After nearly three months away, it's finally time to hand control of the country back over to Kiefer Sutherland. "Designated Survivor" is back, after a rather long winter hiatus, for the second half of its first season -- and we couldn't be more excited. That said, as a show filled with as many twists and turns as "Designated Survivor" it's a little hard to remember exactly what happened when it ended back in early December.
With most of the U.S. government dead after a terror attack, Tom Kirkman (Sutherland) was sworn in as the new President of the United States. Then, somehow, everything got worse -- the attack was apparently orchestrated by someone within the White House. So who's the bad guy? That's the big question viewers will be trying to figure out as Season 1 returns.
While the mystery of who bombed the Capitol remains unsolved, there are some conclusions to be drawn based on the first 10 episodes. With that in mind, here's what we know about the three most likely suspects. Is one of these people guilty?
Vice President Peter MacLeish
The thing about MacLeish (Ashley Zukerman) is that he's clearly involved. The attack, and his subsequent survival, were all carefully orchestrated to land him in the role of Vice President -- one step away from becoming President of the United States. But just how high does he rank in this plot?
This could go one of two ways: Either MacLeish is the mastermind of the entire thing, or just a pawn in the operation... And what better pawn to have than the leader of the country you're trying to destroy? Regardless of how major his role may be in how this is all unfolding, MacLeish -- and his wife Beth (Lara Jean Chorostecki), who we're equally scared of -- is guilty, and people are starting to figure it out.
...In fact, Beth could well be the one calling the shots. When he showed trepidation about being sworn in as VP, she quickly stepped in: "This is a great day for all of us," she tells him. "It's exactly what we've been working for."
Makes you wonder exactly who "us" and "we" is.
White House Chief of Staff Aaron Shore
There's a mole in the White House, and Shore (Adan Canto) is looking very suspicious. Clearly he's working with Hookstraten -- whom we'll get to in a moment -- but to what end? He claims he's acting within the President's best interests, but what if that's all a lie?
When Kirkman came up with a list of potential moles that turned over the Capitol bombing blueprint to terrorists, Shore was one of the names on it, thanks to his position in the previous administration. Then it was revealed that he was the man who made the call, leaking the blueprint. What's the deal?
We don't want to believe it, because he seems like one of the good guys -- but Shore is clearly into some seriously shady dealings that have yet to come to light. And given that he's Chief of Staff, President Kirkman's going to have to deal with him quickly.
Congresswoman Kimble Hookstraten
Hookstraten (Virginia Madsen) is assuredly up to something -- but if she's indeed part of the terror plot, this might be the most convoluted story in TV history -- and that's including several seasons of "24." She's a Republican, but Democrats ended up as President and Vice President. And what's more, she's been fairly icy to MacLeish since he was dug out of the Capitol ruins.
That said, this could also be an insanely smart cover for her. Her thinly veiled annoyance toward Kirkman and MacLeish is the perfect disguise for someone who's working on something even bigger -- and if she gets in Kirkman's way politically, that's easy to dismiss as simply walking her party's line.
Whatever the case, she's connected to Shore somehow -- and they're both keeping that under wraps. That's something that cannot be ignored.
"Designated Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.