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Designated Survivor - The Ninth Seat - Review : "Restoring Justice"

Hello, all. This week I'll be your Designated Reviewer for Designated Survivor, filling in for Lisa while she has to be away for a short time. Never fear, Lisa will be back soon. I must admit I had not watched the show in a while and did do my research to catch up before watching this week. While waiting for Lisa's return, bear with me as we discuss Designated Survivor's latest episode, The Ninth Seat.

President Tom Kirkman's (Kiefer Sutherland) efforts to restore the third branch of government by seating a Supreme Court takes center stage and deservedly so. This well-crafted storyline in the episode is highlighted by an impressive guest-star turn by Linda Purl as Julia Rombauer, Kirkman's former boss from Columbia University and head of his bipartisan selection committee. Kirkman's respect and admiration for Rombauer are clearly evident as she gives him the names the committee has approved.

Armed with the names of four progressives and four conservatives and an independent name for the ninth seat as Chief Justice, Kirkman meets with leadership to move the process forward and begin confirmation hearings. However, Senator Bowman (Mark Deklin), apparently still harbors some ill will at being out-maneuvered last week and losing on the gun bill. He tells the President his party has reservations about the ninth seat nominee and if he doesn't get his way about a greater say in naming a replacement he could hold up the confirmation of the rest of the nominees which have already been agreed upon by members of both parties on the committee.

Senate minority leadership, led by Senator Harris (Kearrann Giovanni, whom I know as Det. Sykes on Major Crimes) threatens a filibuster if Bowman gets his way. Both parties come to loggerheads and get up to walk out, only to be called by rather forcefully by the President. I see Kirkman's gained more of a backbone since I last saw the show and has learned to speak out more when the situation warrants. He chastises Bowman, telling him the country is in a crisis, and "without a court to adjudicate the laws of the land we are a broken government, sir."

He ultimately salvages the situation by agreeing to submit a different nominee for the ninth seat.Kirkman, Emily (Italia Ricci) and Julia work to come up with a name Bowman can't possibly refuse. When they receive word Bowman has rejected their latest name, Kirkman and Emily decide it's time for plan B and ask Julia for permission to submit her name. A stunned Julia points out that she's not a judge, Emily counters with neither was Earl Warren when he was appointed by Eisenhower. Tom asks his friend and mentor Julia to consider the position.

A short time later, in a wonderfully acted scene, Julia comes to Tom privately and tells him she can't accept his offer because she's been diagnosed with early onset dementia. Suddenly, it's not about losing a nominee to the Supreme Court for him, it's about losing someone he admires and respects. Sutherland and Purl have some poignant and touching moments during this scene.

Julia tells Kirkman that she wants to see things through and vows to help him find a solution. Which she does, by coming up with a plan that goes around Senator Bowman and his power play. The President will simply not submit a name for the ninth seat, citing that nowhere in the Constitution is the number of justices for the court specified. Bowman agrees to the deal and the new Supreme Court is chosen. Kirkman and Julia celebrate their victory and as he struggles to find the words to say to her before she leaves, she simply tells him to remember her as she is now.

In other storylines, Congresswoman Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen, who has been marvelous this entire series in this role- or at least in the episodes I have watched) appears to make good on her promise to the President to deliver the votes in the House to pass his gun bill. However, Emily makes it clear to Aaron (Adam Canto) that despite his new boss making good on her promise, at no time did the President agree to name her his Vice-President. This is certain to cause a rift in the newly formed partnership soon.

Meanwhile, reporter Abe Leonard (Rob Morrow) has landed a new job with the New York Standard and is continuing his investigation into Kirkman's administration and the Capitol bombing. His questions are drawing the attention of not only the FBI but also of a conspiracy group who claim to have been feeding him information. But, someone has decided it's time to keep a closer eye on Mr. Leonard and begins following him.

FBI Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) and partner, Jason (Malik Yoba) follow their investigation to North Dakota where they uncover a paramilitary group has taken up residence near a piece of land that formerly belonged to the government and does house missile silos. From a book Hannah manages to steal from one of its members, they discover the group is following a self-published manifesto called Pax Americana which calls for a new American order. The motto they all seem willing to follow is "No Victory Without Sacrifice." When sneaking into the camp, they are stunned to witness the arrival of the supposed leader of this group, a dangerous man they thought was dead.

What next? Will Kirkman pick Hookstraten as his Vice-President? Who is following the reporter? And does it bother anyone else as much as me that this para-military group who apparently has enough ordinance to blow up several capitols has access to empty missile silos? Discuss in the comments below.