When “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence decided last season to kill off Nurse Laverne Roberts — one of the show’s key supporting characters — he made a promise to thesp Aloma Wright.
Should “Scrubs” return for a seventh season, he told Wright, she could don a new wig and play Laverne’s twin sister, Shirley.
When Lawrence first plotted Nurse Roberts’ death, he was pretty certain that “Scrubs” was in its final year. Mapping out the final year’s storylines, he decided the death of a series regular would help shake things up.
“Needless to say, I was a little shocked,” Wright said. “I felt abused.”
For most actors killed off in primetime’s recent fatality spree (think “Lost” or “Desperate Housewives”), plot twists have meant a return to the employment office. But Lawrence said he “didn’t want to take work away from an actor” — hence that bit of insurance for Wright in case “Scrubs” did return.
A seventh season wasn’t assured until the weekend before the upfront presentations last month, when NBC narrowly opted to renew “Scrubs” for one last year. Now, Lawrence is keeping his promise, and Wright has been given the opportunity to play a character who’s the polar opposite of the spiritually minded Laverne: a single, alcoholic woman who shuns religion.
“It’s going to be fun developing another character after doing the same one for six years,” Wright said. “I’m glad to know he’s a man of his word and I’ve still got a job.”