Tom Kirkman returns to the issue of civil rights in Michigan while attempting to capture a terrorist believed to be responsible for the attack; Hannah suspects that MacLeish is not telling the truth about what happened the night of the bombing; Alex returns to her old job only to seek help from an unlikely ally; and Seth takes on an unexpected new job.
This episode opens with a short recap with the main story-line commencing with a chase underway in Algeria. A man hastily transmits a message to US Intelligence that Majid Nassar has been located.
The first meeting in the Oval Office is between the President and Congress, now represented by both Kimble Hookstraten and Peter MacLeish. The briefing is short given no news is available on Al-Sakar.
The episode branches off into multiple story-lines as follows. Each story-line is explained in completeness whereas during the episode, scenes cut from story to story, and jump in progression.
Michigan Domestic Situation
The conversation and focus returns to Michigan, where Governor Royce has decided to re-impose his curfew and ban public gatherings, using the recent interview and admission by Kirkman as weakness that makes him an illegitimate president. After deliberating on the various options available it is decided to send Emily, the Special Adviser to the President, as an observer to the IAC protest.
Landing in Michigan, Emily's disembarkment is prevented by State Police and Governor Royce who tells her to get back on the plane and return to Washington. The Governor goes even further to make his position clear:
The state of Michigan is off-limits to Tom Kirkman, his staff, his plane, and most of all, his presidency.
The standoff between President and Governor continues with the media show adding fuel to the fire. After seeking professional advice from his wife, an immigration attorney with constitutional law expertise, President Kirkman proceeds to federalise the National Guard and declare a state of emergency in Michigan. This attempt backfires as the local General refuses to follow the order and declares that the Michigan State Guard remains loyal to Governor James Royce. In the subsequent talk between Emily and the President, they re-strategise their position by changing the rules of engagement and offer the Governor the chance to face the President in Washington.
With the State Guard joining the state police, Emily convinces the IAC to bring their protest to the airport where the media would broadcast the tension nationwide. With the superior numbers and potential for things to turn against him, Governor Royce accepts Emily's offer and joins her on the return flight to Washington. Whilst Emily convinces Royce during the flight that Kirkman is a "reasonable and thoughtful man", the moment the Governor steps off the plane in Washington, Kirkman puts him under arrest on the grounds of treason. Emily questions this decision, stating that the President lied to her, but Kirkman explains he had no choice in taking this course of action because he had to send a message to all the other governors who may question the legitimacy of his presidency.
Algerian / Al-Sakar Situation
General Cochrane provides the best news of the morning to President Kirkman - Majid Nassar has been located. In the Emergency Operations Centre, the President learns that while the USS Eisenhower is ready for deployment with F-18 fighters, Agent Serafian, who had provided the intel, is now missing in action. Whilst General Cochrane continues to urge military action, President Kirkman decides not to bomb their own agent, and to instead maintain surveillance on Nassar. Instead of military action, Kirkman decides to first try diplomacy.
With the president of Algeria on the telephone with an interpreter, the conversation with President Kirkman proves fruitless, with the Algerian president denying the intelligence claim that Majid Nassar is in his country. Whilst Kirkman mistrusts his Algerian counterpart, he still sticks to his position that no military action would be taken until they know Agent Serafian is safe. However, given the potential tip-off to the Algerian government, either way military action would commence within 12-hours.
As the President is distracted with the dealing with the domestic Michigan issue, he returns to the EOC to find that General Cochrane in the midst of proceeding to take out the Algerian air defences, in direct contravention to the desires of the Commander-in-Chief. Given this insubordination and direct challenge to his authority, Kirkman relieves the General of his command.
The next development in this situation was the eventual delivery of Agent Serafian's body to the steps of the US Embassy in Algiers. With a positive identification of the body, President Kirkman then places Admiral Chernow in charge and instructs him to prepare the US for war.
Having established a discrepancy in the current facts concerning Peter MacLeish, FBI Agent Wells pays him a visit at his home using the pretext of keeping him informed of the investigation. However, he and his wife corroborate on explaining why he had stepped away from his seat at the crucial moment.
With this development, Agent Wells retreats to a gym where her boss later catches up with her. Using the punching bag helps Hannah to deal with her grief and gain perspective, acknowledging that her emotions were potentially distracting her focus on the investigation. As a result of their conversation, Jason convinces her to sleep on the request for reassignment.
At night time, Agent Wells receives a call from a mysterious unidentified female caller who gives her a clue - Find room 105 and she would understand more about Peter MacLeish.
The First Lady Legal/Immigration Case
First Lady Alex Kirkman's previous clients attempt to contact her via the White House switchboard. One of the clients, Maria Serrano, was arrested and is going to be deported back to Honduras. Given this development, Alex decides to pay her previous employer at the law firm a visit.
As part of trying to work out a solution for Maria, Alex approaches Congresswoman Hookstraten and discusses the possibility of her client being called as a witness before the Subcommittee of Immigration & Border Security. As a witness expected to testify, Maria would be granted immunity and thus be able to stay in the US. In exchange, the understanding was that the First Lady would owe the Congresswoman a favour.
White House Staffers
After the struggles of facing the press, Seth attempts to mentor Carter Dunne through the experience. However, this does not work out, as Carter is unable to handle the pressure during a second briefing session. In order to save the situation, Seth steps in and completes the second briefing of the day. Later in the day, whilst in his office, Seth is praised by Aaron, who encourages him to accept the new role of Press Secretary, with the support and backing from the press corp members themselves.
At the close of the day, President Kirkman returns to the White House and seeks out Seth, who had, by then, turned down the offer put to him by Aaron. Their conversation helps clearing the understanding and encourages Seth to accept the offer.
With the end of the day in sight, Aaron and Emily share a drink while Seth introduces himself to the press corp, establishing their new working relationship.
- Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman
- Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman
- Adan Canto as Aaron Shore
- Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes
- LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter
- Tanner Buchanan as Leo Kirkman
- Kal Penn as Seth Wright
- Maggie Q as Hannah Wells