Designated Survivor

Designated Survivor Shocker: [Spoiler] to Depart — Is This the Big 'Twist'?

We’re guessing this is the big Designated Survivor twist Kiefer Sutherland’s been alluding to: Natascha McElhone, who plays first lady to Sutherland’s POTUS on the ABC thriller, is departing the series in Season 2, TVLine has confirmed.

According to Deadline, which first broke the news of McElhone’s exit, the actress will immediately jump from Designated Survivor to The First, Hulu’s upcoming Sean Penn drama set on Mars.

It’s not clear when McElhone’s Designated Survivor swan song will air, but it’s likely to be sooner vs. later since The First starts production later this fall. That would sync up with the tease Sutherland dropped last May about “a midseason event that I believe will knock the socks off our audience.” (TVLine has since confirmed that said event will occur in Episode 10.)

Written by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, The First follows the first human mission to Mars, exploring the challenges of taking the first steps toward interplanetary colonization. The story focuses not only on the astronauts, but also on their families and loved ones, as well as the ground team on Earth.