A TV showrunner can anticipate or plan for any number of things, such as a cast member walking away from a role that he/she has long inhabited. But the sudden, tragic death of a key player is something one never can, or wants to, expect.
As the cast, crew, producers and fans of The CW’s Riverdale in the coming weeks mourn series star Luke Perry — who died on March 4 at age 52, days after suffering a massive stroke — TVLine recounts how 31 other TV series responded to (and often incorporated) a cast member’s death.
It will be some time before Riverdale, which shut down production on March 4 and 5, decides how to handle Perry’s passing and Fred Andrews’ resulting absence. It’d be a bit on the nose for the typically out-there drama to have Archie’s father meet a similar fate, yet it could feel inappropriate to build any sort of mystery around a death for the character. And even if Fred was the sort to go AWOL — and he isn’t — it’d be disingenuous to suggest he could ostensibly return.
Review the gallery above (click here for direct access) to revisit how other shows worked through similar tragedies (or in rare cases didn’t), then share your latest thoughts on how Riverdale could or should acknowledge Luke Perry/Fred’s absence.