Designated Survivor's Big 'Midseason Event,' 7 Months in the Making, Is Here

Designated Survivor Alex vs FBI Prison

On May 14 of this year, Kiefer Sutherland appeared on stage at ABC’s Upfront presentation to reflect on Designated Survivor‘s freshman run and then tease of Season 2 — quite far in advance — a “midseason event that I believe will knock the socks off of our audience.”

Well hold onto your Hanes, because that time arrives on Wednesday at 10/9c.

“We have been thinking about this [storyline] for a very long time,” showrunner Keith Eisner tells TVLine with a nod to Sutherland’s seven-month-old promise. Without spoiling the twist, he teases: “It’s uncharted territory for a television show.”

And to think it all goes down in the midst of a Christmas episode, to boot.

To serve up a holiday-set outing in the vein of what, say, The West Wing famously did, “certainly was” intimidating, Eisner says. “But we wanted to do one, because we felt like one was owed. And what we came up with felt like it touched on what the season was about, and also created a lot of excitement for us.”

Within the episode, titled “Line of Fire,” President Kirkman (played by Sutherland) contends with a massive wildfire that has in its path a cabin full of religious zealots who refuse to budge unless a member’s newborn daughter is refused medical treatment that runs afoul of their beliefs. Meanwhile, First Lady Alex (Natascha McElhone) has big decisions to make with regards to the bribery scandal she has been swept up in, when a plea deal appears before her. Though appealing, taking the deal runs the risk of creating blowback for her POTUS husband.

Up until now, “Alex been playing a lot of defense, and what you’ll see in the midseason finale is a clash between Kirkman and his wife, about how to handle the Forstell investigation,” Eisner previews. “What’s interesting for us is there’s both a personal clash — a husband and wife facing down an issue that can affect the family — and a political clash, which asks, ‘What’s the best way to handle this for the country?'”

Ultimately, Alex goes to FBI director Forstell with a surprising response and, Eisner says, “we think the audience will be very excited to see how that showdown plays out.”

That is far from the only eventful showdown on tap, however. After all, Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is trying to process new intel that casts her colleague (and lover), MI-6 operative Damian Rennett (Ben Lawson), in a shady light.

“A big shoe dropped, and that was the revelation that Damian may not be who he said he was,” Eisner reminds. “Hannah’s very compromised, because she made a mistake that a lot of agents try to avoid but many make, which is she got involved with someone she’s been working with. That has cast her professional behavior under suspicion, creates conflict with [National Security Advisor] Aaron, and sets up a pretty shattering confrontation with Damian — one that’s fueled by feelings of both personal and professional betrayal.”

Will you in your hosiery be tuning in for Dez‘s midseason event?