Recently returning to Hallmark for Chesapeake Shores Season 5, a dark cloud hung over the show's return:
Jesse Metcalf, its leading man, was bowing out in the first few episodes.
Now that his last-ever installment as Trace Riley has aired, Metcalfe is shedding light on his stunning departure.
“Life’s all about growth. I tend to put myself in challenging situations because I feel like that’s the fastest way to grow.
"No one saw this decision coming for me to leave Chesapeake, but sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones to make and the ones that you grow the most from,” the former Desperate Housewives star shared with Entertainment Tonight.
“I think this is one of those decisions.”
The star revealed there were many reasons for his exit, but one of which related to the direction of the series.
“I was very creatively fulfilled for four seasons. I just felt that there wasn’t really anything else I could do with the character, and we did go through three showrunners in five seasons on the show,” the actor dished.
“Getting to know a new showrunner and create a working relationship with a new person was not necessarily something I wanted to do," he added.
"I just felt like it was time to turn the page and start the next chapter of my career. I definitely wanted to pursue my film career with greater focus and also find the next challenge."
"I’m very proud of the work that I did on Chesapeake and very proud to have been a part of a great ensemble cast.”
If you watch Chesapeake Shores online, you know the show managed to craft a decent final storyline to take Trace away from town, something Metcalfe is "satisfied" with.
However, Metcalfe did not have any say in how his character would depart and “didn’t have any conversations with our new showrunner, Phoef Sutton” prior to receiving the scripts.
“We took a lunch well before the pandemic. Then the pandemic hit, and Phoef and his writing team had a long time to craft Season 5, but unfortunately, I never heard from anybody on the production side, and so I was given the [scripts for the] first couple of episodes,” he shared of how it went down.
“That creative relationship was not really established this time around.”
The good news is that Metcalfe is not ruling out a return down the line.
“I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know what the future will bring, but I think in the near term, I hope that [the fans] enjoy Season 5," he shared.
"Obviously, I wish my former cast and the new cast members much success."
“It’s always challenging to get good numbers, so I’m pulling for the show. I really hope it performs, but I’m looking to the future and what’s next for Jesse."
"Again, I’m so thankful for the opportunity and for the experience. For me, it was incredible, and I hope to do more great projects with Hallmark.”
Metcalfe added, “I certainly haven’t shut [the door]. I would definitely be open to [returning], given that the show was continuing to perform seasons down the line. I think a lot hinges on Season 5 as to how much longevity the show will ultimately have.”
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Catch new episodes Sundays on Hallmark.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.