‘Designated Survivor’: Lauren Holly on Lynn’s Ongoing Struggles & the Harpers’ Marriage

Designated Survivor Lynn

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3 of Designated Survivor.]

It wasn’t an easy season for the Harpers, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Designated Survivor introduced Mars Harper (Anthony Edwards) as President Tom Kirkman’s (Kiefer Sutherland) new Chief of Staff and Lynn (Lauren Holly) as Mars’ wife struggling with an opioid addiction. Throughout the season, her struggles got worse — she overdosed — but she came out of it on the other side and had a possible new career path by the finale.

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Her character's storyline calls attention to the realities of the opioid crisis.

As Mars told her, he wanted her to take her father’s old Senate seat. She was a “recovered” drug addict “with a relatable story to tell, a triumph over the scourge plaguing the state and the country,” he pitched. She could talk about the struggle she faced every day, he said.

And therein lies Holly’s hopes for her character, should there be a fourth season and she’s part of it, she told TV Insider. Read on to see what she had to say about Season 3.


Can you talk about Lynn’s struggles and journey over the season as she dealt with her addiction and where she ended up?

Lauren Holly: First and foremost, it’s the fact that you have this woman who’s a big part of the political scene in Washington, her father being a Senator and everything, she’s wealthy, money, all of that, and she got addicted to opioids. It’s not just small towns across the United States.

She had a back injury and the struggle is is that it’s completely impacted her marriage. He’s having an affair. It’s hard to deal with it. She’s in a constant struggle of pain. And then unfortunately, she goes to rehab for the second time. That’s hard. Comes home and ODs, not because she took too much, but because her body just couldn’t handle anything after going through her addiction.

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They kind of work together, and [Mars] gets so angry at what he’s going through at home, he actually uses his position to go after the big pharmaceutical company and in that fight, I think it sort of brings them closer together.

And the good news is is by the end of it, he really wants her to run for the Senate, which I think [gives her] something else that she can focus on, no matter how hard it is. There’s a line in the finale that she says — “I’m holding on by my fingernails, that’s what I feel like,” — and that’s what addicts struggle with every day, so I’m sure that her struggles are only going to continue.


You mentioned Lynn and Mars’ relationship and how he really fought for her to bring to light the opioid struggles. Do you that helped her move past his “extracurricular activities,” as she called them?

I think it’s that and the fact that when she OD’ed and she was in the hospital, he realized that he had some sort of part in this and I think it made him recommit to their relationship. If I was going to get clean, he was going to be there for me.

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She plays one of the new characters joining the series for its third season on Netflix.

If there’s another season and you’re part of it, what would you like to see happen or explore for Lynn? Are there any characters you’d like her to interact with?

All of them at the White House. I want Lynn to be at the White House. And I’d like her to run for Senate, and I’d like to continue to showcase that the struggle’s not over. Because it is a lifelong problem, so it shouldn’t be something that’s sort of in her back pocket.


Looking back at the season, what was your favorite scene or moment?

I really loved a scene in the third episode when I’m in therapy at my rehab facility. Peter Noah wrote the script, and I thought it was a terrific scene, and it gave a really clear perspective on their relationship.

Designated Survivor, Season 3, Now streaming, Netflix