“Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad …”
ABC’s “The Goldbergs” finally closed the door on Jeff Garlin‘s Murray Goldberg in the show’s season 10 premiere on Wednesday.
Going into the new season, it had already been confirmed the show would be killing off the character following Garlin’s surprising mid-season exit from the series in December 2021.
“That year, there was one change that made everything stop,” Patton Oswalt’s narration as adult Adam Goldberg said in a voiceover at the top of the show, before the family’s living room went dark as a spotlight shone over Murray’s favorite chair.
“Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad,” he continued. “We will always love you, dad. Always. And we will find a way to continue on together. Because, after all, we’re the Goldbergs.”
No explanation for how he died was given, but the episode further paid tribute to the character by repurposing Murray’s beloved recliner into a glider for his on-screen daughter, Erica (Hayley Orrantia) and her baby.
“It turns out the people we say goodbye to never really leave us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t miss them,” Adam said in the episode’s closing episode.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in August, showrunners Alex Barnow and Chris Bishop confirmed Murray would be killed off between seasons.
“This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father’s gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that,” Barnow said. “So we’re starting with optimism about [Erica and Geoff’s baby] coming and looking forward to the future. It’s an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving.”
“[Garlin is] not going to be on the season, obviously. [Murray] will have passed, and we are sort of starting from a place of multiple months removed from his death,” he continued. “The family has already grieved, unlike Pops [George Segal] and the premiere of season 9 where they’re dealing with it sort of very freshly.”
“Jeff won’t be in the series this year, and so far the stories have been largely about looking forward rather than looking back,” he added.
Garlin exited the show in December 2021, following allegations of and investigations into inappropriate behavior on set. Before his exit was confirmed, he told Vanity Fair that he did “nothing physical by any stretch of the imagination” and chalked up any verbal harassment claims as “a joke that was completely missed.”
“My opinion is, I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. They feel that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace,” he added at the time.
He also revealed that “HR has come to me three years in a row for my behavior on set.”
After his exit in Season 9, producers decided to keep his character in the show for the rest of the episodes — utilizing stand-ins, lines of dialogue that had already been recorded off-camera and unused or alternate takes to Frankenstein him into important scenes like Erica’s wedding.
The result was pretty awkward for viewers.
At the time, co-star Wendi McLendon-Covey tweeted in response to some criticism when the episode aired, “This season threw us for a loop because a.) it’s hard to incorporate someone who doesn’t want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we werent about to re-write the 2nd half of the season.”