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Designated Survivor's season 1 ending was altered: 'It was too close to home'

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The first season of Designated Survivor ended with Kiefer Sutherland’s President Tom Kirkman giving an epic, inspirational speech to Congress and the big bad in the wind after hacking the Pentagon and retrieving a slew of top secret files. But that wasn’t always the show’s game plan.

“At the end of last season, we did have to slightly change the ending because it was too close to home, because of what was happening [in real life],” Maggie Q revealed at the Tribeca TV Festival on Sunday. “We were shooting it or we had the script, and what was happening in the news happened exactly in the script, and then we had to crop the ending as we shot it.”

While Kal Penn was sure to point out that the show is “clearly an alternate reality,” those eerily familiar moments apparently have become something of a regular occurrence on season 2.

“Twice or maybe three times this season already, we shot an episode about something happening, and then it happened,” Italia Ricci said, noting that they were presently filming the eighth episode.

“We’d head in a direction and then boom — it would happen,” Maggie Q added.

“[The stories] won’t line up because when we shoot it, it airs months and months later,” Ricci explained. “But say that episode was set to air that week: Because of what happened, I don’t think we would’ve been able to air it. It was too close.”

We’ll start to see just how close when Designated Survivor season 2 premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.