Is the Designated Survivor real? How is she chosen? And where does she go? Kiefer Sutherland's return to TV depicts a presidential nightmare:the President of the United States, almost all of his Cabinet, and almost every member of Congress are killed in a terror attack during the State of the Union address. Sutherland, in the title role, portrays the Designated Survivor: the one man held back in order to assume the Presidency in the event of a disaster. But is that a real thing, or was it just made up for TV?