Jeff Garlin’s sudden depature from “The Goldbergs” over multiple misconduct allegations — which resulted last week in a mutual agreement to leave the Sony Pictures Television-produced ABC sitcom — has left the show in an unusual bind. How should Garlin’s character, Murray Goldberg, be dealt with on the show, given that Season 9 of “The Goldbergs” is in full swing and his sudden disappearance would be noticeable?
While there could be a number of options for the creative team to address the situation, Variety has learned that the plan for now is that Garlin will indeed appear in the rest of the season — by using off-camera dialogue pulled from earlier episodes and unused takes, as well as previously shot images of Garlin. There won’t be deep fake images, nor any face replacement: But Garlin will continue to appear in some form for now, which means the actor will continue to be paid, even though he technically won’t be working.
Garlin will not film any new episodes of “The Goldbergs,” but his stand-in has already been used, shot from the back, in group scenes since his departure. Garlin’s stand-in has appeared in promotional materials for the show in the past, with the actor’s head superimposed on the other man’s body.
Over the years, Garlin’s character has become less central to “The Goldbergs” — indeed, he was working only one day a week this season.
A representative for Sony had no comment. ABC did not respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives for Garlin.
“The Goldbergs” was filming the 15th and 16th episodes of its 22-episode ninth season — up from its initial order of 18 — when Garlin was suddenly separated from the show. The comedian had given an interview to Vanity Fair’s Maureen Ryan, published on Dec. 3, in which he addressed allegations of misconduct and a rumor that he had been fired. In the interview, Garlin repeatedly downplayed what Ryan had heard about Garlin’s on-set behavior. He did acknowledge, however, that there had been several human resources investigations into his actions.
Garlin has played the character of Murray since “The Goldbergs” premiered in 2013, and told Vanity Fair he expected this season to be the popular sitcom’s last, though sources at the show said they hoped it would continue into a 10th season. Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister was in the audience when Garlin performed a stand-up routine on what turned out to be the day he’d spoken with Vanity Fair, and he repeatedly said during his set that he despised “The Goldbergs.”