Michael J. Fox Is Joining Designated Survivor, And Tom Kirkman Won't Be Happy

michael j fox curb your enthusiasm

Designated Survivor ended its midseason finale back in December on a major tragedy that will inevitably change the series (and President Kirkman) forever. The show will enter a brand new era in the second half of Season 2, and that will involve bringing in Michael J. Fox to play a new character who won't exactly make Kirkman's life easier. Here's what's happening.

Michael J. Fox will guest star as a character by the name of Ethan West, a Washington attorney with significant connections and a history of great success. He'll be hired by the Cabinet and appointed as a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation into former President and current Secretary of State Cornelius Moss, who has been accused of leaking classified information. West is just about the last person Moss would want investigating him, as he's known for his fiercely competitive attitude, his wiles, and his unwillingness to relent. He plays his cards close to the vest, and he's utterly single-minded when tasked with a job. His unpredictability and and utter focus make him a serious adversary for President Kirkman.

Ethan West won't be a one-off guest star who only makes life difficult for Kirkman for a single episode. Michael J. Fox signed on for a five-episode arc in Season 2. Perhaps if the arc goes well and is received positively by viewers, Fox could return for more, assuming West doesn't die or end up disbarred at the end of the arc.

Interestingly, Ethan West won't be the only major new character to debut for the second half of Season 2, although the other will be much more of an ally to Kirkman. Former 24 actress Kim Raver will reunite with Kiefer Sutherland to tackle a character by the name of Andrea Frost, who is a tech genius and engineer/entrepreneur. As Raver played a love interest to Kiefer Sutherland's character on 24, some fans had begun to speculate that they would be romantic partners again on Designated Survivor. Showrunner Keith Eisner laid those rumors to rest recently when he clarified that Kirkman and Andrea will strike up "a nice friendship," and Kirkman will probably need all the friends he can get with West around.

Of course, Kirkman was already in a vulnerable position without Michael J. Fox's character entering the mix. The midseason finale ended on the heartbreaking reveal that his wife had been killed in a car accident. While the loss of Alex Kirkman will open the door for Designated Survivor to explore the President as a widower and sudden single father, it also means that he'll probably be in a rough place emotionally, which should make for some compelling scenes with old and new characters alike.

Designated Survivor returns to the airwaves with its midseason premiere on Wednesday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. For more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, be sure to take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).