‘Silicon Valley’ Star Thomas Middleditch Says TJ Miller’s Exit Won’t ‘Switch the Show’

Actor tells TheWrap that Miller’s character wasn’t “a great instigator for plot lines galore”

T.J. Miller’s final “Silicon Valley” episode aired on Sunday, but co-star Thomas Middleditch told TheWrap in an interview conducted before the finale aired that he doesn’t expect this to change the show in a major way.

The HBO comedy wrapped up its fourth season with Richard Hendricks (Middleditch) learning that entrepreneur Erlich Bachman (Miller) was stranded in Tibet. Miller, who announced in May that he is not returning to show, previously told TheWrap that reading the Season 4 finale was “an a-ha moment” that made him realize the timing was right to walk away.

Although the Pied Piper guys have been based out of Erlich’s incubator since the show’s inception, Middleditch told TheWrap that the character’s departure is unlucky to lead to a sudden burst of success for Richard’s perpetually struggling startup.

“I don’t think that now that his character is gone, the writers are going to be like, ‘Ah, finally!'” Middleditch said. “That character wasn’t either shackles or a great instigator for plot lines galore.”

The actor continued, “I think they’re probably wary of just blowing up all the dynamics because it works, and especially with a character leaving, if they suddenly switch the show, it opens a ton of doors for people to say, ‘See? He was the key ingredient.'”

Middleditch said he hasn’t heard details of Season 5, which the writing team has just started working on this week.

“I think they’ll continue to do exactly what this show does, which is just do very tightly woven, plot-based comedy, where every episode you’ve laughed but by the end of it, you’re like, ‘Oh, what’s going to happen next?'” he continued.

Middleditch says it was “definitely fun” to play up Richard’s more conniving side this season, and he wouldn’t mind seeing the show lean into that in the future.

“Richard — charmingly so, and also frustratingly so — is such a meek, bumble-y, trying-to-do-the-right-thing-but-just-falling-on-his-own-sword guy,” he said. “Even if maybe by the end of Season 5, people don’t like him as much, I would like to see him be a little bit more cutthroat. It makes an interesting character, and then Season 6 [can be] about redeeming yourself — it could be a really neat arc.”

Middleditch pointed out that he enjoyed sharing finale scenes with Josh Brener (Big Head), and that he hopes to see Haley Joel Osment (Keenan Feldspar) return. He added that he likely sees the show lasting for anywhere between another one and three seasons.

“It’s not about creating 22 episodes indefinitely for as long as you can do,” Middleditch said. “We’re telling a finite story, so it should come to end on our terms.”

The actor previously told TheWrap that he thinks that writers could have given Erlich a bigger exit if they had known before writing the episode that Miller was definitely leaving.

“Lots of things could have been done differently if things were handled differently on the part of the people involved,” Middleditch said. “It could have been a lot more ceremonious.”