Tonight, a brand new episode of ABC’s Designated Survivor airs. You’re going to love it! Last week in Los Angeles, I saw tonight’s show “Family Ties.” If you don’t know much about the show, this political drama is set in a time when at the State of the Union address, an explosion kills the United States president. Everyone in the line of succession dies too. Thomas Kirkman, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is named the designated survivor. He is sworn into office, unaware of what is still to come.

Designated Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland, Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, and Italia Ricci. Photo credit: ABC

Designated Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland, Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Natascha McElhone, and Italia Ricci. Photo credit: ABC

Tonight’s “Family Ties” Episode of Designated Survivor

I can’t give away any spoilers, but this is one of my favorite episodes that I’ve seen. The episode shows the relationships between the president and his son, a teenager and his girlfriend, the president and the public, among countries, and the president with his mother in law.

The President And His Son

My favorite part was the president’s son. He brings authenticity to the episode. I enjoyed watching him trying to be a normal kid, while learning to deal with what it’s like living in the White House.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR - “Family Ties” - When a Turkish activist ignites protests in the U.S., Turkey’s president demands his extradition while the first family unknowingly finds themselves in the center of a battle that could threaten Leo’s future, on ABC’s “Designated Survivor,” airing WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST). (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR – “Family Ties” – When a Turkish activist ignites protests in the U.S., Turkey’s president demands his extradition while the first family unknowingly finds themselves in the center of a battle that could threaten Leo’s future, on ABC’s “Designated Survivor,” airing WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST). (ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg)
TANNER BUCHANAN

Interview with Italia Ricci

Our night of interviews at the Disney ABC office was an awesome way to meet women who are making their career in Hollywood happen. From the cast of Designated Survivor, we interviewed Italia Ricci. She stars as Emily Rhodes, Secretary Tom Kirkman’s chief of staff. Her role as a powerful woman is very inspiring for young women.

L-R: ADAN CANTO, ITALIA RICCI, KIEFER SUTHERLAND Photo Credit: (ABC/Ian Watson)

L-R: ADAN CANTO, ITALIA RICCI, KIEFER SUTHERLAND
Photo Credit: (ABC/Ian Watson)

I liked how down to earth and funny she was. Another blogger commented on how hilarious her Twitter posts with about tacos and pizza are. Even though it’s only November, her ring tone was a Christmas song.

Regarding her role as a woman in a position of power, she says, “you know, women are just as smart, just as strong, and just as tough and present, and capable as a man in that world, if not better.”

She  said, “I seem always to get lucky enough to play very, confident, smart ambitious women that I kind of feel like if I wasn’t an actor, I would hopefully have been.”

Italia Ricci does a great job acting in her role and she was wonderful to interview. Even though she has a role as a serious political aide in the show, she was relatable and down to earth.

Interview with Actress Italia Ricci - Photo credit: Silvia Martinez

Actress Italia Ricci – Photo credit: Silvia Martinez

Interview With Jessica Grasl

We had the opportunity to interview co-executive producer and writer Jessica Grasl. She wrote the “Two Ships” episode that aired on 11/1. She has worked in television production for fourteen years and as a writer since 2008.

Regarding the drama of the show, she said that her goal is, “to make the drama compelling rather than complicated.” She explained that one of the challenges of a storyteller is to tell six acts in X amount of time. She said the writers also have to consider whether a twist makes things intriguing or confusing.

She continued, “I mean, in the first episode the Capitol blew up. You get to make big moves, and you get make big choices. You almost can’t go too dramatic. Very rarely does it feel like, no, that’s a little bit too big. In the show where the entire government was wiped out in the first ten minutes, we had a lot of room to play, so that’s fun.”

Thoughts On The Show

I don’t usually watch political dramas. However, this episode really pulled me in to the plot. Friends have told me that the plot twists and watching Kiefer Sutherland are two major highlights of the show. Now I understand what they mean. When I realized how fun it can be to get into a particular moment in the show and then have a huge twist happen, I knew I would have to tune in again next week.

About Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor airs on Wednesdays at 10|9c on ABC. Episodes are also available via streaming and on demand. Tonight Wednesday November 15, you can watch “Family Ties.” When a Turkish activist ignites protests in the U.S., Turkey’s president demands his extradition while the first family unknowingly finds themselves in the center of a battle that could threaten Leo’s future.

“Family Ties” was written by Pierluigi D. Cothran and directed by Milan Cheylov.

Designated Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Paulo Costanzo as Lyor Boone, Adan Canto as Aaron Shore, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter, Zoe McLellan as Kendra Daynes, Ben Lawson as Damian Rennett Kal Penn as Seth Wright and Maggie Q as Hannah Wells.

"Designated Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 10/9 on ABC and can also be watched on the ABC App and On Demand (and on Hulu!).

“Designated Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 10/9 on ABC and can also be watched on the ABC App and On Demand (and on Hulu!).

Be sure to follow Designated Survivor on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and with the hashtag #DesignatedSurvivor. You can also check out this video.

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Disclosure: I received a free trip to Los Angeles to cover the #PixarCocoEvent, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

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