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Emily Rhodes is a character in the Designated Survivor series. She is portrayed by Italia Ricci. Emily was the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of HUD Tom Kirkman. After Kirkman was sworn in as President, she continued to work closely with him and the White House Deputy Chief of Staff Aaron Shore (who was competing with her for the permanent position of White House Chief of Staff). Despite Aaron Shore's appointment as Chief of Staff, President Kirkman asked her to continue working with him as Special Advisor to the President of the United States. She became the White House Chief of Staff after Aaron resigned from the White House.


Emily's father left the family when Emily was very young, and they have had no contact for 23 years until the events of 'Two Ships". Emily mentioned that every year she was

Emily is a graduate of Georgetown University.

As the series opens, Emily was outraged that President Richmond scrapped all of their HUD topic points from the upcoming State of the Union address. She later attended a meeting between Tom Kirkman and Chief of Staff Charles Langdon but was dismissed shortly after.

Moments after the Capitol Bombing, Emily made multiple attempts to gain access to the White House to speak with Tom (who became the President of the United States) but was denied.

As the senior staff learned to work together, Emily grew close to Aaron Shore. Their relationship began to develop romantically. On the night of Peter MacLeish's confirmation for Vice President, Emily and Aaron kissed. The next day, Emily agreed to go on a date with Aaron to see an Elvis impersonator. However, before the date, Kirkman asked Emily to investigate a list of White House staffers who could have betrayed the government and co-conspired the attack on the Capitol Building. Aaron was included on the list as he worked in the White House under the late-President Richmond. Emily began to suspect Aaron was involved in the conspiracy during her investigation, causing a rift between the two.

In the aftermath of the investigation, Aaron resigned as Chief of Staff, despite having been cleared of all allegations. Emily became White House Chief of Staff.

In Target, Emily offered Kendra Daynes to stay at her residence after a home invasion on the former. Kendra, unfortunately, caused a conspiracy to come to its ending after being involved in the prosecution of an old case. Due to this, Kendra became a victim and was placed under twenty-four-hour protection. To insulate Kendra, When Emily went to collect things from Kendra's home, she was then shot by an unknown sniper. The shot only left a scratch and resulted in 13 stitches, Emily was otherwise unharmed.

Early in Season 2, Emily began dating Seth Wright. They 'took a break' shortly before their 6-month anniversary but reconciled later. Later in Season 2 when Emily showed hesitation in pursuing the relationship Seth broke up with her.

In the season 2 finale, Emily confronted the Chief Justice when a legal dilemma was presented to President Kirkman. Acting on behalf of the White House, this led Emily to contemplate if she was suitable for the job. She offered her resignation to President Kirkman, which he refused, saying "you'll always have a seat next to me". It is also revealed at the end of the season, after Hannah Wells shot dead Valeria Poriskova and retrieved a video recording, that Emily appeared to have had a clandestine meeting with Vaeria, handing over a file.

At the start of Season Three, Italia Ricci returns as her character, Emily Rhodes. This is notable, because former stars of the show, such as Lyor Boone and Kendra Daynes were not present for the season. She has quit to take care of her mother in Florida, although Seth wants her to come back and visit the White House.

During Season Three, tensions rise between Emily and Tom Kirkman, as well as other White House staff, such as Aaron Shore. Within Season Three, we see Emily's role in the show shift from White House Staff to Kirman's Presidential Campaign as their spokesperson, confronted with the ethical ambiguity of Lorraine Zimmer.


  • Emily Rhodes is the youngest and first female White House Chief of Staff in history.
  • Her father Dave Rhodes left her and came to Washington, but after 20 years returned to meet her and to ask for the president to endorse a corkscrew.
  • Emily graduated from Georgetown University.
  • When Emily was 13 she won a Spelling Bee.
Preceded by:
Aaron Shore
White House Chief of Staff
2017 - 2019
Succeeded by:
Mars Harper