Why did Maggie Q leave Designated Survivor?

Maggie Q’s unexplained mid-season departure from Designated Survivor is still a mystery, and will most probably remain a mystery, as it coincided with the cancellation of the series.


Designated Survivor is the original ABC political drama series which got a chance to survive being axed by ABC after being picked up by Netflix. However, after a single season on Netflix, the series was also subsequently cancelled by Netflix.

One of the actresses to have left the show during what would be its series finale was Maggie Q. Q played the fan-favourite character of Hannah Wells, who surprisingly died during the seventh episode of season three. The Nikita-famed actress later confirmed her exit via Instagram.

What was Designated Survivor about?

Designated Survivor was created by David Guggenheim. The political drama series which premiered on ABC in 2016 was premised on a low-level politician that is thrust into the position of presidency. In the title role is legendary actor, Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman.

Besides being the new president of the United States of America, Kirkman is tasked with finding out who was behind the terrorist attack which resulted in the death of the then sitting president and his cabinet. The show enjoyed two seasons on ABC before being cancelled, which resulted in Netflix picking it up for its third and final season.

Why did Maggie Q leave Designated Survivor?

During season three, one of the most unexpected exits from the show happened. This was as the character of Hannah Wells, played by Maggie Q died during the seventh episode titled identity/crisis.

According to IMDb, this episode was premised on, “A stray Russian bomber jeopardizes Seattle, Mars crusades against a drug company, and an event from Aaron’s childhood vexes Kirkman’s campaign.”

Wells discovered a biolab that was manufacturing a bomb that would emit poisonous gas only aimed to affect people of colour. Wells got exposed to the gas ahead of the subsequent explosion, which suggested her death. As a result of her dead body not being shown, fans believed that Q would come back to the series.

However, the actress then took to Instagram to confirm her permanent exit from the series. Her touching post did not state why she left, but it did assert that there was no animosity between her and the production team.

Maggie Q on leaving Designated Survivor

Following the surprising episode which saw Hannah Wells die unexpectedly on Designated Survivor, the actress, Maggie Q wrote a touching post on Instagram. The post served to affirm that she would not be returning to the show, and that she was grateful for the four years she had spent there. The Instagram post’s caption reads:

“Since now you know… I want to thank everyone who has stuck with Hannah throughout her journey on Designated Survivor.  It has been such a pleasure to take this character on, and in leaving her behind, I have only incredible memories of a cast and crew who I love with my whole heart. But my greatest thanks goes to David Guggenheim, our show’s creator. It was his vision and dedication that won me, and I am forever grateful to him. What to do next?!”

What is Maggie Q doing now?  

Following her exit from Designated Survivor, Maggie Q continued working and has been working ever since. Her first acting job after the show was in 2019, as she returned to voice the animated voice of Princess Diana, who is also known as Wonder Woman in Young Justice.

She then worked on movies in 2020 and 2021, which included Fantasy Island, Death of Me and The Protege. Currently, Q has returned to television series acting with the newly released television series, Pivoting, in the role of Sarah.

Why was Designated Survivor cancelled? 

Designated Survivor was cancelled twice. First by ABC after two seasons due to an alleged drop in rating and contractual issues. At the time of ABC’s cancellation, Kiefer Sutherland was calling for production to be moved from Toronto to Los Angeles.

While Netflix complied with this when it picked up the political drama series for season three, contractual issues plagued the series. This is as other actors had committed to other productions while the future of the series hung in air after ABC’s cancellation. The contractual issues are regarded as the reason Netflix did not go ahead with more seasons.


ABC’s original political drama series, Designated Survivor has been dealt more than one lifeline during its four years of production. This is as after two seasons on ABC, it was cancelled due to low ratings. Netflix then saved the day when it picked it up for its third and final season. After that, Netflix could no longer continue with the series.

One actress that seemingly knew the future of the show and abandoned ship before the formal announcement of the non-renewal by Netflix was Maggie Q. Q, who played the character of Hannah Wells left the show during the seventh episode of season three due to an explosion.