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It is always difficult to say goodbye to someone, be it someone in real life or someone on the small screen. There is always a dramatic response from fans when one of the protagonists from a popular primetime series on television has to say goodbye. For many people, the person leaving may be the very reason why they watched the show and the program may never be the same without them. Screenwriters have to get creative when this happens, especially if they are in the middle of a season. Either the actor will be replaced, or using artistic license, the character is usually killed off, put in a coma or has moved away from the major story line and onto better things.

ABC recently revealed that Stana Katic, who plays Detective Kate Beckett and wife of the series’ protagonist in the mystery series Castle will no longer be part of the crew and will be leaving the show in May. Abbie Mills, a character from Fox’s Sleepy Hollow was forcefully killed off when her actor Nicole Beharie’s role diminished. Despite such setbacks, some shows manage to finish their series with both the show and the absentee actors sharing various opportunities for later success.

One of the biggest exits on recent prime time television was the death of Patrick Dempsey’s character Derek, a brain surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy who meets with a car accident near the end of season 11. Despite the hiccup, Dempsey’s racing continued, landing him second place in the Le Mans race and Grey’s Anatomy is jogging steadying along to the grand finale at the end of season 12.

CE4RAOqWIAAaa7LThere seems to be a rising trend in criminal and law and order shows for main characters to pop off during the later seasons. For example, Christopher Meloni’s character from NBC’s Law and order SVU, a certain Detective Elliot Stabler, Mandy Patinkin’s senior FBI agent Jason Gideon from CBS’ Criminal Minds, and Taraji P. Henson who played NYPD detective Joss Carter in CBS’ Person of Interest. It comes as a point of interest that two of these actors left the show under duress (with the in-show explanation being that they had quit their jobs and had ‘retired’), with only Henson leaving out of interest in another project, the award winning Empires. With regards to the shows they partook in, Law & Order is looking forward to starting season 18 later on in 2016, Criminal Minds is currently in the middle of season 11 and Person of Interest will be returning for its final season some time in May.

This list would not be complete without mentioning Las Vegas night shift crime-scene investigator Gil Grissom played by William Petersen on and attorney Will Gardner played by Josh Charles in CBS’ CSI and The Good Wife respectively. While Gardner’s character is shot in court, an opportunity that allowed him to leave the show according to his wishes, Petersen’s character is one of the only to retire gracefully both on the show and in real life after being burnt out in both instances. However, he reappears in the CSI movie finale.

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