When a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union address claims the lives of the president and most of his Cabinet, the Housing and Urban Development secretary Tom Kirkman -- who was named the designated survivor in case of such an event -- finds himself promoted to leader of the free world. Suddenly thrust into his new position of power, Kirkman struggles to keep the country from dissolving into chaos and must adjust to his new normal, unaware of what fresh horrors may await the United States of America.
One year into office, President Thomas Kirkman juggles searching for the mastermind behind the attack on the Capitol Building, dealing with the day-to-day situations that take place at home and abroad, and helping a nation rebuild.
Thomas Adam "Tom" Kirkman is an American government official and former urban planner who is currently serving as the incumbent President of the United States. He served in President Richmond's Cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development until a terrorist attack killed every person present at the State of the Union address, including President Richmond. Kirkman had been selected as the “designated survivor” before the bombing because according to Charles Langdon, he appeared the least qualified to be President.