'Designated Survivor' recap: It's Michigan vs. everybody!

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Two weeks ago, ABC's "Designated Survivor" showed a fictional Michigan governor  ordering the arrest of law-abiding Muslims in Dearborn. On Wednesday night's episode, things got worse.

Spoiler alert: Details follow on all hell breaking loose, Michigan-wise, in the story line.

To recap, President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), still adjusting to leading the country after the devastating State of the Union attack, was informed that Michigan's wackadoodle Gov. James Royce (played by character actor Michael Gaston) was acting up again.

Royce was back to arresting Muslims and had instituted a curfew and ban on gatherings. You know how people use their hand to point to where they live here? Well, the governor was using his metaphorically to smack around the Constitution and civil liberties.

Kirkman's staffer Emily (Italia Ricci) volunteered to go to the state and talk to the governor. Based on real-life WikiLeaks info, we're guessing she tried the coney dogs on a previous trip and wanted a second helping. But when she landed at Dearborn Municipal Airport (pause for eye-rolling at using the real state but not a real airport), Royce was there with big men with big guns, telling her to go back to D.C.

Royce's greeting to earnest Emily? "As President Reagan said, the nine scariest words words in the English language are, 'I'm with the government and I'm here to help.' " Uh-oh, he played the Reagan card.Royce wouldn't let Emily leave the airport to observe a peaceful protest by an Islamic coalition outside Dearborn's City Hall. To stop Royce from setting up essentially a police state, Kirkman issued an order to federalize the state's National Guard. But the commanding general, a Royce supporter, refused to do it. (Some 49 years ago, Gov. George Romney did send National Guard troops to Detroit during the 1967 riot and President Lyndon Johnson ordered federal troops there, but that's a real-life, devastating chapter of history that just increases the sting of the episode's plot.)

Long story short: Royce flew back to D.C. with Emily and behaved like he was in the mood to negotiate. But President Kirkman definitely wasn't. "I'm placing you under arrest for treason against the United States of America," said the prez to the guv.

Sigh. Stay tuned for next week, when presumably, given the show's use of Michigan's use so far, a band of rabid wolverines will radicalize and fly to Washington to attempt to free Royce for a coup attempt.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Gov. Royce character activated the National Guard and incorrectly attributed the deployment of National Guard troops to Detroit during the 1967 riot to President Lyndon Johnson. 

Detroit Free Press


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