Designated Survivor Kal Penn Cast ABC

ABC's Kiefer Sutherland Thriller Adds Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Italia Ricci, More

ABC’s Kiefer Sutherland-fronted drama Designated Survivor is fleshing out the world of its unlikely POTUS, with the casting of Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Italia Ricci and Natasha McElhone.

The project, which received a straight-to-series order in December, centers on Sutherland’s Tom Kirkman, a lower-level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the line of succession.

Penn (House) will play Kirkman’s speech writer, Ricci (Chasing Life) his chief of staff. Nikita alum Maggie Q has been cast as the lead FBI agent investigating the D.C.-shaking bombing, while McElhone (Californication) plays Tom’s wife.

Penn — who followed up his House rotation by serving as associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement — also has a consultant credit on the series.

David Guggenheim (Safe House) penned the script and will serve as an EP alongside Simon Kinberg (The Martian) and Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy).

As if “President Kiefer Sutherland” hadn’t sold you already, are you now even more likely to check out Designated Survivor whenever it premieres?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. johnhelvete says:

    Even more interesting, Penn is going to receive a consulting credit on the series.

  2. Dean says:

    I vote they air this along side Quantico.

  3. Mary says:

    Guess that means Siobhan Smythe/Silver Banshee won’t be hanging around National City for very long or only be seen occasionally after this season of Supergirl.

  4. JJ says:

    Kind of wish Maggie Q was playing Kiefer’s wife. We need more interracial married couples on TV and it would be fascinating to watch the challenges of the first Asian-American First Lady. Even more if she was a former soldier because you can’t have Maggie Q and not let her kick ass.

  5. ABG says:

    Love Maggie Q, hope this is good.

  6. ben says:

    If its got Maggie Q, I’m watching. Still miss Nikita and lamenting the fact that Stalker was cancelled. Hoping this sticks around for a while.

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Good cast they got for the show. Can’t wait to see the trailer for the show in May!

  8. Kat says:

    So it’s King Ralph, or a terrestrial Battlestar Galactica? :D Could be REALLY interesting: the main character thrown in at the deep end; the ramifications of the attack; unfriendly countries taking advantage; shifting allegiances from other countries (whether sudden support out of pity or distancing themselves); potential of unrest within the country; probable war against the attackers/their support network; and even just the upheaval of the large number of by-elections to replace dead politicians, and the affect on the family, etc.

  9. Olivia says:

    I was interested but now I’m definitely in.

  10. Rene says:

    Maggie Q,Kiefer Sutherland! What more do you need?! Was going to watch anyway but they just made it better. JJ’s right what a great couple these two would make

  11. Sarah9 says:

    Maggie Q :)
    I’m definitely watching!

  12. Brock says:

    LOVE the casting choices.

  13. I’ll watch it for Kiefer. Truly not interested in the rest of the case. PS. Penn more recently was in the ill-fated Battle Creek.

  14. Maggie says:

    Especially with Kalpen!

  15. Jen says:

    Have Tom Clancy’s people threatened to sue yet? Kiefer would make a better Jack Ryan than Chris Pine did, though.

  16. JT says:

    Wonder why the changed the wife. In the script she was Latina.

  17. Jooshua says:

    This sounds awesome, but the name is a little odd. They should’ve called it ‘Succession’.

  18. Blue Note says:

    Maggie Q and Keffer S.? COUNT ME IN

  19. suz in Atlanta says:


  20. B. says:

    Hope it goes up against the new “24”.

  21. You mean Jack Bauer and Nikita in one series? Damn the terrorists are screwed

  22. clarissa says:

    Given our current choices maybe we could get him to really run for president