Is 'Designated Survivor' Pursuing a '24'-Inspired Romance Storyline?
Is 'Designated Survivor' Pursuing a '24'-Inspired Romance Storyline?
Derek Stauffer
Derek Stauffer
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
There have been many TV presidents. Few, if any, however, have been widowers. This is one reason it was so shocking when Designated Survivor killed off Natascha McElhone's Alex Kirkman, the wife of Kiefer Sutherland's President Tom Kirkman. Yet it appears that the President won't be unattached for long.



As was previously reported, Designated Survivor will be staging a mini-24 reunion in the back half of season 2. Kim Raver, Kiefer Sutherland's co-star from 24, has been cast in the show as new character Andrea Frost. 

While Raver is just set to have a "major arc" for now and hasn't been made a series regular, she does appear to be taking over Natascha McElhone's role on the show, at least slightly. 

There's a natural expectation that Raver and Sutherland's characters will have some romantic chemistry. On 24 they were on-again and off-again lovers. Raver, who be playing an Elon Musk-esque character named Andrea Frost, seems posed to have some romance with Tom Kirkman, if not to become the First Lady. It's an idea that Designated Survivor showrunner Keith Eisner isn't opposed to at all.

When speaking with TVLine, Eisner explained that Designated Survivor doesn't plan on putting Tom into a relationship right away. There will be a small time jump when the show returns following Alex's death but the President won't be in a position to start dating again. 

"Here's what I will say: We don't have an interest in throwing this president into bed with someone else, immediately," Eisner said. "We don't feel that's real, and Kiefer doesn't either. Kiefer feels like [Alex] is his life companion who has been taken from him, and he's not going to just start running around with other people."

At the same time, romance is definitely not out of the picture altogether. "[It] doesn't mean we won't see chemistry with perhaps a person or two, that we won't see the prospect of something on the horizon," Eisner continued. "We're just not going to be doing that immediately -- nor should we."


The coyness of Eisner's responses does make it clear that if everything goes to plan, Raver's character is being set up as the next love interest for the President. Whether they ultimately end up married or not is anyone's guess. But it does seem like courting the President will be a future Designated Survivor storyline for at least one character, Raver's Frost being the most obvious candidate. 

The decision to hold off on that romance, even if it's just initially, does seem to be the right one for the show. Natascha McElhone left Designated Survivor of her own free will because she wanted to pursue other projects. Yet her character and her importance to the show can't just be ignored. The characters and fans need to time to absorb the death of Alex before it makes sense to have Tom be in another relationship.

Yet for President Kirkman to be single for the rest of the series would feel like a wasted story opportunity. After time has passed Designated Survivor should consider having a love interest for their main character. It doesn't necessarily need to be (or should be) Kim Raver's character. Just because the two actors had chemistry on 24 doesn't mean they'll be just as fun to watch on Designated Survivor. The chances are good but it's not guaranteed. 

Still, Alex shouldn't be Tom's last love. Even if Tom planned on spending the rest of his life with her, there's so much more potential for the show in having a romantically unattached President.

But what do you think? Should Tom stay single for the rest of the series? Would you like to see a 24-inspired romance play out on Designated Survivor? Is that too similar and expected? 

Designated Survivor season 2 returns on Wednesday, February 28 at 10/9c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Designated Survivor Facebook page!

(Image courtesy of ABC)