Designated Survivor Trolled 24 Fans Pretty Hard This Week, Damn It

Matt Webb Mitovich
TVLine.com

ABC’s Designated Survivor this week not only invited President Kirkman to weigh in on the kind of interrogation technique that Jack Bauer did on the regular, it also firmly steered its FBI subplot into 24 territory.

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With Al-Sikar chief Majid Nassar in custody, there now is the matter of extracting from him the sort of intel that his life was spared for during the Navy SEAL raid. Meeting with the Joint Chiefs, Kirkman is told that they might have better success if Nassar was moved to a black site for (ahem) “enhanced interrogation” — or as Jack Bauer called it, “Between 3 A.M. and 4 A.M.” Kirkman, however, nixes the suggestion, especially when FBI Deputy Director Atwood promises results using the usual “rapport-based” questioning.

Oh, and Atwood’s team has “24 hours” to get the job done, Kirkman points out. (On-screen digital countdown clock not included.)

As if the FBI needed further incentive, Atwood informs Agent Hannah Wells that Kirkman is eyeing McLeish for the VP slot — so if Al-Sikar was in fact not behind the Capitol attack, but the congressman somehow was, they better confirm that, and quick. Nassar puts up a tough poser act at first, maintaining that his organization, which usually just lamely takes credit for others’ work, orchestrated the D.C. attack. But when Wells tricks him into avowing that McLeish was meant to die like everyone else, the jig is up, since they know the congressman was purposely spared via the hidden bomb shelter.

So from whom did Nassar get the order to claim credit? He zips his lips, until Wells and Atwood threaten to have his family (diabetes-afflicted Mom included!) ousted from Dubai and sent to Pakistan. He then coughs up a singular, cryptic name — Catalan — which doesn’t churn up a single thing on the FBI computers. Worse, that trail hits a sudden dead end when Nassar turns up 86’d in his cell, very much in the style of The Short-Lived 24 Snitch.

Elsewhere in the episode:

* Surely to the delight of some of the series’ critics, Kirkman finally got around to setting up a new Senate, and to that end rounded up all the governors at the White House for a confab. No sooner do you think, “That sounds like an awfully bad idea, giving the Bad Guys a chance to take out another batch of leaders in one swoop,” an AR15-toting gunman peppers the meeting room’s outside wall with a hail of bullets. Secret Service agent Mike takes out the shooter, but not before a bullet slips past his Kevlar and sends him to the hospital… for no apparent storyline reason.

* Still more drama from the governors! Before they “give” Kirkman the Congress he wants, they want to put him “on trial,” to better get to know him. When the answers he offers up rub some people the wrong way, Arizona’s Governor Nichols speaks for the many in saying his role as the Designated Survivor that fateful night was no “honor” but “a formality “— so why should he be their president? Tom at first has no answer, but comes back at them with a speech that sufficiently moves the needle — if, that is, he suspends any and all immigration (!!!) for the time being. That’s a tough pill to swallow, even for First Lady Alex, who just brokered Missouri’s receipt of 300 Syrian refugees that had been turned away by Florida (always Florida). Instead, they get rerouted to freedom in (dreamy sigh) Canada.

* Oh, because the FBI was stalling on vetting McLeish, Aaron went ahead and had his P.I. look into the congressman’s background — and found zero red flags. Will Kirkman forge ahead and announce his pick, before the FBI gets to weigh in with their suspicions??

* Press secretary Seth struck a spark with Chronicle reporter Lisa, only to have their first attempt at “drinks” waylaid by a bit of business: her quoting a source as saying that First Son Leo isn’t Kirkman’s kid.

What did you think of “The Interrogation”?

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