Larry D. Horricks/ABC
Lauren Cohan is back on The Walking Dead. She will be making her triumphant return as Maggie on what was supposed to be the season finale of The Walking Dead Sunday, Oct. 4 on AMC. That’s the good news. But the reason Cohan is back is considerably less good. Cohan was freed up to slice and dice more zombies due to the untimely demise of her other show, Whiskey Cavalier.
While everyone is (rightfully so) celebrating Cohan’s return to the program that made her a star, let’s all pause for the cause to pay some well-earned respects to one of the most fun network dramas we’ve seen in years. Yes, Whiskey Cavalier, I’m talking about you!
Cohan originally left The Walking Dead after five episodes in season 9 to join Whiskey Cavalier on ABC, which premiered on Feb. 24, 2019. She played CIA agent Frankie Trowbridge on the spy dramedy that focused on the competitive game of one-upsmanship between Cohan’s Frankie and Scott Foley’s FBI Special Agent Will Chase, who were teamed up together… whether they liked it or not. The easy-breezy tone of the series combined with the chemistry between Cohan and Foley made Whiskey Cavalier a welcome throwback to lighthearted action shows from yesteryear.
While reviews were strong, ratings were not. But instead of allowing the series to build an audience through word of mouth, off-season binging, and availability on a popular streaming platform like Netflix (which is what turned other originally low-rated shows like Breaking Bad into huge hits), ABC canceled Whiskey after just one 13-episode season, even though there was a big uptick in same-day viewers for the finale at 3.64 million (up from 2.54 same-day viewers the week before). To which we say, DAMN YOU, ABC!
Viewers are not the only ones who were bummed about Whiskey’s demise. While TWD fans are celebrating Cohan’s return to the zombie apocalypse, the actress also laments the loss of her other show. “I’m really glad we're talking about it, because there's been so much focus on coming back,” says Cohan. “Which is obviously really, really exciting. But the grief period for Whiskey is really necessary.”
Larry D. Horricks/ABC
As much as people stop Cohan to ask about Maggie, people now can’t help but pepper her with the same question over and over about her former gig. “I've never done something where more people have said, ‘Why the hell did they cancel that show?’” says Cohan. “Before everything [with COVID_19] started, I was in a Crate and Barrel or something, and this woman just came running up to me, and she was just freaked out over the show. But it was funny because she didn't know me from anything else. And she goes, ‘What else have you done? Because I had never seen you before. And this was my favorite show and how dare they cancel it!’”
While most of the focus was on Foley and Cohan, the actress points to the show’s strong supporting cast — which included Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams, Vir Das, and Josh Hopkins — as another strength. “It was also really fun to be a part of something where from the beginning as things flourished, you saw the writers immediately lean into and expand and create new relationships,” notes Cohan. “Like Josh's character, who played Ray on the show. He was supposed to be in there for just a couple episodes. They're like, ‘Nope, too funny. You're staying.’ And so that improvisational spirit, it was really fun.”
Whiskey Cavalier was also unique in that unlike another network shows that film in the U.S. or Canada and have to fake their European locations, Whiskey actually shot in Prague, which added another advantage for Cohan. “I had a lot of good time with my family during that time that we shot, because they're obviously in England, and so I was grateful for it.”
The worst part about losing Whiskey Cavalier is that it is exactly the type of fun show that we could have used in 2020, a year that has sapped every ounce of fun out of the universe. The lighthearted tone would be the perfect antidote to the gloom and doom of the everyday news cycle. “I mean, I have had Friends on so much these days,” says Cohan. “You know what I mean? Just to have that levity and that sense of camaraderie, the color, the happiness. The thing about that show too, is that our two day later ratings — people watching it on streaming and everything — were almost 100 percent, so I'll never understand the TV gods.” The actress then pauses. “But I'm glad to still be on TV.
And we’re glad to have her. Check out Cohan’s return to The Walking Dead Oct. 4 on AMC, and shed a single tear for the loss of Whiskey Cavalier while you’re at it.