The BEST Episodes of Designated Survivor

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Network: ABC (US)

Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member, is suddenly appointed President of the United States after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.

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The End of the Beginning

#1 - The End of the Beginning

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 15, 2017

Circles must tighten as a new discovery within the conspiracy emerges. Tension rises between Aaron and Emily as suspicions loom in the White House. A new lead places Agent Wells closer than before to the truth.

star 8.04
5,833 votes
Directors: Mike Listo
Writers: David Guggenheim
The Oath

#2 - The Oath

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 14, 2016

President Kirkman fears there could be a traitor in the White House when he discovers shocking information connected to the Capitol Bombing. Confiding in Emily, Kirkman puts her in charge of quietly investigating. New information surfaces about Congressman MacLeish, raising concerns regarding his vice presidential nomination.

star 8.02
5,823 votes
Writers: David Guggenheim
Brace for Impact

#3 - Brace for Impact

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired May 17, 2017

Hannah Wells must stop the conspiracy from carrying out a final attack while President Kirkman authorizes a nationwide manhunt for the mastermind behind it all.

star 7.98
5,040 votes
Writers: David Guggenheim

#4 - Warriors

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Mar 8, 2017

The nation reels from the aftermath of the shooting on the steps of the Capitol while Emily struggles with the knowledge there may be a traitor in the White House. Agent Wells grapples with her decision to reveal what she knows about the conspiracy behind the Capitol bombing.

star 7.94
5,791 votes
Directors: Stephen Surjik
Writers: Carol Flint, Paul Redford
The Enemy

#5 - The Enemy

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 12, 2016

Kirkman learns who is behind the attack and needs to grapple not only with the prospect of war, but brewing domestic troubles as well. Kirkman taps Emily to monitor the domestic situation. Alex may be in for more than she bargains for when she seeks out help from Hookstraten.

star 7.90
6,579 votes
Directors: Paul A. Edwards
Writers: Dana Ledoux Miller, Jon Harmon Feldman

#6 - #truthorconsequences

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired Jun 7, 2019

On election day, Kirkman turns to his therapist to relieve his conscience about the events and own decisions he made 36 hours ago.

star 7.87
861 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Peter Noah
The Mission

#7 - The Mission

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 26, 2016

Realizing his attempts at diplomacy with Algeria have failed, President Kirkman makes the difficult decision of sending Navy SEALs on a mission that will define his presidency. Agent Hannah Wells discovers more secrets than answers.

star 7.86
6,434 votes
Directors: Paul A. Edwards
Writers: Michael Russell Gunn, Sang Kyu Kim
The Blueprint

#8 - The Blueprint

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 7, 2016

When classified government documents are leaked online, President Kirkman searches for the party responsible only to find that they have taken refuge inside a foreign embassy and are beyond even his reach. Agent Hannah Wells races furiously to gather evidence of MacLeish’s involvement in the conspiracy before he can be confirmed as the country’s next Vice President.

star 7.86
5,803 votes
Writers: Dana Ledoux Miller, Michael Russell Gunn
The First Day

#9 - The First Day

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 28, 2016

Hours after the attack on the Capitol, President Kirkman steps into his role as Commander-in-Chief in the midst of chaos and confusion. Facing dangerous new challenges and adversaries, Kirkman struggles to hold a country together that is on the brink of falling apart.

star 7.86
6,902 votes
Directors: Brad Turner
Writers: David Guggenheim, Jon Harmon Feldman

#10 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 21, 2016

Lower-level cabinet member Tom Kirkman becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kirkman must keep the country and his family safe while leading the search for the those responsible for the attack.

star 7.85
7,719 votes
Directors: Paul McGuigan
Writers: David Guggenheim

#11 - #undecided

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired Jun 7, 2019

Behind in the polls, Kirkman weighs forcing the FBI’s hand over the bioterrorism plot. Emily struggles with her mother’s last wishes.

star 7.82
881 votes
Directors: Peter Leto
Writers: Dawn DeNoon

#12 - Bombshell

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired May 10, 2017

President Kirkman’s first international summit is derailed when journalist Abe Leonard publishes an explosive article. Hannah Wells uncovers the conspiracy’s next target.

star 7.81
4,884 votes
Directors: Sharat Raju
Writers: Sang Kyu Kim
The Traitor

#13 - The Traitor

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 16, 2016

When an American track-and-field coach heads to Russia, President Kirkman is thrust into a hostage exchange involving the CIA and the Russian government. Agent Hannah Wells and Deputy Director Atwood’s investigation into the Capitol bombing uncovers information that puts Atwood and his family’s life at risk.

star 7.80
5,906 votes
Writers: Jennifer Johnson, Michael Russell Gunn

#14 - Commander-in-Chief

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Mar 29, 2017

Turmoil in an African country forces President Kirkman to rely on an unlikely ally for help. Hannah’s investigation into the Capitol bombing takes an unexpected turn. Emily settles into her role as chief of staff. Aaron has to make a difficult choice.

star 7.76
5,506 votes
Writers: Michael Gunn

#15 - Run

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 16, 2018

As President Kirkman continues to deal with the turmoil surrounding the hacker and Congressional investigation, a natural disaster threatens the lives of two White House staffers. Meanwhile, Kirkman’s closest allies are surprised when the president makes an announcement no one saw coming.

star 7.75
1,646 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Keith Eisner
The Ninth Seat

#16 - The Ninth Seat

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Apr 19, 2017

As President Kirkman struggles to put together a new Supreme Court, FBI Agent Hannah Wells goes undercover and discovers much more than she ever could have imagined. Seth Wright has to contend with journalist Abe Leonard, who returns from the Middle East with an explosive story.

star 7.75
5,307 votes
Writers: Paul Redford
The Confession

#17 - The Confession

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 5, 2016

President Kirkman and his staff work to keep a high-level security breach of the White House a secret just as he’s about to give his first television interview. The FBI continues to investigate the Capitol bombing but Agent Hannah Wells starts to develop her own theories about who was really behind the attack.

star 7.75
6,641 votes
Writers: Jennifer Johnson, Paul Redford

#18 - Misalliance

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired May 3, 2017

As the White House gears up for President Kirkman’s first international summit, Kimble Hookstraten faces her toughest political battle yet when her speakership is challenged. Meanwhile, Alex wrestles with whether or not to bring the kids back to Washington.

star 7.74
5,027 votes
Directors: Norberto Barba
Writers: Dana Ledoux Miller, Jenna Richman

#19 - Backfire

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Mar 22, 2017

An investigative journalist shocks the White House when he reveals classified information during a press briefing and leaves Seth struggling to contain the damage from the leaked story. Hannah unearths a key connection between MacLeish and the conspiracy.

star 7.73
5,506 votes
Writers: Pierluigi D. Cothran, Sang Kyu Kim

#20 - #scaredsh*tless

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Jun 7, 2019

Kirkman enacts a frantic hunt for the bioterrorist. Lorraine plays hardball and pushes the opioid epidemic into the campaign.

star 7.72
856 votes
Directors: Sudz Sutherland
Writers: Kendra Chanae Chapman, Ricardo Pérez González
One Hundred Days

#21 - One Hundred Days

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Apr 5, 2017

As President Kirkman releases an agenda to reset his presidency, Alex makes a controversial public statement that threatens to derail it. Agent Wells unknowingly finds herself in the center of a dangerous trap while getting closer to the truth.

star 7.71
5,493 votes
Directors: Kenneth Fink
Writers: Dana Ledoux
The Interrogation

#22 - The Interrogation

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 9, 2016

When shots ring out at The White House during a Governors Summit, President Kirkman’s plans at electing a new Congress are thrown into turmoil. Agent Hannah Wells continues investigating the Capitol bombing and makes one of her most shocking discoveries yet.

star 7.71
6,090 votes
Writers: Barbie Kligman, Jenna Richman
Party Lines

#23 - Party Lines

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Apr 12, 2017

President Kirkman forms an unlikely alliance in the hopes of passing his first bill. Agent Ritter is briefed by Agent Wells about a new alarming threat to the nation.

star 7.70
5,380 votes
Directors: Mike Listo
Writers: Jenna Richman
The Results

#24 - The Results

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 30, 2016

On the eve of the country voting to elect a new House of Representatives, an unexpected development forces Kirkman to consider cancelling the elections entirely. News about Majid Nassar’s death leaks out, and Kirkman has to handle the fallout.

star 7.70
5,778 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Paul Redford, Sang Kyu Kim

#25 - #privacyplease

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Jun 7, 2019

A political attack on Kirkman puts privacy and transgender rights in the spotlight. Aaron weighs a major decision. Wells and Eli track a bioterrorist.

star 7.69
921 votes
Writers: Peter Noah