‘Shameless’: Mickey Was Only Supposed to Star in a Few Episodes of the Series

Seasons 10 and 11 of Showtime’s critically acclaimed TV seriesShameless, revolves heavily around Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) and Ian Gallagher’s (Cameron Monaghan) relationship. However, Mickey’s character was only supposed to be in a few episodes of the series, similar to how Carl Gallagher wasn’t supposed to act at all. How did he end up sticking with the show for so long?

Actor Noel Fisher from 'Shameless'
Actor Noel Fisher from ‘Shameless’ | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

‘Shameless’ original storyline for Mickey was ‘dirty’

When Noel Fisher agreed to return to Shameless in season 10, he opened up to the Chicago Tribune about Mickey’s original script.

“I mean, in a word: Dirty,” Fisher laughed as he told the outlet what he thought of Mickey. “That’s as close a descriptor I can think of. I think the script said something like, ‘he was a step away from a full-on street kid.’ [He was] one step removed from a kid who slept under bridges and lived on the street. Like, very dirty and rugged and ready to scrap.”

Fisher also described the difference between the Milkoviches and the Gallaghers.

“I’ve always considered the Milkoviches as a more divided, violent version of the Gallaghers,” Fisher explained. “Instead of Frank, who is just kind of a hilariously narcissistic and self-involved absent father, Terry (Mickey’s father) is a violent force for negativity.”

The ‘Shameless’ actor who portrays Mickey — Noel Fisher — dictated Ian’s storyline

If it weren’t for Fisher agreeing to continue coming back to the show, Ian might have a completely different storyline. Fans found out that Mickey was never an integral part of the series around season 5. Shameless’ executive producer, John Wells, told fans that Mickey was only contracted for a few episodes.

“[Fisher] was going to do a movie and wasn’t prepared to sign on for another year, so I have to check back in with him in a few months and see,” Wells told The Hollywood Reporter about Mickey’s return. “He has a very thriving film career, and we really just hired him for a few episodes when we started, but we keep expanding it, and he always comes back when he’s available.”

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Early on in the series, the writers noticed Fisher’s chemistry with Monaghan. So, they asked the actor to come back for a few more episodes. That handful of episodes he signed on for turned into 72 and counting.

Fisher agreed to return to the series again to continue Mickey’s growth

When Fisher left Shameless after Mickey and Ian reunited in prison, he felt the character’s story was complete. However, he was happy to return to the character in season 10 and explore Mickey and Ian’s relationship more.

“The character is my favorite that I’ve ever gotten to play,” he told the Tribune about returning. “I’m really happy that he and Ian are getting to explore their relationship in a way that is open and not hindered by things that we’ve seen in the past. So a more “normal” quote-unquote kind of relationship.”

Although he was only supposed to be in a few episodes, Fisher is happy with how differently things worked out.