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Designated SurvivorStar Talks About His Shift From Adrenaline Junkie to Political Junkie and Reflects On His Most Famous TV Role

On The Inside: A Personal Essay By Law & Order: SVU Star Mariska Hargitay Revealing How Professional Turned Personal In her Role As Advocate for Victims of Abuse 

NEW YORK, September 13—TV Guide Magazine's upcoming issue, on stands Thursday, September 15, features a visit to the set of ABC's upcoming series Designated Survivor and talks with its cover star Kiefer Sutherland about going from action hero to a man called to action, and what it's like to    go from a low-level cabinet job to the most important role in the free world in an instant.

Commenting on what fans shouldn't expect," Sutherland says: “I hope that people aren’t expecting me to be doing stunts in the Oval Office, because it’s not gonna happen.”

On his hesitation about signing onto another series, Sutherland said: “It’s hard to say this, because I love what I do, but the truth is that after nine years of 24, I was a little tired. But you don’t come across opportunities like this very often. Playing Jack Bauer was one of the great gifts of my life, and I’m hoping this will be the other.

On how the 49-year-old is handling the shift from adrenaline junkie to political junkie: "Maybe this is the time in my life to be making an intelligent or passionate argument, as opposed to fighting three guys at once."

Series creator David Guggenheim on the timing of the series premiere-in the midst of a downright bonkers Presidential election cycle:  “At a time when the American people are so fed up, there is some wish fulfillment to the thought of ‘one of us’ in the White House, using common-sense solutions as well as the idea of getting to start over from scratch.”

Inside the issue, in a moving personal essay by Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, readers will hear firsthand how her  role as Detective Olivia Benson led to Hargitay's real life role as an advocate for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and her decision to create the Joyful Heart Foundation. Excerpts from Hargitay’s guest column follow. Full text is available upon request.

Hargitay on how Law & Order: SVU contributed to her launching The Joyful Heart Foundation: “Doing research to play Olivia Benson… I encountered staggering statistics about sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. I was asking why everyone wasn’t talking about these issues, and why they weren’t dominating the headlines and the evening news. I talked about the letters I started receiving from survivors disclosing their stories of abuse, and about how I wanted to answer—really answer—those letters, how I wanted to address the suffering they described and honor acts of courage they represented. I answered with Joyful Heart.”

On what hasn't changed in the 18 years since she first took on her role in the series: “Survivors still largely face the same cultural attitudes that contribute to silencing them and preventing them from coming forward as when I started on the show, and despite the prevalence of these crimes—to which statistics attest—these issues remain the most underfunded, under-researched, under-regarded social ills of our day.”

Hargitay on what makes her hopeful:  “I see change as more smart, engaged, committed, creative, determined people apply their best thinking to these issues. I see change as more people in more communities decide that they’ve had enough. ..I also see change as the conversations at SVU about scripts and storylines become more nuanced and more informed. Our writers are ever more determined to not only reflect events authentically, but to represent how prevailing cultural attitudes can introduce layers of confounding complexity into these issues.”

As Hargitay leverages TV Guide Magazine as a platform to voice awareness for such an important cause, TV Guide Magazine in turn also shines a spotlight in this issue on eight television stars that use the power of their celebrity for social change, and who will be recognized for their efforts this week at the Television Industry Advocacy Awards.  Among those who will be honored at a ceremony hosted by TV Guide Magazine, The Creative Coalition and this Friday, September 16 in Los Angeles are: Jill Soloway (Transparent), Tony Hale (Veep), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Niecy Nash (Getting On), Derek Hough (Dancing with the Stars), Reid Scott (Veep), Dean Norris (Under the Dome), and Sandra Lee (Good Morning America). Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) will host the evening’s ceremony. 

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