Television

Designated Survivor Cast: Where Are They Now?


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Designated Survivor stood as a remarkable example among those treasured few television shows that possess an undeniable allure, captivating audiences and cultivating a devoted cult following.

Even when ABC passed on another season after running for two, the unyielding adoration was so fervent that Netflix picked it up for a third and final season.

It’s time to embark on a journey, revisiting the stars who illuminated our hearts with their portrayals and what became of them in the years following their presence on this cherished show.

HD Backdrop - Designated Survivor

Keifer Sutherland – Tom Kirkman

Tom was the main protagonist who ascended to the highest political seat in the United States by slim luck.

For the period he was the interim president, and after being elected, he fielded threats from all corners, many of which threatened to destroy him and his family.

Renowned for his captivating performances as the quintessential protagonist in political thrillers, Keifer Sutherland effortlessly commands the screen with an undeniable magnetism.

Especially through his work on the acclaimed series 24, he has carved a distinct niche within the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide.

Kirkman is Back - Tall - Designated Survivor Season 3 Episode 1

After Designated Survivor, Sutherland acted in a couple of movies before joining another political thriller called The Fugitive from the shortlived streamer Quibi in 2020.

He then joined Showtime’s The First Lady, where he portrayed a layered version of the famous American President Franklin Roosevelt. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after a single season.

His latest political thriller is Rabbit Hole, where he plays John Weir. Sutherland brought his A-game to portray John, best described as a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage.

Rabbit Hole took viewers on a wild eight-episode ride that had them questioning everything they saw. His portrayal of Weir was well-received, as the audience could see he was having fun playing the character.

While there is no news about a potential second season, Sutherland stays booked and busy with at least three movies coming out in the near future.

John Assembles the Pieces - Rabbit Hole Season 1 Episode 7

Maggie Q – Hannah Wells

Hannah was the instinctive investigator tasked with uncovering hidden truths about the bombing that set everything off and other subsequent threats.

Her murder was one of the saddest events of Designated Survivor Season 3.

Post-Designated Survivor, Maggie Q acted in films before playing a leading role in Pivoting, a comedy series about three women coping with the loss of their mutual friend.

Hannah Closes In - Designated Survivor

After the death of the said friend, Maggie’s Sarah left her career in medicine to become a bagger in a supermarket.

Unfortunately, the show lacked an audience leading to its cancellation by FOX.

Maggie Q is next set to star in The Family Plan alongside Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan. In The Family Man, a suburban dad must take his family on the run when his past catches up to him.

Kal Penn – Seth Wright

Press Advisor of Dreams - Designated Survivor

Seth Wright was the no-nonsense White House Spokesperson who quelled unfounded rumors from journalists as soon as they could theorize them.

He was among the few people to believe in Tom, which showed in his actions.

Kal Penn has succeeded in talk shows and writing. He had his talk show, Kal Penn Approves This Message, and did a few episodes in popular talk shows such as The Daily Show.

He also wrote a memoir in which he talks about his early days in Hollywood, the struggles he went through as an immigrant, and how he developed a love for NASCAR through his fiancé, Josh.

In the memoir, he also details making his first comedy show, Sunnyside, which was canceled after one season by NBC.

Campaign Trail  - Designated Survivor Season 3 Episode 2

He acted in a few movies before getting on Clarice, a CBS TV show, where he played the character of Shaan Tripathi.

As a federal agent, Shaan collaborates with Clarice on various. His background as a Smithsonian curator allows him to see things other people miss.

Being the talented comedian and actor he is, we will surely see or hear him soon. He is set to voice a character on Jodie, an upcoming animated film.

Adan Canto – Aaron Shore

Aaron was the glue that held Tom’s staff together. He initially worked as the assistant Chief-of-Staff under Emily Rodhes before he was promoted to Chief-of-Staff. In his new position, he oversaw the daily operations of the White House.

No kidding around - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 1

Post Designated Survivor Adan Canto acted in a few movies before landing a leading role on The Cleaning Lady alongside Élodie Yung.

On The Cleaning Lady, Canto plays the extremely sexy but dangerous Arman Morales. Arman is a prodigy for a big-time crime family and is even married to the boss’ daughter.

As fate would have it, he meets Thony, and they start developing feelings for each other, causing a lot of problems in his personal and professional life.

The Cleaning Lady is gearing up for a third season, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Thony and Arman.

Italia Ricci – Emily Rhodes

Easier Times - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 1

Before Aaron Shore became the head chief of staff, he worked under  Emily Rhodes, and he learned a lot from her even though they were competing for the same position.

Post-Designated Survivor, Ricci appeared in a few movies before landing a main role on The Imperfects.

On The Imperfects, she plays Dr. Sydeny Burke, a gifted scientist looking to atone for her past mistakes. The show was unfortunately canceled after a single season, ending the story of Dr. Burke abruptly.

Natascha McElhone – Alex Kirkman

Alex was Tom’s wife, possibly the most affected by the sudden change in her husband’s life. Their marriage suffered a lot before she died on Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 10

Upside down - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 1

McElhone starred in a movie as Carmen before starring in Hotel Portofino for two seasons as Bella Ainsworth.

She later joined Halo and stars as Dr. Catherine Halsey alongside Pablo Schreiber. McElhone was set to play two characters in the show but had to drop the role of Cortana, Halo’s AI, due to scheduling conflicts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Dr. Halsey, McElhone plays a scientist tasked with creating the first Spartan soldiers to fight against the Covenant. Halo was a hit among viewers and was renewed for a second season by Paramount Plus, so we should be seeing Dr. Halsey on our screens soon.

LaMonica Garret – Mike Ritter

Mike was the head of security for Tom and also lent his ear and advice when Tom needed it.

Protector - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 1

Garret had a few guest roles in movies and TV shows post-Designated Survivor. He was then cast in Yellowstone’s spinoff 1883, where he portrayed Thomas for ten episodes before the show ended.

For the time he found himself in, Thomas was an impressive man who had escaped slavery, served in the civil war, and was also a Buffalo soldier. Thomas met Shea in the war, and they later become Pinkerton Agents.

Like most of the performances in the show, LaMonica was praised, and the character was a well-rounded Black man who wasn’t sorely defined by the atrocities of the times he found himself in. He has a minor arc in Prime Video’s hit show, The Terminal List.

Paulo Constanzo – Lyor Boone

Who could forget Boone? He was brought into the Kirkman administration to help fight the battle on social media. Constanzo has had guest roles after Designated Survivor but has nothing new lined up. Maybe he’s waiting for a perfect role, and hopefully, he will come across one soon.

Standoffish Lyor - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 11

Ben Lawson – Damian Renette

Damian met Hannah in Amsterdam while she was undercover, and they became romantically engaged.

After Designated Survivor, Lawson played the courageous Johnny Ryan on Firefly Lane.

Johnny is a former war correspondent who began a sexual fling with Tully but ended up marrying Kate.

Malik Yoba – Jason Atwood

Malik Yoba Photo

Jason was the Deputy Director of the FBI under who Hannah Wells worked. He was the point person for Hannah until he was put in a position where he tampered with the investigation.

After Designated Survivor, Yoba has appeared in several TV shows and movies, the latest being East New York.

Before the untimely cancellation, Yoba played the role of Deputy Inspector Reggie Haywood. Reggie was a veteran cop who had been with the force for over 30 years, earning respect among his colleagues.

Fans of East New York were heartbroken by the decision to cancel the show and launched efforts to get it back on the air.

Tanner Buchanan – Leo Kirkman

The kids are alright - Designated Survivor Season 1 Episode 1

Leo was Tom’s son. He wasn’t prominent on the show but was important to his father. Buchanan found wild success in teen dramas, especially on Netflix. He has played Robby Keene on Cobra Kai for six seasons.

He delivers as Robby, who is Johnny Lawrence’s son. The role demands a lot in terms of physical ability, martial arts skills, and acting capabilities. He was convincing as Robby, and his epic feud with Miguel landed the duo on our characters who hate each other list.

Cobra Kai is very popular among viewers and has been nominated for multiple Emmys in different categories.

Next, he will star in How to Date Billy Walsh alongside Sebastian Croft from Heartstopper and Bridgerton’s Charithra Chandran. He will play Billy Walsh, an American transfer student involved in a love triangle with Croft and Charithra’s characters.

McKenna Grace – Penny Kirkman

McKenna Grace attends the 3rd Annual Hollywood Critics Awards

Penny was Tom’s youngest.

Post Designated Survivor McKenna Grace found great success in Hollywood thanks to her incredible acting talents that she’s been honing since she was six.

She guest-starred in multiple Young Sheldon episodes playing Sheldon’s rival, Penny, who is just as smart as Sheldon, if not smarter.

Viewers sympathized with her character in Young Sheldon Season 6 when it was revealed that Penny was struggling with her parents’ divorce and her grades had been slipping.

She starred as Young Theodora in the first season of Netflix’s hit horror series The Haunting (of Hillhouse).

Mckenna Grace attends the Los Angeles special screening of

She has had multiple movie roles.

One of her latest television roles was on The Handmaid’s Tale as Esther Keyes, one of the child brides who goes against Gilead’s laws. While the treatment of women in the universe the show is set in always causes a lot of mixed negative emotions, seeing Esther in that situation was painful in a different way as she was only just a child.

She also portrayed Jan Broberg in the troubling A Friend of the Family about the subtle nature of child abuse and how it can stealthily infiltrate a family.

Jake Epstein – Chuck Rusnik

Hannah had to have help from multiple people to uncover the deep conspiracy, and Chuck was one of them. He was an FBI agent.

Under the Mistletoe - Mistletoe & Menorahs

After Designated Survivor, Epstein found success in holiday movies, having starred in multiple Christmas and Hannukah movies.

He also appeared briefly in Umbrella Academy.

He has a few movies slated to premiere soon.

Zoe McLellan – Kendra Daynes

Kendra was an attorney in Tom’s administration. She started a relationship with Trey in Designated Survivor Season 2.

McLellan has not been involved in TV much after the show, but who knows? She might be on the next big thing.

•••••

How many cast members have you kept up with over the years?

Which projects of theirs have you watched?

Let us know in the comments section.

Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.

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