SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not watched the Season 3 finale of “Sleepy Hollow,” which aired Friday, April 8.
Beharie was one half of the show’s starring duo, alongside Tom Mison, in the drama — which has yet to land a fourth season renewal at Fox.
Though Beharie’s send-off may come as a huge surprise to fans of the show, the star’s departure has been in discussions since before the third season began. Insiders say Beharie has been eyeing an out from her contract for quite some time, as she no longer wanted to be on the show, and the show’s producers did not dispute her potentially leaving. Original plans called for Beharie’s character to be killed off in the Season 3 midseason finale, though the network backed away from the plan, deciding to finish out the season with the star, who’s been at the top of the call sheet since the start of the series in 2013.
Even though the show’s rocky second season caught flack from critics and fans, the chemistry between Mison and Beharie was often noted as the show’s most valuable asset, and for some viewers, it was the main reason to stick with the supernatural drama. But in an effort to prepare for Beharie’s departure, Fox began to cast more female roles in “Sleepy Hollow’s” third season, knowing that Beharie’s exit could be imminent. The producers never aimed to re-cast Abbie, but rather chose to pad the series with more female actresses such as Nikki Reed and Shannyn Sossamon, who both joined in regular roles.
“The finale featuring the tragic death of Abbie Mills was a very dramatic ending and a bold move for the show, but ‘Sleepy Hollow’ has always been known for its shocking finales. We feel we provided a wonderfully poignant conclusion for Abbie and showed some of the best moments between the Witnesses that we’ve seen on-screen,” said 20th Century Fox and showrunner Clifton Campbell in a joint statement. “We thank Nicole Beharie for bringing Abbie and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ to life. We are currently discussing season four, and should the series be picked up for another season, we have some exciting scenarios and new avenues we want to explore.”
As for a fourth season, sources say “Sleepy Hollow” remains in contention, though no decisions have been made — either way, Beharie’s loss will not impact the renewal.