"Desperate Housewives" Spoiler Alert: A major character will be killed off Sunday. Don't keep reading if you don't want to know who.
Thursday's courtroom revelation that a major character on "Desperate Housewives" will be killed off on this Sunday's episode was a calculated ploy to undercut his client's case, Nicollette Sheridan's attorney claimed.
"They're very tactical at ABC and Disney," Mark Baute told reporters outside the courtroom. "James Denton being killed off was designed for the defense ... so it could be brought into evidence.
Exec producer George Perkins said on the witness stand during the afternoon session that Denton's character Mike Delfino will be killed off on this Sunday's episode of the show.
Denton had testified just moments earlier at Los Angeles Superior Court for the defense in Sheridan's $6 million wrongful termination suit against the show's creator Marc Cherry and ABC.
Sheridan claims that Cherry killed off her character in retaliation after she reported the September 24, 2008 incident, which she characterized as a "nice wallop."
Sheridan's attorney Patrick Maloney asked Perkins if there have been any other important characters killed off on the show besides Sheridan's Edie Britt.
'No," Perkins replied, "but now we have. This Sunday we're killing off Mike Delfino."
After some jurors and courtroom spectators gasped at the news, Maloney jokingly asked the judge if she wanted to impose a gag order on the reporters covering Sheridan’s suit.
“I can’t order that,” Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Ann White said.
The revelation came moments after Denton had left the witness stand following testimony that he was not surprised that Sheridan's character was killed off in a scene "because characters get killed so often" on the show.
Under questioning by defense attorney Adam Levin, Denton said that he first learned about the death of Sheridan's Edie Britt character by reading it in the script.
"Did you ever think your character was going to die?" Levin asked.
"Always," Denton replied.
When Maloney continued grilling Perkins about whether he and Cherry discussed doing away with other characters in that same fifth season as a way to save money, the producer asked, "Do I have to answer?"
When the judge said he did, Perkins said he and Cherry had discussions along those lines, and that Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman were seen as "safe," but that Teri Hatcher's character had been "under discussion."
In earlier Thursday afternoon testimony, Larry Shaw, a director on the set on the day Sheridan claims Cherry struck her, characterized Cherry's contact with the actress as "a brush" and demonstrated with a tap to the side of attorney Levin's head.