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The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'  

Ranker TV
68 votes 8 voters 53 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite episodes of Designated Survivor to air.

There are so many good episodes of Designated Survivor, but which ones really stand out? Do you like "Line of Fire" the best, or is "#makehistory" your favorite episode of Designated Survivor? To determine once and for all what the best episodes of Designated Survivor are, let's rank every Designated Survivor episode from best to worst.

Designated Survivor stars Keifer Sutherland as Thomas Kirkman, a low-level Cabinet member who becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the line of succession. Designated Survivor premiered on ABC on September 21, 2016, and was canceled after two seasons before being picked up by Netflix for the final third season.

Vote up your favorite episodes of Designated Survivor, and vote down any bad episodes that you really didn't enjoy, despite how much you love the series as a whole. It can be painful to put one Designated Survivor episode over the other when there are so many good ones, which is why you can vote on however many episodes you like.

list ordered by
1
Summit is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
March 28, 2018

Season 2, Episode 15

As tensions between East and West Hanchu escalate, President Kirkman travels to Camp David to broker a peace treaty with the leaders of those countries; while back in Washington, D.C., Seth and Emily take a hard look at their relationship and decide how, and if, they will move forward as a couple.

2
Grief is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
February 28, 2018

Season 2, Episode 11

It’s been ten weeks since his wife, Alex, was killed in a car accident; and President Kirkman’s senior staff insist he seek professional help in dealing with his loss, forcing him to reluctantly see therapist Dr. Adam Louden. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Hannah Wells and Aaron Shore travel to Cuba as part of a trade delegation, but the trip does not go according to plan. With lives in the balance, Kirkman is challenged with a decision that will test his role as commander in chief during this time of personal tragedy.

3
Sting of the Tail is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 4, 2017

Season 2, Episode 2

FBI Agent Hannah Wells finally closes in on Patrick Lloyd, but when the president decides to take action during the White House Correspondents Dinner, members of the Homeland Security Council threaten to derail their plans.

4
In the Dark is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
March 21, 2018

Season 2, Episode 14

When a blackout threatens to shut down the government and causes chaos in the streets of Washington, D.C., President Kirkman joins forces with Mayor Ellenor Darby, but the partnership doesn’t end there.

5
The Mission is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 26, 2016

Season 1, Episode 5

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.

6
The Confession is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 5, 2016

Season 1, Episode 3

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.

7
The Traitor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
November 16, 2016

Season 1, Episode 7

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.

8
#scaredsh*tless is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
June 7, 2019

Season 3, Episode 8

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

9
#whocares is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
June 7, 2019

Season 3, Episode 6

A dying Guatemalan child in a Texas hospital brings immigration to the fore. A mugging opens Kirkman's eyes to the realities of life in the capital.

10
Kirkman Agonistes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
April 18, 2018

Season 2, Episode 18

As more content from President Kirkman’s confidential therapy sessions continues to leak out, Vice President Darby meets secretly with the entire Cabinet, resulting in attorney Ethan West looking into the president’s past – while playing a large role in his future as commander in chief

11
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
April 11, 2018

Season 2, Episode 17

Following the deadly bomb explosion inside a D.C. metro station, President Kirkman declares war on Kunami. When the emir of that country sends his ambassador to negotiate, FBI Agent Hannah Wells learns the emir is hiding something that could have deadly consequences.

12
Lazarus is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
April 26, 2017

Season 1, Episode 18

As President Kirkman considers candidates for Vice President, Kimble Hookstraten finds herself embroiled in scandal. Agent Wells and Jason Atwood return from North Dakota with a critical new lead while journalist Abe Leonard's investigation takes an unexpected turn.

13
Suckers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 25, 2017

Season 2, Episode 5

Kirkman tries to win back the people's trust after a senator appears on the national news and misrepresents a private conversation he had with the president; MI-6 agent Damian Rennett joins FBI agent Hannah Wells to solve an international murder.

14
The First Day is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
September 28, 2016

Season 1, Episode 2

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.

15
Run is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
May 16, 2018

Season 2, Episode 22

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.

16
The End of the Beginning is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
March 15, 2017

Season 1, Episode 12

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.

17
Backfire is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
March 22, 2017

Season 1, Episode 13

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.

18
One Year In is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
September 27, 2017

Season 2, Episode 1

Now, one year into office, Kirkman is a Commander-in-Chief determined to rebuild the Capitol and capture the terrorists behind the catastrophic attack on the United States. When Ukrainian nationalists hijack a Russian Air flight, the president is faced with a hostage situation in which his diplomatic skills are put to the test.

19
Line of Fire is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
December 13, 2017

Season 2, Episode 10

It’s Christmas Day and President Kirkman is alerted to a group of religious extremists who refuse to evacuate when a forest fire threatens to engulf their cabin. Deploying Emily and Aaron to help diffuse the situation, Kirkman must act quickly to save multiple lives at stake. Meanwhile, the First Lady finally gives her testimony to the FBI director, while what happens next changes the lives of the Kirkman family forever. The Season 2 midseason finale.

20
Outbreak is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 11, 2017

Season 2, Episode 3

President Kirkman is faced with a viral pandemic that threatens to kill countless Americans; Hannah and Damian discover evidence that could change the lives of members of the first family forever.

21
Equilibrium is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
October 18, 2017

Season 2, Episode 4

Tensions rise between America and Mexico when a Mexican citizen is shot during a border dispute regarding Mexican trade imports. Kirkman and his staff must work quickly to resolve the situation and create a new trade deal.

22
Bombshell is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
May 10, 2017

Season 1, Episode 20

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

23
Two Ships is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
November 1, 2017

Season 2, Episode 6

When a U.S. Navy ship containing secret surveillance becomes stranded in enemy waters, President Kirkman must negotiate the crew and ship’s release. If captured, the technology on board would create a massive threat to national security. Meanwhile. Chief of Staff Emily Rhodes reconnects with someone from her childhood.

24
Family Ties is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
November 15, 2017

Season 2, Episode 7

When a Turkish activist ignites protests in the U.S., Turkey’s president demands his extradition while the first family unknowingly finds themselves in the center of a battle that could threaten Leo’s future.

25
Home is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Episodes of 'Designated Survivor'
November 29, 2017

Season 2, Episode 8

While on a secret mission to Afghanistan, President Kirkman meets with two infamous warlords and must determine whom he can trust to hand over territories to the U.S., while Seth has a run-in with Washington, D.C., police that puts his job, reputation and future in the White House on the line.