On Thursday, actress Emmy Rossum announced that the upcoming ninth season of Shameless will be her last. She plays Fiona Gallagher on the Showtime adaptation of the eponymous British show. Fiona is the eldest of of six siblings who are forced to face the realities of poverty on the Southside of Chicago with a deadbeat dad and an absentee mother who later died. As the default matriarch of the family, Rossum shares co-star duties on Shameless with William H. Macy (who plays her father, Frank). In 2016 she made headlines after she won a battle for pay parity — which included being paid more than Macy to make up for the years in which she was underpaid compared to her co-star — with Showtime.
Rossum shared the news of her departure in a heartfelt message directly to fans on Facebook where she focused on the friendships she’s made over the eight years she’s worked on the show, and the ways in which Shameless has changed her life. Her departure comes as a shock to fans of the show (like me) who have learned to depend on Fiona to bail her siblings, her friends, and herself out of the tightest of jams. Imagining a Shameless Southside without Fiona is a tall order. Executive producer John Wells already released a statement saying that the Shameless “door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit or to move back in.” So the likelihood that we’ll be seeing an emotional funeral for Fiona like we got with her mother Monica (Chloe Webb) at the end of season 7 is low. This shocking news begs the question: how will the show write off its central character? Here are a few ideas:
Jimmy/Steve (Justin Chatwin) returns (again), and this time Fiona takes him up on his offer to run off together. Fiona’s first major love interest may have been a liar, thief, con, and criminal, but she loved him. He was known for disappearing at random and coming back to ask Fiona to rearrange her life for him. She usually blows him off, but this time she may just have a change of heart.
Fiona runs off with literally any man. That’s just what Fiona does. She sleeps with someone, starts to like them, and every once in a while she lets them lead her into some pretty rash decisions, like when she married Gus (Steve Kazee) on a whim after only dating for a week. This seems like the most likely scenario, especially if her new man is rich and can take her away from the stress of being a landlord. Maybe she’ll join Svetlana (Isidora Goreshter) and her newly rich husband.
She serves jail time. In season 4, Fiona was sent to the slammer after her youngest brother accidentally ingested drugs during a party. She plead guilty and is now a registered felon. The chances of her staying on the straight and narrow feel shaky. She is a Gallagher after all. Trying to cut corners as a property owner comes with heavier stakes for her.
Frank does something wrong, and Fiona has to go into hiding as a result. Frank has been a source of tremendous trouble for his family since the show started. It’s highly likely that he’ll be the one to run Fiona off the block.