When some of TV’s biggest shows return this fall, a number of familiar faces will be missing from the crowd, while several more fan favorites will already have one foot out the door.
From Chicago P.D. to The Handmaid’s Tale, a handful of critical characters are bidding adieu to shows (and fans) that will desperately miss them. Our list of high-profile exits range from a one-season medical examiner to a tough-as-nails detective with more than a decade on the air.
For the record, we aren’t considering actors whose exits have already been felt on screen, such as FBI: Most Wanted‘s Julian McMahon, who has been gone long enough to get officially replaced by Dylan McDermott, and The Goldbergs‘ Jeff Garlin, who was already largely absent from the back half of the ABC comedy’s previous season.
Read on for a breakdown of more than 10 former series regulars who will either be gone or leaving this fall, then drop a comment with your thoughts. Which departures will have the biggest impacts on their shows?
Jesse Lee Soffer, Chicago P.D.
Detective Jay Halstead’s days on the force are numbered. Soffer announced that he will be leaving the NBC procedural in Season 10, sometime this fall.
“I want to thank the incredible fans for their unwavering support during the past 10 years,” the actor said in a statement. “To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show. I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead.”
Michael Fishman, The Conners
Following TVLine’s exclusive report that Fishman would not be back as DJ for the The Conners‘ fifth season, the actor said in a statement, “While I was told I would not be returning for Season 5, Lanford was a valuable place to grow up, learn and develop. I was incredibly lucky to return home and demonstrate my expansion. As I venture into the world to build the future, I send tremendous love and success to everyone involved in production.”
TVLine is told that the door is being left open for Fishman’s potential return.
Jorja Fox, CSI: Vegas
CSI: Vegas‘ renewal for Season 2 was a bittersweet occasion, as it was quickly followed by Fox’s announcement that she won’t be returning as Sara Sidle, a legacy character from the original CSI. Co-star William Petersen only signed up for one season of the CSI offshoot, and Fox explained in a statement that she “personally just can’t split Sara and Grissom up again.”
Mel Rodriguez, CSI: Vegas
A CBS rep declined to comment, but a source close to the show confirmed to TVLine that Rodriguez, who played the series-regular role of Chief Medical Examiner Hugo Ramirez, will not return full-time in Season 2. The door is being left open for occasional guest appearances.
Christiane Paul, FBI: International
Katrin Jaeger’s promotion in the FBI spinoff’s first season finale indeed meant saying goodbye to Paul, who will not return for Season 2. Her void is being filled by new cast member Eva-Jane Willis as Megan “Smitty” Garretson, a “street-wise Europol agent with an extensive undercover background who is embedded with The Fly Team and liaises with each host country they inhabit.”
Miguel Gomez, FBI: Most Wanted
Gomez, who joined the CBS procedural midway through its second season, will not be returning for its fourth, an exit that is “believed to be a mutual decision” between the actor and the show. His character, Special Agent Ivan Ortiz, returned to Los Angeles in the Season 3 finale to look after his father.
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale
The actress formerly known as Rory Gilmore has played Emily (aka Ofglen) on the Hulu drama since it debuted in 2017, making her exit ahead of Season 5 especially difficult news to digest.
“After much thought, I felt I had to step away from The Handmaid’s Tale at this time,” Bledel said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.”
Kelli Giddish, Law & Order: SVU
Twelve years after joining the SVU team, Detective Amanda Rollins will say goodbye in the procedural’s upcoming 24th season. NBC won’t comment on the specifics of Giddish’s exit, but an insider tells TVLine that her character will experience a traumatic event; it’s unclear whether that incident will set the stage for her departure.
“Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life,” Giddish said in a statement. “There is simply no other character on TV like Rollins. She’s grown and changed, and I have as well. I started on this show when I was in my late 20s, and I’m grateful I got to spend so many of my adult years with Rollins in my life.”
Emilio Estevez, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
It’s hard to imagine Gordon Bombay off the ice, but that’s the reality going into Season 2 of the Mighty Ducks TV offshoot. Despite initial reports that Estevez was departing the Disney+ series due to his unwillingness to adhere to COVID protocols, the actor insists that his exit was “due to a myriad of creative differences,” asserting that “any other narrative is false.”
Freema Agyeman, New Amsterdam
After TVLine exclusively reported that Agyeman would not be returning to the NBC medical drama as Dr. Helen Sharpe for its fifth and final season — a decision we’re told was Agyeman’s, following the start of production on the British comedy series Dreamland — the actress confirmed the news in a statement: “What a ride! Thank you for being on it with me.”
Lina Esco, S.W.A.T.
After five seasons playing Chris Alonso, the actress confirmed her departure from the CBS drama after the finale, which provided a proper send-off for her character.
“Bringing to life a strong, smart, bisexual character like Chris Alonso has been both a pleasure and a powerful opportunity to increase visibility for diverse women everywhere,” Esco said in a statement.