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The midseason finale of Designated Survivor ended on a tragic twist that saw the death of none other than Alex Kirkman (Natascha McElhone) in a sudden car crash, leaving Tom (Kiefer Sutherland) to break down at the news of her demise. The President and his wife were loving and steadfast in their marriage, and her death was a major blow. That said, TV follows different rules than real life, and many fans are already wondering if the show has plans for a new love interest for Kirkman, especially given the new cast member who will be joining the series. Designated Survivor showrunner Keith Eisner weighed in on the possibility of romance for Kirkman, saying this:
Here's what I will say: We don't have an interest in throwing this president into bed with someone else, immediately. We don't feel that's real, and Kiefer doesn't either. Kiefer feels like [Alex] is his life companion who has been taken from him, and he's not going to just start running around with other people.
Judging by Keith Eisner's comments, it's probably safe to say that Tom Kirkman may have a new love interest at some point in the series, but romance won't be on the horizon for him any time soon. Star Kiefer Sutherland evidently feels strongly that his character wouldn't move on from Alex's death quickly at all, no matter the pressures he faces and people he meets in his role as President of the United States.
Of course, the odds were always pretty good that Kirkman would be mourning his wife on screen for a fair amount of time. Keith Eisner revealed shortly after the midseason finale aired that Designated Survivor intended to tread new TV ground by showing a president who is also a widower. The series had to find a way to deal with the departure of Natascha McElhone for another project, and killing Alex off would at least allow for some unprecedented new material on the small screen.
Honestly, few of us probably would have even wondered if new romance was in the works for Kirkman in Season 2 if not for the casting of Kim Raver as a brand new character in the second half of the season. Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver worked together on 24 as on-again, off-again lovers, and it was entirely possible that Designated Survivor would attempt to take advantage of their chemistry again. Keith Eisner teased a bit of what to expect between their characters in his chat with TVLine:
A nice friendship will be struck up there.
There we have it! Kiefer Sutherland and Kim Raver will play characters who become friends rather than love interests, at least for the foreseeable future. If Designated Survivor does intend to explore new romance for Kirkman with Raver's character (or any other character), we'll probably be waiting for a while.
Designated Survivor will return with its midseason premiere on Wednesday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Our midseason TV premiere guide can clue you in on when your other favorite cable and broadcast TV shows will hit the airwaves, and our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule can help you plan your streaming schedule in the new year.