‘Designated Survivor’: Kiefer Sutherland’s ABC Series Adds Ashley Zukerman, Virginia Madsen

Virginia Madsen and Ashley Zukerman
(Photo : Reuters/Kevork Djansezian, Eric Gaillard) "Designated Survivor" has added two new actors in season 1.

"Designated Survivor" is adding to its stellar cast.

The ABC thriller has cast "Manhattan" actor Ashley Zukerman in season 1 as a Congressman named Peter MacLeish, Deadline reports. He is a popular third-term legislator from Oregon and is one of America's youngest youngest congressman. Add to that, Zukerman's MacLeish is also a decorated war veteran in Afghanistan and emerged as a national hero after the Captiol comes under attack.

Although on the surface it looks like Congressman MacLeish is a superb politician, underneath that perfect veneer Zukerman's character harbors a deep, dark secret. He may not be who he says he is.

Furthermore, "Designated Survivor" has also cast another experienced actress in a crucial role. Virginia Madsen, who recently wrapped up production on CBS' "American Gothic" where she plays a family matriarch, has joined the series as Kimble Hookstraten, according to another Deadline report. Hookstraten is the other designated survivor during the State of the Union address but from the rival political party.

Madsen's character is a conservative Congresswoman who is highly intelligent and politically shrewd. She makes it clear that she supports Tom Kirkman's presidency, but her true intentions are revealed when she becomes his chief political rival.

"24" alum Kiefer Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a low-ranking Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who becomes a designated survivor during the State of the Union Address. A designated survivor is a cabinet member who is kept away from the Capitol so that, in the aftermath of a catastrophe, he/she can lead the country during a crisis.

Kirkman finds himself becoming the President of the United States when an explosion claims the lives of all cabinet members in the action-packed thriller. Sutherland's character is quickly sworn-in while the FBI conducts extensive investigations to find the person responsible for the attack.

Watch the series premiere of "Designated Survivor" on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 10 p.m. EST on ABC.

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