9 Stars Who Mysteriously Exited Hit TV Shows (PHOTOS)
George Eads, MacGyver
After years of CSI tumult and leaves of absence, Eads seemed to be settled in on this next CBS show of his… until he abruptly decided to exit the action drama reboot in the middle of Season 3, with operative Jack Dalton’s last episode airing sometime next year. Rumor has it he stormed off set in October, bringing to mind his reported argument with a CSI writer in 2013.
Sophia Bush, Chicago P.D.
Bush left this NBC cop drama at the end of Season 4 as her Det. Erin Lindsay left the Windy City for a counter-terrorism job in NYC, and she alluded to behind-the-scenes turmoil in an interview with Refinery29 six months later. “I don’t have to give everyone the specific breakdown of exactly why I left until I’m ready to do that,” she said. “I realized by the end of the second season I couldn’t do that job anymore.”
Ruth Wilson, The Affair
Even more shocking than Wilson’s exit from this Showtime show — with Alison Bailey’s storyline meeting a violent end in season 4 — is what she later revealed on CBS This Morning. “I did want to leave, but I’m not allowed to talk about why,” she said. And to The New York Times, Wilson said there’s “a much bigger story,” which we suspect we’ll never know.
Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images
Connie Britton, Nashville
After Britton left this ABC musical drama halfway through Season 5 — with Rayna James dying in a hospital bed after a car crash — the actress told The Hollywood Reporter a “lot of different factors” played into her decision. But she declined to “go into great detail” about those factors. “It was a cumulative thing,” she allowed. “It felt like the timing was important and my No. 1 priority was the show and making sure that it was done in the right way.”
T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
Miller not only exited this HBO comedy at the end of Season 5 — leaving his entrepreneur character, Erlich Bachman, blitzed out in a Tibetan opium den — but he also burned bridges on the way out, suggesting the show had become “one-note” and implying one of the showrunners was a “f***ing idiot.” Sources later told The Hollywood Reporter the comedian had self-medicated with alcohol and other substances and would often fail to show up on set.
Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images
Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy
Fired or nah? Dempsey maintains he left Grey’s midway through Season 11 to spend time on other pursuits, but Page Six claimed Rhimes gave the actor his walking papers because he was behaving like a “diva.” In any case, his Dr. Derek Shepherd died from car crash injuries, ending the McDream for countless fans.
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Panjabi’s Kalinda Sharma took her private eye skills elsewhere in this CBS drama’s sixth season, bidding Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick adieu in a scene the two actresses obviously filmed separately. Rumors of a feud between Panjabi and Margulies abounded, and the story got even weirder once Margulies claimed Panjabi wasn’t available to film the scene and Panjabi openly contradicted her.
Pauley Perrette, NCIS
Perrette vacated her role of forensic scientist Abby Sciuto after the character narrowly avoided a hit at the end of this CBS procedural’s 15th season, and then the actress tweeted that she left the show after “multiple physical assaults” and that the only reason she’s not “spilling the beans” is because she feels obligated to protect “[the] crew, jobs and so many people.”
Television is known for being a tumultuous industry.
Sometimes, a departing TV star makes the reasons behind their exit abundantly clear. Katherine Heigl, for example, vociferously complained about her long hours on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. Other times, though, the circumstances aren’t so cut and dry.
In the gallery above, read about nine actors — including George Eads, who recently exited MacGyver — whose departures from popular shows were shrouded with mystery.
Characters from shows like 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Chicago Fire,' 'Modern Family,' and more.