Fall TV Preview
Sleepy Hollow Season 4 Tom Mison

Sleepy Hollow's Tom Mison Talks Abbie-less Season 4 for First Time Since Nicole Beharie's Exit

Nicole Beharie took her last porch-seat swing as Sleepy Hollow‘s Abbie Mills in April, and for the first time since then, co-star Tom Mison is publicly commenting on her exit from the Fox drama.

“Abbie Mills represented more than just another character in the show,” the actor told The Realistic Optimist during a roundtable conversation at London MCM Comic Con this weekend. “It wasn’t an easy decision for them to make. I know that. The writers, they like writing Abbie Mills. And I like acting with Nicole.”

Echoing what Fox CEO Dana Walden told reporters after the supernatural series’ season finale, Mison said Abbie’s death-by-Pandora’s-Box “was a decision that had to be made,” and added, “But I don’t know the machinations of the politics behind it.”

Mison also addressed the fan outcry, much of which centered on the perception that Abbie — a black female character  — had been marginalized and disposed of in order to prop Ichabod, her white male counterpart.

“When you have a woman of color in the lead role, it’s not just a woman of color in the lead role. It immediately means so much more than that, across the whole of America,” Mison said. “There’s a woman of color in a position that not very long ago she wouldn’t have been. It comes to symbolize so much more. So when something like this happens, when they kill off said character, of course it’s going to mean an awful lot more, consequently.”

He added that he goes back to shooting in July, that he’d cut his hair before the show was renewed (but wasn’t sure whether that would mean a return to wearing Ichabod’s wig), and that he and Beharie still got along: “My relationship with Nicole has not changed because of her death on the show.”

Scroll down to watch the full roundtable discussion with Mison.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jason says:

    Everybody seems to forget that there is another incredibly talented black actress on the show. Lyndie Greenwood is more than capable of being one of the leads.

    • worldtraveler9 says:

      Indeed. Lyndie was made a regular in Season 2, even though she was sidelined through most of the first half of that season. She was excellent in season 3.

    • Mara says:

      I had the hope that she would step in for Abbie. At the beginning of Season 3 there seemed to be a bit of a rapport between Jenny and Ichabod. Now that they both have someone to avenge if they choose to go that route, it could possibly bond them. And the prophecy did state that the next Witness has to be tied by blood to the previous one, so that would make sense as well.

      • Ohsnap! says:

        The executive producer said in an interview that the next Witness would not be anyone currently on the show. So that leaves Jenny out.

    • I don’t think anyone has forgotten Lyndie Greenwood. I just think those who haven’t brought her up simply believe you can’t replace one Black actress with another like they’re interchangeable.

      • lechatnoir says:

        she is a disposable sidekick in the producers eyes. There are millions of way to keep her away from our screen. This show is problematic. Women are expandable in this show in a way I ain’t seen before .

        • ladyj says:

          YES! So much this! And what makes this all the worst and how they bragged back when it premiered about how proud they were of the diversity. Now with all that’s happened, all the sidelining of characters of color and terribly rendered white women, It just makes that lie all the more cruelly ironic.

          • mary says:

            ? there’s one main, white character left on the show, so that doesn’t make any sense.

      • Yep. I love her and I love Jenny. I do think Jenny should be the next witness, she has the past for it and the connections. It shouldn’t be a stranger. But at the same time Nicole was the lead.

      • patrickmaloney33 says:

        But I heard some of the angry fans have said that they’re mad because they are gonna drop Abbie’s whole life and story… Except for the fact that there is no evidence of that!

        • BB Shark says:

          Um, that’s not true. I haven’t heard any angry fan saying that. I think there are, like, 3 blogs dedicated to the angry fans and what they have to say, and NONE of them have stated that they are angry because “they are gonna drop Abbie’s whole life and story…” There is no evidence of THAT! How ironic. =)

    • Carla Krae says:

      Yeah. Been a fan of Lyndie for a long time.

    • Tina says:

      You can’t replace one actress with another because of skin color. There’s more to it. Lyndie is ok, but her acting skills are so limited compared to those of Tom and Nicole’s. She could never go up against Mison and make his character into something believable the way Nicole did.

      • Huh? says:

        Mison made Mison’s character into something believable, not Nicole.

        • DL says:

          As a former drama student, a good scene partner definitely helps. Obviously one shouldn’t discount Mison’s work actually creating this character. But Ichabod’s relationship with the modern world was anchored by his relationship with Abbie, and she was vital in the way his character developed. That should be appreciated as well.

          • Suzanne says:

            I loved the chemistry between them. Why did they have to kill Abby’s role? I loved the show, a lot having to do with how well her and Ichabod got along, both very talented actors. Won’t be the same

        • amjm2014 says:

          We all know Mison made Ichabod character believable but do not underestimate that it was Nicole who made us believe that they both could stopped Apocalypse together

        • bobbysgurl says:

          Mison wasn’t acting in a vacuum. Abbie defined Ichabod. Without her, Ichabod would have just been a bumbling out-of-time character.

          TM cannot play Ichabod the same way he did without NB. Sleepy Hollow is no longer the show we were promised in S1. My hope is that it fails miserably so that TPTB will understand, the bait and switch tactic won’t work anymore.

          • PatriciaLee says:

            It was a duo, magic, electricity. Art is like that. Sometimes, it comes together, spectacularly. An art teacher told me, once, that only one in ten done art pieces will be good enough to sell. There is something about how the brain processes artistic expression, I’ve found over the years. We were lucky to have had them work together, and here’s hoping they will bring it back. Like Grammy Yokum said in Li’l Abner, “Bring them back, bring them back to the way they were before!”

    • Michelle says:

      No they don’t. Lyndie is also the supporting actress. Way to miss the point.

    • David4 says:

      Yes, but the chemistry wasn’t between him and her, it was between him and Nicole and that’s gone.

      However the show has turned to garbage long ago.

    • Patronus Potter says:

      Yes, keep the lighter skinned black actress with the “good hair.”

    • preta4 says:

      Jason and worldtraveler9, NO everyone has NOT forgotten, in spite of what you might think but Jenny is NOT Abbie, and I don’t expect her to be.
      Sadly I really don’t think you and a few others get where we’re coming from here, Mison and Beharie had chemistry that went beyond their ‘on screen persona’, which I’ve seen in very few interracial couples (Jim Caviezel and Taraji P. Henson had it too, and I saw their ‘demise’ coming as well), so there was a part of me that really wasn’t shocked by all this.
      Jenny will be an alright side kick and do the job she’s supposed to do, but that would be it for me and Betsy Ross or the return of Katrina would really be stretching it here.

      • worldtraveler9 says:

        Oh I get where most people are coming from. Having watched this show from day one I am well aware of the wonderful chemistry between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. I was NOT implying that Jenny would be replacing Abbie, just pointing out that she is still around.. However, Tom did say in a recent interview that he would enjoy working more with Lyndie. Betsy Ross is NOT returning, per an article that came out just after the finale, and I don’t see Katrina coming back from the dead, As far as the new witness is concerned, as mentioned by the Hidden One and reiterated by Ezra Mills, the new witness must come from Abbie’s bloodline. A rewatch of Sanctuary from Season 1 showed Abbie’s family tree through her mother’s side with several branches, going back to Grace Dixon. It will be interesting to see is who the new witness will be

    • Daniel snow says:

      You’re forgetting this was about led actress not supporting actress which is what lyndie is. She isn’t automatically upgraded either. It’s like your saying hey there is still black people on the show, so there.

      • mary says:

        If you look at it that way, there’s only one lead now. Lyndie was supporting, but there’s no reason why she cannot be lead now. it’s how things tend to work on tv & in movies. One lead leaves, another one steps in.

        • Lou says:

          Actually no, in TV, one lead is hardly EVER killed off in this fashion.
          When Mulder left X-files, he LEFT, he wasn’t killed off and written off as part of Scully’s journey.
          The show’s basic premise has been erased and it’s structure undermined.
          From a sheer storytelling standpoint, it isn’t going to work, and the limited audience that remains is soon going to leave because a show about a secret organisation of founding fathers in Washington (or whatever they turn it into), is simply not what they signed on for.
          Castle had the wisdom to realise that without Beckett the game was up and I can see why Mison thought the show was getting cancelled, because now they’re just throwing good money after bad.
          This show is essentially over.

        • Djinna says:

          Lyndie is not a lead, and she does not have the “chops,” unfortunately, to fill the role. Although the replacement would find it rather daunting filling in for a fan favorite like Abbie Mills/Nicole Beharie, especially in light of the chemistry between her and Tom Mison, automatically promoting Jenny to lead/Witness would be problematic for many reasons. First is her skill level (no slight to Lyndie, but Nicole is a Julliard-trained actress that was sought after for that reason – she was the “get”). She is a good secondary character. Second, she has a sisterly relationship with Crane, and many people might have a tendency to “ship” the new Witness and Crane (which I would hope they would show a little respect to Abbie’s memory and allow him to grieve, especially since they shoved his love for her down our throats at every turn. But this is Sleepy Hollow I’m talking about, after all… they have no shame). Third, while she is well-liked by some fans, other fans are somewhat cool towards Lyndie, particularly in light of her continued and vocal opposition to Ichabbie, which was a popular ship, among other things. I say this as someone who is NOT returning for Season 4; Sleepy Hollow was fun in the beginning, and I came for the sci-fi stories; however, once I got to know the characters of Ichabod and Abbie, and the overall quality of the show dipped drastically, I STAYED because of them. At this point, all the diverse (and decent!) writers have left the room, we were denied Ichabbie, Abbie was killed in a problematic manner, and there is no sense that the storytelling will be of any better quality, even with Orci and Wiseman back to consult (they are not miracle workers, and they have to work with what they are given). I wish Tom the best; he seems to understand how problematic the whole situation is, and he is an actor of great promise that I will follow in other vehicles OTHER than Sleepy Hollow S4. I hope that Season 4 gives returning fans a chance to have closure, and then allows the show to die at least marginally the dignified death we fans saved it from 2 seasons ago.

    • qzr39419 says:

      My first job out of High School was at St Paul and over the next 5 years Iearned so very much. Seeing the hospital torn down tears a small piece of my heart out. The Daughters of Charity and the doctors and staff of St Paul Hospital will always be with me.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,http;//www.55easyline.com

    • Lou says:

      Back women aren’t interchangeable.

  2. Dorth says:

    I am glad that he spoke out. I am happy with his understanding of the importance of seeing a woman of color in a positive role on network TV

    • Apt says:

      Yes, Mison did not disappoint with his response. I wish that if they cancel SH (still not planning to watch), that he finds a much better project that I can support. Already planning to support Nicole in her next projects as well.

      • Tina says:

        You could tell he was prepared to say goodbye to fans. He was shocked when it was renewed and was prepared to move on. He even said he cut his hair and took interviews because he thought the show would be canceled. He’s too talented for the show as it stands now

        • Saynay says:

          Agreed! You can definitely put me in the “Free Tom Mison” camp. The worst part about all of this is Fox is holding Sleepy Hollow s4 until winter/spring so the actors are stuck on this show for at least another year.

          • Perfect Liar says:

            Yeah, it sucks for them to definitely have a job rather than maybe have a job.

          • mary says:

            Agree with Perfect Liar. You do realize there are people who work on these shows, that actually need to support themselves & their families? We as viewers have the option of changing a channel. They don’t always have options with finding work.

          • Lou says:

            A bad job is bad for your career as an actor and staying on a show with plummeting ratings and a disappointed (ex) fanbase is NOT going to do anyone involved any favours.
            Anyone who cares about Tom Mison’s career should want him as far away from this debacle as possible.
            As for this tiresome argument about people who work on the show having bills to pay, the fact is their job loss should be laid directly at the feet of the showrunners or writers who have written their way into this mess.
            It’s not the viewer;s job to keep bad shows on air and frankly it isn’t even possible.
            Most people are going to tune off when they see a show they don’t recognise, so I hope those people are making other arrangements for employment because this job is ending soon whether commenters on here root for cancellation or not.

  3. Pamela says:

    I could care less about the color of her skin, I want Nicole Beharie back 😞 I liked lyndie greenwood back when she was in Nikita but the sisters as a team was the icing on the cake.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I really liked Abbie’s character and will miss the banter between her and Ichabod. I don’t personally care for Jenny. I deleted the series from my DVR but could change my mind depending on the promo trailers for next season. I don’t have much hope for it. Season 3 started out with so much promise, and then it was just terrible. I couldn’t even finish it, and I rarely give up on shows.

  5. Couch Mom says:

    I just finished binge watching S3 knowing that Abbie was going to die in Ep18. I am interested in seeing where the writers take S4. I lkie how the writers weave American History into the plot. Hopefully, it may inspire folks who watch to actually research some of the events they talk about.

  6. Nichole wanted off the show. Had nothing to do with her being black. People seem to forget that.

    • Winkle43 says:

      Not true. Nicole didn’t actually come out and say that she wanted to leave. It was a narrative spun by the media. Given Tom’s response that he and Nicole found out about Abbie’s death two episodes before the finale, I doubt it was her decision. Race has everything to do with the issue. As seen in the way she was written out, her treatment on and off camera, and fan reaction etc.

      • Patrick says:

        Look, no actor is going to anger fans of a project by publicly demanding to be released. All that is done behind the scenes. Too many legitimate media sources have alluded to her wanting out for there not to be some truth to it. She wanted out, and she was obliged.

        • Tom says:

          Wanting out does not excuse bad writing and has nothing to do with this article. Please read Tom’s words as to the point you seem to have ignored.

          • Patrick says:

            If an actor demands to be released, it can tie the hands of writers. Further, if I was a writer, and an actor I wrote for was demanding release, why would you write good stories from them. I’d have run her, the actress, into the ground. They didn’t. She should give them all vacations.

        • Lisa says:

          “Run her into the ground”. Really!?!?!????? Wow!! I guess you have never quit a job before, since you think people should be forced to work even if they are unhappy with their jobs. people have the right to quite. What the heck is wrong with you?? Jesus Christ, you sound like an all arround bad person.

          • Naive says:

            You clearly have no idea how TV works. She had a multi-year contract, probably 5 years. She could not quit without breaching that contract. So instead she made it so difficult for the writers and network that they couldn’t do the show under her constraints, so they let her go. And incidentally, by orchestrating this for herself, she sealed Tom Mison’s fate, because there’s no WAY they’d let them both out of their contracts. If it goes to a 5th season, he’s saddled to this show for the entire length of his contract thanks to her.

          • not Bridget says:

            I love all the gossip provided by “industry insiders.” As if the writers who’ve worked these last two years were capable of good writing.

          • Cali says:

            What I am going to post is going to be unpopular but it is pretty much the truth as to what happened. Let’s all go back in time to S1. When an actor/actress is signed onto a project a 5yr contract is given to said actor/actress to lock them in so to speak in the event that said pilot and following episodes are a hit. Well in SH’s case that renewal for S2 came by the 3rd episode. Many actor/actress’s tend to hedge their bets so to speak. Perfect example is the actors from the Cinemax show “Strike Back”. Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester. Stapleton signed onto “Blindspot” and Winchester signed onto “The Player”. I actually really liked both shows. However “Blindspot” got renewed and “The Player” was cancelled. Now back to SH. Towards the end of S1 there were rumors and blind entries that an actor/actress wanted off a new hit. Seems that the actor/actress in question didn’t want typecasting and was asking for a release. When said release did not come, actor/actress supposedly threatened to walk off. They were reminded that they signed a 5yr deal and it would not be a wise move to do so. So if we go back to S2 and all the CFD, it was around this time that people started to comment about how Abbie was being sidelined. Now if you have a hit duo that fans absolutely love WHY would you sideline 1/2 of the duo? Well that could be because the producers have been given a note from a physician saying that said actor/actress in question cannot work/film for more than 3 days at any time. So the next logical step in accommodating said actor/actress is to sideline them story wise and bring in a completely new dynamic. Of course now this new dynamic causes chaos on set and left both producers and writers in a dither. Now your other lead is requesting to have the same type of deal that the other lead is getting. Even with said accommodation the original lead is still not happy and wanting off the show despite producers and the network bending over backwards to accommodate him/her. Fans who are oblivious to all of the machinations going on behind the camera don’t understand why their favorite actor/actress is being sidelined and begin complaining rather vociferously. Mind you prior to the note being given, half a dozen scripts that had been written had to be reworked on such short notice to accommodate the request for less filming days. Even with all the accommodations given actor/actress is still complaining and requesting off show. Finally because the situation has gotten to a point where it is effecting both cast and crew a decision is made to give actor/actress their request and to write them off the show permanently. So the part and the actor/actress is killed off. This is pretty much what happened. IT had nothing to do with the character and actress being black. When you work on a set and any actor/actress gives you a physicians note that says that they can only work “X” number of days you MUST comply immediately. To not do so could result in a lawsuit. Maybe this is what the producers and TPTB at FOX should have done to begin with. It might have ended a lot of consternation and accusations by many that this was all racially motivated. Let me all clue all of you in to a fact. This happened in the MOST LIBERAL place on the planet….Hollywood. This is the same town that basically threw every award at “12 Years a Slave” (excellent movie by the way) but the next year because there weren’t any nominees who were black, suddenly Hollywood became racist again. Sheesh, people need to stop. Hollywood can’t be racially diverse (as SH was called diverse when it first appeared in 2013) and now all of a sudden because it gave an actor/actress what they wanted, a release from their contract, they are suddenly anti-WOC in a television series. This town doesn’t work like that. In fact this town will bend over backwards to prove just the opposite.

            Nicole Behaire wanted off of SH as early as the end of S1. Why she wanted off is probably what needs to be cleared up. The actress can make all of this go away by sitting down with any publication and clearing the air. However she will not do that for a myriad of reasons. The first being she is getting a lot of mileage out of this by not having to say a word. The second reason is that she cannot go out there and say that she wanted off the show from S2 on because that would show she didn’t want to honor her contract and in Hollywood that is a kiss of death. Television is far more difficult than making a movie. Television is much more demanding and is literally like making (as in SH case) 18 mini-movies per year. Most movies are done within a 2-3 month window with filming the scenes. After that it is the editing and effects that are added in that pull the project all together. Anyone that has worked in television full time will tell you how much more difficult it is to do then a movie shoot. A lot of people also are asking if Nicole wanted off of a hit show why would she do that? Well I guess that is for the actress to speak to. Maybe it was because of the demands that television puts on an actor/actress, so much so that other projects are not something that can easily be accomplished. Much like Tom Mison who loves to do plays, it leaves little time outside the shooting schedule of a television show to do the projects they really love. Maybe the producers and TPTB at FOX were unwilling to allow for Nicole to do a movie a year while she was on SH. In any case I would really like for Nicole to answer some of these questions. I just don’t think however that she will.

          • Lou says:

            ‘Further, if I was a writer, and an actor I wrote for was demanding release, why would you write good stories from them.’
            Maybe because you’re a grown up, with your own career to think of?
            After you’ve vented your spleen writing a lot of rubbish and ruined your reputation, the actress will move on to her next job (as Beharie has done), and you’ll be the one getting hate mail from the viewers you betrayed in your need to have a tantrum because someone dared leave your show.
            You don’t write good stories for the actress, you write them for the viewers, and when you write badly, you don’t spite the actress anywhere near as much as the viewers.
            she doesn’t owe them vacations, writing is their JOB.
            They already got paid.

    • Patrick says:

      This. The show went downhill, quality wise, in S2. Fans deserted, justifiably so, turning a breakout hit into a middling space filler. NB was hot, career wise, and she wanted off a sinking ship. So she got out. Part of the poor writing for her character seems to have been a result of her desire to leave, but that desire to leave was a result of the failures of the creatives in the previous season. I’ll not say she was justified in bailing, but nor do I castigate anyone for wanting to leave a “zombie” project that the network stubbornly refuses to let die. I’d be willing to bet she wanted out after S2, but was surprised when S3 was greenlit. She didn’t handle the situation as well as she could (or even should) have. But her actions were understandable. Ultimately, everyone has to think of what is best for themselves, and she did this.

      • Attia Newsom says:

        This is more speculation than fact and really should back off with the judgy nonsense. How do you know she could have handled it better? Were you there? The only thing I know for a fact is that the TV and Movie industry is garbage. (See: Sony leaked emails) And frankly that – plus the horrible writing, how they handled Orlando’s exit, and John Noble’s scathing shade post season two – makes Nicole look like a absolute saint.

        • Patrick says:

          I took a middle ground. Both sides bear some of the blame. Because, you know, none of her coworkers were too broken up about her leaving. Seems to me none of them will miss her, and that speaks volumes.

          • PatriciaLee says:

            But when a duo has such magic, everyone should “accept a hardship” (formal of s… it up), and continue to make great art.

          • Attia Newsom says:

            You are in no position to take any ground. Did any of the current actors speak up on Katia’s behalf, or Noble’s, Matt’s, Sakina’s, Zach’s, or Orlando’s (and why aren’t more people whispering about this ridiculously large number of people written off this show)? no they did not. Because the industry doesn’t work that way. They all want jobs after everything is said and done and the studios tend to have the power in these situations. People get black listed all the time.

            Noble was the only one to speak honestly in saying he felt like they didn’t know what they were doing in s2. And that’s because he will never want for jobs.

            Frankly this kind of spinning is ridiculous. And just goes to show how badly some folk want to demonize Nicole. It is so far from rational or objective its laughable. Speculate all you want but call it what it is.

            PS: Saint Nicole is basically Truth at this point. And its people like you that have made the case for her canonization.

        • mary says:

          You’re being kind of judgy. Unless one is in the industry, nobody really knows everything that goes on. Yes, there’s always gossip & garbage. But you know that exists in a lot of professions. Even reading what one person says at one moment in time, you cannot judge. Everyone makes bad & good decisions. We don’t know the whole story, & never will.

    • ladyj says:

      Yeah, she might have wanted off because all of the characters of color were sidelined and dropped (that’s has everything to do with being black) and the writers couldn’t write competent white women,especially without having them have a crush or be sexually enamoured with Crane.

    • not Bridget says:

      If she wanted off, it was because the show had become a mockery of the first season’s promise. Beginning with the sidelining of Abbie, Jenny & Frank in season 2. Yes, I noticed the people of color go the short end of the stick. But just because the white characters got more lines—they were not GOOD lines. The show needed a show runner with a consistent vision who could inspire good writing.

      It seemed that they wanted season 3 to be better–but it was more boring. Betsy Ross was inexcusable. And Nicole’s “death” was an insult, even if she requested it. Person of Interest had a controversial loss–but Carter’s death was tragic, a result of her bravery. He loss really “hurt” & the show moved on to its other strengths.

      Tom is a class act & I hope he gets a better project. Won’t be watching next season.

      • PatriciaLee says:

        The first season gave us the perfect formula, with a magical duo. Then they did the Katrina to Betsy Ross to Pandora, all borrring. They should have just kept the Abbie and Ichabod witness format. The husband kept griping about each, and it took me a while to realize he was right. They were going off course, and we were losing something wonderful.

    • Scarlettmd5 says:

      This has not been verified (Nicole wanted to leave the show). Tom said that he AND Nicole were informed that Abbie would die in the finale 2 eps before it aired. IF Nicole wanted off the show, it is more important to discover the reason why. Being marginalized beginning in S2, written as the perennial self-sacrificing Witness, and the insulting decision to keep her from participating with the S2 DVD commentary seem legitimate reasons to want off the show to me. However, this was a well-paying, steady acting job, and was an historic TV leading role for a Black actress. Who would voluntarily give that up?

      • worldtraveler9 says:

        Nicole did participate in the Season 2 DVD commentary, doing commentary on Mama. I

      • Cali says:

        That’s right. IT had to be racially motivated. Mind you this is happening in the most liberal place on the planet, Hollywood. The same town that honored “12 Years a Slave” with every award they could (rightfully so, excellent movie). I mean this is a racist town, right. Hollywood always gives parts to whites or non-African American actors/actresses.

        Many actors/actresses don’t want to do TV for the very reason that it is so demanding that it leaves little time for anything else. In SH’s case it was like doing 18 mini movies per year. Think about that. TPTB at FOX and the producers weren’t willing to make concessions for either Nicole or Tom to do anything but SH. Nicole being a movie and stage actress wanted other projects in addition to SH. When the producers and TPTB at FOX were unwilling to do that, she started wanting out. This was towards the end of S1, beginning of S2. There is a lot out there that says this was the case. Why would a hit show (think about this) want to purposely SPLIT UP the leads that everyone wants to see together? It makes NO SENSE. If you continue to give the fans what they want, Abbie and Ichabod together it would increase ratings and fans would be happy, happy, happy. If however you don’t allow said actor/actress to do projects outside of the show AND if said actor/actress in response gives you a note from a physician that says that for the actor/actress’s health that they must film no more than 3 days per week, where does that leave the producers/writers/FOX? It leaves them in a no win situation. Then your other lead sees the extra time off that the other lead is getting and they want the same treatment. This then boils over and effects the mood of the set. The writers have to go back to square one because the episodes that they have written (up to 8 episodes worth) now have to be re-written to accommodate the physicans note and to be in compliance with said note. So it becomes a vicious circle. All the meanwhile because you cannot release to the public the request by the actor/actress to have less screen time, the fans of the show start caterwauling about how their actor/actress is being “marginalized”. Again, vicious circle but because of HIPAA laws nothing can be revealed unless the actor/actress in questions does so and that clearly isn’t going to happen because actor/actress is garnering the attention they want. But of course it had nothing to do with that. No, TPTB and the producers wanted to piss off the ENTIRE fan base and decided to go with an unpopular story line EVEN THOUGH the ratings were suffering AND the critics and fans alike were screaming to change it back. Yeah, why would TPTB at FOX and the producers want a HIT show. No that’s right it’s racially motivated against the black lead actress. For crying out loud do you really think that they are that freaking stupid? Thrown away the ratings and the fans to push an unpopular story arc. Really? Who would do that? Why would they do that? Why would FOX want to ruin what they had? It makes absolutely no sense since revenue comes from advertising that is shown via commercials during the hour the show is on. The higher the acclaim for the show (fans and critics) the higher you can charge for commercials to play throughout the show. It’s always about the $$$. So why would FOX cut off their nose to spite their face? Again unless the actor/actress wanted less time or wanted off completely.

        So you ask who would give up the well paying, steady acting job? Try the actress in question.

        • scarlettmd5 says:

          Unless you work on Sleepy Hollow, this proposed narrative about a “doctor’s note” has as much credibility as a Fan Fiction story. As a physician who often writes notes excusing work absences or completes FMLA forms for excused absences for chronic conditions, it is difficult to fathom Nicole having a chronic condition which would necessitate a reduced work schedule. Especially given the incredibly physical actions Abbie was made to do, like climbing that gym wall, jumping out of cars, wrestling with demons, etc. Yes, I’m sure that stunt doubles were used for some scenes, but your theory is a stretch. I am familiar with HIPAA laws. With the uncertainty of the acting profession, I refer you to The case of Jennifer Esposito on “Blue Bloods” going public with her beef with her producers who did NOT accommodate her request for reduced time. She was fired for not working enough. Nicole “left” because she was “working too much?” I believe that actors want to work, and are too intelligent to quit one job without having another lined up. You can’t audition for another job while under contract, right? Nicole has been in several movies, and was on the radar of casting directors. As for how “liberal” Hollywood is, ask Angelina Jolie about that leaked Sony email that trashed her and confirmed the pay disparity between actors and actresses. Hollywood is only marginally more liberal than the rest of the U.S., and if being “liberal” may cost the studio money, in losing viewers unhappy with the Ichabbie relationship, money out trumps a liberal world view every time.

          • Viv says:

            The tea was that the note used psychological not physical disability (or one that would be hard to dispute.) Cali’s response (after reading lots about the whole thing from both sides)- it’s the only narrative that makes sense. Fox can’t talk the truth b/c of law and how it looks if they did and NB won’t say as it would make her look terrible to fans who are rallying around her. The show got “bad” when they diminished Abby’s role- the only reason a money hungry exec and network would do that to a HIT is because they had to-it’s clear from the script they rushed in the wife and others to fill in for NB’s vacancy.
            TV is grueling, lots of night filming and she started to resent it. WHy is that so hard to believe-it makes more sense than execs changed a formula that was HIT and making $ because of race- why-the show at one point was majority black- which doesn’t hold up with the racial argument. If you watch MIsson(?) in video he is clearly covering his back- re: NB being killed off. Why would he want to anger fans by shading NB or sharing if there was trouble on set. Hollywood prizes those to “go along” and dont’ cause trouble. If you make $ for a network you can have what you want. That’s why I believe NB wanted off to do movies and other work for higher pay/prestige and easier too!

    • Lou says:

      People can debate whether her skin colour had anything to do with the outcome till doomsday, but the fact remains that (re)writing her as irrelevant to the fight against the apocalypse was a complete retcon of three seasons of canon and rightfully infuriated the audience.
      Killing her was also a poor choice because it left no room to bring her character back at a later date.
      These are the things that caused the problem. not her leaving the show.

  7. Winkle43 says:

    I’m glad that someone still attached to this sunk ship gets it: black women aren’t interchangeable, and representation matters to those of us who have long been denied the chance to see ourselves on screen. To those people who think that another actress can just step into Nicole’s shoes and the show will magically return to form, clearly were asleep during S1. Nicole and Tom made the show. Not Tom and some other actress. I doubt Tom fans would be queuing up a replacement for him if his character had been the lead who was killed.

    • mary says:

      Actors come & go on all shows. Doesn’t mean they are interchangeable. People think that’s what shows are doing when one leaves & another comes in. it’s like any other job. No one says they are going to do the job in the same manner, but it’s the same position. Many shows have had the leads leave, have newbies come on board. And you know what? Many shows managed to survive. Some didn’t. But that’s like any other job.

      • Lou says:

        @mary, the issue people are having isn’t that actors come and go, it’s that the writers LITERALLY said her character was interchangeable.

  8. Marcia says:

    He is so classy! Thank you for acknowledging Nicole and Abbie’s worth, Tom.

  9. PJnGa says:

    The world needs to stop defining people by the color of their skin.

  10. Rigs-in-Gear says:

    Losing Beharie eviscerates the show. The central relationship in the series was that of Abbie and her sister and their point-counterpoint. Initially, it seemed that one symbolized light, the other dark. Then it became clear that one was in denial of their shared history and the other accepted it at a high cost, her liberty. Crane is merely a charming zombie. Ultimately, he can’t remain in the present. He doesn’t belong here and he knows it.

  11. PatriciaLee says:

    The husband said, “What???!!! She’s half the show!” I thought that pretty well covered it. Now, it’s just something’s better than nothing. It had nothing to do with color, just a magic duo.

  12. BrianR says:

    Once they killer Katrina I mostly stopped watching.

  13. oldpoet56 says:

    My wife and I are big fans of this show so we know who the actors are. Mr. Mison is like so many here in America where he comes across as a blatant racist. If he bothered to notice this show has more blacks in it than whites even though the black population in America is about 14%. Black folks are highly represented in this show. My wife and I (we’re both white folks) do not like it at all that ‘Abby’ was killed off but it is our opinion it had nothing at all to do with her skin color and we both want her to find a way back from that box or we may well quit watching the program. I know that Mr. Mison is a white guy but I also know that he is clueless to reality.

    • rinaex says:

      Cool story.

    • CG says:

      Talk about clueless–have you checked in the mirror lately? SMDH

    • Lisa says:

      Umm wow!! Just wow!!

      And if it wasn’t clear, it YOUR racism that is shocking me.

    • I HATE when white people (I’m white too before you try it) start spouting off about statistics. Major cities are VERY mixed. The real Sleepy Hollow is closely represented on this show. While it’s a small town, it’s very diverse. Too many small towns are still so white, so we must have two very different ideas of what America is. Most people I grew up with didn’t look like me. It’s nice that you didn’t watch for her skin color and it didn’t affect you or whatever, but most of us can see that she was sidelined in the second season and it all went downhill from there. They did a great job w/diversity on the show; they just didn’t know how to write PoC properly, and that’s where are the issues stem from. In fact, I joined twitter solely to rant about WTH was happening on the show I loved. I noticed as, back then, an engaged, but casual viewer, they were trying to change the show into something it wasn’t. It was so apparent that they thought Katrina would steal the show because THEY thought she was the ideal woman, even though the MILLIONS of fans in S1 were already satisfied. It was disgraceful. The S2 finale rectified much of the damage done, and we had a solid reset for S3. Enter Clifton Campbell promising us lots of Abbie and Ichabod together, assuring us the focus needed to be on them, the heart of the show, and we got absolutely none of that! Ironic Clifton DESTROYED this once unique gem. It lost its magic, mythology, and all the delightful little things that set it apart from every other show, and FOX keeps desperately trying to recreate the magic with new series that closely mirror its premise at a basic level (pretty cop meets dude with a gimmick for adventures) Tom Mison is not a racist. He is the ONLY one affiliated with this show saying the right things. Idk the man or what’s truly in his heart, but he’s more or less saying the right things. This man knows how to play the game, at least. It sounds like you may be the clueless one on issues pertaining to diversity.

    • mary says:

      What??? Where do you get racist from? And you are amazing that you seem to know everyone here in America-that’s a lot of people to know so personally.

  14. Sharon Woodard says:

    I also love SH and hoped Nicole would stay on. According to the show’s last dialogue….”the spirit of a witness doesn’t die but finds another to reside in”. Perhaps Nicole could return as this new witness who just happens to look like Nicole’s character (long lost sister…twin?)

  15. J. Norman says:

    If people are going to insist that if a black actress is written out that it is automatically a racial issue.
    Then remember back on this same show when they eliminated Cranes white wife (Katrina) in favor of promoting and / or enabling a closer relationship between Abbie and Crane.

    • CG says:

      Be careful, using logic causes some small minds to explode….

    • Lisa says:

      And It must have given you a heart attack to see them “promoting” and interracial relationship.

    • ladyj says:

      I love when people misquote or misunderstand the argument and then dismantle what they thought it was.

      Nobody said it’s automatically a race issue when a black character dies. But if you are not colorblind, if you watch TV as a black person, you notice a pattern of how black characters end up on mainstream shows, that aren’t sitcoms or shonda-produced.

      I stupidly thought that because she was a lead, she’d actually be safe. White people rarely understand this context, because their’s never checking for the annoying stereotypical, minimized side-character, which is what black character often tend to be.

      • PatriciaLee says:

        Hey, they dumped Louis B. Mayer, himself, the one that started the greatest entertainment company ever. It happens…granted, insanely…but it happens. Oh, and Apple dumped Jobs. No safety in this modern business model world. As a 60’s gal, I wonder if it has to be that way…hmmm…the suits better watch out. They created the fans, and we are starting to assess if we have rights.

      • mary says:

        Because she was the lead? Have you really watched many tv shows? Many shows kill off their leads nowadays(white, black, male, female). They’ve been doing this for awhile.

        • Lou says:

          Name them. Name the many shows that kill their lead character before the show ends.
          It almost never happens.

    • Lou says:

      Crane’s wife was never one of the leads of this show. If you honestly think removing her is the same as summarily removing the actress around whom the entire project was BUILT, and who played one of the two LEADS, then you need to ask yourself why.
      Katrina was a bit player who should really never even have left purgatory.
      That was what upset the show’s initial structure in the first place, and they never recovered from the ratings loss they suffered by focusing on her and Hawley, and sacrificing John Noble’s magnificent sin eater for that unfortunate Crane family sub plot.

  16. MELISSA says:

    I just don’t think another woman can replace Nicole Beharie, no matter her color, beauty, wit, etc. She IS Sleepy Hollow, just as Tom Mison is. These two people brought life to this increasingly ridiculous story, no matter how bad the writing was more often than not. I don’t plan to watch, but I was such a big part of the fandom for so long that I’m still interested in the news about it. I honestly think they’ll rework the female “lead” role so she isn’t really as significant as Ichabod. By diminishing Abbie’s worth in the finale, supposedly to create the ability to continue with the show, they diminished the significance of anyone who steps in her shoes. Even Ichabod’s importance as Witness is impacted because they’ve changed the entire premise. These two people were the only ones in the world able to take on all this evil, supposedly. Now Witnesses can just die and a new one pops in? Reminds me of Supernatural and their Prophets, but that story line is smart and fun! Eh the mythology got flushed down the toilet with Nicole. Idk what I expect as far as the new person. She can’t be white b/c that’ll be flat out disgraceful, but I’d hate to see another WoC step into this role as it is now. As much as I’d miss the show, we never had to know about Nicole “wanting” to leave (I still have doubt that’s the truth of it. They said the same thing about Orlando Jones but then we learned much later that he was let go). They could have given us an epic series finale, maybe with both Witnesses sacrificing themselves for the greater good.

    • Lou says:

      PRECISELY my point. They changed the premise of the show in a way that fundamentally undermines it.
      They should have written her off by having her leave/go on the run, leaving one witness to fight alone for the time being.
      This makes BOTH witnesses look dispensable, and makes the first 3 seasons feel like a fraud.
      You can’t change the rules of your universe and expect people to stay engaged.

  17. shazam says:

    while it is very disappointing to see abby go, all the reporting on this from the beginning was that the actress was the one who wanted off the show. the reports were that she actually wanted off the show much earlier (season 2), but the powers that be thought she was too important to the show and made her finish out her contract. based off of that, a lot of the comments that have been directed at this show for getting rid of their black female lead are completely unjustified. this show has a lot of strong, complex, and diverse female characters, unlike the vast majority of shows on tv. most shows have 1 female character and the occasional female guest star and that is it. we even get female villains from this show. there is no reason to think that they won’t continue to develop great female characters for sleepy hollow in season 4.

  18. parstl says:

    I can still recall Sleep Hollow’s first show and how I channel surfed back to the show when I saw and heard a bit of Nicole ‘s character. I would not have done so except she was such a screen presence and impressive actress. I only began to watch the show because it was promoting this superb young African American woman (fyi, same reason I started to watch the Flash and the Iris character). Overtime I got into the story and became a regular viewer. I don’t keep up with hollywood news so don’t know if there was a contractual dispute or something. Yes I’m an African America man and father of a young woman who I hope has opportunities in front of her. I may continue to watch Sleepy next season but it will not be with the commitment as before. Even if Nicole was not minority, I think networks should stop disrespecting loyal fans by killing off major characters just to get a temporary curiosity boost in ratings or to cut salaries.

  19. Yeah. I’m done with this show.

  20. preta4 says:

    Thank you very much Mr. Mison for speaking out but knowing how Hollowood works, I’m sorta wondering if you might have been pressured to do so, or knowing your demeanor and how close (off screen as well)your ARE with Nicole, perhaps you did it for her fan base who love you too??
    In the mean while, I DON’T envy you (Lyndie) or the rest of the cast and crew with what FOX has put on your shoulders, I’ve seen this way too many times with the same awful and beyond sad outcome, which I suspect WILL happen here too.
    I am sticking by my word, and will not be back to view Season 4, but hope that FOX does better by those who will hang in there. Will see you on the ‘other side’ with your next t.v. series.

  21. Anna del Monaco says:

    enough with the “black thing” – we viewers focus on acting ability not the shade or ethnicity of that actor hopefully I am part of that majority …..still dont know why this is becoming more of an issue rather than less of an issue in this day and age

    • jak says:

      Well how many genre fantasy shows have a Black woman as the co lead in “this day and age” so please stop being obtuse about why Nicole was what made the show work not yet another white guy (because there just haven been enough) being bossy.

      • mary says:

        For you, she was what made the show work. For others it was Mison .I am so tired of people thinking because they watch a show for a certain reason, everyone else follows. Let’s get this straight-NO ONE knows the reason she is gone. We are not actually standing there while she & that powers that be have their discussions. We hear one side, we hear another side…It’s all mute unless you happen to be her or them. Race, behavior, etc we simply do not know for sure.

    • It SHOULDN’T be an issue, but it is. One day it won’t be. Wonderful progress has been made, but the world still has a long way to go. If such issues didn’t exist, it wouldn’t be a thing when they kill PoC off a show – because everyone would be treated correctly, and there would be no reason to “police” shows. It’s nice that you feel that way, but you can’t speak for all “viewers” at all. Not when many viewers have already been making racially insensitive comments all around the internet. And some are just downright racist and don’t care. So “we viewers” are not all the same.

  22. Laurie says:

    I didn’t watch this show for Lyndie or the Jenny character in any way shape or form. And if they think they can just shoe her into the Abbie role they are bigger idiots than I thought. Black women are not interchangeable. I will not be watching, just a few weeks ago the writers for this show sent a tweet making fun of Nicole’s next role in Jacob’s Ladder. And when they got called on their mess it’s “we were just joking”. I mean she’s gone, they have their “big star” Mison and they STILL talk slick about her and she’s not event here anymore. Now, if they can be that hateful and that’s publicly, I can’t imagine what disrespect and neck beard boy games she had to deal with privately. I’m also sideyeing Tom, he talks a good game but at the end he’s still staying on a show that said the only purpose of a BW in 2016 no less, was to help a the WM lead get to his destiny or whatever idiotic, misogynistic, racist crap they wrote.

    • Cali says:

      The man is honoring his contract is why he is still on the show. When SH began in 2013 BOTH he and Behaire signed 5 yr contracts. Seems Ms Behaire didn’t want to honor that as she wanted off this show since late S1 early S2. The producers/writers/TPTB at FOX finally gave her what she wanted, off the show. With all the machinations that were being pulled onset is it any wonder that SH became an untenable place to work for many of the actors when they saw one actor/actress getting his/her way all the while everyone else was expected to tow the company line?

      As for the “writers” making fun of Nicole, please. The “writer” in question was NEVER a writer on SH in S1, S2 or S3 for that matter. But you keep on believe all the BS that the Twittershpere throws your way. If its on the internet it must be true, right. If you bothered to read Eric Heisserer Twitter account you would have seen a Tweet he sent out when the Jacobs Ladder project was announced in late March and he was against a remake of it then. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Nicole Behaire being announced onto the project in mid-April. But as usual someone always has to make it about race and nothing else. Also when an actor/actress is named to a movie project that doesn’t happen in less than a week after they leave a series. Behaire had to have read for Jacob’s Ladder sometime much earlier than her exit on April 8.

      So please, take your idiotic, misogynistic, racist comment somewhere else. If you even know what half those words even mean. Seems nowadays people tend to throw out words without even knowing the full meaning or context in which they were originally given. Seems that anytime anyone talks about SH these days it always has to be framed around the “misogynistic, racist” troupe first and then discussion ensues. It cheapens what these words and their true meaning actually are about.

      • huh? says:

        I love that this “insider” who seems to be quite enormously agitated about all the accusations thrown at the SH production team and FOX a) doesn’t seem to know the spelling of Nicole BEHARIE’s name and b) apparently doesn’t think Damian Kindler and Albert Kim were/are writers/producers on SH.


      • Lou says:

        @Cali, you can’t just call any comment you disagree with misogynistic and racist , especially when you follow up by calling misogyny and racism, ‘troupes’.
        Do you actually know what a trope is? Because if you think that statement was racist or misogynistic, it’s clear you don’t know what racism or misogyny is.
        Also, you seem pretty emotionally involved in all this, you’re not one of the writers are you?
        I don’t know if racism or misogyny had a role, but I can tell you that this was poor workmanship, shoddy writing, and a total lack of regard for the loyal viewership’s intelligence or feelings.
        And IMO that’s really why people are upset.

    • Lou says:

      Mison has no way out of this. These contracts mean they can fire him, but he can’t walk.
      Which is why all this nonsense about Beharie leaving is just that, nonsense.
      Unless her contract was 3 years, she was let go.

  23. benex says:

    it painful that nicole is out of the series,she is the reason why i have interest in the movie.mison too is my guy but i believe it will be difficult for seeing him alone in the without his bossom friend.

  24. Glenda Bacon says:

    Speaking as a Brown toned sister.. Jenny isn’t forgotten…it just that it would be nice to see a darker hued women on TV….Lighter skinned sistas are the norm on tv. .

  25. Ohsnap! says:

    I liked this interview. He is very diplomatic in his speech but I sense that he feels much the same way about Nicole leaving as the fans do. I also liked his acknowledgment of what it meant to people of color to have Ms. Behaire so sidelined and off the show. AND I like his saying he always thought that Ichabod was the sidekick and that people followed Abbie into the journey with Ichabod. I wish him the best. It seems that he thought the show was over as well when Nicole left. He knows the writers have a heck of a job head of them. Class act, Mr Mison.

    • Djinna says:

      I love Tom, but I will catch him in other vehicles. Sleepy Hollow without one or the other is not Sleepy Hollow. Period. Season 3 was my last season.

  26. Gina Fox says:

    Wasn’t it Nicole’s idea to leave the show? She could’ve stayed if she wanted to do so.

  27. kath says:

    It’s a good point that the show has been increasingly narrow since it started. Now it really is about the White Male factor. I didn’t notice any minorities among those FBI agents at the end of the finale.

    I used to really like this show but it’s emphasis on the brilliance and magic powers of the Founding Fathers turned me off because I feel like it feeds into the ridiculous idea that what happens in 2016 should be determined by a bunch of privilege white men from 250 years ago, who owned slaves and couldn’t imagine a repeating machine gun much less women voting or running the country.

  28. DragynWynd says:

    I have watched Sleepy Hollow since the beginning, and don’t like the losses of Abbie or Joe. However, I do like that Jenny now has more of a chance to be a strong character. There is still a lot for them to explore, I hope we continue to Dr Sleepy Hollow for many more seasons!