Saying goodbye is tough — staying away is even tougher. That’s the case for many stars in TV shows. Episodic TV, although it’s changing constantly in the midst of the streaming wars, isn’t a small commitment. Many dramas include 24 hour-long episodes per season, leaving little room for other projects.
That said, many actors who decide it’s time to hang up their hat on a role they’ve played for years, later come back. Sometimes, they don’t even wait very long.
Luckily, fans did get a chance to say goodbye after showrunner Derek Haas begged her to come back. She appeared twice in the season 7 premiere.
“Last year, Monica let me know that she wasn’t going to come back. I was in denial,” Haas told Us at the time. “So she was like, ‘Derek, I love this character and have done this character for six years, but I have bigger, other ambitions.’ So, I was like, ‘OK, s—t.’ I wrote the ending of last season, and I will admit it was not the perfect … it wasn’t what I wanted to do in my head. We had planned pretty good in Puerto Rico, I just thought Casey would go get her and bring her back. Whatever. This summer, I saw her a couple of times. The first time, she was like, ‘Derek, I’m not doing it.’ Then the second time I was like, ‘Monica, please. I’m asking for one — literally one day, one episode. Can you come back?’ I think she took pity on me and came back and did it.”
For others, they put the character behind them, but when a show wraps, they decide to come back. Steve Carrell, for example, decided to exit The Office — and continuously said he wouldn’t be back. However, when the show came to an end in 2013, he couldn’t help appearing for one last laugh.
For more stars who have exited TV shows only to come back later, scroll through the gallery below.