A major character on the ABC series "Desperate Housewives" will be killed off on an episode set to air on Sunday, March 11, a producer said on Thursday, while testifying at a Los Angeles trial for former cast member Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination and battery case against the show's creator, Marc Cherry.
Warning: Spoiler alert!
James Denton's character, Mike Delfino, will die on Sunday's episode, two months before the show will end after eight seasons, co-executive producer George Perkins said on the witness stand, OnTheRedCarpet.com has learned. People in the courtroom gasped and erupted in response.
Deadline.com reported. The website said he revealed the spoiler after he was asked by Sheridan's attorney whether Edie Britt, the actress' character, was the most high-profile one to be killed off.
"Desperate Housewives" is on its eighth season and is scheduled to air its series finale in May. An ABC spokesperson declined comment. Sunday's episode was taped several weeks ago.
Denton told Entertainment Weekly that Delfino's death is violent and "brilliant." He said Cherry broke the news to him about his character's demise "gently" some time during between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
"God bless Marc," Denton told the magazine. "He wants so badly not to hurt anybody's feelings. He didn't want me to be unhappy about it, so he was breaking it to me gently. The whole time I'm biting the inside of my cheek because I was trying not to crack up because it's fantastic for me. We're almost through, anyway."
He added: "In episode 17, I have to go lay in a box and do some flashbacks. We have the funeral and some flashbacks, and that's it."
Cherry "smiled and gave a thumbs-up" outside the courtroom when asked about Denton's departure from "Desperate Housewives," Deadline.com reported.
"The last couple of years we've been sort of preparing ourselves for the end," Denton told OnTheRedCarpet.com in September. "I think they could have gotten a few more years out of it. Like somebody said, you don't want to stay at the party too long."
"Hit" vs "Tap"
Sheridan starred in "Desperate Housewives" between 2004 and 2009 and accuses series creator Marc Cherry of hitting her "upside the head" during filming. She says he then begged her forgiveness "on bended knee," months before her character was killed off the ABC drama series. She is suing for $6 million.
Cherry testified earlier this week that he never asked verbal permission to "touch" Sheridan, but described the alleged slap as a "tap." He said that after trying to explain a scene, he resorted to a demonstration.
He said on Thursday that he had cut a funny line for Sheridan's character and that he suggested to replace the line with a piece of physical comedy, such as a slap or a pinch, after she complained about the change, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Denton had also testified at the trial on Thursday, before the spoiler about his character's death was revealed. He said he was unaware of Sheridan's allegations about the alleged battery until months after the incident and also said he had great affection for both the actress and Cherry, the Associated Press said.