‘Rookie’ Showrunner Alexi Hawley on How Afton Williamson’s Character Will Be Written Off

Last week, the actress said she would not be returning for season two after she leveled discrimination accusations

Afton Williamson ABC The Rookie
ABC/Tony Rivetti

“The Rookie” showrunner Alexi Hawley has weighed in on how the show will write around the sudden absence of Afton Williamson’s character Officer Talia Bishop following the actress’ exit from the ABC show.

Speaking to TV Line at San Diego Comic-Con last month, Hawley said that after Bishop omitted her felon brother from her police academy personal history questionnaire and the reprimand she received for it in Season 1, “She was never going to get a fair shake at the LAPD. So ultimately she’s transferring over to a federal agency. There she can start with a clean slate and hopefully rocket to the top of the ladder.”

He added that it would be “an organic exit” for the character given the storyline. “Obviously, Talia was a huge part of our show and a great part of our show.”

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Williamson announced that she would not return for the second season of the Nathan Fillion-led drama, accusing a recurring guest star on the show of sexual harassment and the show’s hair department of racial discrimination and of making inappropriate comments. She also accused Hawley of refusing to pass on her complaints to human resources.

“The only time I was asked to participate in an investigation was after a meeting I called in June following our Season 2 announcement,” Williamson wrote. “This meeting included the Showrunner and two other producers as well as my agent and SAG-AFTRA Union Rep. It was clear to all present in the meeting that the Showrunner had not shared my reports with the any of the producers.”

The production company behind the show, Entertainment One, said on Monday that it had launched an investigation to the matter, and ABC Entertainment chief Karey Burke addressed the racial discrimination accusations at the Television Critics Association press tour the same day.

“I learned alongside my colleagues at the end of June that there were allegations and that an investigation had been launched by eOne,” Burke said. “I’m waiting for the results of that investigation, just as you are, to get more answers.”

In a follow-up post on Instagram on Monday, Williamson disclosed the name of the recurring actor she said sexually harassed her, as well as the name of the show’s hairdresser.