Jesse Metcalfe Explains Why He Chose to Leave ‘Chesapeake Shores’

Devan McGuinness - Author

Aug. 23 2021, Published 9:22 p.m. ET

Trace on 'Chesapeake Shores'
Source: Hallmark Channel

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 5 of Chesapeake Shores.

Fans of Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores are mourning a little after the Aug. 22 episode. One of the main characters bid farewell to the show early on in Season 5, and although fans got a little warning, it still stung. So, why did Trace leave Chesapeake Shores? It was ultimately Jesse Metcalfe's choice to walk away.

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Why did Trace leave ‘Chesapeake Shores’?

Hallmark makes emotional TV, and fans of the network and the shows, like Chesapeake Shores, get deeply invested in the characters. And it seems like the actors do as well. Or at least that’s what Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Trace in the series, seems to point at.

Trace in 'Chesapeake Shores'
Source: Hallmark Channel
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The actor has been a part of the series since the pilot episode, and his character, Trace, was central to the show, particularly in regards to the story of Abby O' Brien, played by Meghan Ory. The divorced mother of two returns home in the series and finds love again with her high school sweetheart, Trace, who has become a successful singer-songwriter. But their relationship has been a rocky one.

At the end of Season 4, which aired in September of 2019, the two got back together once more after spending a season entertaining new love interests. But it seems that Jesse wasn't a huge fan of what was about to come next for the couple. In April 2021, Jesse announced on Instagram that he had filmed his last scene, which was a huge surprise to fans.

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Source: Instagram

In a video montage of several key scenes in the show, Jesse announced that it was “a wrap” on filming. And without much context other than that, fans were confused and chimed up in the comment section.

One fan asked in the comments: “Why are you leaving!?!???” And to everyone’s surprise, Jesse replied saying that he wanted to leave on top, further explaining, “I didn’t like the direction my storyline was going…”

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Of course, fans didn’t know how the story was going to end, mainly how the relationship between Trace and Abby was going to shape up. But Jesse’s reply made it seem like their love connection was coming to an end. “I definitely wanted our characters to end up together! #trabby,” he wrote in another comment.

Ahead of his final scene on the show as Trace, Jesse gave some more details on his decision to leave and his professional plans moving forward.

Trace Riley
Source: Hallmark Channel
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“Life’s all about growth. I tend to put myself in challenging situations because I feel like that’s the fastest way to grow,” the 42-year-old actor told Entertainment Tonight. “No one saw this decision coming for me to leave Chesapeake, but sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones to make and the ones that you grow the most from. I think this is one of those decisions.”

He also hinted at some issues with the new showrunners. Or at least an indifference to the new people at the helm of the show. "I was very creatively fulfilled for four seasons. I just felt that there wasn’t really anything else I could do with the character, and we did go through three showrunners in five seasons on the show,” Jesse said.

Adding, “Getting to know a new showrunner and create a working relationship with a new person was not necessarily something I wanted to do. I just felt like it was time to turn the page and start the next chapter of my career.”

Watch Chesapeake Shores Sundays at 8 p.m. EST on the Hallmark Channel.

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