The Best and Worst Character Exits of 2021

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This year, several actors bid farewell to their TV show. Some left for personal reasons, while others were trying other acting opportunities.

Certain shows paid respect to those actors and their actors and wrote them a satisfying character exit, such as Matt Casey on Chicago Fire.

Others got the short end of the stick like Mina Okafor on The Resident or Michael Grant on 911.

Character exits cover photo

Scroll down to find out which characters made our best and worst list of satisfying character exits.

Nic Nevin (The Resident)-Best

Facing Her Assailant - tall - The Resident Season 4 Episode 8

Many fans are still devastated by this departure, and it's understandable. Nic was almost as integral to the series as Conrad himself, and CoNic is one of those iconic ships that will be in our hearts forever.

However, Emily VanCamp decided she wanted to leave the series, perhaps to spend time with her family, before the new season, and The Resident came up with the best solution.

Any fan knows that Nic would never leave her husband and daughter. The only and best way for Nic's character to leave was through death. And The Resident delivered a heartbreaking, tragic but emotional, and beautiful episode that sent Nic off.

They used a dummy with an uncanny resemblance to the actress, and Matt Czuchry gave us a tour de force performance we won't soon forget. They honored the character correctly.

Mina Okafor (The Resident)-Worst

Mina's Future  - The Resident Season 4 Episode 9

Shaunette Renee Wilson's Mina Okafor was easily one of the biggest fan-favorites on the series, so the news of her departure cut like a knife.

But what hurt worse was how the series had ample time to give her proper sendoff, but it felt like something they threw together and stuck in the background of a busy season. Mina's immigration issues were relegated to background filler for the entire season, and we never saw her journey outside of mentioning it in passing.

And then, to avoid deportation, she chose to return to Nigeria to help her mother improve the healthcare there, leaving her best friend, colleagues, and love, AJ, behind.

We haven't heard Mina mention ever since, including when Gigi was born, and Nic died. Her departure was frustrating after seasons of her fading away with mostly uninteresting storylines.

Michael Grant (911)- Worst

Michael Grant

Michael's exit came out of the left field and was deeply unsatisfying for various reasons. The show never ultimately knew what to do with Michael's character, and he would be missing for episodes or used to give someone a pick-me-up in a brief scene, but he was still a regular from the beginning.

And a sudden character montage at the end of a random episode was jarring and confusing. Finding out there were off-screen reasons for his departure helped us to understand why the decision was made, but the character's exit was still an unpleasant one at the time.

And can we get justice for David, please? He was such a welcome addition the past few seasons.

Matt Casey (Chicago Fire)-Best

Casey Signs Off - tall  - Chicago Fire Season 10 Episode 5

Saying goodbye to Matt Casey was always going to be complicated. For so long, he was the heart of Chicago Fire, and you couldn't envision what the show was like without him.

The series built up a heartwarming storyline to gear the audience up for his departure, and it was something that stayed true to this selfless man who would make sacrifices and do anything for his family.

Casey was willing to relocate from his house where his work family and Brett resided to take care of his old best friend's teen sons who needed him.

He's always served as a father figure when he's encountered children in need, and this was no different. It suited his character, and it was a pleasant farewell that didn't end in tragedy, which is a refreshing change of pace for this series where characters are often casualties to their job.

Ellie Bishop (NCIS)-Worst

Ellie Bishop

Once again, NCIS toyed with fans' hearts only to crush them. The attraction and affection between Ellie Bishop and Nick Torres had been heating up for months, giving shippers hope that this pairing might finally turn to romance.

But NCIS took the route it always does. It purposefully gave fans enough moments to hook them in and then pulled the rug out from under them when Ellie Bishop (and actress Emily Wickersham) left the show.

Instead of Bishop's choice to go on an undercover op being an intriguing twist, it alienated long-term fans who already felt burned by previous couples on the show that never materialized on screen, turning Ellie Bishop's exit into one of the worst of 2021.

Jackson West (The Rookie)-Worst

Hiding His Missteps - The Rookie Season 1 Episode 12

Yes, we knew the actor had wanted to exit the series for a bit, but it's more of a reason why they should've prepared for his exit.

After a brutal season that saw him in a much better place, the season premiere shows that La Fiera's people attempted to kidnap him before eventually shooting him at Angela's wedding.

Worse yet, a terrible body double stood in for the actor, and the shooting happened in a blink, and you missed the scene. Seriously, if you sneezed, you would've missed the footage.

The rest of the premiere people referenced his death, and now it's almost as if it never happened at all. It was such a disappointing end to a character who had been on the series since the pilot.

It was a disservice to the fans, and they could've found something much better or at least arranged for the actor to show up for one final scene.

Micki Ramirez (Walker)-Best

Micki's Goodbye - Walker Season 2 Episode 6

During Season 2, Micki went undercover and learned the lead bad guy, Serano, wanted Cordell Walker dead. To make matters more complicated, her CI was her fiancé, Garrison. When Garrison tried to shoot Walker, they struggled, and he fell to his untimely death.

Lindsey Morgan shined in playing emotional grief and PTSD scenes. Micki decided she needed a break, and though we knew Lindsey was taking a break from acting, it didn't make her emotional goodbyes any more manageable.

Jackson Avery (Grey's Anatomy)-Best

Jackson Avery goodbye - tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 15

After a decade or so of being on the series, Jesse Williams' departure was a blow to the series. And while his final episode somehow got usurped by Meredith Grey's attention, and we barely saw a proper sendoff or interactions with many of the other characters, we're just glad he survived the ordeal and went off to be happy somewhere.

Jackson chose to use his skills and his prestige as an Avery for good in improving the healthcare system, starting at the Fox/Avery Foundation headquarters in Boston. And for those Japril shippers, April accompanied him.

Andrew Deluca (Grey's Anatomy)-Worst

Andrew Deluca - Grey's Anatomy Season 13 Episode 12

Yes, DeLuca's death was utterly heartbreaking and tragic. It was one of the most devastating deaths on the series in recent years, and it sticks with us. But the worst part about his death is that the events leading up to it took place on Station 19 during a "crossover."

It was jarring to follow along when a pivotal character died between the two series. DeLuca gave his life to take down a sex trafficker, and it was honorable and devastating.

Cisco Ramon (The Flash)-Worst

Cisco - The Flash Season 7 Episode 12

Cisco was barely a blip on the radar the last few seasons of the Flash. In his final episode, he and Camilla announced they were leaving.

At first, Barry and Caitlin tried to hide how much they would miss him, making Cisco feel worse.

The only good thing about his final episode is we got to see the original Team Flash solve a case together one last time and see them sing karaoke one last time, and we hadn't seen them hang out in ages.

Hiram Lodge (Riverdale)-Best

Night Fights - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 2

After many seasons of being the Big Bad of Riverdale, it was time for Hiram Lodge to move on from the town. The series had exhausted all plots of him undermining his daughter, controlling the city, and being a crime lord.

And after his big plot of destroying Riverdale was foiled, he had no more room to play. Having Veronica and all the characters band together to create a calculated strike against Hiram was a satisfying end to his years of torture.

Hiram was exiled from the town of Riverdale, but he'll always be remembered for the chaos he caused.

Skye & Crosby (FBI: Most Wanted)-Worst

Skye and Crosby on FBI: Most Wanted

Clinton FBI: Most Wanted experienced a couple of significant departures. Clinton Skye quietly disappeared from the series without much word about his whereabouts, and we never saw or heard anything else about him again. To say it was disappointing is an understatement.

Then, after the big crossover premiere of the third season, Crosby got injured while working with FBI's Maggie Bell, and he moved back home to Oklahoma to recover. It was a mundane sendoff. They left the door open if Kellan Lutz wanted to return, but it was a dull exit for the character.

Over to you, TV Fanatics. Which character do you think got the best exit, and which felt underwhelming? Chime in below in the comments.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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