Emmy Rossum, who played Fiona on Showtime’s Shameless, shocked fans with her departure in season eight, as viewers couldn’t foresee the show carrying on without the lead character.
Shameless actress, Emmy Rossum, exited the show after eight seasons to pursue other acting opportunities, other than her iconic character on the show, Fiona. The news of her 2019 departure came as a shock to loyal fans, as they could not foresee the show continuing without its original cast member who had taken on the career-defining role. The role also catapulted her into stardom after its premiere in 2011.
The character departed in what some viewers felt was a cold and anticlimactic way. As her exit, Fiona had visited her brother in prison and let him know that she would be leaving town in the hopes of finding a warmer place. Showrunner, John Wells, explained to The Hollywood Reporter that Fiona’s exit was aligned with her character’s personality. He stated, “With all the responsibilities Fiona has with her family, we felt she needed to step completely away so she could no longer be totally involved and could determine who she is on her own and get a fresh start. She looked around and saw that everybody was grown up – or mostly grown up.”
Wells also explained that Rossum had been contemplating leaving the show for many years, and finally made up her mind in season eight. The notice in advance allowed the writers to give the character the ending they felt she deserved.
Shameless has gone on to have three more seasons and will conclude at the end of its eleventh season, with the tenth season currently airing. The announcement was made at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour in January 2021 by President of Entertainment, Gary Levine, who stated, “The characters of Shameless have brought Showtime viewers more laughs and tears and pure enjoyment than any program in our history. While we are sad to bid the Gallaghers farewell, we couldn’t be more confident in the ability of showrunner John Wells, his writing team and this great cast to bring our series to its appropriately ‘shameless’ conclusion.”