‘9-1-1’ Showrunner Tim Minear Opens Up About Rockmond Dunbar’s Exit From the Show

by Jacklyn Krol
Fox, Getty Images

9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear spoke out about the sudden exit from Rockmond Dunbar.

In an interview with Decider, he discussed how the team handled his departure. He refused to get vaccinated from the coronavirus which is needed for the majority of television studios and companies.

“You just have to say the Serenity Prayer, in a way,” he said of handling the situation. “One can’t control other people, nor do I have any interest in controlling other people. The only thing you can really control is your reaction to a situation. I’ve known Rock for many years — we worked together on a show called Terriers, and then I cast him on this show because I knew how genius he was.”

Despite their differences in medical care, Minear still supports him as a person.

“I supported his autonomy to make decisions for himself,” he added. “And I also explained that the company has a policy, and we work for a company, and there’s only so much I can do. But what I did do was, I facilitated as grateful an exit as I could for him. I didn’t kill him. I could have had his brain tumor come back.”

However, the team decided on a more “elegant” exit for him. He also noted that he is open to the possibility of his return if the pandemic ever ends.

“I think all the people who work with me and for me know that I’m on their team, and I think they feel supported. And if they don’t, I hope they would call me because my door is always open,” the 9-1-1 creator concluded.

How ‘9-1-1’ Handled the Exit

Fans will recall that Rockmond Dunbar’s Michael Grant left last season where he went on a mission trip with his boyfriend turned fiance.

Variety reported that Dunbar applied for religious and medical waivers to the requirement. However, he was denied. The production company 20th Century Television requires all cast and crew to be vaccinated for the safety of the set.

“We take the health and safety of all of our employees very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “And have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process for those working in Zone A on our productions. In order to ensure a safer workplace for all, Zone A personnel who do not confirm their vaccination status and do not meet the criteria for exemption will not be eligible to work.”

Dunbar released a statement regarding the denial for his exemptions and exit from 9-1-1.

“I do not publicly discuss [my beliefs and private medical history] and have no desire to start now,” the 9-1-1 alum wrote. “I’ve been an actor in this business for 30 years. But my greatest roles are as a husband and father to our 4 small children.” 

He added, “I have enjoyed the last five seasons [of 9-1-1] with this wonderful cast and crew. And [I] will cherish the time I’ve been blessed to spend with this season. [I] wish everyone involved nothing but the best.”

Dunbar recently completed filming for the upcoming movie, Red Winter. The movie tells the story of a couple who are vacationining in the mountain of Colorado. The wife witnesses hitmen murdering people. Her husband Daniel and her fight to survive in the wilderness with the cartel after them.