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Designated Survivor: Hold Up, Virginia Madsen May Be Back for Season 2

Don't count out Kimble Hookstraten yet

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Tim Surette

One of the most surprising developments in Designated Survivor at the end of Season 1 didn't even occur in Tom Kirkman's (Kiefer Sutherland) White House or on screen at all.

Last June, Virginia Madsen, who plays ambitious politician Kimble Hookstraten, announced via Twitter that she was leaving the series. But that may not actually be the case.

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Madsen tweeted to a fan then, "Sorry I won't be back for Season 2." She also said, "I guess they had other stories to tell. It's a big show so I wish them well. But I would like to return to kick some ass."

TV Guide caught up with new Designated Survivor showrunner Keith Eisner at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, and he said the show isn't necessarily done with Madsen and Hookstraten yet.

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Regarding Madsen not returning to Season 2, Eisner told TV Guide, "That's not technically correct, we just haven't found anything for her in the moment. But she's not being written off the show, so the hope is we'll find a place or a moment for her as well. It's a long season, 22 episodes is a lot of episodes, it's just with the expansion of our cast, she doesn't necessarily feature prominently at the front of the season. But she's not been written out and we're hoping to find a space for her."

So why the change? And why haven't they found room for one of the show's most prominent characters from Season 1?

"There's not a natural storyline [for her]," Eisner said. "We're so focused on the White House [this season]. It's such a White House show now, and about people in the White House, that we're having to focus on the new characters." Among those new characters will be a political director and White House counsel.

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Hookstraten began the season as the Speaker of the House and was set up as an antagonist for much of the first season. But as she began to work more and more with Kirkman, the two formed an alliance which was solidified when Kirkman appointed her to be Secretary of Education toward the end of Season 1.

With Season 2's focus moving internally to the workings of the White House, it means the Secretary of Education -- who works in the Lyndon Baines Johnson building and not at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. -- won't be a natural fit for the show.

Still, with an Oscar-nominated actress in the wings who loves playing her character, the show has to find room to bring Hookstraten back, right?

Designated Survivor returns Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 10/9c on ABC.