It’s never easy to say goodbye, even if it’s a television goodbye. While no TV show can last forever – well, Law & Order: SVU is in the running – the cast doesn’t always stay as long. Many actors choose to leave after their contracts end. Some give the networks a lengthy heads-up, while others just seem to up and vanish, leaving the writers to scramble (see below!). Regardless, the show must go on.
One of the most talked about exits was in May 2017, when Sophia Bush decided to leave Chicago P.D. after season 4. She played the lead role of Detective Erin Lindsay on the NBC drama and was written out of the show with a cliffhanger – her character was offered a job in New York to join the FBI. Many thought this could mean she would pop up on Law & Order: SVU – another show written by Dick Wolf which has done a crossover with P.D. before – but over the years, it was made apparent that was not happening.
In multiple interviews since her exit, Bush explained that she went to her bosses between the third and fourth seasons and told them if things didn’t “drastically” change, she would be leaving at the end of the year. Then, in December 2018, she opened up about the decision while on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast.
“I quit because, what I’ve learned is, I’ve been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tug boat, that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health … My body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy,” she revealed, before later adding she felt “ignored” and recalled the time she told a coworker, “I feel like I was standing butt-naked, bruised and bleeding in the middle of Times Square, screaming at the top of my lungs and not a single person stopped to ask if they could help me.”
She also referenced the show as “a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior.” Bush noted: “You start to lose your way when someone assaults you in a room full of people and everyone literally looks away, looks at the floor, looks at the ceiling, and you’re the one woman in the room and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something.”
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For more TV stars who walked away from hit shows, scroll through the gallery below.