When 'Designated Survivor' Returns, There's So Much To Explore


Designated Survivor is expected to make a splash with its midseason finale on Dec. 13. Earlier this year, the show's star, Kiefer Sutherland, appeared onstage at an ABC event and teased a "midseason event that I believe will knock the socks off of our audience," according to TVLine. And, no matter what potential cliffhanger the political drama delivers, audiences will be eager to ask — when does Designated Survivor Season 2 come back?

UPDATE: According to TV Line, Designated Survivor will return Feb 28.

EARLIER: It looks, for now, as though the show will have a bit of a later midseason return than much of ABC's other programming. TVLine reports in another article that in Designated Survivor's usual time slot — Wednesdays at 10 p.m. — Match Game will premiere its third season on Jan. 3. The outlet states that Designated Survivor will return later in the spring, though it doesn't appear that an official premiere date has been announced. The show's situation is definitely a different story than some other popular ABC shows — the #TGIT lineup of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder will all return on Jan. 18, according to the TVLine piece — but it isn't necessarily odd. When Designated Survivor came back after winter hiatus last year, it wasn't until March 8.

Cast and showrunners are definitely making it seem like audiences will be left in some serious anticipation after the midseason finale. "We have been thinking about this [storyline] for a very long time," showrunner Keith Eisner told TVLine. "It’s uncharted territory for a television show."

One of the main conflicts, it seems, will be between Damian and Hannah, though it's unclear if that's where writers will pull out this apparent twist. "There will be a terrific confrontation between Damian and Hannah, and really that's a long time in the making," Eisner told TV Guide. "As we revealed in the previous episode, Damian is highly suspect and may have done things that only were able to be done because he had gotten close to Hannah, at least that's Hannah's suspicion. So this will lead to a pretty shattering confrontation between the two of them, an unexpected one I would say as well. I don't think the audience will be able to predict the tenor of that confrontation."


The showrunner also mentioned the villain that's plagued Season 2 of the show, and whether or not Damian has been working with them. "What I'll say about that is — I don't want to reveal if he is or he isn't — but I will say that he occupies a very interesting place, which is to say it's very hard to get to the bottom of what Damian's agenda is because he's certainly done things that put him in the good guys' camp," he said in the same TV Guide interview. "[Damian is] a complicated character with a fairly complicated agenda, but one that we're going to take a little bit of time with before revealing."

There's plenty for the show to work with in terms of twists, as is true with many political thriller series, and an actor like Sutherland is certainly no stranger to shouldering dramatic plotlines. Per Entertainment Weekly, the 24 veteran seems to think that President Kirkman is equipped to handle almost anything that's thrown at him.


"I think anybody in that situation is going to have to do whatever they think is for the greater good of the country or ultimately they end up making a choice to do something that is easy and more comfortable for themselves," he told Entertainment Weekly. "And certainly in the context of our show, my character will be confronted with those issues. Though the skill set of Kirkman and Jack Bauer is incredibly different, I think both characters have a strong moral compass. It doesn’t mean they’ll always be right, but they will certainly do what they think is going to be the right thing."

Meanwhile, Eisner goes so far as to say the very fabric of the show's characters will be shaken up due to events of the finale. "The nature of our West Wing family will change after this episode, or the structure of it," he said in the aforementioned TV Guide interview. "There's a shattering and unexpected development that people won't see coming, and it will affect the lives of the people in the White House, and beyond that, I don't know how specific I want to get."

But, if last year is any indication, anxious viewers may be kept in limbo until around March before they'll be able to confront the aftermath of the shocking midseason finale's events.