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The midseason finale of Designated Survivor was a shocking one, as fans witnessed the death of First Lady Alex Kirkman after the vehicle carrying the President's wife was t-boned by a large truck. Its been known for awhile actress Natascha McElhone was leaving the series, but the way the show wrote her off left many wondering just how things will move forward when it returns in 2018. Emily actress Italia Ricci recently shared some details on where things are headed, and it looks as though Tom is in for a tough time in 2018:
As Tom is dealing with the death of his wife --- or choosing not to deal with it --- his staff has to force him to make decisions that are hard and emotionally uncomfortable.
It's tough to lose a loved one in a sudden and unexpected way, and it might be a little tougher when you're the President. When Designated Survivor returns, the show will time jump 10 weeks into the future, or a little over two and a half months following the death of the First Lady. It sounds as though Tom attempts to block out anything that might trigger a reaction to the death of Alex, which will be hard as his staff will ask him to make some decisions Italia Ricci told TVLine are "emotionally uncomfortable."
As far as what decisions Tom may be asked to make during this time remain a mystery, as Designated Survivor is jumping into some previously uncharted territory. Only 3 First Ladies have died while the President of the United States has been in office, and none of them were in a car accident-- which has to have some interesting implications. For example, if it's discovered that the person driving the car was distracted or inebriated, how does the President respond? Many advocacy groups would surely look to the President for tougher regulations or penalties towards future offenders, which could always stir up some controversy.
Designated Survivor might also question whether or not the fictional president is fit to lead while mourning. It's certainly a question someone would ask in the real world, and its possible members of Tom's staff may pressure him into pushing through different policies in an effort to make things look like "business as usual." Even if that doesn't happen, it would be surprising if the series doesn't at least have one person questioning Tom's mental state, as a national tragedy of that scale would have a magnifying glass on the President even larger than usual.
Designated Survivor returns to ABC Wednesday, February 28 at 10:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what other shows are set to premiere or return around that time, be sure to visit our midseason premiere guide.