President Thomas Adam "Tom" Kirkman
The former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the designated survivor who is suddenly elevated to the Presidency following an unprecedented attack.
Season 3 has him running for re-election.
- Adorkable: He really is kind of endearing, especially in his scenes with his daughter.
- Almighty Janitor: He's spent three years as part of a cabinet full of Smug Snakes, never being heard, but always paying attention. Now all those people are dead, and he's the one making decisions, and surprisingly good ones for someone who nearly everyone deemed unqualified for the presidency. The worst terrorist attack in American history notwithstanding, one can get a very positive vibe from all of this.
- Badass Adorable: For over three years, he was the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; after the attack, you guessed it. And is a Adorkable, sweet father.
- Badass Bookworm: A former functionary and college professor who has defused one national crisis after another.
- Benevolent Boss: Cares deeply about the people who work for him, and supports them even when they make mistakes that could harm his position.
- Berserk Button: Tom is a patient, understanding man, is capable of taking criticism and deals well with brutal facts, but absolutely do not lie to his face, or he will end you.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Kirkman is a sweet, reserved man who is something of a pushover. Doesn't stop him from threatening the Iranian ambassador by telling him that he will happily sic General Cochrane on his ass if his country doesn't step in line. He needs to steady himself after the meeting, but it was still pretty awesome.
- Butt-Monkey: Played for Drama. Everything that can go wrong during his administration has gone wrong. Renegade politicians, General Rippers, having his secrets spilled, you name it. That said, the people around him are shocked that he has proven capable of consistently surviving just about every crisis that has come his way.
- Catchphrase: Due to his consistent discomfort with people standing up every time he walks into the room, he's gotten very good at saying "please, sit."
- The Chains of Commanding: Repeatedly shows (and expresses) that he is simply not prepared for the reality of making decisions with life-or-death consequences.
- Chekhov's Skill: An Urban Planner by trade, Kirkman was HUD Secretary before becoming President. He uses his knowledge of urban planning to figure out the best place for the army to attack infrastructure to slow enemy forces, buying time.
- Code Name: As HUD Secretary, "Glasses". As President, "Phoenix".
- The Cutie: A realistic version; Kirkman is a loving husband and doting father, a Benevolent Boss to his underlings, dedicated to serving the people of the United States, doesn't desire power (and doesn't know what to do when given any, but still tries his very best), tries to think things through and come up with non-violent solutions to problems, tries to stay positive even when he's basically told he's being fired and his life is being uprooted, and can be a bit timid or even spineless at times.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He seems out of his depth from the start, struggling to assert himself and vomiting due to stress, but he shows that he's paid attention in every meeting and has enough backbone to put the Iranian ambassador, Governor Royce, and General Cochrane in their place.
- A Father to His Men: When he finds out Seth was harassed and profiled, he offers to have the Secret Service drive him home. He also refuses to carry out an airstrike on Al-Sakar until a missing operative assigned to infiltrate them is located.
- Glasses Pull: Kirkman does this very often, whenever he doesn't forego the glasses for contacts.
- Good Is Not Soft: By "The Enemy", he gains enough backbone to fire General Cochrane for ordering jets into Algerian airspace and have Governor Royce arrested for disobeying direct presidential orders. He is also contemplating launching a military assault on Al-Sakar.
- Gut Feeling:
- He's doubtful that Al-Sakar was behind the attack, which is why he's reluctant to publicly name them as the culprits, despite being told that the people need an enemy to rally against.
- He also notices immediately that Atwood's "confession" about killing Majid Nassar doesn't seem legitimate.
- Happily Married: His relationship with Alex was extremely sweet and loving.
- Heroic BSoD: Gets a fairly deep one after Alex dies in the second season, and although he returns to work at the White House almost right away, it has lingering effects on his leadership, as he gets more erratic in his presidential decisions.
- Hero with Bad Publicity:
- No-one in Washington thinks highly of his position as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. One staff member says that he's just a "glorified real estate agent." That being said, as the series goes on, this gradually becomes averted as he shows surprising competency and leadership for someone so unqualified. Moss, a former President himself, tells him that while he could've done better, he's still done well considering the circumstances.
- Played straight when it comes to the near-daily scandals enveloping his administration by the later second season. The situation is not helped by a hacker leaking his post-widowing therapy session notes online, or by now ex-Secretary Moss going rogue and constantly slamming him to the media.
- Hidden Depths:
- He seems like he's actually good at his job, and points out he did bother to pay attention during cabinet meetings concerning the Strait of Hormuz despite it being political context way beyond his pay-grade.
- He also shows a previously unseen backbone of steel while ordering the Iranian Ambassador to the UN to tell his government not to take advantage of the situation.
- As hinted by the hoodie he wears throughout the pilot episode and established in "Party Lines" (meeting with a former college friend sitting in senate), he went to Cornell, an Ivy League university. And in the first episode of the second season, "One Year", it's revealed that he earned himself a doctorate from Stanford.
- He also shows at least a working knowledge of the basic principles of munitions when he discusses the analysis of the bomb with the FBI Deputy Director.
- Basically, everyone in Washington is finding this out about him. His advisers and the remaining Washington establishment all thought he would just be some spineless bureaucrat in glasses they could easily cajole and manipulate. He's not.
- He also fluently speaks Russian and is familiar with it's intricacies and proverbs; he learnt the language in an effort to win his wife's parents' trust.
- Humble Hero: After becoming the most powerful man in the free world, he is kind of beleaguered and concerned with doing a good job.Aaron: The President does not answer to State leadership!
Tom: Then pretend I'm not the President. Seems to be working for everybody else.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He's so incorruptible that the whistle-blower Thompson admits he couldn't find anything on him. Thompson goes to great lengths to get Kirkman information on the Capitol bombing as secretly as possible because Kirkman is the only person he feels he can trust.
- Lethal Chef: His attempts to make pancakes in the pilot episode's flashback establish this. The fact that his entire family shows dismay at his declaration to make breakfast would imply this is a well-known characteristic.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Zig-Zagged. Though he has trouble controlling a room full of egotistical advisers, everyone seems to have trouble grasping that there is a Designated Survivor for a reason. Specifically, though no-one ever paid attention to him, he was paying attention to everything. A repeated theme of the early episodes is some Smug Snake waving documents full of tiny print and spouting incomprehensible technical jargon at him, only for him to think quietly for a moment and say, "These papers say X. Why are you saying Y?"
- Meaningful Name: His code name after becoming President is "Phoenix", which is fitting for a man who has to rebuild the government out of the ashes.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Years back, Tom had a falling out with his brother, Trey over his selfish behaviour. They had already patched things ups, but later on when he finds out that Trey had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder 2 decades ago, you can tell by Tom's body language that this is going through his head and that he realizes that all these years he's been mad at his brother for all the wrong reasons.
- Naïve Newcomer: A man who was being phased out politically for being too straight-laced is now the linchpin of what is to become the new United States government.
- Nerves of Steel: Played with. In "The First Day", Kirkman gets both the Iranian ambassador and Governor Royce to do what he wants in the end, intimidating them both with the utmost confidence, but both times afterwards, he's visibly tense after the gambit pays off. Following episodes show that while he is very good at keeping his composure and dealing with enemies, he still sometimes folds under pressure, such as breaking down when the governors insist he's not fit to be President and then letting them bully him into suspending immigration.
- Nice Guy: Kirkman at least has this going for him. He seems to be less mercenary than a lot of people were in Richmond's administration and genuinely wants to use his power as Secretary (and later as President) to help people.
- No Party Given: Averted. Early episodes suggested Kirkman is an Independent: Kimble Hookstraten, the designated survivor from the "other party", is identified as a Republican, and Kirkman has no ties to other party members and no political support — one of his governors all but attempts to secede — but he doesn't owe anybody any political favors either. This is confirmed in "The Interrogation", when Kirkman explicitly states he's a registered Independent.
- Not So Different: Gradually inches his way down the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism the longer he remains President. Contrast his reluctance to go to war against al-Sakar after the Capitol Bombing in the first season with his abrupt order to strike Kunami after the D.C. Metro bombing in the second season. It probably has something to do with the Trauma Conga Line his administration has to deal with.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In episode 17, things come to a head and he barks at the staff to take their seats in a far more authoritative manner than he ever had prior.
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Personal, but also very much President Iron. Adds President Target as of "The Oath".
- The Only One: Literally. As the titular "Designated Survivor", he was required to sit out of the State of the Union Address in the highly unlikely event that someone somehow managed to take out everyone before him in the presidential line of succession. And then the Capitol was bombed, and literally everyone in the line of succession except him is dead, including those that were in line after him. According to the Constitution, the only person they could turn to for leadership in the immediate aftermath was him and no one else. If he had resigned before they could get anyone else into the line of succession, it could have caused a constitutional crisis.
- The Quiet One: Everyone expected him to be a placeholder who would let them do as they pleased, because though he was at every cabinet meeting, everyone considered him an Extreme Doormat and no one gave him or his opinions a second thought. Not a chance in hell.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Tom Kirkman was going to be offered a position as Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization, headquartered in Montreal. The reassignment never took effect due to the Capitol Bombing.
- Reassignment Backfire: He was chosen as the designated survivor precisely because the administration considered him worthless. Even the conspirators believed this, and selected him because they believed he'd screw everything up. Everyone is amazed by how well he's adapted to the position of POTUS.
- The Reveal: The conspiracy that bombed the state of the union intentionally had Kirkman made the designated survivor. Fortunately, this seems to have been a bad idea on the part of the conspirators.
- Sole Survivor: Since he's the designated survivor, he wasn't in the Capitol Building when it was bombed, unlike the rest of the Richmond administration, Congress, and the Supreme Court.
- Stress Vomit: Kirkman, after becoming President and promptly having to deal with Iran trying to take advantage of the situation.
- Unexpected Successor: Tom went from being the lowest rung of the cabinet on his way out of the White House to POTUS, over the course of a single day. He's just as surprised as anyone. A recurring theme is that everyone is either telling him to get out of the way, only for him to brush them aside because he's the god-damned President of the United States, or for people he's never met before to start schmoozing him while he studies them respectfully and carefully.
- Verbal Tic: It's truly how amazing how often Kirkman will tell you "I need you to know" something.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He accepted the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development because he wanted to do right by the American people and not because he wanted power or admiration. The first episode sees him about to be pushed out for refusing to compromise himself over administration politics, but fortune (or perhaps misfortune) strikes in his favor when the assassination of everyone above him in the presidential line of succession in the Capitol Hill bombing skyrockets him into the presidency.
- You Are in Command Now: A political variant. Kirkman goes from being one of the last in the presidential line of succession in the cabinet to President of the United States because he was the only one to survive the attack on the Capitol building.
First Lady Alexandra "Alex" Kirkman
Tom's devoted wife and an attorney employed at the EEOC who finds herself thrust into a role she is not prepared for.
- Batman Gambit: To end the investigation against her, she begins her hearing with a statement that would prove damning to the investigators (as she also insisted on having her testimony go public), forcing them to stop the hearing.
- Character Death: A car crash in "Line of Fire" proves fatal for her.
- First-Name Basis: Defied. Alex wants Seth to call her by her first name, which he adamantly refuses because she's the First Lady.
- Frame-Up: In season 2, a bank account is discovered to have been set up in her name by a corrupt contractor working for Lloyd, which puts her under FBI investigation.
- Good Parents: Despite her completely reasonable anger at Leo for drug dealing, she takes the time to try to understand his side and help him deal with what's troubling him.
- Happily Married: She has a great relationship with Tom.
- Hello, Attorney!: Alex is an immigration attorney, and quite easy on the eyes.
- Mama Bear: She and Tom have agreed that their kids come first. In "The Traitor", she personally visits her ex in jail when he threatens to tell the world that Leo might not be Tom's biological son.
- Morality Chain: She takes the moral high ground and reminds her husband to do the same, though she accepts that sometimes this is impossible.
- Subverted when she later tries to arm-twist Tom into using his presidential authority to quash the FBI investigation against her and her mother.
- Only Sane Woman: When she insists to Tom that he needs to stand his ground after his meeting in the White House in "Pilot". Kirkman scoffs at her, since it means that he needs to face the president himself.
- Workaholic: She used to work on legal cases long into the night. Now she's mildly dismayed that her husband does the same.
First Lady Penny Kirkman
Tom and Alex's preteen daughter.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Argues about bedtime, makes snide remarks about her dad's cooking, etc.
- Affectionate Nickname: Tom refers to her as "Little Pea."
- All Girls Like Ponies: When she temporarily moved to Camp David, she took a liking to horseback riding and promptly wanted a pony for her birthday.
- Cheerful Child: Very perky and friendly.
- The Cutie: The resident innocent and kind young girl, although she gets somewhat more assertive in the wake of her mother's death.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blonde-haired and kind to the core.
- Innocence Lost:
- Alex tries very hard to defy this, imploring Leo to keep her away from the television after the bombing. Unfortunately, Penny turns on the news when Leo's not looking and watches as her parents are nearly trampled by a stampede of journalists on a live broadcast.
- Doubly so after Penny loses her mother Alex in the middle of the second season.
- Rank Up: After the tragic death of her mother in Season 2, Penny has technically become the First Lady on account of being the closest living female relative to President Kirkman.
First Son Leo Kirkman
Tom and Alex's rebellious teenage son whose self-absorbed nature is matched only by his need to support his younger sister.
- Aloof Older Brother: Played with. He tries to act this way, but clearly there's a lot of Big Brother Instinct with regards to his sister and the rest of his family.
- Didn't Think This Through: Tends to be the case.
- Ended up dating the daughter of someone who was trying to get close to the White House discredit his father's administration.
- Shoved a reporter who was asking leading questions about the FBI investigation into his mother and grandmother — and ending up on national news, creating yet another scandal for his father's administration to handle.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: Almost a poster case, at least at the start of the series. He's getting better about it, sometimes the hard way.
- Innocence Lost: Not that he had a lot to begin with on the series, but his mother's death ends whatever youthful innocence is left in him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be a troublemaker and a drug dealer, but he does cheer up his worried younger sister and encourages her to have faith in their father.
- Luke, I Might Be Your Father: It is implied that Leo may actually be the son of a previous boyfriend his mother had. Seth is horrified when word of this gets out to the press, and Tom and Alex really don't want this information to reach him. Eventually, Leo gets a DNA test to get some answers, which shows that he is indeed Tom's son.
- Out of Focus: He appears a lot less frequently than his sister Penny, which is probably justified as he's at least in high school, which involves more intense academic studies.
- Put on a Bus: Doesn't appear and gets scarcely a mention in Season 3, which is justified to an extent as he has started college or university on the other side of the country.
Alex Kirkman's mother, and Leo and Penny's grandmother.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Her attitude regarding the shady dealings that got her husband an organ transplant and a new lease on life.
- Never Mess with Granny: Subverted. While she is a strong and independent person, she's well out of her depth when Patrick Lloyd invades her home to bring her past actions to light, prompting an FBI investigation.
- Put on a Bus: Leaves the White House in the wake of the FBI investigation and Alex's death.
The President's estranged younger brother, a financial expert who becomes a confidant and advisor to the President.
- The Atoner: States that he is making up for being absent and delinquent when his and Tom's mother was terminally ill.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even more so than his older brother.Trey: Tom, I did everything on your list — fed her, checked her homework, fired M-80s off the balcony with her, and tucked her in with a bottle of tequila.Tom: Trey...Trey: Fine, I didn't check her homework.
- Hidden Depths: Trey proves to be a caring brother and a wonderful uncle (and Parental Substitute) to Leo and Penny.
- Last Minute Hookup: Of sorts; he ends up in a relationship with Kendra in the last episodes of the second season.
- Remember the New Guy?: Justified somewhat as he and Tom have not been on good terms for many years, but he is not mentioned at all before he is introduced in the latter half of the second season.
Alex Kirkman's transgender sister who prefers privacy and anonymity but is pulled into politics and the fight for LGBTQ rights by an attack add against her brother-in-law during his campaign for re-election.
White House Staff and Cabinet Members
The former White House Deputy Chief of Staff who advised Tom following the attack. Fearing another scandal, he resigned as Chief of Staff after being interrogated by the FBI, despite being cleared. He works as a strategist for Speaker Hookstraten, until she is forced to resign and he returns to the White House, eventually he is chosen to be Kirkman's running mate for re-election.
- Big Brother Mentor: To his cousin Nadia. He helps her get a position working with a congresswoman and has been an inspiration to her since she was a child.
- The Cynic: Always gives cynical, politically-oriented advice in contrast to Emily's more moral and idealistic advice.
- Discard and Draw: He can't return to his old Chief of Staff job, which is now occupied by Emily, so Kirkman makes him the National Security Advisor upon his return to the White House (since somebody had to replace Jay Whitaker).
- Everyone Has Standards: Doesn't have good things to say against Gen. Cochrane's plans to remove Kirkman, and also maintained his integrity in the face of members of The Conspiracy trying to get him on their side.
- The Mole:
- Early in the first season, he was the one who leaked the Al-Sakar video to the press.
- Later on, we learn that he ordered a file used in the Capitol Bombing to be classified, indicating he might be in on the conspiracy; ultimately, he was never involved.
- Nerves of Steel: Has kept his cool in bad situations. He and Emily are Kirkman's most trusted advisers for good reason, and both have calmed him down when the pressure's been too much for him.
- Pet the Dog: Tries to persuade Seth to be the Muslim-American representative. As the first season goes on, he's given more and more of these moments, showing that he's more trustworthy than he seemed in the beginning.
- Promotion, Not Punishment: Kirkman initially makes Aaron his Chief of Staff, even though he leaked a classified video. Kirkman reluctantly admits that the move did save his presidency when it was endangered by the news that he was more or less fired from the cabinet on the day of the bombing. It's this sort of trust that leads to Aaron getting re-hired by Kirkman at the end of the first season.
- Self-Made Man: He came from a dirt-poor family in a small town in Texas, but managed to work his way up to the White House.
- Workaholic: Frequently stays late to work. Kirkman isn't pleased about this.
Tom's Chief of Staff and a close friend of the Kirkman family. She served as a presidential advisor to Kirkman until Aaron's resignation.
- Brutal Honesty: After Tom appoints Aaron as Chief of Staff, he makes it clear that he still needs her and offers her a special counsel position; Emily accepts, but makes it clear that she isn't going to be a Yes-Woman, and she will voice any disagreements she has. It bites her in "The Blueprint" when her memo criticizing a senator almost forces her to resign so Tom could stay on the senator's good side.
- Morality Chain: Tom is forced to make a politically motivated decision to appoint Aaron as his COS, because he needs someone who can make decisions based on politics rather than morality. But he offers Emily a position which is essentially this.
- Nerves of Steel: It seems all of Kirkman's close advisers are like this. Along with Aaron, Emily frequently talks Kirkman out of making some unwise decisions.
- Not So Different: By the later second season, she's gone a fair ways down the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, ordering an illegal search for phone records to find The Mole leaking White House information to the press. In a further irony, she leaks to the press that Cornelius Moss was the source of the secrets, to get him on the defensive.
- Rank Up: Started the series as the Chief of Staff for a low-level Cabinet Secretary, by the middle of the first season she's now the White House Chief of Staff and one of the most powerful people in Washington.
- Workaholic: Like Aaron, she frequently stays late to work.Tom: It's late. Don't you two ever go home?
Emily: We'll go home when the next president takes office.
A speechwriter who initially harbors strong doubts about Tom's abilities to lead the country but quickly becomes one of his closest advisers. As of "The Enemy", he becomes the White House Press Secretary.
- Adorkable: Geeks out over getting to fly in Air Force One, and gets a former president to take a picture of him with the current president on the steps of the plane waving so that he can send it to his mom.
- Brutal Honesty: Doesn't think too highly that Kirkman can make a good president. Kirkman himself agrees. This changes over time, as Seth sees what Kirkman is really all about.
- But Not Too Foreign: A first-generation Muslim-American.
- Deadpan Snarker: Arguably the wittiest character on the show.
- When he is harassed by the police due to his skin color and is forced to hand them his ID:MPDC Officer: "Seth Wright"? That your real name?
Seth Wright: According to my mother, yeah.
- When President Kirkman tells him to stop standing up in his presence:Tom Kirkman: Sit down. You don't have to stand up whenever I enter the room. I'm not the Queen.
Seth: No sir, not even a close resemblance.
- During a press conference on his second day as Press Secretary:Shelley: According to a Pentagon source, U.S. diplomatic stations in Algiers have evacuated non-essentials. Is the White House preparing military action against Al-Sakar?
Seth: No. Those stations have planned to downsize for months now, it's nothing out of the ordinary.
Brian: Oh, come on, Seth; I talked to my guy. The Lexington carrier group has left port for the Mediterranean. Why else would the Navy be flexing so much muscle?
Seth: As far as I know, it's all part of a routine operation to test our battle readiness.
Shelley: Give us a break! All this adds up to a potential military strike. What's the real story? You can't keep pivoting to talking points.
Seth: (dryly, confidently) ... Watch me. Jordan?
- When he is harassed by the police due to his skin color and is forced to hand them his ID:
- Et Tu, Brute?: After Lisa Jordan goes behind his back and tips off another reporter about the Leo Kirkman scandal, Wright makes it clear their friendship is dead.
- Insistent Terminology:Alex: Please, it's Alex.
Seth: Uh...no, ma'am. You're the First Lady.
- The Mentor: Tries to teach Carter on how to handle the press corp. It's subverted when Carter just leaves instead.
- Nerves of Steel: In his capacity as Press Secretary, he is deft at deflecting under repeated hostile questioning.
- Oh, Crap!: In the bathroom, Seth rants on how Kirkman is terrible and totally wrong to be President and should just step down. He steps out of his stall to discover the man he's just talked to is Kirkman.
- Right Behind Me: A variation; when he rants about how he doesn't believe Kirkman has what it takes to lead the country to the guy in the toilet next to him, he doesn't realize that said guy is Kirkman himself. To his credit, after the initial Oh, Crap! wears off, he sticks to his guns and honestly tells Kirkman that he believes that he should step down.
- Shaming the Mob: When it's revealed that Tom is going through therapy to deal with among other things, his wife's death, the media tears him apart for it. At first Seth deals with the media like he always does, but then his anger just boils over and he chews the media out for how they judge a man for the crime of seeking professional help.
- Token Minority: Discussed. Aaron offers Seth the job of press secretary by saying he'd be a good representative for Muslim-Americans, which Seth finds insulting. Seth eventually does take the job, but only because Kirkman's reasons for offering it to him were more heartfelt.
White House Political Director recommended by Emily. She claims he is the smartest person she's ever worked with.
- Brutal Honesty: His very first scene is him giving Tom his honest opinion on the state of his presidency.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Quite talented at his job, while being unusually quirky and sometimes hard to work with.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Vanishes without a trace between Seasons 2 and 3 and succeeded by a host of new political operatives.
- Cunning Linguist: Speaks at least Italian, Mandarin and German.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is abrasive and often hard to get along with, but ultimately has a strong and abiding sense of decency and loyalty. It's what differentiates him from more amoral political operatives, like his ex-colleague Greg Bowen.
- Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Something that came up in episode 8 of season 2. They both decide to remain married.
- Pet the Dog: In "Three-Letter Day", takes a letter from a beekeeper regarding the deaths of two of his hives (supposedly due to colony collapse disorder) very personally, much to the annoyance of Seth. Also helps a protester participating in a sit-in at the White House with his college application essay.
- Skewed Priorities: Came in second place during a rocketry competition at space camp when he was a kid 20 years before the events of the series. When one of the judges of the competition—now a major aerospace firm executive—is brought in to resolve a crisis his only concern is confronting her. Never mind that the lives of four astronauts hinge upon her cooperation...
The new White House Counsel, hired by President Kirkman in the wake of a court case against his administration.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Is nowhere to be seen in Season 3.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: Manages to school Shore and the rest of Kirkman's administration over the use of tactical force on domestic soil when the administration was gearing up to take out Patrick Lloyd and his hideout. So Kirkman hires her.
- Hello, Attorney!: Though her legal skills are top-notch, she does not lack for attractiveness either.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Why Kirkman hires her — to keep his administration operating in accordance with the law.
- Last Minute Hookup: Of sorts; she ends up in a relationship with Trey Kirkman in the last episodes of the second season.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Gets a roomful of activists bickering over a controversial statue to come together by using Boone to redirect their anger at him instead of each other.
- Morality Chain: Or rather a legality chain to the rest of the White House administration.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gives one of these to Emily, after the latter ordered the illegal access of phone records to identify The Mole among the White House in the second season. It was successful in uncovering Cornelius Moss as the source, but now the evidence is inadmissible in court and opens up the administration to a legal counterattack.
Agent Michael "Mike" Ritter
Tom's lead Secret Service agent, who is tasked with ensuring the Kirkmans' safety following the attack.
- The Big Guy: An imposing figure as President Kirkman's chief of security.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Another White House figure who doesn't show up in Season 3.
- Deadpan Snarker: He sarcastically lists an overly detailed set of steps when Leo asks how the Secret Service found him at the rave, when they simply pinged Leo's phone.
- Retired Badass: Mentioned in "Overkill" to have once been a member of the U.S. special forces, before he joined the Secret Service.
- Scary Black Man: A heroic and sympathetic example.
- Taking the Bullet: Does this for Kirkman in the first season, when a gunman invades the White House grounds. Fortunately, Mike survives and makes a full recovery.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tom. Despite being a consummate professional Secret Service agent completely dedicated to protecting the president, that doesn't stop him from engaging in good-natured ribbing over sports teams with Tom.
Secretary of Defense Nick Wooster
The Secretary of Defense for the United States.
- Bit Character: So far, his role has simply been to advise Kirkman's military actions against Kunami in "Fallout" and "Overkill".
Former Chief of Staff Charles Langdon
The former White House Chief of Staff under the late President Richmond and was presumed dead after the Capitol bombing, before later being revealed to be very much alive.
- The Atoner: See below.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's the guy who fires Tom in the first episode.
- The Consigliere: Was this to President Richmond as his Chief of Staff.
- Driven to Suicide: Nearly, aside from the knowledge that he carried important information that could help turn the tables.
- Mr. Exposition: The main source of this so far regarding The Conspiracy.
- Faking the Dead: After the Capitol attack, he went into hiding.
- Must Make Amends: He was seduced by the Conspiracy Woman, who gradually pulled more and more information from him, including the threat assessment files from the Pentagon. When he witnessed the Capitol bombing, he wanted to tell someone — anyone — what he knew and willingly spilled everything he could during interrogation."Who could imagine that they would've used that information in that way at the time?! The only reason I haven't put a bullet in my head is the thought that maybe I could help [voice breaking] make this right."
- My God, What Have I Done?: Had this reaction when the Capitol attack occurred.
- Spanner in the Works: For the conspirators, who most likely did not count on him surviving the bombing alongside Peter MacLeish to be encountered by Hannah Wells and brought to Kirkman's attention.
- Unwitting Pawn: For the conspirators.
- We Used to Be Friends: Gets a little of this with Tom after he's revealed to have helped The Conspiracy.
Acting Secretary of State James Paulsen
The Acting Secretary of State for the United States.
Tom's personal assistant.
- Bit Character: Mostly there to take phone calls and run errands. But the fact that Tom made an effort to learn the name of someone on a low rung helps establish the kind of person he is.
The temporary replacement White House Press Secretary after the Capitol attack.
A newly-hired White House staffer and Lyor's current assistant.
- Black and Nerdy: Downplayed, but she certainly has considerable knowledge of how to navigate government bureaucracy to get the job done.
- Determinator: Actually manages to dig up a specific Capitol blueprint, which Lyor assumed was impossible to obtain from the depths of the State Department archives and which he had only assigned to her as a Secret Test of Character.
- Ensign Newbie: The fresh-faced new hire among the White House staff in the second season.
- Friend on the Force: Or rather, a brother in Navy S.E.A.L. Team Three.
United States Secretary of Education Kimble Hookstraten
Served as the designated survivor for another political party when the Capitol attack occurred. She publicly backs Kirkman as the new president while harboring her own agenda. As the senior Representative among the survivors of Congress, she became the new Speaker of the House, a status that lasts until she is forced to resign amid lingering scandal, whereupon Kirkman appoints her as the Secretary of Education.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: She is able to determine that a military operation is afoot, simply by putting the pieces together; namely, Tom's schedule has been cleared, and an entire parking lot at the Pentagon reserved for high ranking military personnel is full.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She makes a big show of insisting that Kirkman and his administration have her "complete support" in the aftermath of the bombing, but hardly hesitates to give a speech undermining Kirkman's authority in the first days of his presidency, and then all but boasts to his face that she will be gunning for his job. This seems to have mellowed over time, or at least has been deliberately set aside, as she has transitioned into more of a Worthy Opponent or Friendly Enemy relationship with Kirkman's administration.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After playing a prominent part in the first season, she is Kicked Upstairs to the position of Secretary of Education, and Virginia Madsen is not returning for the second season.
- Discard and Draw: She winds up giving up her position as Speaker of the House after some bad press, but gets appointed to Secretary of Education afterwards, when she and Kirkman realize that appointing her as Vice President is no longer politically viable.
- Everyone Has Standards: Senator Bowman's partisan antics over the gun-control bill in "Party Lines" frustrate her just as much as Kirkman's staff. While Bowman refuses to compromise, she pledges a more bipartisan amendment approach if the bill survives the Senate to come before the House. Kirkman's administration wins the Senate vote, so that pledge will be put to the test.
- Kimble may be a lot of things, but she's not a traitor like MacLeish, and teams up with Kirkman to sabotage him any way she can while Kirkman is incapacitated.
- Foil: A minor one to Kirkman, as she's a seasoned politician who knows the ins-and-outs of Washington, while he's a political outsider who approaches the problems that come his way with logic and common sense.
- Friendly Enemy: She makes no secrets of her political ambitions and her partisan enmity with Kirkman, but at the same time she acts with a considerable degree of integrity and is largely supportive of his administration. This is why Kirkman trusts her with keeping an eye on MacLeish while he is undergoing surgery and has to invoke the twenty-fifth amendment; for all her faults, he knows her heart is in the right place. Hookstraten outright tells him that she won't let him down, and the episode shows her trying to block many of MacLeish's questionable actions while he's Acting President.
- Good All Along: She came off as antagonistic at first, and didn't trust Kirkman as far as she could throw him, but all things considered, that's entirely understandable when you look at things from her point of view. She later goes out on a limb to help Kirkman in the interest of protecting America, and after MacLeish's deserved demise, Kirkman has fully endorsed her as his new VP.
- Good Counterpart: To Peter MacLeish. She is a Republican congresswoman, while he is a Democrat. He seems like a humble, heroic Nice Guy when he's actually a treasonous mass-murderer, while she comes off as kind of a Jerkass but has sympathetic reasons not to trust Kirkman, (to say nothing of how all of her colleagues were vaporized just recently) and ultimately puts the national welfare above her own agenda. Made even more apparent now that Kirkman has endorsed her as his new VP after The MacLeish's murder-suicide.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: She has taken beneficial actions like investigating MacLeish just as easily as leaking top-secret information from Aaron or associating with disgraced journalists like Abe Leonard. May be a case of Depending on the Writer.
- I Am the Noun: Before Congressman MacLeish is discovered, she remarks that she essentially is Congress.
- Iconic Outfit: No matter what her pantsuit of the day looks like, Hookstraten always adorns it with one of several elaborate golden brooches in a flowery design on her left lapel.
- Jerkass: She's abrasive, calculating, and has no problem undermining Kirkman or telling him she wants his job. She even tries to extort a political favour out of Alex when she comes to her for help with a personal matter.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She assists Agent Wells in her investigation of the Capitol bombing, giving her access to classified documents on the condition she be kept abreast of any and all developments. She later agrees to delay a hearing into MacLeish's vice-presidential nomination, putting her own reputation on the line, when Wells contacts her with news of more evidence concerning him.
- Kicked Upstairs: An old scandal is revived to destroy her position as Speaker of the House, so Kirkman appoints her Secretary of Education. It's not the vice-presidency, as was teased for a couple of episodes, but at least she's still on board with his administration.
- No Party Given: Averted, as Aaron clearly identifies her as a Republican.
- Number Two: Until Peter MacLeish is finally sworn in as Vice-President, and after he is shot and killed mere days later until her own ouster as Speaker, she is next in the presidential line of succession after Kirkman.
- Properly Paranoid: She states outright that she doesn't trust those who gain power without earning it.
- Rank Up: Initially, she is a rank-and-file Congresswoman, before she is named the new Speaker of the House as of "The Blueprint". Justified as she is the only surviving incumbent Representative who stood for the position, as MacLeish declined in order to seek the vice-presidency.
- Sole Survivor: Prior to MacLeish being found alive, she was the only member of Congress, due to being the Republican Party's designated survivor. Until he's out of the hospital, she alone was responsible for the Legislative Branch.
- Taking You with Me: Although the scandal around the arms deal ultimately claims her political career in the House, she manages to destroy the former staffer who started her downfall by leaking information about his own illicit dealings (and bribery) with lobbyists.
- Token Heroic Orc: The only senior Republican politician shown to date who hasn't been a complete antagonistic jerkass to the Kirkman administration. Downplayed in that plenty of the lower-level moderate Republicans are completely in favour of Tom's agenda, which is where Kimble has found her political niche.
- Wild Card: She is actively plotting to usurp Kirkman's presidency, but she is opposed to the Capitol bombers and also intends to work against MacLeish after deducing he also has designs on the Oval Office.
- Worthy Opponent: Kirkman is gradually coming to view her as one of these.
Governor John Royce
The governor of Michigan. Royce's extreme reaction to the Capitol attack puts him at odds with the newly sworn-in Kirkman.
- Hypocrite: He claims that having the police round up all Muslims in Dearborn is to "protect" the citizens of his state, but the vast majority of the Muslims are themselves US citizens and have lived in Michigan their whole lives.
- When Kirkman has him justly arrested for sedition the moment he lands in DC, he scoffs at Emily's prior statement that he was 'fair and reasonable.' After Royce refused to (multiple times) even give Kirkman the time of day after way exceeding his own authority and essentially turning the state of Michigan into a police state that repressed its own minorities. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
- Insistent Terminology: While refusing to obey Kirkman's orders, Royce calls him Mr. Kirkman.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Kirkman has his ass thrown in jail and charged with treason, a capital offense. Given he was ignoring federal authority within his state, basically trying to secede, and was brutally repressing his own citizens, it's entirely warranted.
- No Party Given: It's not mentioned which party the governor belongs to. However, considering Hookstraten claims in "The Enemy" that she and Royce are close friends, he quotes Ronald Reagan, and he gives federal authority the finger while putting state authority above all else, he is almost certainly a Republican.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He orders all Muslims to be rounded up and imprisoned just on the off chance that some of them know who the culprits of the Capitol attack are and is seemingly indifferent to the brutality of the police tasked with the round-up.
- Profiling: He orders the state police to arrest the Muslim population of Dearborn without charging them with any crimes.
- Smug Snake: He seriously declares himself the highest authority in the state of Michigan after the Capitol bombing, acting like Kirkman has no right to the presidency when in fact the Constitution of The United States has a clause that deals with precisely this issue and explicitly says that he does.
- Starter Villain: He's the first antagonist that Kirkman faces directly, as Royce refuses to acknowledge Kirkman's authority and it takes Kirkman bluffing him to force him to stand down. Royce then goes right back to rounding up Muslims in Michigan, forcing Kirkman to have him arrested a few episodes later.
Vice President Peter MacLeish
An ex-veteran of the Afghan War and a former congressman from Oregon running for a third term. He's a hero following the terrorist attack and eventually becomes Vice President.
- The Ace: A decorated war hero and well-liked politician who's smart, modest, handsome, affable, upstanding, and dedicated. Not a speck of dirt on him. He might also be a terrorist. He's definitely a war criminal, at least.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: He's pale and sustained some injuries, but he came out of the ruins with his hair neatly in place.
- Possibly justified and serves as foreshadowing, MacLeish was in a bomb shelter at the time, which minimized the damage done to his person a great deal.
- Big Bad: He is the most visible of the conspirators who blew up the Capitol... although he might just be another patsy.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He comes off as humble and easy to get along with... for a mass-murderer.
- Boom, Headshot!: His wife shoots him in the head when he's been found out, before eating a bullet herself.
- Born Lucky: He is the only person in the Capitol Building who survived the bombing. This was planned beforehand, since he left the room shortly before the bombing occurred.
- The Chosen One: When he's having second thoughts before being sworn in as VP, his wife reassures him he survived for a reason. Of course, she might also be part of the conspiracy...
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He still cares deeply for his old team from the army, even risking the conspiracy to calm down one teammate who was in panic mode.
- Evil All Along: A bomb shelter was constructed within one of the Capitol building's offices that he utilized to survive the explosion that killed off the rest of the government, possibly to use his newfound status as the sole survivor of the attack and as a "hero" to become the next president.
- Made of Iron: He tanked his way through an explosion to the face. Subverted when it turns out he was hiding in a makeshift bomb shelter at the time.
- Medal of Dishonor: He and his men were sent on what amounted to a suicide mission, assigned to guard a major (really a CIA operative, the man who would become Catalan) to deliver cash to an Afghani warlord to help combat the Taliban. The meeting went wrong and the men of his unit were hunted down one by one until they started attacking everybody, enemies, friendlies, and neutrals, just to get out. When the remaining members of the unit learned the truth about their mission, they wanted retribution for their lost comrades, but MacLeish defended the operative, stating that the man was just following orders. For that, the government covered up the mission and made MacLeish out to be a war hero. However, Hannah believes that it was this mission that radicalized MacLeish — essentially, the mission that made him a war hero actually made him a traitor.
- The Mole: He was in on the attack on the Capitol building.
- Mole in Charge: In the same episode we learn of his treason, Kirkman offers his support for MacLeish as the next Speaker of the House, and by the end of the same episode, Kirkman is poised to offer him the vice presidency. He's officially sworn in in the midseason finale, though moments later, an assassin's bullet gets knocked off-course...
- No Party Given: It's not yet mentioned which party he belongs to, although his hometown (Eugene, OR) belongs to a congressional district which have been solidly Democratic since the 1970's, so one can make a qualified guess.
- Retired Badass: A veteran of Afghanistan, who left the Army as a Captain in the Rangers.
- Sole Survivor: Of the Capitol bombing. Turns out he wasn't in the chamber when the bomb(s) went off.
- Survivor's Guilt: Began to display this after he arrived at Bethesda, feeling guilty that he's the only congressman who survived. Then we learn he was in on it.
- Even though he was in on the plan, it doesn't stop him from feeling guilty, as he wonders how many more innocent people need to die for the Conspiracy's goals to be achieved.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's in league with the conspirators who masterminded the Capitol bombing, but so far he is beloved by the public as a hero for his survival and his service in the War in Afghanistan.
- Walking Spoiler: Because he's actually a villain.
A past one-term President of the United States (prior to Kirkman and Richmond before him) and more recently Kirkman's Secretary of State.
- 100% Adoration Rating: He left politics well-loved. Kirkman's clearly a fan of him and was excited to meet him. This becomes a problem when he runs for the presidency against Tom.
- Big Bad: Of sorts; he becomes Kirkman's main rival for the presidency throughout Season 3.
- Commuting on a Bus: Spends significant portions of the second season Out of Focus thanks to a leave of absence over his affair with Charlotte Thorn, a murdered British MP. Then Kirkman later removes Moss from his administration at the end of "The Final Frontier" for abusing his authority as Secretary of State. Afterwards, Moss generally shows up to pile stress and hardship on Kirkman's administration, as he feels that Kirkman is unfit to hold the presidency.
- FaceHeel Turn: When the first season ends, he is an Honest Advisor and trusted Number Two to President Kirkman. As the second season wears on, he gradually gets more hostile to Kirkman and his administration, to the point of openly agitating against the president and preparing for a belated run at a second term in the Oval Office.
- Honest Advisor: As a popular and knowledgeable former President, Moss is able to advise Kirkman about the hostage situation in Naruba. When they first meet privately, he bluntly tells the President that he was unqualified to lead the country and could've done better, but he is also impressed with Kirkman's accomplishments. He later becomes Kirkman's Secretary of State, before the second season reveals that Moss was lying to suck up to Kirkman, and really does believe that Kirkman is unfit to be President.
- I Did What I Had to Do: His attitude regarding his operating outside Kirkman's authority in the wake of what Moss sees as Kirkman's overly cautious actions following Alex's death. It gets Moss fired.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Downplayed, but he is clearly much more comfortable with (and enthused about) the privileges of the presidency than Kirkman is.
- MayDecember Romance: Had an affair with much younger British MP Charlotte Thorne, which is revealed during the second season.
- The Mole: In the second season, he is the source of leaks which plague Kirkman's administration, for no reason beyond that he felt that Kirkman was and remains a weak leader.
- No Party Given: Averted, eventually. Considering his willingness to work with Kirkman, who used to serve a Democratic administration, viewers could reasonably think that Moss is or was a Democratic president — but then he announces a run for the Republican nomination at the end of the second season. It turns out that he used to be a moderate but moved left to appeal to the most outspoken part of his party.
- No True Scotsman: Gradually comes to believe that Kirkman is weak and undeserving of the presidency.
- Number Two: For much of the first season, he is President Kirkman's right-hand man in the White House administration, with Peter MacLeish being untrustworthy (and then dead) and Kimble Hookstraten being more distant as Speaker until she is appointed Secretary of Education.
- It's this status that leads him to give Kirkman a What the Hell, Hero? when Moss is finally brought into the loop about The Conspiracy after months being Locked Out of the Loop. In Kirkman's defense, though, he was just being Properly Paranoid since the conspirators seemed to have agents everywhere.
- By the end of the first season, with the Vice-Presidency vacant, the Speakership either vacant or the new holder unidentified, and the president pro tempore of the Senate still being unseen, after Kirkman himself, he is the second-highest named character in the presidential line of succession.
- Sleazy Politician: Reveals himself as one of these throughout the second season, constantly working to undermine Kirkman at every turn under the guise of patriotism. He pretty clearly wants to get his hands back on the Oval Office for a second term.
- The Starscream: Has been leaking information to the press ever since he became Secretary of State and keeps doing so after he's fired.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The political version. After he is let go from the post of Secretary of State, he does not stop making Kirkman's life suck Once an Episode by regularly slamming Kirkman to the media, giving scathing testimony at Ethan West's hearing, or having his loyalist Cabinet members undermine the president's administration.
- Token Heroic Orc: Just like Hookstraten, it turns out he's a Republican, and is at first a Reasonable Authority Figure as Secretary of State. As it happens, he was Evil All Along, just a more patient and calculating example of The Starscream than a power-hungry conspirator like MacLeish.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Compare his stalwart Honest Advisor behaviour in the first season with his constant deliberate leaks, insubordination and blatant dislike for Kirkman in the second season. It's just a shade short of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Wagyu sliders. He makes a few calls throughout "Commander-in-Chief" to order them and remarks about them a number of times.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Turns out to clearly be a Sleazy Politician over the course of the second season, but still enjoys widespread adoration among the media and the public, which gives him a platform to keep on damaging Kirkman's administration.
The mayor of Washington, D.C., who is nominated by Kirkman for the vice-presidency following her capable co-handling of a power outage crisis in the capital, she eventually resigns when it becomes clear that she and Kirkman have different visions for the country.
- Ambition Is Evil: Discussed with Kirkman in "Fallout"; it turns out that Kirkman nominated her in part because she isn't actively scheming to take the Oval Office.
- Commander Contrarian: Has shades of this, but generally ends up siding with Kirkman anyways, although she refuses to simply be a Yes-Woman to Kirkman's administration.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: Kirkman ends up winning their disagreement over the emergency response to the power outage, but they both find that they work well enough together to cooperate in the same administration.
- Heroism Equals Job Qualification: Her strong and calm response to the crisis makes her stand out from a litany of Representatives, Senators and other politicians who actively sought the vice-presidency but who failed to make a connection with Kirkman.
- Nerves of Steel: Keeps her calm amidst a massive crisis and widespread looting gripping her city, and faces down Kirkman over the proper handling of the emergency response. It impresses Kirkman enough to nominate her as the new Vice-President.
- No Party Given: At least so far, but given that she's introduced as the incumbent mayor of Washington, D.C., she's very likely a Democrat. In Season 3, she leaves Kirkman's administration for an unsuccessful run at the Democratic nomination for President.
- Number Two: To Kirkman, following substantial ambiguity in his administration since Peter MacLeish was killed.
- Remember the New Guy?: Has apparently been the mayor of Washington, D.C. for a substantial amount of time as of her actual introduction in "In The Dark".
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Season 3, she resigns the vice-presidency under growing differences of opinion with Kirkman and the rest of his administration, and runs for the Democratic nomination for President.
- Twofer Token Minority: Black and female.
President Robert Richmond
The president of the United States who is killed during his State of the Union address at the start of the series.
- Code Name: His code name was "Eagle".
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Target (and successfully eliminated), and President Schemer (his treatment of Kirkman).
- Plot-Triggering Death: Him and his entire cabinet, save Kirkman, dying in an explosion acts as the inciting incident.
- Sleazy Politician: Implied. He removes mention of all of Tom's programs from his speech and tries to fire him while disguising it as a promotion. Tom mentions to Alex that he refuses to "play Richmond's games" and that he "didn't want to be one of those guys" when he was promoted to HUD Secretary. During Richmond's State of the Union address, Tom seems unimpressed, calling Richmond's promises his "greatest hits".
Senator Jack Bowman
The former Governor of Montana, who cut his term short so that he could be appointed to the Senate when Congress was being repopulated after the Capitol attack. A rapidly rising star on the Hill, he is the leader of the majority Republican caucus in the Senate.
- Ambition Is Evil: Highly antagonistic towards Kirkman's administration and even his own party allies. He deliberately gave up the governorship of Montana in order to further his own public profile in the U.S. Senate, presumably for a future run at the presidency.
- Eagleland: Proudly leans on his family's long history of cattle ranching in Montana, and even wears the cowboy boots to match.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Albeit their biographical similiarities are manageable, he like a more handsome version of Paul Ryan.
- No Party Given: Averted. Clearly identified on the news as a Republican senator from Montana.
- Perpetual Smiler: Confident in his superiority among the Republican caucus. It only slips when he unexpectedly loses the Senate vote on the gun-control bill.
- The Starscream: Expresses to Hookstraten's face that he considers her part of the "old guard" whom he will gladly undermine and replace.
- With Friends Like These...: Willing to trample over Hookstraten, his own partisan ally, to further his own ambitions.
Senator Diane Hunter
The former Attorney-General of Massachusetts, who was appointed to the Senate after the Capitol bombing and now serves as the Democratic Minority Leader and the chief opponent of Senator Bowman's Republican caucus.
- Good Counterpart: To Bowman. As the Democrats' Minority Senate Leader, she is much more helpful to the Kirkman administration than Bowman is.
- You Are in Command Now: As part of the newly nominated Senate, she has gone from the Massachusetts Cabinet to one of the most powerful positions in the Democratic Party and the legislative branch of the federal government.
General Harris Cochrane
A general in the US Army in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Following a meeting with him, he harbors strong doubts that Kirkman can be a good interim president.
- Analogy Backfire: Cochrane justifies going behind Kirkman's back to authorize an attack an Al-Sakar by stating that they are the snake in their kitchen, and that said snake should have its head cut off. Kirkman takes his advice to heart and promptly fires him.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Is unceremoniously fired in episode 4. Then it turns out that a major file that the bombers used to blow up the Capitol passed through his hands.
- General Ripper: General Cochrane immediately suggests showing aggression towards America's enemies in order to prove that the country is still strong, and immediately begins to doubt Kirkman when the latter demonstrates his lack of warmongering and unfamiliarity with the office's military aspects.
- Insistent Terminology: When the general is warned against making any moves to remove Kirkman, he insists that he'll be doing his "civic duty".
- Jerkass Has a Point: Tom really isn't qualified to be running the free world. Which is exactly why he was chosen by The Conspiracy to be the designated survivor in the first place, he's the least qualified of everyone in the cabinet.
- Spotting the Thread: He received the file on the Capitol bombing simulation but it was recalled electronically by the White House before he had a chance to even open it up to see what was inside. Cochrane knew something was off immediately since, forgetting for a moment that had never happened to him before, he's a lieutenant general in the US Army and the Commander of NORDCOM. Since when is anything like that off limits to him?
- Took a Level in Kindness: When he returns in the first winter finale, he bears no obvious grudge against Kirkman for firing him, points him towards a new lead in the bombing investigation, and offers his support again if he desires it.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: What he says does make sense from a given point of view. Where he goes wrong is that he jumps to military action against a foreign power and, later, contemplating a possible coup against a sitting president, in barely any time at all.
An admiral in the US Navy and the Vice Chairman in the Joint Chiefs. He becomes a trusted advisor to Kirkman.
- Bilingual Bonus: The name "Chernow" means "black" in Russian. He may have Afro-Russian heritage.
- Bit Character: Has only been seen once or twice, and his role so far amounts to being the Reasonable Authority Figure who takes over from General Cochrane. He comes back in episode 6 of season 2.
- Honest Advisor: Becomes one to Kirkman over time.
The commander of the Michigan National Guard who sides with Royce during the governor's attempted defection.
- Cavalry Betrayal: Kirkman calls him in, expecting him to force Royce back into line, but he sides with Royce instead.
- The Dragon: Essentially this to Royce.
- Laser-Guided Karma: It's mentioned that he has been arrested along with Royce.
- Too Dumb to Live: Siding with the governor of Michigan over the commander and chief? Not a smart move. Kirkman could easily have him shot if he wanted to for defying his orders.
Commander Max Clarkson
The leader of the S.E.A.L. Team assigned to apprehend Nassar.
Chief Edward Moreno
A member of S.E.A.L. Team 6 assigned to apprehend Nassar.
Petty Officer John Denton
A member of S.E.A.L. Team 6 assigned to apprehend Nassar.
Sergeant Royce Sims
A member of S.E.A.L. Team 3 who accompanies Agent Wells on a mission in Kunami.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Special Agent Hannah Wells
An FBI agent assigned to investigate the attack who suspects that the perpetrators are not yet finished.
Season 3 has her working as an Analyst for the CIA, investigating a bioterrorism plot.
- Action Girl: She's a highly trained FBI agent who can go toe to toe with ex-military personnel.
- Bad Liar: Atwood invokes this as the reason he never gave Hannah an undercover assignment.
- Character Death: Gets nerve-gassed in Season 3 by the mastermind of the bioterrorism plot.
- Deuteragonist: If the show isn't following Kirkman's attempts to fix the country, it's following her investigation into the bombing.
- She's certain that someone else was behind the attack on the Capitol, despite initial evidence suggesting that it was Al-Sakar. As such, she wants to run with all the possible theories.
- Despite suffering from the below-mentioned injuries and with both the Conspiracy and Federal authorities hounding her, she still tries to stop an assassination attempt on Kirkman. She might not have succeeded, but the effort certainly counts.
- Distaff Counterpart: Hannah Wells is loyal to and works directly for President Jack Bauer (who was in turn dedicated to preventing David Palmer's assassination.) Later in season two in particular she becomes him, down to working for the same agency and hot headedness.
- Fair Cop: A pretty FBI agent.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Tends to exhibit this, especially when stressed or internally distraught, leading to plenty of Cowboy Cop moments where she Didn't Think This Through.
- Idiot Ball: Wells may be one of the most competent characters on the show, but holds the Idiot Ball a number of times, too, like tracking down a phone number and then calling it rather than tracking it further for an address, and failing to pat down a dangerous criminal, leading the latter to reach for a gun in her coat later.
- I Am Not My Father: Her father wanted her to be a doctor like him, and halfway through medical school, she skipped town and signed up for the FBI.
- It's Personal:
- Feels this way at the start of the series, when her (unseen) boyfriend is Killed Offscreen in the Capitol bombing.
- Later in the first season, Catalan murdering Jason Atwood just pushes this even deeper.
- In the second season, she takes Damian's reveal as The Mole for Russia quite personally.
- Also in the second season, Director Foerstel's death in a Kunami-perpetrated bombing drives her to seek Revenge Before Reason.
- The Lost Lenore:
- Early in the series, she is mourning the loss of her boyfriend, who was a U.S. Senator and who died in the Capitol bombing.
- In the mid-second season, she temporarily believes that she killed then-paramour Damian Rennett, who turned out to be The Mole for Russia — and then several episodes later, he is gunned down and Killed Off for Real.
- Made of Iron: When en route to a Congressional hearing with evidence that MacLeish is in fact a war criminal, her car is intentionally wrecked, resulting in her getting some rather grisly injuries and being knocked unconscious. Her assailant tries to suffocate her, and she manages to fight him off and escape, but at the cost of losing the evidence she had about the conspiracy. The very next day, she's back on her feet.
- Revenge Before Reason:
- After Director Foerstel's death, she starts seeking to make Kunami pay by any means, putting her life in danger. Sergeant Sims talks some sense back into her.
- After Damian Rennett is shot and killed, she is absolutely convinced that Andrea Frost is the "Gamine" hacker and starts seeking means to take her down without assembling anything more than circumstantial evidence. When Wells holds the Idiot Ball one too many times, she gets let go from the White House by President Kirkman.
- Sacrificial Lion: Ends up being the most significant character to lose their life in connection to Season 3's bioterrorism subplot.
- She Knows Too Much: As she starts to uncover the Conspiracy, they start to put her in their cross-hairs. They try to kill her in a traffic accident, but she escapes. Later, she gets into a shootout with a member of the Conspiracy, which ends with her killing the assailant.
- Spotting the Thread: Frequently notices when things don't add up. She was the first to suspect there's more to the Capitol bombing than just Al-Sakar and has been investigating the attack since.
- Returns in Season 3, her investigation into sudden flu outbreaks in small communities tips her off to a bioterrorism plot.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: She tells Chuck in "The Oath" that she had spent a few unhappy years at med school before leaving and becoming an FBI agent. This knowledge is useful when it comes to applying proper medical dressings to her wound, rather than sticking with the glue that Chuck used.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Contrast her competent, professional, Determinator behaviour from Season 1 (barring a few Idiot Ball moments) with how much she goes for Revenge Before Reason as a Cowboy Cop in Season 2. Trauma Conga Line or not, it finally gets her let go from the White House when she accosts a hacking suspect with unsubstantiated allegations in public.
- Trauma Conga Line: Loses her then-boyfriend in the Capitol bombing, then becomes a target of The Conspiracy, then loses her mentor Jason Atwood when he is shot dead by Catalan, then loses her new mentor John Foerstel in a bombing, and then her onetime paramour Damian Rennett is gunned down right in front of her and dies in hospital. It's enough that she starts regularly flying off the handle by the latter part of Season 2.
Former Director Jason Atwood
The FBI's Deputy Director. He leads the investigation on uncovering the motive of the terrorist attack in Washington D.C. until he is threatened with the murder of his son by the conspirators and forced to take the fall. After his innocence is revealed and his son murdered anyway, he is forced out of the agency into civilian life.
- Adult Fear: During an investigation into a highly dangerous conspiracy who managed to blow up the U.S. Capitol, his son goes MIA. Sure enough, I Have Your Wife is in play. Later, his son is found dead in a river.
- All for Nothing: After submitting to the conspiracy's demand that he falsely confess to murdering Majid Nassar on the threat of his son's life, Atwood finds out that the conspiracy went back on their word and killed his son anyway, meaning that he sacrificed his career, everything he stood for, and his life for nothing.
- Da Chief: In charge of leading the investigation into the Capitol terrorist attack. He later becomes the acting Director of the FBI following the confirmed death of his superior.
- False Confession: Under the threat of his son being killed, Atwood takes the blame for Nassar's death.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Despite being killed by Lozano, Atwood's last act was to send the evidence he had collected to Wells', exposing Whitaker as The Mole in the White House and causing Lloyd's conspiracy to unravel.
- Idiot Ball: Going onto Patrick Lloyd's property with no backup and no support ends in him getting ambushed and shot dead by Nestor Lozano.
- I Have Your Wife: The bad guys kidnap his son and threaten to kill both him and his wife if Atwood does not acquiesce to their demands.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Takes his sweet time vetting Congressman MacLeish for vice-president because he has irrefutable proof that he was in on the bombing.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His son's body was found in a river, although he didn't outlive his son very long, as Jason dies later in the season, gunned down by Lozano while spying on Lloyd and Whitaker.
- The Paranoiac: After the conspiracy forces a false confession from him and kills his son, Atwood is always on-edge and suspects everyone is plotting against him. On a drive with Wells to the Conspiracy Woman's address, the car nearly collides with a stranger who didn't brake soon enough, and he loses his temper at the driver. Wells finds him difficult to trust by then, calling him a loose cannon.
- Properly Paranoid: He suspects that his son's disappearance has something to do with the investigation, though the local police insist that missing child cases are usually misunderstandings and the kids show up unharmed a few hours later. In this case, Atwood was right. His son was being held hostage by sinister forces.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Agrees to back up Wells' idea that someone else was responsible for the bombings if she can provide reasonable evidence for it.
- The Scapegoat: The conspiracy forces him to falsely confess to the murder of Majid Nassar by holding his son hostage.
- Tragic Keepsake: His wedding ring is presented by Lozano to Agent Wells as a means of tormenting her over his death.
- Turn in Your Badge: He was fired and his badge and gun taken since an FBI agent should've known better to falsely confess to murdering Majid Nassar no matter the circumstances.
Director John Foerstel
The new director of the FBI after Atwood was accused of being involved in the murder of Majid Nassar.
- The Atoner: Apologizes to Kirkman for pressing too deeply into Alex, inadvertently causing her death. Kirkman tells him it wasn't his fault.
- Character Death: Killed by the detonation of a dirty bomb while trying to evacuate several agents in the subway.
- Da Chief: Hannah Wells' new superior at the FBI.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ends up dying when he charges into a D.C. Metro station to evacuate several FBI agents. Unfortunately, they all die.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Despite being a hard-ass who was duped into investigating Hannah Wells and Jason Atwood, Foerstel is the first person Wells immediately brings onto her investigation once given presidential authority because he's a man of "absolute integrity" and "above reproach".
- Subverted in the second season, where he uses his position for personal political gain during his investigation of the First Lady's family.
- Nothing Personal: He never meant anything personal in the Icarus investigation that led to Alex Kirkman.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Listened to Wells after she presented evidence that a conspiracy was responsible for murdering everyone in the Capitol.
Agent Chuck Russink
An FBI communications analyst who assists with Wells' investigation.
- Butt-Monkey: In the second season, Hannah and especially Damian tend to treat him pretty flippantly.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Fairly obviously has feelings for Hannah, but despite working very closely with her towards the end of the first season, they remain Just Friends. This leads to him becoming the least lucky vertex of a Love Triangle when Hannah meets Damian Rennett in the second season.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Abruptly does not appear in Season 3, as Hannah Wells moves to the CIA.
- Cowboy Cop: Double subverted. Initially, he is resistant to the idea of hacking a bombing victim's phone without following protocol at Wells' behest and reports her to Atwood shortly thereafter. But then he hacks the phone anyway."Truth is, I never liked orders to compel. Plus, I think you're kind of badass."
- Everyone Has Standards: Tends to at least register his protest whenever someone orders him to do something illegal.
- First-Name Basis: With Wells. He calls her Hannah, and she calls him Chuck.
- He Knows Too Much: After Wells accidentally gives away to the conspirators that he's working with her, they decide to attempt to kill him while he's in his apartment. Fortunately, they fail.
- Hollywood Hacking: Generally proficient in this. Thankfully, he's solidly a Nice Guy.
- The Only One I Trust: With Atwood in prison and Wells on the run from those in the conspiracy, Chuck is the only other person in the FBI Wells can trust and rely on for help.
- Playful Hacker: Pretty friendly, and Wells frequently has him hack the bad guys to find out their plans.
- The Smart Guy: The resident computer expert at the White House, once he moves there to help Hannah's investigations.
- Spotting the Thread: Seems to excel at this, especially when it comes to cyberattacks.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Whenever he has to team up with Damian.
United States Intelligence
Agent Sammy Sarafian
An American informant embedded in the Al-Sakar terrorist group.
Coach Brad Weston
The coach for the United States international track and field team and a CIA informant.
A former NSA worker who goes rogue and begins leaking confidential documents online.
- Adult Fear: Losing his step-daughter in a terrorist attack.
- FaceHeel Turn: He decides to betray his country. Subverted when it's revealed to be a elaborate ploy to actually save the country.
- Fat Bastard: Pretty heavyset, and leaks NSA information to the internet. Subverted when it turns out he's actually trying to tip off Kirkman to a major lead without attracting the conspiracy's attention.
- Good All Along: The document leaking was part of a plan to give Kirkman crucial information about the bombing without anyone on the outside catching wind of it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Guarantees himself several years in federal prison to get some crucial information to Kirkman.
- Outliving One's Offspring: His step-daughter, whom he raised from infancy, was killed in the Capitol bombing.
Agent Damian Rennett
An MI-6 agent who crosses paths with Hannah Wells as she investigates Patrick Lloyd and his organization.
- Assassin Outclassin': Slays a hitman who was sent to eliminate Hannah.
- The Atoner: He ends up serving the FBI to make up for his duplicity.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Wells is left holding him on the sidewalk after he's shot thrice in the chest in a drive-by. It's not an Instant Death Bullet, however, as he survives long enough to pass away in the hospital.
- Disney Death: Wells shoots him when she finds out he's working as The Mole for the Russians, but thanks to wearing a bulletproof vest, he survives. Another shooting later in the season proves fatal, however.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Initially, there is confusion because he and Wells each think that the other is working for Lloyd, before figuring out that they are both field agents and cooperating well thereafter.
- The Mole: Turns out to be a Double Agent working for Russia.
- Taking the Bullet: His last act is to shield Hannah from a hail of bullets in a drive-by shooting in "Kirkman Agonistes". The following episode confirms that he died in the hospital.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Agent Wells, although they've kept things professional so far, and their friendliness annoys Chuck Russink to no end. Eventually, They Do, before his reveal as The Mole brings it to an abrupt end.
An aide at the Russian embassy in Washington, who turns out to be a local handler for Russian intelligence assets.
- Femme Fatale: An almost textbook example.
- The Handler: To The Mole, resident Double Agent Damian Rennett.
- Smug Snake: In her dealings with both Damian Rennett and Hannah Wells.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Claims that the FBI will do this to Damian Rennett as soon as he has provided all the help he can to them. Of course, she claims that the Russians would be more merciful to a loyal agent.
Enemies of the State
The current leader of Al-Sakar.
- African Terrorists: He leads the group based in Algeria.
- Asshole Victim: He is an unrepentant scumbag. Makes it hard to feel sympathy for him when Catalan poisons him.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's clearly provoked when Wells and Atwood bring up his family, including his ill mother, during an interrogation.
- He Knows Too Much: He's been poisoned by the time Director Atwood goes back to interrogate Nassar in his cell again.
- The Scapegoat: Made into this for the public, while he and his organization are just a Red Herring to deflect attention away from the real conspirators.
- Would Hurt a Child: He is willing to threaten innocent children to get the Navy SEALS to back off. Saving them costs Commander Clarkson his life.
- The Conspiracy: Naturally.
- Five-Man Band:
- Big Bad: Patrick Lloyd, former CEO of Browning-Reed and the benefactor of the conspirators.
- The Dragon: Peter MacLeish, a congressman whose survival of the Capital bombing was engineered to make him a national hero and propel him into the Presidency.
- Evil Genius: Jay Whitaker, who also serves as The Mole within Kirkman's administration at the White House. He's a trusted advisor to Patrick Lloyd, feeds misinformation to Abe Leonard, and is able to outsmart the Secret Service to keep his tracks covered.
- The Brute: Nestor "Catalan" Lozano, a feared mercenary and expert assassin.
- Dark Chick: Brooke Mathison, a mysterious Smug Snake who also serves as a spokesperson for the cabal.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Beth MacLeish, who turns out to be even more stridently committed to the cause than her husband is.
- One World Order: They seek to form one of these by turning America "back into the empire it once was".
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Backed by a whole organization of these.
- The Starscream: Plotting to overthrow the national government of the USA.
The former CEO of Browning-Reed, and an outspoken critic of the American government.
- Big Bad: Appears to be the leader or at least primary benefactor of The Conspiracy.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Very much so, although naturally, it's well-hidden behind a respectable facade.
- Eagleland: Is heavily involved with the cabal trying to turn the USA back into a military empire. He even seems to have authored a booklet popular amongst the conspirators, which is titled "Pax Americana".
- Karma Houdini: Escapes the capture of most of his allies at the end of the first season.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Of course, his luck runs out early in season 2 when his hideout is hit with a bunker buster.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Him leaving evidence of Alex's mom being involved in a scandal in the past is the start of a series of probes by law enforcement that would threaten to tear the Kirkman administration apart in the second season.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Inspires a number of these, and is popular among the alt-right.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Uses his wealth and connections to protect himself from the authorities.
The National Security advisor to the White House.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Appears to be a Bit Character at first. By the end of the first season, he is revealed as The Mole within the White House and a major figure in The Conspiracy.
- The Mole: For the conspirators within the White House. He is feeding Abe Leonard a mixture of true and false information to keep him off of the trail of The Conspiracy and to run interference on Kirkman's administration.
- Oh, Crap!: Has an understated but evident one when he is finally apprehended by Ritter, Wells and Foerstel.
"Angela Lindsay"/"Claudine Pongier"/Brooke Mathison
A woman who is part of the conspiracy to topple the U.S. government.
- Co-Dragons: Appears to be this alongside Catalan, but in different ways; she practices more manipulative methods and serves as a spokesperson, while Catalan is more of a direct threat.
- The Heavy: For a time, she was the highest-level member of The Conspiracy to be seen on-screen.
- I Have Many Names: The first time we hear he properly introduce herself, she uses the name Angela Lindsay. But later on, Charles Langdon reveals that he knew her as Claudine Pongier, and when that name turns up nothing, it's discovered that her real name is Brooke Mathison.
- I Have Your Wife: Pulls this on Atwood by kidnapping his son to force him to falsely confess to the murder of Majid Nassar.
- I Surrender, Suckers: After a struggle with Wells, she's shot by Atwood. When they move to arrest her, she reaches for her gun.
- Karmic Death: Gets one of these in a gunfight with Agent Wells and with Jason Atwood, whose son was killed by her and her associates. She's not missed in the slightest.
- Manipulative Bastard: In spades, as a prominent agent of The Conspiracy.
- Military Brat: She grew up in South Korea in an Army base.
- Mouth of Sauron: She is the one giving Atwood and MacLeish their orders.
- Perpetual Smiler: Goes with being a total Smug Snake.
- Smug Snake: She's always smirking confidently.
- Villainous Breakdown: Her smug and confident demeanour finally cracks when Wells and Atwood catch up to her at her hideout, defeat her in a fistfight, and hold her at gunpoint. She still decides to go out fighting, however, forcing the pair to shoot her dead when she refuses to surrender.
- Would Hurt a Child: She kidnapped Atwood's son, who was later found dead. Even if she didn't kill him herself, it's undeniable that she had a hand in his death.
Nestor "Catalan" Lozano
An American mercenary and known traitor according to the CIA.
- The Brute: Appears to be this for Patrick Lloyd and the rest of The Conspiracy.
- The Dreaded: He's so feared in the criminal/terrorist underworld that Hannah's informant tells her to not bother approaching him.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He made a brief appearance in "The Mission" before he was named in the following episode.
- Hero Killer: Over the course of the first season, he has poisoned Majid Nassar, attempted to assassinate President Kirkman in "The Oath", and gunned down Jason Atwood in "Misalliance".
- Hidden in Plain Sight: When Hannah gets his case file from her CIA contact, she immediately recognises him as the guard assigned to deliver food to Nassar's cell.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How he finally dies in "Brace for Impact", impaled on several pieces of rebar.
- Killed Offscreen: After shooting the President and going into hiding, Catalan is found and flushed out by the FBI with plans to take him into custody. But, after Acting President MacLeish orders that they shoot to kill, some gunfire is heard, and an operations officer confirms that the target has been "neutralised". Subverted at the end of "The Ninth Seat", which reveals him to be very much alive.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Subverted. After shooting the President, MacLeish supposedly has him eliminated by a SWAT team so he wouldn't give up The Conspiracy. It was a decoy, and Lozano remained at large.
Wife of Vice-President Peter MacLeish.
- Evil Counterpart: To Alex Kirkman in "Warriors". In this episode, it is clear that the two women are the impetus behind their husbands' respective ambitions; Kirkman's being to advance his career, and MacLeish's being to overthrow the government and set up some kind of empire.
- Evil Redhead: A cold-blooded traitor and murderer with bright red curls.
- I Did What I Had to Do: How she justifies her and Peter's various crimes. She claims that they're doing what's best for the nation, even if their actions are reprehensible.
- Lady Macbeth: She's much more devoted to the conspiracy than her husband, and continually places pressure on him to commit heinous acts. Her name even has "Beth Mac" as the first two syllables.
- Murder-Suicide: Upon realizing that Hannah Wells is closing in on her husband, Beth shoots him and then herself to make sure that their secrets are never revealed.
- Walking Spoiler: The VP's wife is a terrorist and traitor to the United States, along with her husband.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She tries to persuade Peter to kill Catalan, an old army friend of Peter's who is being a "loose end". He initially refuses, before ordering Catalan's death when the FBI catch up to him.
A reporter and White House correspondent at The Chronicle.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After playing a large part in the White House storylines in the first half of the first season, she vanishes after Peter MacLeish is sworn in and Kirkman is wounded. Real Life Writes the Plot here, though, as Melanie Scrofano became unavailable by landing the eponymous lead role in Wynonna Earp.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Attempts this on Seth Wright, to some success.
- Intrepid Reporter: Serves as one of these, as she investigates the claims about Leo Kirkman's biological parentage.
A disgraced former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who is rebuilding his career by working for dubious media outlets.
- Cassandra Truth: Uncovers or stumbles onto much of the true story of The Conspiracy, although few people outside of Kirkman and his most trusted advisors actually believe him (because they know he's right).
- He Knows Too Much: Gradually shifts from being an Unwitting Pawn of the conspirators to being in their crosshairs as his story gets away from their misinformation and closer to the actual truth. Subverted, though, as they never make any real attempt on his life.
- Intrepid Reporter: He certainly is determined to get to the bottom of the covered-up events surrounding MacLeish, no matter who he steps on in the process.
- Old Media Are Evil: Played with. He can't get a job with them anymore, so he writes for alternative media.
- Pompous Political Pundit: To some extent; it's part of why he is so detested.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: He is said to have won a Pulitzer Prize before his journalistic downfall.
- Spear Counterpart: A sleazier male replacement for previous Intrepid Reporter Lisa Jordan.
- Worthy Opponent: To Seth Wright, as his recurring nemesis among the White House press corps.
- 0% Approval Rating: Nobody seems to like the guy — often for good reason.
A reporter and member of the White House Press Corps who always seems to have the scoop on information damaging to Kirkman's administration.
- Intrepid Reporter: The resident one as of the later second season.
- Spotting the Thread: Deduces that the White House is facing a crisis in "Fallout" by noticing that all of the Cabinet are suspiciously unavailable at the same time.
- Unwitting Pawn: To Emily, who has Chuck illegally search Simon's phone records to uncover The Mole, Cornelius Moss.
A felon convicted of tax evasion who might be Leo Kirkman's biological father.
- Smug Snake: Is very blatantly only interested in blackmailing the first family to secure a presidential pardon.
First Son Tyler Richmond
The late President Richmond's son.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Prior to his father's death, they had been estranged for a couple years. Despite this, he breaks down when Tom reveals that his father did actually love him and was very proud of him.
A refugee from Honduras seeking asylum. She was a former client of Alex.
- Never Going Back to Prison: A variation; not so much "prison" that she is averse to returning to, but rather a country where she and her children will most likely be in danger.
A lawyer and former colleague of Alex. Her clients' cases transferred to him after she became First Lady.
- Bit Character: Appears briefly in one episode as a former co-worker at the same law firm as Alex Kirkman.
Dr. Andrea Frost
A technology magnate who emerges as a prominent ally of Kirkman's administration.
- Commuting on a Bus: Shows up when Kirkman's administration needs her company's help, be it resupplying the International Space Station, bolstering peace talks between East and West Hun Chiu, or finding a bomber on the loose in D.C.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Considers L.Y.R.A., her company's proprietary data-mining software, to be extremely dangerous if misused.
- Distaff Counterpart: Essentially a female Elon Musk, crossed with Mark Zuckerberg.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blonde, and very much an Honest Corporate Executive.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Proves her honesty and integrity on multiple occasions through the second season.
- Ship Tease: Has instances of this with President Kirkman. She's even recently widowed, just as he is.
A billionaire technology entrepreneur and an old friend of Tom Kirkman.
- The Cracker: Turns out to be behind all the major cyberattacks in the second season, and bugged Kirkman's Oval Office to get information with which to incriminate Kirkman and get him turfed from office in favour of an easier-to-manipulate successor.
- Evil Counterpart: To Andrea Frost, who is an Honest Corporate Executive.
- Frame-Up: Tries to pull one of these on Andrea Frost when she, Hannah Wells and President Kirkman fool Minter into believing that suspicion for the hacks has fallen on Frost instead of Minter himself. It leaves Wells free to search his property for the evidence needed to arrest him.
- Honest Corporate Executive: Generally one of these and an Honest Advisor. He's actually very much a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Justifies his cyberattacks by claiming that tech companies like his would be able to do wonders with less government oversight — but at the same time, he's clearly self-interested in his aims.
A famed attorney who is brought in by the Cabinet to investigate and prosecute Kirkman's fitness for the office of President.
- Anti-Villain: An antagonist to Kirkman's administration, but a fundamentally decent one.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Downplayed, but he is generally eccentric, sarcastic and egotistical.
- Deadpan Snarker: With regularity.
- Nothing Personal: Claims as much to Kirkman, who seems to return the sentiment.
- Special Guest: Well, it is Michael J. Fox.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Were it not for his aggressive handling of the inquiry and the hearing, he would be a fairly Nice Guy.