Designated Survivor Boss Neal Baer Reveals Why He Subtracted 24, Added ER, to Get Your Season 3 Vote

TVLine | 6/3/2019 | Matt Webb Mitovich
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When Dr. Neal Baer signed on as showrunner for Designated Survivor Season 3, there was an “executive order” of sorts from series star Kiefer Sutherland.

Baer of course has estimable TV credits behind him, including ER (where during its heyday he served as an executive producer and writer) and Law & Order: SVU. So upon hearing Sutherland’s wish, “I said, ‘Well, OK. How about your dead wife had a brother who is now your sister-in-law?’ He said, ‘Go for it.’ And so we do.”

President - Tom - Kirkman - Trans - Sister-in-law

President Tom Kirkman’s trans sister-in-law (played by Sense8 alum Jamie Clayton) is but one of the many and varied storylines Baer keeps spinning throughout Season 3, which arrives on Netflix this Friday, June 7, following the political drama’s two-and-done ABC run. All told, Baer says that his take on Designated Survivor is a hybrid of The West Wing and ER (the actual originator of the Walk-and-Talk, he posits) “with a little SVU in it, too.” The Law & Order offshoot is perhaps most evoked when the topic turns to child brides in not just Saudi Arabia but also the United States (where it’s legal in every state but two).

Meanwhile, on the ER front he brought on no less than Anthony Edwards to play Mars Harper, a D.C. politics journeyman who serves as White House chief of staff while Kirkman digs into his election campaign. That particular bit of casting “gives us an expert on doing oners and walking quickly through hallways,” Baer notes.

Casting - Baer - Order - Business - Designated

Casting was Baer’s first order of business upon being tapped as Designated Survivor‘s fifth showrunner since ABC ordered the series in May 2017. In addition to deciding who from the previous two seasons stayed or went, “I got to thinking about what new characters we would need to tell the kinds of stories that Netflix would...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TVLine
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