Just over a week after Michael Fishman's surprising departure from The Conners came to light, one of the show's executive producers has revealed how his character, D.J. Conner, will be written off the series in season 5.
Fishman played D.J., the son of Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman), throughout all nine seasons of Roseanne and reprised the role when The Conners spun off in 2018. But when the latter show returns later this month, D.J. will be spending some time away from Lanford in order to reunite with a special someone: his wife, Geena (Maya Lynne Robinson), who is an army lieutenant stationed overseas.
"She was involved in the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and she is still overseas on assignment, so he is going to be going over and spending time with his wife," Conners executive producer Bruce Helford told TV Line. "It does get addressed in the first few episodes."
Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images Michael Fishman on 'The Conners'
After appearing in the first season of The Conners, Geena was written off the show by being deployed back to Afghanistan when Robinson left to star on the CBS sitcom The Unicorn. The actress later returned for a brief appearance in the Conners season 3 finale.
And as with Robinson, it sounds like the door to the Conners household could remain open for Fishman.
"We love him," Helford said. "He's part of the family. There's certainly no one saying he will never be on the show [again]. It's just a matter of whether storylines come up that are built for that."
Following the news that Fishman wouldn't rejoin the season 5 cast — which also includes Lecy Goranson, Sara Gilbert, and Laurie Metcalf — Fishman said in a statement that it had been his "honor to play D.J. Conner."
"While I was told I would not be returning for season 5, Lanford was a valuable place to grow up, learn, and develop," he added. "I was incredibly lucky to return home and demonstrate my expansion. As I venture into the world to build the future, I send tremendous love and success to everyone involved in production."
Season 5 of The Conners will kick off Sept. 21 on ABC.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.