What Happened to Cathy Mueller in ‘Jack Ryan’ Season 2?

Actress Abbie Cornish is conspicuously absent from the Tom Clancy adaptation this time around

(This article contains some spoilers for season 2 of “Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime Video)

Season 2 of Amazon’s “Jack Ryan” was very solid, but something was missing. A certain major character from season 1, and one of the main characters of the Tom Clancy novels about the character: Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish). It’s a strange omission, for numerous reasons. But even weirder is that season 2 doesn’t even acknowledge that this character was ever on the show.

Cathy was Jack Ryan’s (John Krasinski) love interest in the first season, just as she was in Tom Clancy’s novels. In the books, in fact, Cathy and Jack ended up getting married and having kids and all that — and she’s the First Lady when Jack is elected president. So pretty much everyone figured that Cathy, and thus Cornish as well, would be a mainstay of Amazon’s series.

I was certainly surprised, then, when I watched screeners of the second season last month, to discover that not only is Cathy not in “Jack Ryan” season 2, but she’s never even referenced. This led to some confusion on my part early on when Jack sleeps with another woman, and then later on says he’s single. What happened with Cathy? I guess they just broke up between seasons? And Jack just isn’t gonna talk about it?

It’s even more perplexing when you try to scour the internet for an explanation for Cornish’s absence, because it’s tough to find any kind of notice that she wouldn’t be back for season 2, or any comment on why. If I had to guess, I’d say that Cathy’s absence was a creative decision, since Jack Ryan spends just about the entire season outside of the United States, and it’s not super obvious where Cathy would fit in this story beyond just being the worried girlfriend who Jack has to check in with every couple episodes.

But that wouldn’t explain why Jack is single this time or why everybody just pretends like Cathy never existed. I think that’s what’s oddest about her absence. They didn’t write her out of the show — she’s just not there, and everybody who is still around acts like that’s perfectly normal.

Fortunately, despite this weirdness, “Jack Ryan” season 2 is still far superior to the first season. It’s good enough that once it clicks in your brain a few episodes in that Cathy really just isn’t gonna show up it’s not too hard to get past it. But it’s still weird.

Of course, now we’re edging toward the planned third season of “Jack Ryan,” but there hasn’t been any news about whether Abbie Cornish will be back. It’s tough to know what that means, since everything in Hollywood has been on pause for months — but if Amazon was bringing Cornish back to the show then they probably would have said so earlier this year.

But with a huge pandemic continuing to ravage the United States, anything could happen at this point. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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