It's always jarring for viewers whenever a beloved character leaves a major television franchise. Sometimes, it has to do with contractual disputes/obligations. Other times, it has to do with an actor wanting their career to move in another direction or talent getting kicked off of a show. And then other times, it's a combination of different factors, which is the answer to this question that many Major Crimes viewers have: "Why did Chief Taylor leave the show?"
Why did Chief Taylor leave 'Major Crimes'?
In an interview with TV Line, the show's creator, James Duff, says that the choice to have Roger Gossett exit from the show was partly a narrative choice and partly a desire for the actor to leave the program as he more or less fulfilled the character. It's important to note that Roger played Chief Taylor before the Major Crimes show even existed.
He portrayed the character in 2005's The Closer even before Major Crimes was ever on air and his final episode aired in 2016. So 11 years playing the same person on two shows may have gotten a little stale for Taylor, at least that's according to Duff's conversation with TV Line. When asked why one of the program's mainstays was killed off, he gave a candid response.
Chief Taylor was killed off on 'Major Crimes: White Lies Part 2.'
"That was a difficult conversation, but not as hard as you might think. Robert has been playing this part for 12 years. Robert is also quite an accomplished stage actor, and someone who was chafing a bit, saying, ‘Gosh, this part is getting smaller. I don’t have as much to do as I used to’ — and I couldn’t disagree with him. He had suggested a couple of times that it felt like it might be that his story had played out, and I couldn’t disagree with him on that either."
Duff also went on to say that, although they found a creative way to write Gossett off that both satisfied the actor and the show's over-arching plot, it was still a difficult call to make.
"It’s hard only because we’re all family here, and letting go of a family member, even under the best of circumstances, is hard to do. I don’t know how they manage it on The Walking Dead! I would be a nervous wreck. But I needed it for storytelling purposes; it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, let’s kill off a character,’ or that the show was too expensive."
He continued, "It was all about dramatizing this theme as thoroughly as we could and stay relevant in a world where police officers are at more risk than ever, and also looking at racism in all of its different variants. We looked at racism last year in our five-parter, and I see no reason to let go of it. It’s a big issue."
Fans of the show were sorry to see him go, even though his successor, Camryn Manheim, proved to be a well-liked addition to the cast who sort of filled the void that Gossett's character left behind.
I HATE CHARACTER DEATHS!! ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY'RE UNEXPECTED AND UNFAIR!!! WHEN CHARACTERS ARE KILLED W/ NO RESPECT I CRY ANGRY TEARS!!!— Tracey (@swagasugaa) October 28, 2017
Still shocked from last night's episode of "Major Crimes." R.I.P. Chief Taylor. :(— Liz yoho (@Lizyoho1) September 6, 2016
Some thought that Chief Taylor's death came out of nowhere and his being written off was "disrespectful." Others were just saddened that he was gone from the program forever.
@robertrgossett Wow, I am really sad that Assistant Chief Russell Taylor was killed in Monday's episode of Major Crimes. He was a favorite!— DaeguDave (@DaeguDave) September 7, 2016
Chief Taylor and Dr. Joe noooooooooooo!!!! S5E11 'Major Crimes'— martin de bruin (@MartindeBruin74) September 7, 2016