Another Fantasy TV Series Makes a Point About Who Is Expendable

Illustration for article titled Another Fantasy TV Series Makes a Point About Who Is Expendable


On Friday, main character Abbie Mills was killed off on the season finale of Sleepy Hollow, and fans are losing it. The actress who played Mills, Nicole Beharie, had reportedly been unhappy on the show for some time, and did not want to return for a fourth season. As of now, the series hasn’t been renewed, and this may be the nail in the coffin.

AV Club reviewer Zack Handlen, who has been following all the ins and outs of the show, sums up what a wrong-headed move the decision was:

Really, it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of who this story is really about. Apparently the writers considered Ichabod to be the lead, and Abbie an important but not necessarily vital element. Sure, there’s some hand-waving about a potential fourth season plot that has Ichabod tracking down someone who inherits Abbie’s job as Witness—taking on her soul, which actually sounds a little creepy if you think about it. But Nicole Beharie won’t be around for that, which is, quite frankly, absurd. I’m not sure if there were behind-the-scenes issues we aren’t privy to, but Beharie’s a critical element of the series. Tom Mison is a fine actor, but without the two of them together, what’s the damn point?


The chemistry between Beharie and Mison was what drew many fans to the fantasy series, and they’re extremely disappointed in another show killing off one of its more diverse characters, regardless of what the practical issues were that may have forced the showrunner’s hand.


This comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding The 100 killing off a series regular shortly after she consummated her relationship with another female character, maintaining the “bury your gays” trope, which they claim was also a decision based off an actor’s availability. Obviously, scheduling and contracts can play a huge part in the direction a TV show goes, but an awareness of the messages being sent when navigating those decisions is the difference between a renewal and a hashtag campaign.


Image via Fox.

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Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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This is important because the writers made a black woman feel expendable in her own damn show! We get disrespected so bad and all people tell us is to wait our turn! We have so few black leads out there and they killed one of our darlings!

Because of this a couple friends and myself are going to spend the summer creating a list of characters of color who were killed in a problematic way because quite frankly we need a reference point to throw into conversations when people act like there have been so many good portrayals of POC and whine about why we focus on one bad one?? Fuck that we get mistreated bad a hell of a lot more than we get treated well.