Designated Survivor: 60 Days Recap: Adjusting To A New Career

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 8, 2019 (Last updated: December 16, 2023)
Netflix series Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 16 - The Last Case


Designated Survivor: 60 Days Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo” tests the lead characters’ vow that he does not desire power.

This episode of Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo” contains significant spoilers. The Korean Netflix Series will be running weekly every Monday and Tuesday until season 1 ends. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.

All I can say is that I have the utmost respect for this Korean adaptation. Designated Survivor: 60 Days has overlong episodes, but the quality and consistency are appreciated thus far.

Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo”, begins with Park Moo-jin (Jin-hee Ji) adjusting to his new family life in the Blue House. His family does not seem comfortable, with his wife displeased about being assigned to First Lady as she wants to continue her duties as a lawyer. The new official schedule for the President begins, with the Press Team doing their best to prevent leaked embargoes about Japan and North Korea. Designated Survivor: 60 Days feels realistic.

Park Moo-jin is still not making a mark on his new role. Presidential Secretary Han Joo-Seung (Heo Jun-Ho) is disappointed in the staff who are supporting the President and makes a scene by removing them all from a meeting but at the same time, it’s his way of asserting his authority in tough times.

Cable installations is a big thing in episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo”, as Han Na-Kyung (Kang Han-Na) learns that a supply company was used to plant the bombs in the General Assembly. During her investigation, she finds the person who stole her phone from the previous episode and starts an on-foot chase through the town. The person in question accidentally electrocutes himself. Despite her bravery so far to find the missing jigsaw puzzle, Han-mo wants more evidence.

Conspiracies begin to circle in Designated Survivor: 60 Days about North Korea starting a war. “Maintaining Status Quo” starts the political pressure from opposition parties, with Mayor Kang authorizing a Special Crime Unit team to round-up on North Korean defectors.

As for Park Moo-jin, he has been requested to attend the site where the explosion happened with his wife, the First Lady. In the first conflict of interest, his wife asks him if he can stop the Special Crime Unit from hurting North Korean defectors, and exercise his powers as the President. Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo” gives Park Moo-jin his first consideration of power – something he denied wanting in a conversation with Secretary Han earlier that day.

At the scene of the terrorist attack, you can feel the weight of responsibility on Park Moo-jin’s shoulders as he sees the public mourning and the wreckage. He takes off his protection so he can be one of them, but during a speech, he is guided away from the site due to a protestor attempting to attack him.

The North Korean defectors are becoming a significant issue in Park Moo-jin’s principles, so he invites Mayor Kang to the Blue House and asks him to revoke the actions of the Special Crime Unit. Mayor Kang angrily leaves the meeting, spurring Park Moo-jin to give an impassioned speech about protecting their people, including those who fled to their country. “Maintaining Status Quo” shows where Park Moo-jin’s limits lay as a leader.

And this forces Park Moo-jin into a decision in episode 3. He learns that he does not have the authority to make an Executive Order as it will hurt the status quo as an Acting President. “Maintaining Status Quo” reveals that he can attempt to make an Executive Decision, but it may cause impeachment, and also assume that he will run for the full Presidency. When his wife reveals that her client has died in the police cell, he issues an Executive Order using the Discrimination Policy as a valid reason under his Acting President tenancy.

In a tense, shocking moment in Designated Survivor: 60 Days, Presidential Secretary Han disagrees with the motion and says “they’re my people”. Park Moo-jin has no option but to dismiss his secretary. Flashbacks confirm that Han allowed the series events to unfold so that Park Moo-jin starts to exercise his power, and that he made himself a sacrifice to ensure the person with the highest power leads. Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo” serves this plot point somewhat neatly.

As Designated Survivor: 60 Days Season 1, Episode 3, “Maintaining Status Quo” ends,  the news is relayed to the media about the Executive Order, with North Korean Defectors freed from the Special Crime Units. The chapter ends with a twist; a survivor has been found in the rubble.

You can read the recap of the fourth episode by clicking these words.

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