SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “Kiss Me and Smile for Me,” the March 16 episode of “Good Trouble.”
The Fosters family is changing again — Maia Mitchell has exited Freeform’s “Good Trouble.” The actress has portrayed Callie Foster since “The Fosters” premiered in 2013, and went on to reprise the role in its spinoff series, with her final episode airing on Wednesday night.
During the episode, Callie revealed that Kathleen (Constance Zimmer) had helped her land her dream job with the ACLU, but that meant she had to move to Washington, DC She had invited her moms (guest stars Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) and brother Jude (Hayden Byerly) to town in order to soften the news for Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), who was shocked to learn her sister was moving across the country in two days.
Entirely the episode, Callie said her goodbyes to everyone — and many real tears were shed in the process.
The episode ended with Callie sitting on an airplane and seeing her on-and-off boyfriend, Jamie (Beau Mirchoff), boarding the same flight. He reveals to her that he also got a job opportunity in DC before asking whether the seat beside her is taken (even though, usually, seats on planes are assigned). She happily tells him that it’s free.
Behind the scenes, the cast was a mess — even though they’d known that Mitchell was leaving for quite some time. At the end of Season 3, she had a discussion with co-creator Joanna Johnson about wanting to go home to Australia since she hadn’t seen her family in two years due to COVID-19.
“I had known that that Maia had been considering moving on,” Johnson said. “She’s been doing this role for nine years. She grew up in this role between ‘The Fosters’ and ‘Good Trouble.’ She was 19 when she started. I went to her trailer, and I said, ‘So, I want to talk about Season 4, and I want to beg you to stay.’ She said how much she loves his family and this show, but that she needed to go home.”
Johnson and the rest of the cast and crew understood that need, but still “tried many different ways to try to talk her out of it” before ultimately coming to terms with her decision. After they did, the executive producer asked if Mitchell would come back for Season 4 and do a few episodes at the top to give her a proper sign off.
“In the finale episode of Season 3, there were so many stories that we’re trying to serve and I wanted to devote an entire episode to her. She was delightful and lovely and said she’ll come back from Australia to do them,” she told Variety, “She’s always going to be part of the family, and I don’t think it’s the last we’ll ever see of Callie. Callie’s journey is happening off camera, but we’ll catch up with her.”
Filming the finale was “very emotional for everyone,” but specifically Mitchell and Ramirez. The pair met on set of “The Fosters” and have led the spinoff together since its 2019 debut.
While the episode included many separate goodbyes for Callie and quite the toast to The Coterie, it also included a reunion between her and Jamie. With him moving to DC as well, Variety confirms that Mirchoff is also exiting the show as a series regular.
“I definitely hope to see Beau again,” Johnson said. “I love the character and I love him. He’s such a lovely guy.”
As for whether Callie and Jamie are now together, that’s something Johnson is hoping to do an episode about down the line: “It’s a mystery, but we’ll find out.”
Mitchell shared her own goodbye message via Instagram following the finale. “10 years ago, I auditioned for a little pilot called ‘The Fosters.’ I was 19 with no clue of the luck I had stumbled upon. Years later, I was able to continue my journey as Callie when we formed the ‘Good Trouble’ family. Two shows, 156 episodes, and a chosen family for life. Lucky me,” she wrote. “While I have been so beyond fortunate to have this career and a job that I love, with not an iota of regret, for quite some time I have suppressed an undeniable gravitational pull to return home to Australia to be closer to my nearest and dearest “
The actress continued, “The past two years have been trying, for everyone. I fully recognize the privilege of being able to work and make our show during a global pandemic, but it also meant being separated from my loved ones when we needed each other the most. Thus came the need to create the space to split my time between both countries.”
She ended her lengthy post with a message for the fans: “Words can’t express how beyond grateful I am for your consistent and unbreakable loyalty. Fact: We have the best fandom in television. You will always hold a special place in my heart, and I know our paths will cross again in the future.”