Former Glee star Jayma Mays said the decision to leave the show wasn’t hers.
Mays, who played guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, announced her departure at The Smurfs 2 premiere in July and said that season 5 was her last. Her departure came just a month after five other original cast members left the musical comedy: Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray), Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones), Heather Morris (Brittany Pierce), Mark Salling (Noah “Puck” Puckerman), and Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang).
The 34-year-old Tennessean told Metro that it was creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan’s decision to write her character off.
“It wasn’t my choice. The creators decided to do it. We knew it was coming last year,” she said. “Some other characters will also be leaving this season. It’s very sad to be going, but I understand why they do it. It’s about getting new blood into the show. I really enjoyed playing Emma. I don’t know how I’m written out yet. I’m so curious.”
Jayma Mays returned for Cory Monteith tribute episode, “The Quarterback,” which aired October 10. The episode brought the series its best ratings since the second episode of season 4, “Britney 2.0,” which drew 7.46 million viewers.
“It’s been really hard,” Mays said of Monteith’s death. “We just filmed his memorial episode and it was a very difficult thing to do. Just being there, you felt the absence of a friend and co-worker. It’s been a very sad and difficult year for everyone.”
Last week, Ryan Murphy confirmed that season 6 would be Glee‘s last, and that the finale would “honor” Cory Monteith.
“The final year of the show, which will be next year, was designed around Rachel and Cory/Finn’s story,” Murphy told reporters at a Paley Center event honoring FX Networks last Wednesday. “I always knew that, I always knew how it would end. I knew what the last shot was – he was in it. I knew what the last line was – she said it to him. So when a tragedy like that happens you sort of have to pause and figure out what you want to do, so we’re figuring that out now.”
Murphy also said that he planned to tell the network and studio “how after Cory’s unfortunate passing we can end the show that I think is very satisfactory. And kind of in his honor, which I love.”
After leaving Glee, Jayma Mays landed a lead role in the CBS comedy The Millers, replacing Mary Elizabeth Ellis. The pilot, which was written by creator Greg Garcia, drew 13.09 million viewers.