Exclusive
Yunjin Kim Leaves Mistresses

Mistresses EP: Why We Killed [Spoiler] — Plus: Season 5 Theory Debunked

Mistresses fans holding out hope for a Season 5 renewal, take heart: When the show’s producers sat down with ABC brass to discuss the conclusion of summer 2016 run, “they didn’t tell us to make a series finale,” says still-hopeful EP Rina Mimoun, who co-wrote the teleplay for Tuesday’s polarizing cliffhanger with K.J. Steinberg.

Mimoun said she and showrunner Josh Reims are in the process of trying to sell the network on the idea of “a final fling” of 13 episodes to air in 2017. “We really feel like there’s one more year of story to tell, but we’re also looking for a graceful way to wrap up the series,” Mimoun explains, “There’d be some new hot messes in the mix, and we’d be moving back toward the kind of racy romp that Mistresses was when it began.”

TVLine caught up with Mimoun to talk about the decision to kill of Yunjin Kim’s endlessly entertaining Dr. Karen Kim, a popular fan theory about the show’s “mystery woman” cliffhanger and the return of Wilson Cruz’s Dante (and how it relates to the absence of Kate’s sweet roommate/gay BFF Randy).

TVLINE | We have to talk about Karen’s death — and what prompted it. Did Yunjin Kim ask to exit the show, or did the writer’s room decide her character had run its course?
I know you’re not going to believe this, but it was entirely mutual. We came into the fourth season, and Yunjin expressed an interest in moving on to pursue other projects. And we said, “It’s so funny you’re saying this to us now, because we’re fiddling around in the writer’s room with the idea that we want to do something big.” I remember when K.J. and I first began the show, we were still mired in the BBC version of it all, we always said, “If anyone’s going to die on this show, it would be Karen.” We didn’t always know that was the journey we’d take, but when Yunjin expressed an interest in doing other things, we asked, “How would you feel about Karen dying?” We didn’t want to do what we did with [Alyssa Milano’s] Savi, having a character of ours out in the world that we don’t see. And Yunjin was like, “Do it!” She knew Karen was going to die before the first table read of Season 4. She was such a trouper all year, holding in this secret. ‘Cause for a while she was asking, “When can I tell people?” And we said, “Never!” [Laughs]

TVLINE | When Episode 13 opened with her funeral, and you cut to her picture, my jaw dropped. Was the cast just as flabbergasted when they got the script?
No, because this cast has been through a lot. Every year we don’t know if we’ll be back. We’re always shooting in a new location — Disney [Studios], Culver City, Canada, Santa Clarita. And we lost Alyssa [Milano] early [at the end of Season 2] and that was a surprise to all of us. Once you absorb that kind of a shock, you can handle anything. “OK, it’s TV!”

TVLINE | Karen’s been such a beautiful disaster for four seasons — I’ll sleep with my dying patient! I’ll be in a thruple! I’ll wear a hooker wig! I’ll have an affair with my nanny! It really stung to have her life end at the exact moment she’d finally found some happiness and stability: Baby Vivian, new love Adam and her burgeoning career as a sexpert/author. Getting to that place, and then a slip-trip-fall death?
We didn’t want her to be in a sad, tragic place. We wanted her to die heroically. K.J. wrote that eulogy and it spoke to the character so nicely: She died doing what she’d been meant to do all along — by saving someone who needed to be saved. We loved the hot mess that was Karen, but the character felt like she’d gone as far as we wanted to take her and as far as Yunjin wanted to play her, so it felt like the right time.

JES MACALLANTVLINE | With the last two original mistresses, Joss and April, each happily married and with new babies at the end of Season 4, have you painted yourself into a corner in terms of exciting, scandalous arcs for those characters?
Not at all. We have a 10-page pitch for Season 5. We are not going to suddenly become a show about April and Joss pushing swings on the playground and chatting about breast milk. We want to make a wide left turn that still allows us to stay true to the characters. We’re not going to become ‘the baby show’ if we get another season, I can promise you that. We have some real fun planned.

TVLINE | To that end, what can you tease about this new character who introduced herself as Karen Kim — or should we say Karen Kim 2.0 — in the last seconds of the finale? And is she, as many TVLine readers wondered, Karen’s unstable nanny Lydia following some extreme plastic surgery? And would that character be a series regular?
It’s not Lydia. I’ll give you that much. We can start a new theory percolating because the Lydia one is not it. We would be going into full [Days of Our Lives] “Marlena turns into the devil” territory, which we’re not prepared to do. This is a summer series, but come on. [Laughs]

I don’t think in Season 5, we’re looking to create a whole new series regular. But [Karen Kim 2.0] would be prominetly featured, as would [Harry’s newly discovered adult son] Gabe. Plus, there’s a ton of new characters we want to bring into our world who naturally fit, and a few who’ve been missed, who we’d want to bring back to spark a little fun. We’d do it knowing it was out final season, to be able to tie it off in a way that’s satisfying for the fans.

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-8-17-08-pmTVLINE | So exactly how outlandish would the “New Karen Kim” arc be?
It’s kind of out there, but it’s more about growing our group of women in the most organic way possible. Despite everyone’s mad hate for the finale — I’m still absorbing it, that’s fine [Laughs] — I love that so many photos that accompany the stories about us show our core group of women hugging or toasting with glasses of wine.

We’ve always been a show about female friendship, and we want that to continue. We were saddled with this title that either made us or broke us. The title was alienating to what could have and would have been our core audience, who was looking for that group of gals thta they missed from Sex and the City. We wanted to provide that wish fulfillment — “Yeah, I wish me and my girlfriends had wine in the middle of the day in my friend’s Anthropologie-esque store! I wish I had a ladies’ night every other day with my four best girlfriends who have all the time in the world to gab about our crazy s–t!” [Laughs] Who doesn’t love that? Who wants to go to the office?

TVLINE | I hope one of the characters you bring back is Elizabeth Grey with a martini.
[Laughs] I always want to bring back Elizabeth Grey. And Penelope [Ann Miller] is always down for that!

TVLINE | Last question: The finale felt like you were perhaps setting up Wilson Cruz’s wardrobe stylist Dante as a possible new mistress. Is that a possibility?
Oh my God, I want Wilson on the show so badly. I fell in love with him when we worked together on Red Band Society. He is just the best — and the scene between Tabrett Bethel’s Kate and Wilson gave us a jump into a place that could be a lot of fun, if we were able to get him as recurring next year.

TVLINE | Is that at the exclusion of Kate’s endearing gay roommate Randy? Because when April started talking to some new female employee at Maison Sur Mer, I was like “Where’s Randy? And who is this rando?!”
Our actor who plays Randy [Brian Gattas] was out of town when we shot the finale. But don’t worry: Randy still works at the store!

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89 Comments
  1. wrstlgirl says:

    Sounds like fun. If it happens I’ll watch.

  2. AJ says:

    I didn’t hate the finale. It was very Mistressesy. Hope they get one last season. With Devious Maids gone, got to have one summer guilty pleasure left.

  3. In addition to hating Karen leaving the show why would you put a picture of her up with long hair her new book featured her with short hair. Since this was the last scene showing Karen with short hair ….why use a picture with long hair which didn’t even look like her ? Was it her?

  4. telegonus says:

    I’d like to see the series run for more than “one last season”, but if they can make it through just five I guess I’ll have to live with that. Old-time soaps ran for literally decades, on radio, then television. This is a new wrinkle, for sure, but heck, westerns like Bonanza, which, like Mistresses, if it stuck with the ages and timelines of the first season should have ended sooner than (I think it was) fourteen. Same with Gunsmoke.

    Different genres, for sure, but TV is a creative medium: a show can start with a particular title, then evolve. Bonanza wasn’t really about bonanzas, nor was Gunsmoke focused primarily on gunfights. Mistresses could keep its title and evolve into something else. The ideas, the emotions, of people on Mistresses is very modern, and the series is about much more than its title suggests. It’s moved beyond that, yet it can keep the title and grow in its own ways, with some feedback from viewers (good and bad, natch) maybe occasionally showing the way.

  5. Tricia says:

    What happened to Karens baby

  6. Bre J says:

    Why oh why pray-tell would you label the title of your article with the main spoiler of the finale…?That made me so annoyed and this isn’t the first time TVline has done this. I won’t be coming back

  7. Koko Jumbo says:

    The entire season 4 felt like a bad dream but its finale had the original Mistresses feel. The actress who played Karen clearly wanted out of the show. I doubt the show will be renewed if a great show like Devious Maids got cancelled.

  8. LD says:

    Utterly poor decision to kill off Karen. Seems like since Alyssa left, the show has gone downhill and now this? I was extremely disappointed with the way her character was written off. And the way you can jump a year or two in one episode yet April’s daughter stays the same age. Not quite sure I want to watch anymore.

    • Jbj says:

      Since the writer brought up DOOL, I’ll say that it’s better than SORAS-ing only half the young cast to the point where one child born after another can become the adult stepdad to the teen.

    • You read the part of the article where it said that the actress who played Karen wanted to leave the show right? Whether Karen died or took off for another state, the character was leaving the show.

  9. -V says:

    I sorry but Mistresses had just gotten a bit boring anyways. I had finally gotten over Savi being gone. That being said It took awhile, but I did get eventually get over it. Joss and Harry getting together was outrageous! This was basically a nighttime soap, so what do you expect? Well it used to be! This last season was definitely lacking any exciting scenes if you know what I mean, which no one even mentions! A little heat in the kitchen never killed anyone! Sheesh! That aside, yhe rotating characters… my goodness! They brought in Calista, her husband and her assistant: gone. They brought in Alec and adult Vivian: adult Vivian dies, Alec leaves and then Alec is back for a short amount of time until before Karen dies. Karen finds hot new boyfriend: gone, because she dies. Oh yeah, can’t forget the “manny”: gone, lol. Lydia: pretty sure she’s gone now that Karen is dead, plus you can see her on AMC’s The Walking Dead as Tara. Joss’ ex Scott pops back in, as does transgender Michael (April’s friend), then birth seemingly gone. At least Gabe, Harry’s son (like Harry), is a hottie. And this new Karen Kim? Wth? Did they really think that would be ok? Replace a dead character with a new character… but give the new character the dead character’s name? Who’s bright idea was that? This show is so all over the place and going to hell in a handbasket, I just don’t know what to think anymore! Can you say trainwreck? Good grief!

  10. Leo says:

    As a fan, I would have preferred they wrap it up as a series finale. Thinking of Joss and April had their daughters. With Karen and Vivian. They were hanging out at Maison. But at the final scene, Savi (Alyssa Milano) dropped by. That will make it a full circle while still keep the door wide open for potential Season 5.

    • -V says:

      Yeah, I was almost hoping Savi stopped in as well, but alas no. This season was just lack-luster for me, especially now that Karen is gone. Her trying to help someone in need was fitting, however I’m quite irked. I also think that perhaps one of the new babies should’ve been a boy. All of the kids on the show are now girls. Um really? I doubt I will be returning next season, even if the show were to be renewed. I doubt it at this point. Too many character changes, inconsistencies, etc. Too much of a stretch for me at this point.

      • H says:

        You’re absolutely so annoying. No one wants to read about you complaining about the show. You’re completely immature and should keep your comments to yourself.

  11. Jovana says:

    This is bye Mistresses for me.

  12. Kady Crick says:

    So sad u got rid of Karen, but again…that’s TV!!

  13. Karen says:

    I love this series. I got my granddaughter interested and we are both fans. With tear jerkers
    In the last two shows this season, I look forward to season 5.

  14. Debbie says:

    I am ABSOLUTELY mortified there is no more Karen! I could not believe my eyes when the part 2 finale started! I have liked her ever since “Lost”….this is so unfair! There better be a season 5 because too many shows are getting the axe that deserve to stay on! Especially when you keep stupid things on like The Simpsons, American Dad, etc….BRING BACK KAREN!!!!!!

  15. Loru says:

    This is my favorite summer guilty pleasure and please renew it ABC for a 5th season . I will miss Karen though, she was my favorite hot mess and no looking forward to what trouble she gets into the next season.

  16. I was very surprised at Karen’s exit from the show. I will miss her character. She was so interesting with her story line. I don’t know how I feel about Joss having a baby already. She’s such a free spirit. I liked her being single and getting into all kinds of trouble. She made ME feel young again. I can’t wait to see what stories the writers come up with next. Maybe a kidnapping?

  17. Kevin says:

    I’d take Randy over Wilson Cruz any day. Get smart. Give the gays what they want.

  18. Tennisnsun says:

    Thank heavens we are not doomed to seeing Jos and April cooing over matching strollers. That time jump definitely had me ready to jump ship! So glad you gave us the details from your talk with the executive producer which made sense of the finale and beyond. I’ll be back if they are!

  19. Erica says:

    Not much excitement this season. Of course I tune in because I like nighttime soapy shows…but this one went too far. First, for Joss to get involved with her sister’s ex-husband, and then marry the guy, is disgusting. It’s not soapy, it’s disturbing. Also…the Joss storyline this season was just annoying. another character who refuses to deal with her issues, goes overboard with working out, takes pills…been done so many times. And her character is annoying with her millennial speech patterns–“totes”, “amazeballs”. Like nails on a chalkboard. The other storylines with April and Karen were OK, but not terribly exciting. And Harry’s sister’s character didn’t add much to the story either, and was also uninteresting. Now in the 5th season, we will not have Karen on top of losing Savi. Maybe those actresses were smart to jump ship.

  20. Carmen says:

    Is this karen kim someone we know? & trying to act like the dead karen kim?

    • Colleen says:

      I’very been wondering the same thing. That or it’s actually Karen after an amazingly successful face transplant. She may not have actually died. Per episode 13, none of her friends ever identified her body and her brother never received her ashes. It would also explain the new actress. LOL, far-fetched I know.

      • Herminia says:

        Totally not far-fetched!! I thought the exact same thing!!!!

        • Fan of the Show says:

          I was thinking they’d find out the Karen who died was an identity thief. They’d question who she was and if they actually knew her while realizing she stole everything including personality of the old Karen

  21. Paula says:

    I hope they recast Savi for the final season. The fans would understand why it’s not AM. The character needs to return to bring the whole story full circle.

  22. Swede says:

    I love this show and hope that the producers are given a chance at Season 5 and beyond. It has just the right mix of angst, intrigue, lousy decisions and interesting outcomes. I feel (felt?) as though I got to know the characters as real people with real life issues. MORE! MORE!

  23. sarah j says:

    I would watch one more season but the whole Karen Kim who looks like Karen from the back, wore the same dress she once wore and signs her name the same is a little silly. So I would want some explanation.
    I would love for both Dante and Randy to be back and have them be the 4th and or 5th member of the group. In all honesty I do not like Kate but maybe she will become more likeable if we get a Season 5.

  24. Jackie says:

    Amazing show. I love all the characters. I especially love the set of April’s store, the living spaces and the back drops of the ocean . So excited to see Harry’s restaurant and how you are going to work in his son. Wish it were more than just a summertime series. Please keep up the great writing !

  25. Suzanne says:

    I am so sad that Karen is gone!!! They were a unit and just meshed so well together! Can you at least bring savi back then?!?!

  26. Jodi Pane says:

    If YuJin Kim wanted to leave to do other projects, I can understand & wish her the best, but killing Karen off it isn’t because her character was taken as far as a good writer could take her, it is because the writers have apparently run out of steam & creativity. This last episode was lack luster and truly bad writing. There were so many issues in the different seasons that the writers just never seemed to know how to carry through & we are now left with a boring mess. Those running the show did not really understand the chemistry of those three women, how sad. YunJin Kim brought an excitement that will sorely be missed if the show does get picked up. Although, I really did enjoy this series in the beginning, I will not be looking forward to an extension without her.

  27. N says:

    Mistresses has never been a great series but just a moderately watchable show when nothing else good is on. These latest developments don’t surprise me since it seems the series was always reaching to spin a story anyway.

  28. Ngcle says:

    I was utterly appalled by the joke that was made referencing the poor real-life woman who was victim of a viscous chimp attack. That poor woman’s entire face was ripped off, she was permanently blinded, and lost I believe one or both hands. She has been through numerous horrific surgeries in an attempt to recover even some small semblance of a normal life the rest of us take for granted. …REALLY??? …Even if some brain dead, empathy-challenged, moronic writer thought this heartless and tasteless joke was amusing, how did it make from the initial script to final cut without one actor, producer, script supervisor, editor, or genuine human being stating an objection. TOTALLY DISGUSTING and not remotely funny. The comment was totally gratuitous, had nothing to do with the plot, and showed a complete lack of humanity. Is this what we’re laughing at now, America? SHAME ON ‘MISTRESSES’ and especially the two actresses who will apparently do or say anything for a buck.

    • Oh yawn. Everything that happens in fiction is a mirror of something that has actually happened in real life. The show is about cheating, philandering women—mistresses, if you will. It’s not Little House on the Prairie, nor should you expect it to be.

      • Ngcle says:

        Would you still be “yawning” if it had happpened to you or your loved one?? Not expecting “Little House on the Prairie” just a modicum of decency and humanity. No possible justification to turn that woman and her horrific ordeal into a tasteless and gratuitous punch line. Based on your comments, I’d say that chimp was miles more evolved than you.

  29. holly says:

    I dvr all the episodes I missed the second to last one and watched the finale and was totally confused…not good abc! Good thing I recorded the show so I can view the train wreck finale. Joss having a baby? Realllllly! Stupid! I’m over harry….he’s not hot anymore …and the april sagas. Ugh….maybe the final year will hAve more a definative ending to the series

  30. Teresa says:

    What about Savvy? She had another baby, with whom? Where’s the Black, Male, Beauty(Jeff George character? We would like to see him more

    • Who’s is Jeff George? You Mean Jason George and I agree I wish Alyssa Milano character Savvy would come back. I think it is so hard for me to watch Joss and Harry together because sisters should never cross that line. #gross #Mistresses

  31. Sophia says:

    I loved the finale and the show I’ve been watching forever, but with that I don’t want it to end next season!! Why does it have to end please keep it going :( I would probably cry for eternity if it ended!

  32. Georgia says:

    Loved Mistresses — never missed an episode — even my husband enjoyed it! .Thought the last episode was a series finale even though that wasn’t promoted as such. This “new or faux” Karen character…kept thinking…who cares…the “real” Karen is gone..such a shocker…no need to have another season. However, if there is one…I will be watching.

    • telegonus says:

      It was a watchable show, and I’m a guy, not a soap fan, yet it drew me in. The dramatic intensity was compelling, the acting outstanding, the writing very 21st century. I’m hoping for more seasons of this fascinating series.

  33. Joanna says:

    Would love a season 5! I’m watching the season finale now and Karen’s death was such a shocker!

    Would there also be an explanation of how exactly Joss got away from her captor at the end of season 3?

    Will baby Vivian still be talked about?

  34. Janine says:

    I first fell in love with Yunjin Kim on the TV show Lost where she played SUN.
    Sorry to see her leave but I understand actors want to pursue new venues I wish her all the best looking forward to seeing her again❤️

  35. The best way to add another “mistress” to the cast would be to bring back Milano as Alyssa. Milano quit the show because it was being filmed in Vancouver and she didn’t want to move or commute there. If that’s changed, maybe she’d come back.

  36. Dawn Chase says:

    I am so stumped. Why fast forward April’s pregnancy and Joss having a baby. I feel deprived of the how it all happend. So What happens to Lydia? I am upset. I hope this show continues. Who was the boy with April, Mark and her daughter at the hospital when Joss had the baby?

    • Wendy Harris says:

      He was the son of Miranda, the son who was allegedly April”s husband”s. His mom tried to blackmail April by saying he was her husband. Was Miranda Marks sister? I think she was. I can’t remember if the boy was found to be legitimately Lucy”s half brother but I think he was. It was briefly mentioned in the episode who he was when Mark commenTed how nice it was to have had him to stay for a while.

    • Vee says:

      I agree with you … I would have loved to see Joss pregnant!!

      • It seems like they jumped a whole season to bring us to that one finale show. I had a lot of questions that I had to assume the answers for, except of course for the new Karen showing up. Very strange.

  37. While the finale “wrapped” up the series. I would like to hear more about Karen 2.0. Maybe another network will want to pick it up.

  38. Patty says:

    I think this new Karen Kim is the real one. I think the Karen Kim that died should brought out that she took this name because she was in hiding and when her babysitter had gotten online and presented her as Karen Kim she got upset and her real identity would come out. Thought that is what she died on the show. Then you can go from there with the real Karen Kim.😄😄

  39. Bella says:

    I think the show ended stupidly,why kill off Karen after finally getting her happy ever after.With stories like that is why ppl start to lose interest .it is why the show loses ratings.

  40. Carolyn pierce says:

    You guys ruin the whole series Karen Josh April made the not really interested in season 5 horrible cliff hanger please don’t try to assume new Kim will ever take the original Karen SO VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH WRITERS AND PRODUCERS

  41. Rhonda says:

    Love love love this show and never want it to end

  42. Marsha says:

    Looking forward and hoping for 1 more season

  43. jaime says:

    Very sad that she died after finally finding happiness. I will miss Karen Kim and her quirts. This show isn’t one I would normally watch, but I think I got addicted to all the drama and yelling at the TV how this is crazy and why don’t these people ever just stop and ask who has this much stuff happen one after another??!! Then I remind myself, its just entertainment hahaha. Not trying to be the negative Nancy in the room, but the spelling errors in the article were very distracting.

  44. Gena says:

    I respect the evolution of the show even though I was sad and shocked to see Karen go. My fingers are crossed super tight for a season 5. I absolutely love this show! And Harry!

  45. artista11 says:

    That season finale definitely felt like an ending to me. Otherwise, why speed up to like, a year ahead? I don’t think I’m interested in watching another season, TBH.

  46. Candon Adams says:

    Nope, the last 2 episode’s ended the others characters lives tooo much to try to save or bring back any other characters lives on the show. I’m already not wanting to watch just off of the Savvys crazy exit definitely now that Karnes gone and the others have fast-forward through their lives. The writers don’t seem to know how to end or begin a character…sorry personal opinion!

  47. Candon Adams says:

    Nope, the last 2 episode’s ended the others characters lives tooo much to try to save or bring back any other characters lives on the show. I’m already not wanting to watch just off of the Savvys crazy exit definitely now that Karnes gone and the others have fast-forward through their lives. The writers don’t seem to know how to end or begin a character…sorry personal opinion! Oh and where did Karens baby go? Yeah it’s time to end!!!!!

  48. Sonia says:

    I only now found out that Mistresses could be over. I hate that! This was the best finale the show has written and I need to know what happened to Karen! Was she an imposter the entire time? Bring back the cast for another season, please!

  49. mary says:

    I would like several more years as I have really enjoyed e show. I know there are many more story lines.

  50. Vee says:

    I was not crazy for the finale and was very sad to see Karen die. However I’m even more upset they might not continue the show. My interpretation of Karen Kim showing up at the store was really Karen’s nanny who wanted to take over Karen’s life. This could be a great story line but only if Karen comes back since she was my favorite :)