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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

‘Shameless’ to close out with COVID-19 story line

William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher in "Shameless."
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher in "Shameless."Ron Jaffe/Showtime

“Shameless” has only one more season to go, its 11th. And that’s a good thing, because it is time — maybe even past time. Much as I love the series, it has lost some of its edge and direction in recent years, particularly since Emmy Rossum left. I’m all for finishing the story of the Gallagher family of Chicago, which has had countless highs over the years — but soon, before I’m sick and tired of them all.

Showtime has just announced that the final season will premiere on Sunday, Dec. 6. Furthermore, it will include a COVID-19 story line, after John Wells reworked the season to fit one in. (“It’s impossible to do a satirical comedy about the working poor,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, “without addressing what happened and what is going to happen to that community.”) The official description of the season doesn’t reveal much more than that, saying the Gallagher family and the South Side are “at a crossroads, with changes caused by the COVID pandemic, gentrification and aging to reconcile.” We’ll see if Frank comes down with the coronavirus, but I feel confident in saying that if he does, it probably will not kill him. Frank seems to survive everything the writers have thrown at him over the years.

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The description also mentions that Lip is struggling with the idea of becoming the new family patriarch, that Ian and Mickey are adjusting to marriage, and that Carl finds “an unlikely new career in law enforcement.”


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.