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Kiefer Sutherland the actor very pleasantly surprised me after I burnt out on 24 and the Jack Bauer superhero stereotype. He plays the somewhat nerdish Secretary of Housing, etc., then the steel willed POTUS confronting a duplicitous Iranian ambassador with an ease that made me realize her really is a fine actor with a lot more range than just playing a man who cuts off fingers to attain information that will save the world. I hope for a streak of compassion that is supposed to be there in the character of Tom Kirkman.
The MacGuffin, of course, is almost straight out of a Tom Clancy novel, with the Capitol being completely demolished by an act of terrorism (?) and the entire chain of succession, except for a lowly cabinet member, being removed in one disaster. The succession of events from Kirkman’s perspective is well done, although I suspect the Secret Service would be more forthcoming with information than is depicted in the few moments before Kirkman looks out the window at the demolished Capitol. I agree with others that the character of the four star is more out of Doctor Strangelove than would be realistic today, although the general’s assumption that Kirkman is out of his depth is a realistic depiction of a political/military attitude. Considering treason is, however, not realistic, and the dispute should have been framed in better terms.
I greatly enjoyed the irony of the almost fired Secretary becoming the President. Who doesn’t have this kind of fantasy at some point in their life, I know I have and I’m not unusual. I’m smiling as I write this, as a matter of fact. But it does set the stage for all kinds of conflicts between those loyal to the old president and those loyal to Kirkman. I look forward to seeing how that particular conflict plays out, especially since we have already seen the steel in Kirkman’s confrontation with the Iranian ambassador.
Finally, I look forward to seeing Tom Kirkman, supposedly a champion of the poor and disenfrancised, revealed as he faces the constant challenges of the presidency, and (need I say) the effort he must make to be reelected in three years.
I will be a faithful watcher, with anticipation of watching Kiefer Sutherland in a new, challenging role.
I just finished watching episode 2, The First Day, and I like the direction of the more subtle aspects of the plot that shows that Kirkman’s strength and courage, very well carried by Kiefer Sutherland, are affecting those around him, such as in the willingness of Aaron Shore – who is *not* the chief of staff – to stand up to General Cochrane near the end of the episode. Kirkman again shows both his strong side in confronting the recalcitrant governor of Michigan, and his compassionate side in revisiting the site of the bombing, this time incognito, without the cameras. Surprisingly well done for a weekly television series.
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