Where Were These Stars Before Appearing on Designated Survivor?


Of interesting beginnings in the industry and some very surprising roles



Now back on regular scheduled programming, Designated Survivor returned to Netflix last February 28 with its midseason premiere entitled, “Grief.” President Tom Kirkman is at a standstill, reeling from the death of his wife, Alex. But life stops for no one—especially when you’re the President of the United States of America. At this point, President Kirkman is forced to put his grieving aside when he discovers National Security Advisor Aaron Shore and FBI Agent Hannah Wells were taken hostage on their trip to Cuba as part of a trade delegation. The two are now at the mercy of Cuba’s Army for the Liberation of the People.


Nothing is ever what it seems in the political thriller Designated Survivor, but that’s precisely what’s kept fans at the edge of their seats. What’s a viewer to do, really, when the creators of the hit series have found the fail-safe formula for unbelievable cliffhangers?


Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto, Maggie Q, Italia Ricci, Paulo Costanzo among others: No other pool of cast members could bring the storyline to life quite like these superb actors do. While we wait in anticipation for the coming episodes of the second season, we backtrack and ask: where did we see these stars before they got their big moment on the hit series?


Adan Canto (played by Aaron Shore)

Photo via Netflix


In 2015, Canto appeared on Narcos and played Colombian Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara. Canto’s episode introduces Lara as the man who exposes Pablo Escobar and was later assassinated by the drug lord’s hitmen in in April 1984.


Emily Rhodes (Italia Ricci)


Before taking on White House Chief of Staff Emily Rhodes, Italia Ricci bagged herself a cameo on How I Met Your Mother. In 2009, she played Hot Woman #1.


Seth Wright (played by Kal Penn)

via IMDb


Like Ricci, Kal Penn also appeared on How I Met Your Mother, but secured the recurring role of Kevin Venkataraghavan AKA Robin’s therapist. Penn’s most famous role to date, however, has got to be Kumar Patel from the 2004 stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.


Hannah Wells (played by Maggie Q)


One of the original “token hot Asian girls who can do martial arts really good,” Maggie Q has a storied history of being cast as the ass-kicking Asian you don’t know whether to fear or fall for. She played Zhen Lei in Mission: Impossible III and Mai Linh in Live Free or Die Hard before starring in her own ass-kicking show Nikita. Right before becoming Agent Hannah Wells, she played Tori in the Divergent trilogy.


Tom Kirkman (played by Kiefer Sutherland)

via IMDb


Kiefer Sutherland quite evidently is the most famous actor in the cast, getting top billing and the role of the designated survivor, Tom Kirkman. The veteran is best known for his works on 24, Mirrors, Phone Booth, Pompeii and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.


Alex Kirkman (played by Natascha McElhone)


It's a shame we won't be seeing more of Natascha McElhone in Designated Survivor (save for flashbacks, we presume), but that doesn’t mean we’re leaving her out of the list. Apart from her role on the comedy drama TV series Californication, any ‘90s kid and Jim Carrey fan knows: she’s Lauren/Sylvia from The Truman Show!


Damian Rennett (played by Ben Lawson)

Photo: Netflix


Aussie actor Ben Lawson is no stranger to television show projects: He got his start as a child actor in Australia and later took on soap opera projects, like Neighbours in 2006. Making his way to the US, Lawson appeared in series, like Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Billions and Doubt. He may also look familiar to rom-com movie fans because of his role in No Strings Attached as Emma’s (played by Natalie Portman) love interest. Want to catch Ben Lawson in the flick? You can stream No Strings Attached on Netflix here!


Lyor Boone (played by Paulo Costanzo)


He may be the cocky but brilliant White House Political Director on Designated Survivor, but remember when Costanzo was nerdy Rubin on Road Trip? At the height of the teens-gone-wild-when-unsupervised movie genre, Costanzo collaborated on the 2000 film that critics called “plotless, tasteless, but wickedly funny [and] has all the elements to make it a teen great.” You can watch Paulo Costanzo pre-Designated Survivor on Road Trip. Stream the movie right now on Netflix.


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