The Conners will be forced to make due without one of their own when the spinoff launches its second season later this month.
In the wake of news that cast member Maya Lynne Robinson (aka DJ’s wife and mother to their daughter Mary) has landed a full-time gig on CBS’ new sitcom The Unicorn (WATCH TRAILER), Conners showrunner Bruce Helford tells TVLine that the decision was made to write the actress’ exit into the show. “Geena has been redeployed to Afghanistan,” the EP explains of Robinson’s character, who is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. Her absence means “DJ will be back to being a single dad,” teases Helford, “and needing his family’s help in raising Mary.”
Helford remains hopeful that Robinson will have time in her Unicorn schedule to make an occasional guest appearance. As a result, there are no current plans to recast the character for a second time (as you’ll recall, Robinson replaced Mindy Project vet Xosha Roquemore, who played Geena in the Roseanne revival but departed ahead of The Conners‘ debut).
The character of Geena holds a pivotal place in Roseanne canon. In the sitcom’s original run, she was the girl DJ refused to kiss because she was African-American. In the Roseanne revival, we learned that DJ ultimately married Geena and the pair had a daughter, Mary. Because Geena was serving overseas, we only saw the character (as played by Roquemore) once via Skype.
The Conners kicks off Season 2 on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8/7c.