Designated Survivor's Finale Cliffhanger Proves It Needs To Be Renewed

designated survivor series finale tom kirkman kiefer sutherland
(Image credit: Image courtesy of ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 2 finale of Designated Survivor.

ABC shocked and disappointed Designated Survivor fans when it announced that the Kiefer Sutherland drama would come to an end after two seasons. The cancellation news came less than a week before the season finale was set to hit the airwaves, and viewers had to face the reality that they would probably be stuck without much in the way of closure after the final episode. Talks of a possible renewal elsewhere are reportedly ongoing, and now that the Season 2 finale has aired and revealed some big cliffhangers, it's safe to say that Designated Survivor needs to find a new home a la Brooklyn Nine-Nine ASAP.

President Tom Kirkman and his staff were in crisis mode for a lot of the episode, which wasn't all that shocking considering the end of the previous episode had featured Emily taking a bullet. Fortunately, Emily got away with stitches due to a poorly-aimed shot, but that and Leo's news that he got into Standford were just about the only pieces of good news. An earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated a U.S. territory that had voted to leave the U.S., with Lyor Boone and Seth Wright on the island. Both men survived, but it was a devastating incident that resulted in a lot of deaths.

Kirkman was facing plenty of non-tsunami related problems back in D.C. It was looking more and more like he would face criminal charges for his actions earlier in the season, and the possibility of impeachment was mentioned. Party politics was getting in the way of Kirkman doing his job. So, he dropped a bombshell in one of the final scenes of the episode. While live on television in an address to the nation, Kirkman announced that he was running for re-election... but as an independent. Sick of party politics, Kirkman is going to attempt to help the American people through another term. If the cancellation really is the end of Designated Survivor, we'll never get to see him go through the election process and/or win the office of the President the less deadly way.

If that wasn't enough of a Kirkman cliffhanger, the episode had one more punch to pack on the President. The very last scene saw Kirkman get on the phone with the Attorney General, who would tell him whether or not he would face charges. It would have been a great hook to keep viewers invested through hiatus... if only ABC hadn't axed the series.

There was another cliffhanger as well, although it didn't directly involve Kirkman. After spending most of the episode doing her best to kick ass and take names in the U.K., Hannah made a startling discovery when she began watching video footage that seemed to show Chief of Staff Emily Rhodes committing treason and betraying the President. Given that Emily has been one of Kirkman's staunchest and most loyal supporters, the image of her going against him was quite shocking, and it's difficult to guess where the show was planning on going with her.

Emily resigned her job as Chief of Staff after she made an error in judgment that resulted in a Supreme Court justice paying Kirkman a visit, and she cited a need to spend some time to herself. Whether this is true or part of a scheme may never be known unless Designated Survivor is picked up.

There is hope for fans who need to know what happens next after the finale full of cliffhangers. Designated Survivor production company eOne is reportedly looking for other entertainment outlets that might be willing to revive the series. Netflix is currently the most likely candidate for a potential pick-up, which makes sense if the streaming service wants a political thriller once House of Cards comes to an end. ABC's reasons for cancelling the series might not make a difference for an outlet like Netflix.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest on Designated Survivor. We'll also bring you the latest news in renewals and cancellations, and you can find what to watch now and in the not-too-distant future on our summer TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.