Throughout its run, Designated Survivor: 60 Days gave a glimpse of what a “good president” should be like. Ji Jin-Hee played the role of President Park Moo-Jin very well, depending on the people around him yet following his moral compass in each situation presented to him. In turn, his performance made this K-drama one of the best to watch during its season.
Now Designated Survivor: 60 Days has concluded. Not only was it decently popular among viewers, but it also went beyond showing what a “good president” does. The finale showed viewers what it looks like when a “good man is president.”
The difference between a ‘good man’ and ‘good man as president’
Before continuing, it must be highly-stressed that the following in this part of the article contains major spoilers for the ending of Designated Survivor: 60 Days. For those who want to avoid such spoilers, skip to the next section.
In episode 15, the coup to overthrow President Park Moo-Jin was actually resolved rather quickly. In the previous episode, Eun Hee-Jung (Lee Ki-Young) — one of the masterminds behind the President’s State of the Union address bombing — has influenced the Korean military to take his side in the coup. The only person who has more influence than him is General Lee Gwan-Mook (Choi Jae-Sung).
Prior to meeting up with Eun Hee-Jung, General Lee Gwan-Mook met up with President Park Moo-Jin to discuss the situation. The entirety of the discussion won’t be spoiled, but just know that General Lee sided with President Park when he came up to Hee-Jung.
Finally, in the last episode, we still have the question — who is responsible for the bombing? After connecting the dots, we find out the real culprit is someone who’s been by President Park Moo-Jin’s side since the first day, Han Joo-Seung (Heo Jun-Ho). To be frank, the fact that he was the other mastermind behind the bombing came as a surprise as many thought Cha Young-Jin (Son Seok-Koo) would be the one.
Nevertheless, President Park Moo-Jin “takes responsibility” for the bombing, as he has kept Han Joo-Seung as a member of his cabinet, he was a close confidant. He shows said responsibility by stepping down from running for the presidency.
Believe it or not, this is what separates a “good president” from a “good man as president.” A good president would remove Han Joo-Seung but would continue to run for president. A good man as president takes responsibility and acts accordingly for what is best, even if his or her goals have to take a backseat. In this case, President Park Moo-Jin had to step down from running.
Lasting effect beyond the excellent viewership
Many viewers appealed to the ending of Designated Survivor: 60 Days as the final episode earned the series its highest ratings ever. According to AGB Neilsen Korea, the final episode earned 6.178 percent for the nation of Korea and 7.181 percent for just Seoul alone.
However, what the last episode showed is what resulted in such a high viewership. For starters, it showed that what a good president does usually will last beyond his or her presidency.
In Designated Survivor: 60 Days, it was the discrimination act. Though it was not passed, President Park Moo-Jin’s push for it helped fuel people to support it.
Ultimately, Designated Survivor: 60 Days shows Park Moo-Jin’s former cabinet seeking him out and reuniting as they all hope Moo-Jin would run for president again for the upcoming term. Their line in unison, “We want to see a good man in the presidency,” speaks volumes. It is also an excellent way to conclude the series as we don’t need to know what happens afterward.
Designated Survivor: 60 Days aired on the Total Variety Network (tvN) from Monday, July 1, 2019, to Tuesday, August 20, 2019, for a total of 16 episodes. It is no longer airing on network television but is currently streaming on Netflix.