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Why Netflix Pulled a Designated Survivor Episode in Turkey

The Turkish government is finally getting around to watching Tom Kirkman

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Tim Surette

After three seasons of Designated Survivor, there's one lesson to be learned: You don't mess with the independent-minded president Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland). Unless you're the real government of a real country, that is.

Netflix has pulled an episode of the political drama in Turkey after complaints that the episode depicted a fictional Turkish president as a ruthless villain, according to Variety. The episode has only been pulled in Turkey, and it can still be seen in Netflix's other regions.

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The Designated Survivor installment in question is Season 2's "Family Ties," in which the Turkish president sets up Kirkman's son Leo (Tanner Buchanan) to push a protester (who was a plant by the Turkish government) to the ground while defending his girlfriend (who was also a plant by the Turkish government) so the protester could file assault charges against Leo, all to put pressure on Kirkman to extradite a peaceful political opponent back to Turkey where bad things would happen to him. Yeah. Maybe that's why most of Kirkman's big plotlines had him tussling with fake countries like Kunami and East Hun Chiu.

Though Netflix's outer image is one of an impenetrable wall, this isn't the first time the streaming service has needed to comply with local laws. Early last year, Netflix pulled an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj after Saudi Arabia issued a government demand. Minhaj was critical of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's response and reaction to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which Saudi Arabia says violated anti-cybercrime laws.

After two seasons on ABC, Netflix picked up Designated Survivor for a third season, but canceled the show in mid-2019.

Kiefer Sutherland, Designated Survivor

Kiefer Sutherland, Designated Survivor

Netflix