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Tribeca TV Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, 'Designated Survivor,' Season 2 series premiere
Kiefer Sutherland in 'Designated Survivor,' Season 2 series premiere at Tribeca TV Festival (Alyssa Grinder)

Tribeca TV Festival: ‘Designated Survivor’ Series Premiere Second Season

Tribeca TV Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, 'Designated Survivor,' Season 2 series premiere
Kiefer Sutherland in ‘Designated Survivor,’ Season 2 series premiere screening at Tribeca TV Festival (Alyssa Grinder)

Tribeca TV Festival screened the upcoming season’s television programs. Additionally, Tribeca TV screened premieres and new season episodes. Notably, the fall festival extended Tribeca TV April in a standalone event. Designated Survivor screened Sunday, 24 September. As a point of fact the excited audience applauded before and after the event. Afterward, some of the cast joined in a lively Q & A. Maggie Q (Hannah Wells), Kal Penn (Seth Wright), Paulo Costanzo (Lyor Boone), Italia Ricci (Emily Rhodes) joked about pizza and other details. Incidentally, Kiefer Sutherland plays a clever chess game.

Because the second season begins Wednesday night on ABC, the audience rocked the screening. Indeed, the series receives my two thumbs up.

To sum up season one, a bomb killed the president and it destroyed the capital. All in line for the office including the VP have been killed. Tom Kirkman (Sutherland) sworn in as president attempts to rebuild quickly. However, his political critics claim he spent too many billions doing it. Kirkland believes the citizens’ morale needs improvement. Thus, Chief-of-Staff Emily suggests quirky genius Lyor will solve the president’s image problems. Kirkland brings on Lyor as a Political PR manager. And Emily shares with W.H. staff, Lyor is on probation. In other words if he creates problems, he’s gone.

Designated Survivor, Tribeca TV Festival, Season 2 season premiere, Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland in ‘Designated Survivor,’ Tribeca TV Festival, Season 2 series premiere (Alyssa Grinder)

Simultaneously, FBI agent Hannah searches for Patrick Lloyd. Enemy of the state Lloyd stole the nuclear codes. Problematically, Lloyd plans to sell them to the highest bidder. Thus, when Hannah runs into a gorgeous man following her, she thinks he is Lloyd’s side-kick. However, when she tricks him and beats him up, she realizes he is British Intel. All in all it is surprising that the British didn’t inform the FBI they are also after Lloyd.

Meanwhile, back at the oval office, Seth considers resigning. Additionally, Lyor is a pain in the neck. And everyone on the W.H. staff from Emily to Seth to Aaron dislike him. While this conflict worsens, Ukrainian nationalists hijack a Russian Air flight. The president tells staff to call in the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine. Around that time he looks at the passenger list. Sadly, a friend from the past sits on the hijacked plane. Thus, Kirkland has a personal stake in stopping the hijackers. Also, Lyor tells him his polls keep tanking. It would seem that the crisis holds a political stake for Kirkland, also. Will he fail his country?

Strangely, when the ambassadors meet with negotiators, things fall apart. Additionally, it appears there is a hidden agenda on both sides. While both sides remain at a stalemate, the nationalists make demands. First, they want money. Then they change their demands. Next, they threaten to kill passengers one by one. In the meantime researchers bring Kirkland evidence that helps. Finally, Kirkland meets with both ambassadors. Then he gives them an ultimatum. Ironically, what he says has currency for us today.

Designated Survivor, Tribeca TV Festival, Season 2 series premiere
‘Designated Survivor,’ Tribeca TV Festival Season 2 series premiere (Alyssa Grinder)

In the meantime Hannah and British Intel gain on Lloyd. Hannah believes they will catch him soon. Finally, they will recover the codes.

Notwithstanding, Kirkland’s  diplomatic skills shine. However, a tragedy does occur. Ultimately, he cannot escape loss. Though upset, Kirkland moves on with the help of his wife Alex. Ironically, his staff meets with him to suggest he fire Lyor. Then a twist happens. In spite of Lyor’s quirks, Kirkland decides to keep Lyor. Because Lyor suggests a new theme for the country, Kirkland approves. Hence, the W.H. staff back off. Lyor appears to be the new “kid at the White House.”

Designated Survivor, Maggie Q, Paulo Costanza, Tribeca TV Festival Q & A Season 2 premiere screening
Maggie Q, Paulo Costanzo in ‘Designated Survivor’ Q & A after Season 2 premiere screening at Tribeca TV Festival (Carole Di Tosti)

In conclusion season two pleases. Also, watchers may want our current president to behave Kirkland. Even though writers wrote something that actually happened and had to change it last season, this season looks different.  However, one never knows. And there may be rewrites because reality is breached. Notably, the plot has many similarities to today. But as Kal Penn suggests, the show is an alternate universe. Indeed, he should know. He worked with the Obama administration.

Italia Kal Penn, Tribeca TV Festival, Season 2 series premiere screening Q & A, Designated Survivor
Italia Ricci, Kal Penn in ‘Designated Survivor’ Q & A, Tribeca TV Festival Season 2 series premiere screening (Carole Di Tosti)

Afterward, during the Q & A, cast shared jokes. Interestingly, the show films in Canada. And Paulo and Italia come from Canada. It is no wonder Kal teases Italia about studying her role as an American Chief-of-Staff.

On the other hand the writers remain in California. As a point of interest Maggie Q said no one influences the writers. They are never seen. Toward the end the cast discussed Sutherland as a fine team leader. Moreover, they joked about Sutherland’s gambling at chess for fun. An interesting additional point is that Maggie Q talks to FBI agents routinely. Why not? After all, Maggie wants Hannah to appear real.

To conclude if you haven’t seen Designated Survivor, the acting is spot-on. Give it a look-see. Season 2 begins  27 September, Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.





About Carole Di Tosti

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is a published writer, playwright, novelist, poet. She owns and manages three well-established blogs: 'The Fat and the Skinny,' 'All Along the NYC Skyline' ( 'A Christian Apologists' Sonnets.' She also manages the newly established 'Carole Di Tosti's Linchpin,' which is devoted to foreign theater reviews and guest reviews. She contributed articles to Technorati (310) on various trending topics from 2011-2013. To Blogcritics she has contributed 583+ reviews, interviews on films and theater predominately. Carole Di Tosti also has reviewed NYBG exhibits and wine events. She guest writes for 'Theater Pizzazz' and has contributed to 'T2Chronicles,' 'NY Theatre Wire' and other online publications. She covers NYC trending events and writes articles promoting advocacy. She professionally free-lanced for TMR and VERVE for 1 1/2 years. She was a former English Instructor. Her published dissertation is referenced in three books, two by Margo Ely, Ph.D. Her novel 'Peregrine: The Ceremony of Powers' will be on sale in January 2021. Her full length plays, 'Edgar,' 'The Painter on His Way to Work,' and 'Pandemics or How Maria Caught Her Vibe' are being submitted for representation and production.

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