Designated Survivor takes a bold leap with “Backfire,” an episode filled with excitement and more questions than answers when an investigative journalist shocks the White House by revealing classified information during a press briefing, leaving Seth struggling to contain the damage from the leaked story.

Meanwhile, Hannah unearths a key connection between MacLeish and the conspiracy. Circles tighten as a new discovery within the conspiracy emerges. Want to know more? Your weekly recap stars now!

After Peter MacLeish’s shocking death and the death of his wife Beth, FBI Agent Hannah Wells realizes that Beth MacLeish knew the FBI was on to her husband and purposely killed him so their plan would continue to go on as originated. Emily, Aaron and Seth all meet with the President and they work together to alert the American people that their Vice-President has been murdered by his own wife.

The President Tells the American People the Horrific News of MacLeish’s Death

Seth meets with the White House press corp and announces the president will be making a statement, where he states of the dire situation the country now finds itself in. He announces that Peter MacLeish has been killed by his own wife, who then turned the gun on herself. President Kirkman explains the version of the story he will stick to for the press; that MacLeish was visiting the grave of a solider he served with in Afghanistan and his wife, with whom he was experiencing marital problems, followed him there.

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During the funeral for FBI Director Jason Atwood’s son, Hannah meets with her boss and expresses her condolences to the family.

Seth faces the press and comes face-to-face with senior journalist Abe Leonard, who reveals he was given information about MacLeish ordering a shoot to kill of the attempted assassin of the president.

Is Kimble Hookstratten the Leak, or Aaron?

Hookstratten is found to be the leak regarding the press finding out about MacLeish’s shoot to kill order, but she turns the tables on Aaron after he reveals in a climactic scene that he told her that information in confidence.


The president asks Aaron to take a break after his lapse in judgment caused an issue with national security through his leak of classified information. He requests Aaron take a week off to recharge his batteries in order to return to his job as Chief of Staff clearheaded. The President then asks Emily to be acting Chief of Staff in Aaron’s absence.

Hannah realizes the story of the conspiracy to take down the White House starts in Afghanistan and heads to jail to visit Corporal Joyner, the man whom MacLeish was meeting when he was killed at Arlington Cemetery. She produces a file from the CIA which shows that the soldiers, including MacLeish, were involved in the killing of women and children in the field. Joyner says that MacLeish saved all of the solders under his command during their Afghanistan tour and that the information in the file is a lie.

After speaking with Joyner, Hannah finds out that MacLeish saves Losano’s life while on their tour of duty together in the Army. Losano is the man who would later attempt to kill President Kirkman. In speaking with President Kirkman, Hannah believes that MacLeish was radicalized after his tour of Afghanistan, a mission that made him a hero which turned him into a traitor.

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Jason’s wife leaves him and moves to Buffalo because of the scandal surrounding the death of their son. He is also stripped of his badge. Hannah wants to help him but he turns her away.

Kimble Hookstratten meets with Abe Leonard, who tells her there is a connection between MacLeish and the shooter and that he is going to find it.

The President Splits from his Family

The president sends his family away to Camp David, which is a secure space for them to live since the White House has been under siege. He is unhappy regarding splitting from his wife and children temporarily, but knows this is the best thing for them since life in the White House is not going the way they planned.

The President addresses the nation with an address that is full of transparency and honesty, hoping to gain the trust of the American people during a time of uncertainty. After his speech, he unhappily returns to an empty White House without the safety of his family around him.

Aaron covertly meets with Charles Langdon as the episode comes to an end.

Designated Survivor airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 10/9c. Want more news? Like our Designated Survivor Facebook page.

(Images courtesy of ABC)

Lucille Barilla

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Lucille has over 30 years of experience as a writer and editor for various entertainment entities, including print and digital publications such as The Inquisitr, Monsters & Critics, Entertainment Daily, She Knows, BuddyTV, Starpulse, and Fashion & Style.