Disappointing and Downright Offensive Character Departures


It was a busy television season when it came to departures and exits.

We lost many beloved characters in various ways, but a consistent pattern was for those departures to be underwhelming, disappointing, and downright offensive.

Whether the reasonings didn’t make sense, the behavior felt “out of character,” or the methods lacked originality, our TV Fanatics had much to say about their worst character departures of the 2022-23 season.

So check out our list below, and hit the comments with your reactions!

Helen Ghosts Max Via Letter – New Amsterdam

Helen Ghosts Max Via Letter - New Amsterdam
It felt like New Amsterdam Season 5, the final season of the series, did everything in its power to assassinate the character of Helen Sharpe, starting with her ghosting Max. Instead of showing up for their wedding, she sent him a “Dear, Max” letter apologizing and saying that she wasn’t coming back and couldn’t do any of that anymore, leaving him and Luna in the lurch.

It was so unbelievably out of character and the worst way to handle Freema Agyeman’s exit, especially since the series had a year’s notice to set up her departure. Helen’s controversial exit (and vilification) was the mark of the downward turn of this once great series, resulting in an incredibly disappointing finale season farewell all around.

Mer Relocates to Boston – Grey’s Anatomy

Mer Relocates to Boston - Grey's Anatomy
Meredith Grey is the main character of Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy has fumbled many departures over the years, but the one they should’ve gotten right was Meredith freaking Grey!

And yet, Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 Episode 7 was just a regular episode of the series where they half-ass threw Mer a going away party, and she basically behaved immaturely and left Nick, the man she loved behind without even communicating with him even after his love confession. We didn’t get any montages, flashbacks, have moments of reminiscing… NOTHING.

It was such a boring, forgettable episode. Honestly, Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 Episode 20would’ve been a better farewell. They attempted to clean things up better when Mer showed up during Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 Episode 20, but it doesn’t change that her official departure SUCKED.

Halstead Runs Off to Bolivia – Chicago PD

Halstead Runs Off to Bolivia - Chicago PD
The news of star Jesse Soffer’s departure was an utter shock, as Halstead had been on the series for nearly a decade. But nothing could prepare for one of the worst exits ever on Chicago PD Season 10 Episode 3.

After Jay brutally stabs a perp and Hailey and Voight debate how to cover it up, Jay is triggered by the whole ordeal. He and the other members of the trio have spent too much time covering up shady things, and he no longer wants to be that person, so he hand over his badge and gun when the chief head lets him off the hook, reenlists in the army and takes some secret mission in Bolivia.

In hours, Jay quit, gave his wife, Hailey, a crappy goodbye, never said anything with the other members of the team, and said goodbye to Voight at the airport before disappearing. It felt unbelievably out of character and a disservice to a character who has been there for years.

Bo Falls Into ANOTHER Coma Shortchanging the Bo & Hope Reunion – Days of Our Lives

Bo Falls Into ANOTHER Coma Shortchanging the Bo & Hope Reunion - Days of Our Lives
After a seven-year absence, fans were thrilled to hear that Peter Reckell was returning as Bo Brady, a character he created 40 years ago.
Even after weeks of storyline that had Bo unconscious or brainwashed, fans never doubted that he and his beloved Hope would find their way back together–and they did, for all of a hot minute.

Then Bo’s own son shot him, sending him back into a coma and shipped off to a long-term care facility as the actor once again left the show.
Yes, there’s still hope that Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso will once again find their way back to Salem in the future, but for all the hype around Bo’s short return, this departure was a definite letdown.

Scott Quits – Chicago Med

Scott Quits - Chicago Med
Scott was a breath of fresh air at Med — a Black former cop turned doctor who often worked with pediatric patients and served as a mentor to young boys who were at risk of joining gangs. Unfortunately, after a brain-numbing story involving him falling for an undercover officer who might or might not have really been working for the mob, Scott decided he was too much like a cop still to succeed as a doctor and exited stage left.

Lots of doctors have come and gone over Med’s 8-year run, but this one was SO disappointing because Scott brought a different voice to Med, only to evaporate into thin air after only one season.

Rollins Leaves SVU

Rollins Leaves SVU
Rollins became such a pivotal part of SVU that the series hasn’t been the same since she departed on Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 9.

Fans were robbed of seeing happy Rollisi scenes and only got a quickie wedding ceremony. While the couple was married, we never even got scenes of them together in Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 22, when Rollins guest-starred and announced her pregnancy. Is there trouble with the happy couple?

Allie Skips Town After Cheating and a Breakup – Days of Our Lives

Allie Skips Town After Cheating and a Breakup - Days of Our Lives
Allie and Chanel became Days of Our Lives’ first same-sex female couple as well as both women were the first bisexual characters to hit Salem. But when Lindsey Arnold (Allie) decided to leave the soap, DAYS rushed to write her out. In the space of a week, Chanel caught Allie cheating on her with a man, the two broke up, and Allie tagged along with Sonny and Will to New Zealand to start her life over.

This ending not only reinforced stereotypes about bisexual characters being incapable of commitment but also eliminated three out of four LGBTQ+ characters in one fell swoop! (to be fair, all three actors wanted to leave, but still).

Maggie Goes Out with a Fizzle – Grey’s Anatomy

Maggie Goes Out with a Fizzle - Grey's Anatomy
Unfortunately, Maggie has always been a polarizing character, but none more than her final season on the series. She spent most of the season being an offputting person to nearly everyone around, treating her husband like garbage, and inexplicably going off on interns. She up and decided to take advantage of a career move, following her passion to Chicago, and it seemingly came out of the blue.

And then her exit basically got sandwiched between typical, mundane things on Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 Episode 14. Sadly, she left less likable than she was when she arrived, with a marriage in shambles, being distant from her sisters, and channeling Ellis Grey. Things got slightly better when she reappeared during the season finale, but not by much.

Severide Takes a Job – Chicago Fire

Severide Takes a Job - Chicago Fire
Severide is the heart of Firehouse 51, and his departure on Chicago Fire Season 11 Episode 15was not the best thing to happen to the show.

Granted that Taylor Kinney took a leave of absence for personal reasons, the character’s abrupt exit left a bad taste. Its biggest effect was that more trouble was introduced in his marriage, and with how volatile Stella and Kelly are, this might not be good for them. The character’s exit might begin the breakdown of #Stellaride. It felt like we had lost an aspect of the show when fire investigations dried out.

Clay Dies A Hero – SEAL Team

Clay Dies A Hero - SEAL Team
Something had to be done with Clay since Max Theriot Jr. had moved on to Fire Country. He could have been given a comfortable, offscreen job as a counselor at Ray’s vet center. But instead, he was unexpectedly gunned down by cops on Seal Team Season 6 Episode 8 when he attempted to help a fellow veteran with misguided intentions suffering from PTS.

This way, his death had a major impact on the members of Bravo Team and their families instead of his just being written off quietly. But killing off characters has become such a tired, emotionally manipulative trope.

Family Comes First for Ortiz – F.B.I.: Most Wanted

Family Comes First for Ortiz - F.B.I.: Most Wanted
At this point, F.B.I.: Most Wanted has had a revolving door of characters, and there are so many exits it’s difficult to keep up with them up. Also, most of the time, they’re all unsatisfactory. Ivan Ortiz is a prime example of a disappointing departure.

We had no idea it would be his last episode during the season three finale, and by the time FBI Most Wanted Season 4 Episode 1 rolled around, all we learned, via a throwaway line, is that he left his job to go take care of his ailing father, leaving Hana without her roommate and the team without a vital part of their time, at least until they replaced him with Ray.

Muncy Accepts a Job Offer- Law & Order: SVU

Muncy Accepts a Job Offer- Law & Order: SVU

It felt like Muncy barely had a chance to settle into the unit before she departed the series. Coming off of Rollins’ exit, it was frustrating enough. But then Muncy didn’t even get a decent sendoff. We heard vaguely of a job offer, barely spent time with her weighing it, and then she was leaving in a farewell that was just a drop in the bucket during an action-packed season finale. It was such an understated, underwhelming sendoff it could’ve happened offscreen, and we would’ve been none the wiser.

Lizzie, A Good Girl, A Bad End- Joe Pickett

Lizzie, A Good Girl, A Bad End- Joe Pickett
When I learned that Paramount+ picked up Joe Pickett from Spectrum Originals, I decided I’d give it a go. It’s about a game warden who has a healthy dose of crime to deal with, and the first season might have been the bloodiest season of TV I’ve ever seen outside of Game of Thrones.

Animals slaughtered left and right (not just for hunting), and people gunned down over nothing. Joe and his wife Marybeth even lost their unborn child to a gruesome crime.

Much to my dismay, the second season got off to a terrible start in that department when Joe was after two redneck survivalists who shot him and his horse Lizzie through with multiple arrows and subsequently ate Lizzie! That was the definition of offensive. Thankfully, the season doesn’t continue in that vein.

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