The actress — who departed P.D. in 2017, after playing Det. Erin Lindsay for four seasons — spoke candidly on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast about the on-set conditions that prompted her unhappiness.
“I programmed myself to tolerate the intolerable,” Bush said, revealing that she had had an epiphany after attending mental health workshops via the therapeutic program Onsite. “Part of the big break for me [was] saying, ‘No. I don’t necessarily know what it is, but I know that what’s happening is not good for me and everything has to change.’ That was a big cutoff point when I quit my job.”
Bush cited the harsh weather conditions that came with filming in Chicago. Although the writers for the NBC drama are based in Los Angeles, Bush said she and the rest of the cast and crew were filming scenes outdoors in the winter, when temperatures were below freezing. According to the actress, people on set often got sick because of the long hours spent outside.
“I’ve been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tugboat that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health,” Bush added. “The reality was that my body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy.”
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Update: Bush also referenced previous allegations of verbal abuse on-set, in the course of differentiating the P.D. experience versus One Tree Hill (where showrunner Mark Schwahn allegedly sexually harassed the female cast). On P.D., she claims to have experienced “a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior,” adding: “When someone assaults you in a roomful of people, and every one literally looks away… and you’re the one woman in the room, and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something, you go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t worth defending? I’m not worth defending?'”
Bush had taken her concerns to the P.D. producers at the end of Season 3, at which point she gave them “23 episodes of notice” that if conditions didn’t change by the end of Season 4, she would leave the show. But the actress said her complaints were initially dismissed by producers, who seemed perturbed that Bush was asking them to investigate negative conditions on set. She was eventually let go from her seven-season contract without having to take legal action against NBC, though she said she threatened to sue the network and write an op-ed in The New York Times explaining why she was unhappy on the show.
“I was, like, balls of f—king steel at this point,” Bush said. “I take a lot, but when I’m done, I’m done. Like, it’s nuclear.”
TVLine has reached out to NBC for comment.