The following contains major spoilers from the Season 3 finale of Designated Survivor on Netflix.
As Season 3 of Designated Survivor drew to a close — and on the eve of Election Day no less! — sitting POTUS Tom Kirkman (played by Kiefer Sutherland) was presented with quite the ethical dilemma. Given how he rationalized the decision he ultimately made, do you support your TV president? Or was he, in fact (and as self-described), “full of s–t”?
Again, big ol’ spoilers ahead….
The conundrum was born of campaign aide Emily Rhodes’ discovery, on sketchy campaign manager Lorraine Zimmer’s work computer, of an illegally recorded phone call between Republican contender Cornelius Moss and his strategist, Phil Brunton. The exchange seemed to confirm that Moss had no idea that Brunton was behind a truly insidious bio-terror attack that would eventually decrease the country’s minority population via sterilization. Emily came across said audio just as Kirkman was appearing before the press to assert his opinion that Moss was in the loop, as suggested by a surreptitiously recorded video of him discussing the problem of red states turning blue due to a growing minority population.
After seeking legal counsel and then delivering the recording to Kirkman with nary a word, Emily came to realize, come Seth’s press briefing on Election Day, that POTUS did nothing with it. He had no plans to retract or amend his statement against Moss.
In his (weak) defense, Kirkman told shrink Dr. Adam Louden, “What if I was wrong? What if it had been staged and strategically released?” — though the fact that the call was never leaked to the press ran counter to that theory.
Kirkman then argued that, though not directly involved in the genocidal scheme, “Moss is in league with the conspirators in a larger sense,” having “accepted huge amounts of money from one” and “paid a lavish salary” to another. “These men’s views are widely know,” he asserted to his shrink. “Moss knew exactly who he was getting into bed with.”
Lastly, Kirkman contended that Moss did not deserve to win, seeing as he “cynically pivoted” his campaign to battle a sitting POTUS and the (practically invisible) Democratic candidate. “He rebranded himself a hardline conservative, surrounded himself with bigoted zealots…,” said Kirkman. “He didn’t believe in their nativist bulls–t but he knew the hardline conservatives would vote in a bloc… and that might be enough to win.”
But was Kirkman truly punishing Moss for dishonestly representing himself to voters? Or was Kirkman being dishonest with himself?
“I wanted to win,” Kirkman said, after giving the doc’s question due consideration.
But are you, the Designated Survivor viewer, copacetic with how Kirkman won the election and stayed in office? Or did he cross a line that colors your view of him moving forward (into any potential Season 4)? Cast your vote in this poll, then let the debate rage below!