11 Recent TV Character Exits, Ranked by How Much They’ll Be Missed

Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in 'Law & Order,' Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden in 'Chicago Fire,' and Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton on 'Chicago P.D.'
Will Hart/NBC, Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC, Lori Allen/NBC

It’s so hard to say goodbye — in some instances more than others, at least.

In recent weeks and months, S.W.A.T. bid farewell to two cast members, and Law & Order and Chicago Fire each lost three a piece, while other shows also trimmed their payrolls.

And while certain character exits made waves among TV Insider readers, others made mere ripples. In this (very unscientific) study, we’re ranking recent character exits based on how much they’ll be missed, i.e. how many TV Insider comments their exits inspired.

Tracy Spiridakos as Hailey Upton on 'Chicago P.D.'
Lori Allen/NBC

11. Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), Chicago P.D.

Chicago P.D. said goodbye to Upton in the Season 11 finale as the character decided to leave the Windy City to pursue other career opportunities. “Not surprised,” TV Insider commenter Katherine wrote in October, when Spiridakos’ exit was announced. “These shows have been on a long time, and the actors want to move on. It’s understandable.”

Kara Killmer as Sylvie Brett in 'Chicago Fire'
Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

10. Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer), Chicago Fire

Brett followed new husband Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) to Portland in Chicago Fire’s February 28 episode, two months after we learned that Killmer was on her way out. TV Insider reader Erica Brodie predicted that ending, writing, “Here’s [a] thought: How about Sylvie Brett says yes to Matt Casey’s proposal, they get married, and they move back to Oregon? That would be a great idea for Matt and Sylvie being together romantically again.”

Alexa Davalos as Kristin Gaines in 'FBI: Most Wanted'
Mark Schäfer/CBS

9. Kristin Gaines (Alexa Davalos), FBI: Most Wanted

August 2023 brought the news that Davalos wouldn’t be returning to FBI: Most Wanted for its fifth season, but the Season 5 premiere this February didn’t explain why Kristin was gone. “I’m sorry to see Alexa go … as she was really the only reason I started watching that show again after I wasn’t grabbed by the first few episodes,” reader Jude M commented.

Jeffrey Donovan as Frank Cosgrove in 'Law & Order'
Peter Kramer/NBC

8. Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan), Law & Order

A throwaway line in Law & Order’s Season 23 premiere revealed that Cosgrove was let go for being too opinionated — after Donovan was reportedly let go for creative reasons in November 2023. “I’m very sorry to hear [this] news. He’s the reason I finally started watching this program. Known him since The Pretender. Like him in everything he does,” wrote one commenter.

Alberto Rosende as Blake Gallo in 'Chicago Fire'
Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

7. Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), Chicago Fire

In Chicago Fire’s January 17 season premiere, Gallo moved to Michigan to spend time with family he had never met, an exit fans anticipated ever since learning November 2023 that Rosende would be departing the series. “Maybe because of this Mouch [Christian Stolte] won’t be killed off,” reader Mary C speculated. “I love Gallo, but I don’t want to see Mouch killed off. Him and Platt [Amy Morton] have [too] much story left to tell.”

Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy in 'Law & Order'
Will Hart/NBC

6. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), Law & Order

Waterston announced his Law & Order departure in February, telling the show’s devotees that he was “too curious about what’s next” in his career. In the show, McCoy resigned in the February 22 episode to ensure that “someone with integrity” would take his place as D.A. “He will be missed, but I am still enjoying the show and the Thursday lineup,” reader Wayne Adrian Jordan said of Waterston.

Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden in 'Chicago Fire'
Adrian S Burrows Sr/NBC

5. Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire’s Season 12 finale saw Boden leave Firehouse 51 to become the CFD’s new deputy commissioner, the departure coming just two weeks after fans learned that Walker would no longer be on the series full-time. “Chief [Boden] is the glue that holds all these characters together,” wrote commenter Deena Deal. “He is the one character this show may not survive without…”

Kenny Johnson as Dominique Luca and Alex Russell as Jim Street on 'S.W.A.T.'
Monty Brinton/CBS

3 & 4. Dominique Luca (Kenny Johnson) & Jim Street (Alex Russell), S.W.A.T.

In February, S.W.A.T. fans learned that Johnson and Russell had been downgraded to recurring status, and as Season 7 progressed, an injured Luca retired and Street decided to transfer to Long Beach. “I think it’s a shame that all the cast could not finish the show all together and Luca and Street were written out earlier,” reader Green Olive wrote. “The whole thought process was to give the fans a satisfying conclusion.”

Luke Kleintank as Scott Forrester in 'FBI: International'
Nelly Kiss/CBS

2. Scott Forrester (Luke Kleintank), FBI: International

The FBI: International Season 3 finale revealed that an offscreen Forrester and his mother were on the run for their lives somewhere around Alaska — and that the Fly Team wiped their intel to protect him. The storyline came after news of Kleintank’s departure broke in April. “That’s a shame,” reader Kat wrote at the time. “Forrester’s my favorite character, and Luke was perfectly cast in the role.”

Camryn Manheim as Kate Dixon on 'Law & Order'
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

1. Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim), Law & Order

Though Season 23’s finale didn’t address Dixon’s departure, we’ve known since early May that Manheim won’t be returning to Law & Order in Season 24. “She was one the main reasons why I started to watch again (with more enthusiasm),” reader Lorr9539 wrote. “I’m very sorry to see her leave. If it was her choice, I hope she reconsiders. If not, they’ve made a big mistake by letting her go.”