Designated Survivor – Family Ties
By: Patience Kapfer
After a small break, we are back into the thick of it with this week’s episode of Designated Survivor. Charlotte Thorn’s murder still remains unsolved, Director Forstell (Reed Diamond) continues to dig into Eva’s (Bonnie Bedelia) history with Eric Little, and Icarus Astrotech, and as usual President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) encounters another international predicament. The episode begins at a protest at the Turkish embassy against the Turkish government for expelling hundreds of journalists from the country. Many voices of dissent have been silenced and some even killed, while the President breaks ground on a new twenty million dollar villa. The protest is orchestrated by the opposition leader Nuri Sahin (T.J. Ramini) who thinks President Turan (Troy Caylak) must be kicked out of office.
The Turkish President is in DC for a NATO summit, and Turkey is already posing a problem for the United States because they’re hinting that they want to increase the leases on American airfields. Emily (Italia Ricci) hypothesizes that Turan needs the money because elections are in six months and he’s preparing to buy a lot of votes in order to stay in office. Kirkman is insistent that Turan will not be using any more American money to buy those votes, as the US pays more than enough for those bases as it is – six billion dollars a year. Lyor (Paulo Costanzo) recommends that the President be prepared to start paying more as the strategic value of the airfields to NATO is enormous and they store nuclear weapons there. As Lyor puts it “without holding real estate in Turkey, Russia would be able to make the Middle East its own personal sandbox”. Therefore it is essential that President Kirkman plays nice at the joint press conference with the Turkish President to ensure the world of the fundamental importance of the US-Turkey alliance.
During the joint press conference, President Kirkman talks up the positive relationship between the US and Turkey, however, he is caught off guard as the Turkish President brings up the issue of Nuri Sahin. Sahin is the opposition leader from the beginning of the episode that the United States has allowed safe haven. Directly following the press conference, President Kirkman meets with (confronts might be more appropriate) President Turan to address the obvious unplanned segment of the conference. Turan believes that Kirkman is giving asylum to an enemy of the Turkish state and wants Kirkman to extradite Sahin so he can face justice. Kirkman, however, disagrees and says there is no legal basis for him to be extradited, despite Turan’s insistence that Sahin is a murderer in Turkey due to his attempted coup. Turan threatens President Kirkman that they will lease their military bases to Russia instead of the United States if they will not extradite Sahin.
Hannah (Maggie Q) and Damian (Ben Lawson) bring Thorn’s aide, Peyton Lane (Cariba Heine), to question why Secretary Moss (Geoff Pierson) visited Charlotte Thorn the night before she was murdered. She insists that she doesn’t know anything about why the Secretary of State was visiting her boss and she says she did not know Charlotte and Moss were having an affair. After being very explicit that they don’t believe her, the assistant informs Hannah and Damian that Moss and her boss met at a human rights conference and it was becoming serious, but they had to keep it discreet as Charlotte was finalizing her divorce. Lane also says she thought the relationship was beginning to fall apart as the two kept arguing and their last fight was the afternoon before Thorn was killed. Lane leaves in quite an agitated state, leaving Damian and Hannah to start hypothesizing that Secretary Moss could have been angry enough after Thorn broke it off with him to do something drastic, like murder.
In an attempt to determine why Moss paid a visit to Charlotte Thorn before her murder, Chuck (Jake Epstein) discovers that Moss spent a brief amount of time at a fancy, private medical facility in Georgetown a few hours after the murder. Hannah and Damian leave to question Moss, but he won’t tell them where he was the day of the murder or why he went to visit her. Damian takes another tactic and asks why Moss was at Ravenwood (the hospital), but even then Moss won’t answer the question.
President Kirkman requests that Emily have a talk with Secretary Moss. She questions his involvement with Charlotte Thorn. He tells her that Thorn broke things off with him because he wasn’t ready to make things serious with her and he left. He still refuses to tell Emily why he checked into Ravenwood hours after Charlotte’s murder, but does say that he cared deeply for her and had nothing to do with her murder. With that, Emily informs him that for the time being he is suspended from his position as Secretary of State. After clearing Moss as a suspect, Hannah notices a ring that Thorn was wearing in a picture from an event prior to her murder that the police didn’t find on her body. Hannah and Damian have both seen the ring before and they bring in the last person they saw wearing it – Peyton Lane. After accusing Peyton of hating her boss for making her do so much work with long hours, Peyton finally comes clean. She loved Charlotte Thorn and watched her in two terrible relationships. But once Peyton went to her to tell her they could finally be together she was rejected and she shot her.
We finally see Leo (Tanner Buchanan) again as he brings a girl he’s been seeing, Sibyl (Nikki Roumel), to see the Oval Office and maybe even the Lincoln Bedroom later. President Kirkman has impeccable (or maybe inopportune for Leo) timing as he enters the Oval Office to meet Sibyl. Leo is a little annoyed that his dad was running late and killed the vibe, but he also tells his dad that he really likes Sibyl and is as charming as ever. A bit later in the episode Leo and Sibyl stumble upon an anti-Turan protest while on their way to breakfast. When a protester comes up and asks Sibyl to join and she refuses, he becomes angry, thereby garnering a shove from Leo. Unfortunately, the man Leo pushed is not one for simple apologies and hires a lawyer to press charges. Lyor suggests the President simply write a check and make the case disappear because that’s probably all the man is looking for. Kirkman agrees and sends Kendra off to figure out what the man will accept as a settlement.
After asking for an absurd amount of settlement money from an ex-professor turned President of the United States, Mike (LaMonica Garrett) looks into potential sketchy ties with the protester. Mike found that he works for a charity called the Ankara Trust which funnels money into Turan’s regime. All of this means that the entire situation with Leo was a setup; the charity is run by Sibyl’s father – so she was playing Leo the whole time. The President wants to go public with this newfound information, but his staff tells him that he cannot take to the world stage to accuse Turkey, because it would only hurt the US and NATO. Clearly frustrated, the President tells them that he is sick of being told his hands are tied and says that he will do a press conference with the opposition leader even though that is generally highly frowned upon. President Turan is outraged, and Kirkman tells him that he will do as many conferences with Sahin as necessary to convey to the Turkish people and the rest of the world that Nuri Sahin is the only person who is capable of delivering true democracy to the Turkish people. Kirkman uses this new found leverage to give Turan a one-time offer: that Turkey will remain a NATO state, will give the US back the leases for the air bases, and will drop the civil case against his son.
Eva, Alex (Natascha McElhone), and Kendra (Zoe McLellan) plan how Eva will handle talking to Director Forstell. Alex and Kendra assure her that she doesn’t need to talk with him since the subpoena was squashed, but Eva wants to convince Forstell that Icarus Astrotech had no “pattern of influence” that leads to the White House. When Eva is questioned by Forstell she acknowledges that she was aware she was offered a bribe by Eric Little, and says she would do it again (but hadn’t actually done it again). Everything seems to be going as planned as Eva tells Forstell that she hasn’t accepted any money recently and hasn’t made any large purchases. At the end of the interview, Director Forstell asks Eva if she took a trip to St. Lucia six months ago and how she was able to pay for such a trip. She informs the director that every year her and Alex take a trip together that is paid for from her husband’s annuity. This inquiry seems innocent enough until Alex shows Kirkman that she’s being subpoenaed by Director Forstell because he found a Saint Lucian bank account set up by Eric Little six months ago in Alex’s name. The account was set up RIGHT BEFORE Icarus got its latest contract for a billion dollars. The final thing Alex says is “I’m being set up; we’re all being set up.”