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TV Critic’s Corner

Do series stars sink or swim after jumping ship?

Mischa Barton in “The O.C.”
Mischa Barton in “The O.C.” (Michael Desmond/FOX)

With Emmy Rossum leaving Showtime’s “Shameless” at the end of the season, which starts Sunday, I’ve been thinking about whether or not other shows have survived such significant departures.

Michael Vartan left “Alias” in the season five premiere. According to rumors, it was because of his breakup with show lead Jennifer Garner. Verdict: Yes.

Suzanne Somers famously tried to get a raise on “Three’s Company” that would make her pay equal to her male costar, John Ritter. Eventually, after her role was reduced, she was fired. Verdict: No.

Christopher Meloni walked away from “Law & Order: SVU” after contract negotiations failed. He spent 12 years on the show. Verdict: No.

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Charlie Sheen, struggling with substance abuse, was bumped off “Two and a Half Men” after making derogatory comments about series creator Chuck Lorre. Verdict: More or less.

Mischa Barton became a celebrity for her work on “The O.C.,” and she decided to leave for greener pastures. Her character died at the end of season three. Verdict: No.

Patrick Dempsey left “Grey’s Anatomy” after rumors of tension on the set. His character was hit by a truck and got a negligible funeral. Verdict: No.


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