Countless TV shows are guilty of doing it. They'll introduce a secondary or supporting character and let them stick around for a few episodes until suddenly, they vanish into thin air. We're not talking about the ones who were given an official send-off like moving to a different state or, even worse, getting killed. These are TV characters who disappeared out of nowhere with zero closure. And in most cases, the rest of the cast moves on and erases said character's history by failing to acknowledge they ever existed.
It sounds brutal, to be honest, but producers have resorted to doing just that when they feel like a character is no longer significant. Perhaps they wanted fans to forget about these characters so badly that a proper exit wasn't even worth it. But of course, the viewers always caught on to this weird phenomenon. See which characters vanished from TV shows out of the blue.
It was bad enough that Judy, the Winslow’s youngest child, was largely ignored and given the fewest lines on the sitcom. However, she remained as a background character for four seasons while Steve Urkel, their annoying neighbor, gained more and more popularity. By the age of 13, Judy simply disappeared from the series as producers chose to focus more on Steve. Since then, her existence was never even acknowledged on the show.
You probably don't remember Richie and Joanie’s older brother, Chuck. If you’re wondering why, it’s because he simply vanished after a couple of episodes. He was the Cunninghams' eldest kid who was a basketball player in college, but he never really played a significant role. So after two seasons, the writers thought it best to erase him from the show completely and move on as if he never existed. Even the Cunninghams, who never mention him again, acknowledged on season 11 that they only had two kids, rather than the original three that were declared on early seasons. The fans quickly caught on and it inspired the term "Chuck Cunningham Syndrome,” which describes TV characters suddenly disappearing from their shows.
Denise and Jaleesa’s roommate, Maggie, was the token white character who majored in journalism at Hillman. However, right when Denise’s character left the show (she dropped out of Hillman after her sophomore year), Maggie also mysteriously disappeared. The actress who played Maggie, Marisa Tomei, revealed that she was let go after Debbie Allen was brought in to shift the series in a new direction, but she explained that she loved working with the cast, saying it was "one of the most fun times in [her] life."
Tori Spelling played the nerdy Violet, who was Screech’s girlfriend for a few episodes on season two. Though he didn’t make the best impression on her parents at first, they had a change of heart after he helped her save the school’s Glee Club. Their happily-ever-after was short-lived, though, because they broke up and Violet disappeared for literally no reason. We’re guessing that she moved to a different town (in Beverly Hills, perhaps?) and found someone new.
We were first introduced to Tori in the show’s final season when she boldly confronted Zack over a parking spot that he felt entitled to. It turned out to be her very first day at Bayside High and Zack already had a bone to pick with her, but the tough girl actually ended up winning his heart and they soon started dating. Unfortunately, their relationship only lasted for a short time and Tori made her last appearance in the episode “School Song.” She wasn’t mentioned again and no explanation was given about what happened to her.
To be quite honest, there are probably enough examples from Saved By The Bell to fill an entire book. But among the most obvious disappearances was Max, aka the owner of every student’s favorite hangout spot, The Max. He was was like the cool and goofy older brother who always found clever ways to incorporate magic tricks when giving advice or making a point. However, his character was suddenly erased for no apparent reason.
Okay so technically, his appearance in Girl Meets World did answer everyone's question about where he'd been all that time. But on the original series, the English teacher last appeared on season four's "Cult Fiction." During that episode, he got into a motorcycle accident, but no updates were given about his condition. His sudden disappearance had several fans worried and some even assumed that he died. But thankfully, we were at least assured that he was still alive because Stuart Minkus mentioned him on season five's "Graduation."
It wouldn't be until the release of the show's spin-off when fans would see his face again. It was revealed that he married his nurse and moved on to become a school superintendent in Manhattan. But not keeping in touch with his pseudo-son, Shawn? That seems so messed up!
Mr. Turner wasn't the only Boy Meets World character who went MIA. The nerdy Stuart Minkus last appeared in "I Dream of Feeny" from season one. He never showed up again until “Graduation,” where he explained that he never bumped into Shawn or Cory because he was always in the "other part of the school." As much as we loved seeing him return, we imagine it would've been way more satisfying to see him as a regular throughout the series. Especially since his personality was so different from those of the main cast.
You're probably asking: "Who in the world was Nebula?" Well, "Nebby" was actually Topanga's older sister. She appeared on "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" during season one, but never appeared again. Krystee Clark, the actress who played her, reappeared in "Wrong Side of the Tracks" as Eric's date, Valerie. It's also worth noting that on future episodes, Debby was never mentioned again and Topanga identified as an only child. Sorry, Nebs.
He may not have been a popular character, but he was still adorable. Seven was the son of Peg Bundy’s cousin and he only appeared on 12 episodes from season seven. He was dropped off by his parents so the Bundys could take him in for a while, but then he disappeared for no reason after “Peggy and the Pirates.” He was later mentioned by the D’Arcys, who claimed he showed up at their house and wouldn’t leave. And after that, his photo popped up on the Bundys’ milk carton under the word “MISSING.” However, they seemed oblivious to it and Seven was never mentioned again.
She was only on one episode, but it feels like her character made a pretty big impact. During season one's "Ballad," she was nicknamed "The School Crazy" and had an insane crush on Mr. Schue that landed her in the hospital. But when she learned that Rachel also had a crush on Mr. Schue, she gave Rachel sound advice and tried to prevent her from making the same mistake that she did. Unfortunately, as the show went on, most fans eventually forgot about her and she never returned.
Ben was Ross’s first child from his previous marriage to Carol Willick. As he grew up on the show, he was raised by Carol and her partner, Susan, but he rarely ever appeared with Ross on the series. What’s even more disturbing is that, after Ross’s daughter Emma was born, his character simply disappeared. Audiences never got to see Ben meet his sister, and there was also a continuity error where Ross’s dad called Emma his first grandchild. It was like Ben never even existed.
Meghan Markle joined the cast of Fringe on season two as Junior FBI agent Amy Jessup. Amy was sent to investigate a crash that took place in Manhattan and she appeared on just two episodes: "A New Day In The Old Town" and “Night Of Desirable Objects.” She was last seen doing research and investigating patterns that matched the Bible. But after her second episode, she never returned and that subplot was never explained. Fans actually had high hopes for the new character, but her name was never uttered on the show again.
Santiago had a troubled past, but he didn’t let that hold him back. After being taken in by Buddy Garrity, he got a job, excelled in school and joined the football team, where he became a star player. Santiago had tremendous potential and it felt like he was truly becoming one of the strongest characters on the show. But by season three, he disappeared completely because of the writers’ strike. Even to this day, we still wonder what became of him…
The White House Media Consultant played a key role on the series until she publicly criticized the president on the first season. Fans then noticed that she got less and less screen time until finally, she disappeared altogether.
Show creator Aaron Sorkin explained: "Moira is a terrific actress, but we just weren't the right thing for her. She expressed that she felt the same way, and as a result, storylines hadn't been invested in that character, because we knew that at the end of the year, we'd be shaking hands and parting company."
Season one ended with a pretty intense love triangle that involved Jeff, Britta, and Michelle Slater. But for some odd reason, Michelle never returned after season one. She briefly dated Jeff after he pursued her, but just when things started to get serious, problems arose. Britta’s unresolved feelings for Jeff didn't help matters. Things escalated to the point where both Britta and Michelle publicly declared their love for Jeff who, rather than choosing one of them, ran away. Right before he did, he shared one last look with Michelle, who'd never return.
Two references were made to her on season two: Once by Britta in "Anthropology 101" and once during a broadcast in "Intro to Political Science," where the screen read "Professor Slater still missing." Aside from that, she was never seen again.
Kendra Mason was Toby’s girlfriend and the adoptive sister of Spinner Mason. Viewers got to see her for the last time in “The Power of Love,” where she attended the Degrassi Bollywood Dance as Toby's date. But her sudden disappearance was never addressed on the show. Fans especially found it odd that Kendra didn’t show up for her adoptive brother’s wedding. But according to rumors, Kendra’s parents actually pulled her out of the show because they didn’t want her to film a sex scene with her love interest. We’re taking this behind-the-scenes secret with a grain of salt since it’s never been confirmed.
Micah's second cousin, Monica, had the power of adoptive muscle memory. But little did fans know that she'd made her last appearance on the final episode of Volume 2: Generations. Niki and Micah helped save her from a burning building, although Niki wound up sacrificing herself in the process. After that episode, Monica never returned. However, actress Dana Davis did film scenes as Monica for season three, but they just never made the final cut. How odd.
Shauna was the funny, flirty and outgoing receptionist who moved on from Shulman and Associates to work at Mindy Lahiri's obstetric practice. She was the perfect fit for Mindy and she quickly became a fan favorite, but she suddenly left the practice after just twelve episodes of the first season. No explanations were given for why she suddenly vanished, but we’re guessing that she moved on to a different job.
Everyone knows about Will’s ex-fiance, Lisa. You probably also remember the fact that they tried to tie the knot twice, but chickened out at the last minute both times. However, the most fascinating part is that Lisa’s father, Fred and Will’s mom, Viola, ended up getting married, making Lisa and Will… step-siblings. This meant that the two were officially family from that point on. However, Will’s ex and newest step-sister never returned after season five... We're guessing that might've been too awkward.
When Grace Lee Whitney was hired to join the cast of Star Trek, her character, Janice Rand, was expected to stay long-term as a main character and Captain Kirk’s love interest. She remained one of the biggest characters on the show, but when season two came around, she disappeared. It was largely due to budget limitations, but according to Grace, several other factors led to her departure. For one, she believed the writers wanted to portray Kirk as an open and single man who wasn’t “tied down.” Plus, she claimed that her struggle with alcoholism may have played a part.
If Scrubs fans had to give an award for the worst character ever, it would probably go to Dr. Grace Miller. The surgeon was mean, petty, judgmental, and just an overall insufferable person who made Dr. Cox look like an angel. When she disappeared after season three, we imagine that the fans actually let out a sigh of relief. So at that point, it didn’t even matter that her exit was never explained. However, she did make one last appearance on season nine, while J.D. was having one of his fantasies.
Sasha Mitchell’s character, Cody, started out as a recurring cast member during the first season, but by season two, he got a lot more face time. He remained a series regular for two more seasons, but then his character suddenly got written out because of the actor's 1995 arrest after domestic violence accusations by his former wife, Jeannette Robbins. After an investigation took place, he was apparently cleared of those charges. But he didn’t return to Step by Step until season seven when he appeared as a guest star.
Fans may have forgotten about Donna Pinciotti’s younger sister, Tina Rose Pinciotti. The 14-year-old character was just three years younger than Donna and she had only one appearance in “Eric's Burger Job,” where she crashed her sister’s party and got flirty with Fez. However, her character suddenly got removed on season one because the creators changed their minds, wanting Donna to be an only child. After Tina vanished, there was just one reference to her in season two’s "Vanstock.” After that, she was never seen or mentioned again.
Weeds fans would agree that Celia was by far one of the most complex and fascinating characters on the show. After getting kidnapped by her daughter and then released, she tried to make a living by selling cosmetics but failed at it. So instead, she followed in Nancy’s footsteps by selling marijuana with a new team. By season five, it felt like Celia’s life had gone through a downward spiral and, before we could ever see her bounce back as the fierce villain that she once was, she simply vanished and was never heard from again. She was briefly mentioned on seasons seven and eight, but viewers were still just as clueless about what became of her.
Carrie’s baby sister, Sara, only appeared on five episodes of season one and was vaguely mentioned by Doug on one occasion. The aspiring actress briefly lived with Doug and Carrie, but soon disappeared, suggesting that she was able to move out on her own. However, fans were so curious to know about Sara that Kevin James got asked about the character during an interview.
He explained that the show’s writers were unsure of how to develop her character, especially since she played such a minor role. So they simply chose to get rid of Sara (and apparently, pretend like she never existed, since Carrie is later described as an only child).
Doug’s womanizing high school buddy, Richie, made his last appearance during season three’s “Paint Misbehavin,” but he actually wasn’t supposed to disappear from the show so soon. Larry Romano, who played Richie, asked to be written out so that he could work on a new NBC series called Kristin. Unfortunately, that show only lasted for six episodes before it got canceled. He never returned to King of Queens, but older footage of his character was shown in the series finale.
Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones, who was played by Timothy Brown, was a surgeon and one of the original Swampmen. However, his character was suddenly removed without explanation, which left fans wondering why he vanished.
Series creator and producer Larry Gilbert said: "Extensive research indicated there were no black surgeons in MASH units in Korea. We were not interested in empty tokenism. We also had to cut down on the number of characters in the series for budgetary reasons." Well, fair enough... Except he was completely misinformed. Research has actually proven that there were definitely black surgeons in MASH units during the Korean War.
Viewers might have found it odd that Edna suddenly vanished and left Frank DeFazio for no reason. But it turns out that the actress who played Edna, Betty Garrett, couldn't stay on the show. Laverne & Shirley was originally scheduled to end after seven seasons, so Betty had already planned to move on to a different project by then. When the series got extended, her character had to be written out, so the producers simply got rid of her character with little to no explanation.