How the 'Shameless' Fall Finale Sets up Emmy Rossum's Exit

The Shameless fall finale set up the departure for Emmy Rossum's Fiona, whose efforts to find success away from the other Gallaghers did not go so well.

At the end of "Down Like The Titanic," Fiona hit rock bottom. She has lost her boyfriend, who was cheating on her, plus her apartment building. At the very end of the episode, she shows up at the Gallagher home drunk. This sets up a new direction for Fiona, who will once again have to try to pick herself up and try to find a new role in a family that does not need her as a parental figure any longer. Once she figures that out, this could give Fiona reason enough to leave.

In a post-show interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner John Wells said Fiona's fall was inspired by real-life working class people trying to climb out of their situations, only to run into trouble along the way.

"We wanted to tell the story of Fiona's bit of hubris that went along with inexperience about financial matters, which is a very real way that a lot of people get into trouble — whether that be taking out additional mortgages because you thought that you could handle a rental property because the market was picking up and then it doesn't," Wells explained. "Or any number of things that happen to people when they're trying to get another step up the ladder. We thought in the world of the Gallaghers that that is what would be most likely to happen to Fiona."

Wells also revealed that most of Fiona's story for the first half of season nine was already written before Rossum announced this past summer that she was leaving the show at the end of this season. Wells said if they knew that, the writers might have had Fiona's fall start "three or four" episodes earlier.

The writer/director also said Fiona's end will not end in death, but Wells would not spoil what would drive Fiona away from her siblings and father.

Last week, Shameless featured Cameron Monaghan's exit, with Ian going off to prison and reuniting with Mickey (Noel Fisher). In his interview with THR, Wells said he understood Monaghan's decision to leave.

"I'm hopeful that he'll continue to do more episodes of the show but I am also sympathetic to the idea that if you start something as a child and it's been your whole professional life that once you reach your mid- to early 20s, you may want to look around a little bit," Wells said. "This has been like his high school and college and I completely understand his desire to look around a little."


Shameless' ninth season will be back on Showtime on Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/SHOWTIME