11 Actors Who Said Goodbye To Their Long-Running TV Shows Before The Series Ended (And Why)

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🚨This post contains MASSIVE spoilers.🚨 

1.Patrick J. Adams left Suits after starring in the series as Mike Ross for seven seasons. He admitted he'd first thought about leaving at the end of Season 6 after Mike was released from prison and working at Pearson Specter Litt. He explained, "From a story point of view, I was a little unsure of what was left for him to do." He also wanted to be closer to his wife, Troian Bellisario.

Suit-clad man in an office leans over a desk with papers, talking to an unseen person

2.At the same time, Meghan Markle also left after Season 7 Suits to fulfill her duties as a member of the British royal family. In 2017, she explained, "I think what's been really exciting as we talk about the transition out of my career and into my role is the causes that are really important to me that I can focus even more energy on."

Rachel Zane from Suits wearing a simple sweater, seated, with a thoughtful expression

3.Sandra Oh decided to leave Grey's Anatomy after Season 10. "Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let [Cristina Yang] go," she explained. "It's such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go."

Two characters from Grey's Anatomy, one wearing a lab coat, engage in conversation

4.Nina Dobrev left The Vampire Diaries at the end of Season 6 and shared that she'd only planned on doing six years of the show when she first signed her contract. "I've loved working on this show," she added. "It's been such a crazy, awesome adventure, and I've been surrounded by so many people who I consider family. I know this is a new, exciting step in the right direction for me, but it's going to be so strange not to be with them."

Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries holding a candle, looking concerned

She did end up returning as a guest star for the show's final season.

Cw Network / ©CW Network/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Steve Carell left The Office after playing Michael Scott on the series for seven seasons. He explained that his reason for leaving was that the time "felt right," and he wanted to let the other cast members shine. "It was time for other characters to step to the forefront and other storylines to be pursued," he said. "I think it was the right… the timing was right, I think for everybody, but simultaneously there's just a sense of joy for me that we had experienced all of this and we were getting… I was getting a chance to take a lap with everybody. And the way those last two episodes were structured, it felt very rich to me to simultaneously be saying goodbye as Michael and us as friends in this moment of work together. But, yeah, it was a lot, it was a very emotional thing."

Actor in character as office manager sits behind desk with arms crossed, with toys and blinds in background

He also returned as a surprise guest star for the show's series finale.

Nbc / ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Emmy Rossum left Shameless after starring as Fiona Gallagher for eight seasons. In a thoughtful social media post, Emmy explained that her reason for leaving was an opportunity to take on other projects. "Until Shameless came into my life 8 years ago, I led that kind of transient wonderful life of an actor," she wrote. "And I never realized how much I actually craved the kind of continuity this show has given me. And given all of us in the crew. Season after season, I'm amazed that our same crew comes back. And it's not just because it's a wonderfully written, wonderfully layered show. There are these real connections, real friendships that bring us back season after season after season."

Woman in a dark sweater and top stands in a room with hands on hips looking puzzled

7.Anna Faris left the series Mom after starring on the show for seven seasons. At the time, she explained she decided to explore other projects but more recently said that it wasn't a "conscious" choice at the time. "I kind of took my foot off the gas, and I spent a lot of time with my son," she said. "It felt really good. It wasn't conscious, but sort of a sabbatical, I guess."

  Cbs / ©CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection
Cbs / ©CBS/Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Donald Glover left Community during the show's fifth season. At first, he cited his reason for leaving as being because he "wanted to be on [his] own." He later admitted that he quit the show because his "heart really wasn't in it." "I didn't leave Community to rap. I don't wanna rap. I wanted to be on my own," he said at the time. "I've been sick this year. I've seen a bunch of people die this year. This is the first time I've felt helpless. But I'm not on that. Kept looking for something to be in with. Follow someone's blueprint. But you have to be on your own."

Actor with puppet resembling him on TV show set. He wears a casual grey shirt and looks thoughtful

9.Reneé Rapp said she was leaving The Sex Lives of College Girls after the show's third season. In an interview with Zane Lowe, she mentioned she's much happier making music than acting. "I love it so much. It's like, I don't even care," she said. "And I don't know if that's because I've had different experiences on the other side because I've also had amazing experiences on the other side, but it just doesn't fucking matter to me in music. Everybody's like, 'Music is so psychotic. This business is crazy. Don't you wish you could just go back to not having that?' And I'm like, 'No. No. I am so much happier when I'm doing this.'"

Actress in a scene, wearing a plaid blazer and a smile, with extras in background

10.America Ferrera anticipated leaving Superstore at the end of its fifth season, but because of the pandemic, but she left at the beginning of the series' last season, Season 6. However, she ended up returning for the finale. "I expected and hoped that the show would go on after my departure for many, many years, "she told Variety. "So it was definitely coming back sooner than I think any of us imagined. But at the same time, we knew that in the setup of how Amy left, it really lent itself to how she could come back."

Actress in a retail worker uniform with a name tag that reads ‘Sylvia’ standing at a store counter

11.Finally, Mischa Barton left The O.C. after the show's third season and shared that she felt like her character's death was an “obvious choice” made by the writers. "[Marissa] had to go somewhere, and I felt that was the right thing for her," she explained several years after the series ended. She also opened up about some of the "friction" she faced with other cast and crew members, saying, “It’s typical that in these sets not everybody is gonna get along. There are gonna be clashes. There’s gonna be people who create rumors and make stuff up. I think I was very sensitive to that because I was so young. It felt like high school but in the real world and very elevated and very magnified.”

  Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection
Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection