Is Recreating 24's Romantic Past the Plan for Designated Survivor's Future?

Designated Survivor Tom Widower Romance

Will ABC’s Designated Survivor take a(nother) page from 24‘s playbook and mine one of that Kiefer Sutherland-fronted drama’s love stories for future fodder?

After all, if Designated Survivor Season 1 was equal parts Battlestar Galactica and 24 (with a splash of Dave thrown in), and this fall’s run was straight West Wing, the events of the midseason finale — in which President Tom Kirkman’s wife, Alex (played by exiting cast member Natascha McElhone), was killed in a car crash — would seem to set the series on course to evoke Michael Douglas’ The American President.

Add to that the none-too-small fact that Kim Raver is set to debut on the ABC series in the back half of Season 2 (as an Elon Musk-type tech entrepreneur), and you have the makings of a reunion ripe with potential. (Raver’s Audrey Raines and Sutherland’s Jack Bauer of course were on-again/off-again lovers across several seasons of 24.)

“A nice friendship will be struck up there,” Designated Survivor showrunner Keith Eisner told TVLine of Raver’s character meeting the widowed POTUS, at some point following the 10-week time jump that occurs in the next episode, airing Wednesday, Feb. 28.

But as for any temptation to lean into the romantic chemistry Raver and Sutherland shared on 24, Eisner offered this: “Here’s what I will say: We don’t have an interest in throwing this president into bed with someone else, immediately. 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.”

Looking further down the road, however, one might see a variation on the sweet President Andrew Shepherd/Sydney Ellen Wade romance that delicately bloomed in The American President. Kirkman taking the time to mourn his missus and respect their tragically truncated marriage “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 allows. “We’re just not going to be doing that immediately — nor should we.”

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