DESIGNATED SURVIVOR Boss on Season 3's Big Tragedy - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR Boss on Season 3’s Big Tragedy

June 20, 2019 by  

Designated Survivor Hannah Dies

Credit: Netflix

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the third season of DESIGNATED SURVIVOR.]

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR never hesitated to make big character moves when the series was on ABC, and the third season (its first on Netflix) was no different.

As President Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) dealt with his re-election campaign—and the murky side of politics that arose from that—Maggie Q’s Hannah Wells found herself in the middle of a horrifying biological terror threat.

“We love and we know the audience loves the interlacing of conspiracy with the politics,” showrunner Neal Baer explains. “I love cardinals, so I love dropping there everywhere, like we did in the first episode. They’re a harbinger of bad things to come. First, when Emily hits one with her car, and then at the end of episode 1, there’s the field of dead cardinals—what is that leading to? You have no idea until it all unfolds.”

For Hannah, unfortunately, it proved to be fatal. While investigating a lead about a bioterrorist (who was attempting to engineer a virus that could target people with darker skin) in episode 7, she doubled back solo to check out a suspicious facility further. But she was caught and killed via a paralyzing nerve agent. 

“That felt right, because that’s what the season was about: the toxic nature of what she was exploring,” Baer says. “And the mastermind, that’s [inspired by] a real story.”

Though the loss of Hannah is sizable to the series, Baer consulted with Q before pulling the figurative trigger. “We felt she has done three years of conspiracy,” he recalls. “Wouldn’t someone as dedicated as she is give her life to save the country?…I went to her and said, ‘Is this something you would be interested in? If we really put your character through it and give her this heroic ending, is that cool with you?’ Because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t do it. And she said, ‘You know, I think I’ve played this character out. I’ve done the FBI stuff, I’ve done the conspiracy stuff. It feels real. I’m ready to move on.’”

But with the awareness they’d be bidding the character farewell, they also tapped into her lighter side in the preceding episodes. “What is lovely about Maggie Q, is we were able to bring out her sense of humor, a lot more of Hannah’s past, her parentage, who she is, what languages she speaks,” Baer says. “And this great interaction with this sidekick, Eli, played by Chukwudi Iwuji.”

While the show’s writers have early plans to bring in a new investigator for a potential season 4, Hannah’s sacrifice won’t be forgotten. “She saved Houston from being exposed to a terrible virus,” Baer says. “I love that two people of color, Maggie Q’s character and Chukwudi’s character, were the ones spearheading this. They realized what was at stake.”

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, Season 3, Now Streaming, Netflix


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