‘Shameless’: Some Fans Still Have Very Strong Reactions to Fiona’s Exit

Shameless fans said goodbye to the Gallaghers on April 11, 2021. After 11 seasons, the show wrapped many family members’ storylines. However, several viewers couldn’t help but notice that Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) didn’t bid farewell to the south side of Chicago in person. 

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for the Shameless series finale]

Fiona Gallagher actor Emmy Rossum on the red carpet at a 'Shameless' event.
Fiona actor Emmy Rossum from ‘Shameless’ |Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Why did Fiona leave ‘Shameless’? 

Shameless is a dramedy centered around the Gallagher siblings and Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy). Since the beginning of the series, Fiona took care of her younger brothers and sisters. In total, the family consisted of Lip (Jeremy Allen White), Ian (Cameron Monaghan), Debbie (Emma Rose Kenney), Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), and Liam (Christian Isaiah). In addition to raising her tribe, Fiona juggled several men in her life, including Jimmy/Steve (Justin Chatwin)

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During season 9, Shameless writers announced that Rossum decided to end her run as Fiona. On the show, Fiona left Chicago and her family behind after losing her apartment building. She then booked a one-way flight to Florida. 

“I will never be saying goodbye to Fiona,” she told EW. “Fiona is a part of me and has been like every character is a part of you, and you are a little bit part of them. My Shameless family is really my second family, and I’ve spent so much time with them — 10,000 hours — that it really feels like we’ve all grown up together. I started on the show when I was 23, and now I’m not. [Laughs.] And it’s a wonderful, wonderful amount of time, and I feel incredibly proud of everything we have created. I’m just filled with gratitude for everyone’s hard work.”

The real reason fans ‘hate how Fiona left’ 

In the season 9 finale of Shameless, Fiona felt defeated by her circumstances. While visiting Ian in jail, she informed him that she earned money back for her building. Fiona’s brother then tells the matriarch to leave Chicago. Surprisingly, she took his advice and didn’t give her family or friends time to throw a goodbye party. 

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The seemingly uneventful sendoff for Fiona shocked many fans of Shameless. Several Reddit commenters wanted more interactions between Fiona and the rest of the Gallaghers. However, others thought she needed to leave the way she did. 

“What the f*ck is this cheap ass storyline???” one commenter asked. “She didn’t even say bye to f*cking LIAM????? And the f*cking plane over the prison??? What the f*ck???? I HATE IT.” 

“I loved how she left, especially after rewatching season 1,” another fan argued. “In episode 1, the episode ends with Fiona picking up Frank’s arm, patting herself on her shoulder with it, and saying, ‘You did a good job raising all these kids, Fiona, I’m so proud of you.’ Her exchange in season 9’s finale with Frank is pretty much his way of saying that she did a great job and he’s proud of her.”

Why Emmy Rossum didn’t appear in the ‘Shameless’ Season 11 finale

While some fans were disappointed by Fiona’s absence in the Shameless series finale, the cast and crew also had plans for a proper sendoff. In April 2021, showrunner John Wells said Rossum always wanted to return to Shameless for the last episode. However, she couldn’t travel from New York to Los Angeles to shoot the series. The Phantom of the Opera star currently lives in NYC with her husband, Sam Esmail.

Wells shared what the Fiona storyline would’ve looked like with TVLine

“She was going to come back and deal with Liam’s guardianship,” Wells said. Fiona would help choose “where Liam was going to be as they sold the house and be a part of all those decisions. “[We’d] have some more moments with Fiona and the rest of the family.”