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Here’s a Kiefer Sutherland we haven’t really seen yet: Slightly more care-worn and, dare we say, more vulnerable, than 24’s Jack Bauer, Designated Survivor’s Tom Kirkman is here to fill that Kiefer-sized hole in our hearts (and our Wednesday nights).

What if you were suddenly (and violently) thrust into the most powerful position in the country—maybe the world? That’s where Kirkman—the titular “designated survivor” and, until now, low-level cabinet member—finds himself after a devastating attack on Washington, DC. What’s a “designated survivor”? Oh, we’re so glad you asked. This is a real thing!

To quote Wikipedia (a totally valid source) here:

“In the United States, a designated survivor (or designated successor) is an individual in the presidential line of succession, usually a member of the United States Cabinet, who is arranged to be at a physically distant, secure, and undisclosed location when the President and the country’s other top leaders (e.g., Vice President and Cabinet members) are gathered at a single location, such as during State of the Union addresses and presidential inaugurations. This is intended to maintain continuity of government in the event of a catastrophic occurrence which kills many officials in the presidential line of succession. Were such an event to occur, killing both the President and Vice President, the surviving official highest in the line, possibly the designated survivor, would become the Acting President of the United States under the Presidential Succession Act.”

Fascinating, yes? You know it. This brings us back to Sutherland/Kirkman. As his country and his family fall apart around him, Kirkman has to step up and fill shoes he never expected to fill. Is it going to be easy? No. Will we enjoy every moment of Kirkman’s struggle? Yes, yes we will.

With a cast including Natascha McElhone (love her), Maggie Q and Kal Penn—who actually did work for the Obama administration, you know—this show can’t miss. And we’re glad. ‘Cause we missed you, Kiefer.

Designated Survivor will air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET this fall on CTV and on CTV Go and CraveTV.