to stream the show across the USA and internationally.


Audiences in the UK and Canada can also view all three seasons of the series on Netflix and Netflix Basic with Ads.




Google Trends Data Analysis of the series


The series Designated Survivor ended in 2019, and after three years, the search trends for the series were low. All the dedicated followers accepted the news that Netflix is not reviving the series anytime soon.


However, in April 2023, an interesting thing happened. After the end of another Netflix Original series, the fans of that show were on the lookout for action-thrillers, and they picked Designated Survivor as binge-worthy.


Designated Survivor found a spot in Netflix’s list of the top 10 most streamed series for April 2023. Despite its genre being a political drama, it has elements of action, suspense and intrigue that the fans loved and selected as binge-worthy.


This revived the search trends for the show during that period, but it has dropped back since then.



Social Media Engagement


On Facebook and X, Designated Survivor enjoys a fair amount of following and attention. Despite the show having ended three years ago, followers are still thirsty for more news and updates on the show.


It created a buzz in September 2022 when one of the actors of the show tragically passed away. Again, in February 2023, during the State of The Union speech, the buzz about the Designated Survivor picked up.


Every time the cast or crew made a new series or took on a project, the fans would closely follow it up for any possible news on season 4 of the show.



Expected Plot of Upcoming Season


Netflix felt that the series Designated Survivor had a satisfactory ending with season 3, but we know that there were some unresolved issues and questions that had potential in season 4.


In this section let us discuss a few of those unresolved issues that have the potential to build a new season. While Tom Kirkman tried his best to tackle issues in a straightforward manner, he also had to resort to some dirty tactics.


The fallout of his actions is yet to be seen. He hid evidence on his opposition leader and had him indicted for a bioterrorism attack. This action alone could lead to his impeachment during his second term as president.


Apart from Kirkman, there were others who were involved in other scandals like the illegal hacking scandal that could lead to the arrest of Lorraine, the campaign manager. Aaron Shore, the ex-chief of Staff and Vice-President-elect, was having relationship issues with his partner Isabelle.


At the end of season three, she broke up with Shore, but we found out that she was pregnant with his child. This could be a potential plot line with the both of them trying to work out their relationship for the child.


These are just the pending issues in the story so far, but considering that President Kirkman was re-elected for his next term, we can see more scandals taking place.



Important characters of Designated Survivor


1. Tom Kirkman

Tom Kirkman


Tom Kirkman, portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland in “Designated Survivor,” is a character defined by his unassuming nature and unexpected rise to power. Initially serving as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Kirkman is thrust into the presidency after a devastating attack kills the entire government hierarchy.


His character is marked by a sense of integrity, empathy and a commitment to the greater good. He grapples with the immense responsibility of leading the nation during a crisis, displaying a thoughtful and measured approach to politics.


Kirkman’s character evolves from a hesitant, inexperienced leader to a principled and determined president who navigates the complexities of power while remaining true to his values. He worked in other popular TV shows like 24, Mirrors, Rabbit Hole, etc.


2. Aaron Shore

Aaron Shore


Aaron Shore, portrayed by Adan Canto, is a significant character who serves as the White House Chief of Staff. He plays a pivotal role in Tom Kirkman’s administration, acting as a close advisor and strategist.


Aaron is a shrewd and politically astute individual with a deep understanding of the intricacies of Washington, D.C. politics. His character often finds himself navigating the challenging balance between political expediency and ethical principles.


Throughout the series, Aaron is a loyal and dedicated confidant to President Kirkman, assisting him in making crucial decisions, managing crises, and maintaining the stability of the nation. His character provides a crucial link between the President and the rest of the administration, adding depth to the show’s portrayal of the inner workings of government.


He also worked in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Narcos, Second Chance, etc.


3. Emily Rhodes

Emily Rhodes


Emily Rhodes, portrayed by Italia Ricci, is a central character known for her intelligence, loyalty, and unwavering commitment to public service. Initially serving as Chief of Staff to Tom Kirkman, she continues to hold a prominent role when he unexpectedly becomes President.


Emily is characterised by her strong work ethic, keen political instincts, and ability to handle high-pressure situations with grace. Her character is also defined by a close friendship with President Kirkman, and she plays a vital role in advising and supporting him as he navigates the challenges of the presidency.


Emily Rhodes represents a strong, capable, and morally grounded presence in the show, embodying the qualities of a dedicated public servant and a trusted confidant. She also worked in The Imperfects, Supergirl, Chasing Life, etc.


4. Seth Wright

Seth Wright


Seth Wright, portrayed by Kal Penn, is a key character known for his role as the White House Press Secretary. Seth is a skilled and charismatic communicator who excels at managing the media and shaping the public perception of President Tom Kirkman’s administration.


He possesses a sharp wit and often uses humour to defuse tense situations. Seth’s character is also marked by his dedication to the principles of transparency and honesty, which sometimes puts him at odds with the more politically pragmatic members of the administration.


Throughout the series, Seth is shown as a loyal and integral member of the President’s team, working diligently to manage the public relations challenges that arise in the turbulent world of politics.


He is known for his roles in the Harold & Kumar franchise, Mira, Royal Detective, American Horror Story, etc.


5. Hannah Wells

Hannah Wells


Hannah Wells, portrayed by Maggie Q, is a central character in the series. She begins as an FBI agent investigating the terrorist attack that killed the U.S. government’s top officials during the State of the Union address.


Her character evolves into a determined and resourceful investigator known for her intelligence and tenacity. Hannah’s impact on the series is significant. She is the driving force behind the investigation into the conspiracy behind the attack and plays a pivotal role in uncovering the truth.


Her character’s pursuit of justice, even in the face of danger, adds an element of suspense and intrigue to the show. Her actions and discoveries help shape the overarching narrative as she unravels a complex web of political intrigue, espionage, and betrayal.


Hannah Wells’ character contributes to the show’s suspenseful and thriller-like elements, making her a key figure in the series.



Important Crew Members and their Work


1. Creator – David Guggenheim

David Guggenheim


The TV series “Designated Survivor” was created by David Guggenheim. While David Guggenheim might not be as widely recognized as some other show creators, his work in the political drama genre has earned him acclaim in the television industry.


Prior to “Designated Survivor,” he was known for his screenwriting work, including the action thriller “Safe House” (2012) and the crime drama “Stolen” (2012). Guggenheim’s fame stems from his ability to craft intricate and suspenseful narratives that delve into political intrigue, conspiracies, and the complexities of government.  ”Designated Survivor” showcased his talent for combining thrilling storytelling with political drama, all set against the backdrop of an unexpected presidential ascension.


His work brought him recognition for creating engaging, thought-provoking, and suspenseful television content.


2. Director – Chris Grismer, Paul McGuigan

Paul McGuigan


“Designated Survivor” is a TV series that features multiple directors over its run. The notable directors associated with the series are Chris Grismer and Paul McGuigan, who directed several episodes of the show. Paul McGuigan is a Scottish director known for his diverse body of work in both film and television. He gained fame for his visually innovative direction in films like “Lucky Number Slevin” (2006) and “Push” (2009).


McGuigan’s work often includes elements of suspense, mystery, and intricate storytelling. Chris Grismer is known for his contributions to the series by adding a unique visual style and storytelling flair to the show. His other notable works include Quantum Leap, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, etc.


3. Writer – David Guggenheim and Keith Eisner

Keith Eisner


“Designated Survivor” had a team of writers who contributed to the series over its run. The prominent figures associated with the show are David Guggenheim and Keith Eisner. Guggenheim is known for his work in political and suspenseful genres, which is reflected in the show’s storyline.


In addition to Guggenheim, the series featured the work of Keith Eisner and a team of writers. Their collective efforts helped craft intricate plotlines, character development, and the overall narrative structure of “Designated Survivor.” Eisner is also known for his work in The Good Wife, FBI, Shark, Law & Order, etc.



Similar Shows and Where to Watch Them


1. Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary


“Madam Secretary” is a political drama television series that aired from 2014 to 2019. Created by Barbara Hall, the show stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who becomes the U.S. Secretary of State.


The series revolves around Elizabeth’s journey as she navigates the complex world of international diplomacy, balancing her roles as a wife, mother, and a high-ranking government official. ”Madam Secretary” is known for its engaging storytelling, addressing real-world political and social issues and showcasing the challenges and decisions faced by those in power.


You can watch the series on Prime Video. The show offers a mix of political intrigue, personal drama, and moral dilemmas, portraying a strong and principled female lead in a position of global influence. It received critical acclaim for its writing and Téa Leoni’s compelling portrayal of Elizabeth McCord.


2. House Of Cards

House of Cards


“House of Cards” is a political drama television series that ran from 2013 to 2018. It is available for streaming on Netflix. Created by Beau Willimon, the show is set in Washington, D.C., and revolves around the ruthless and cunning Frank Underwood, portrayed by Kevin Spacey, and his equally ambitious wife, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright. Frank, a cunning and power-hungry politician, manipulates his way through the ranks of the U.S. government, ultimately aiming for the presidency.


The series is marked by its dark and morally complex characters, intricate political manoeuvring, and exploration of power, corruption, and betrayal. It’s known for breaking the fourth wall as Frank directly addresses the audience, offering insight into his Machiavellian schemes. “House of Cards” received critical acclaim for its writing, performances, and depiction of the dark underbelly of politics.


3. The West Wing

The West Wing


“The West Wing” is a political drama TV series created by Aaron Sorkin that aired from 1999 to 2006. The show is set in the West Wing of the White House and offers a fictionalised behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the U.S. presidency.


The series can be streamed on Max. It primarily follows President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, and his dedicated staff as they grapple with the challenges of governing a complex nation. The series delves into policy-making, political manoeuvring, and the personal lives of the characters. It’s known for its rapid-fire dialogue, intelligent scripts, and idealistic portrayal of public service. 


“The West Wing” explores various political and social issues while showcasing the idealism and dedication of those serving in the highest echelons of the U.S. government. It received critical acclaim for its writing, ensemble cast, and ability to humanise the presidency.


4. Designated Survivor: 60 Days

Designated Survivor: 60 Days


“Designated Survivor: 60 Days” is a South Korean Netflix series based on the American show “Designated Survivor.” The premise centres on Park Mu-jin, the Minister of Environment, who unexpectedly becomes the acting President of South Korea after an explosion kills the entire government leadership during the State of the Union address.


Park Mu-jin, portrayed by actor Ji Jin-hee, is an unassuming and principled civil servant with no political experience. The series follows his tumultuous 60-day tenure as he grapples with the responsibilities of leading a nation in crisis.


Park Mu-jin must navigate political intrigue, make difficult decisions, and uncover the truth behind the attack. “Designated Survivor: 60 Days” combines political drama, suspense, and moral dilemmas while providing a unique Korean perspective on governance and leadership.


5. The Night Agent

The Night Agent


“The Night Agent” is a Netflix series created by Shawn Ryan, and is based on the novel of the same name by Matthew Quirk. This action-thriller revolves around an FBI agent whose job it is to man a telephone in the basement of the White House.


When the telephone finally rings, it brings with it a conspiracy that can rock the whole nation right up to the Oval Office. The Night Agent has to investigate it and get to the bottom of the case.


It stars Gabriel Basso in the titular role as the FBI agent. The series was highly successful and became the third-most-watched debut on Netflix. It was also included in the most-watched series list on Netflix.


The next season will come out in 2024.


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