SPOILER ALERT: This post contains details about the latest episode of Freeform’s Good Trouble, “Kiss Me and Smile for Me.”
It’s been a long time coming, but Callie is finally packing her backs for the ACLU… in Washington D.C. as Good Trouble star Maia Mitchell exits the Freeform series after three seasons. The actress has decided to move back home to Australia.
Following the Season 4 premiere, things pick up with another family dinner at The Coterie, with Stef (Teri Polo), Lena (Sherri Saum) and Jude (Hayden Byerly) present to share some news. Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), unaware of the true reason behind her moms’ visit, thinks they are there to announce another addition to the family, however that isn’t the case.
The dinner conversation is lively, touching on a range of topics including texting, sexting and defunding the police. However, Jude prompts a heavier conversation topic that reveals the real reason for the dinner. Stef and Lena unveil that Callie will leave Los Angeles for the East Coast where she will join the ACLU, a dream more than four years in the making. Everyone’s excited, except for Mariana who storms out.
Callie follows her sister and explains how a meeting with Kathleen Gale (Constance Zimmer) informed her decision to take the leap. Now knowing the context of the decision, Mariana perks up and decides to turn the dinner party into an impromptu going away party rife with drinks, music and tender moments between members of The Coterie.
Everyone ranging from Alice (Sherry Cola) and Malika (Zuri Adele) to Jude send Callie off with touching words or meaningful trinkets. In a later flashback, it’s also revealed that Kathleen gifted Callie with a leather suitcase that once belonged to her mother.
“I had no idea how lucky I was that my sister tricked me into moving in here,” Callie recalls with her Coterie fam. “When you leave the family that you’re born into or adopted into you go out into the world and you get to make a chose family and friends. I’ll never find a better chose family than you guys. I love you all so much and thank you for letting me be part of The Coterie.”
In their final moment together, Callie tells her sister that she worries about failing in Washington. Mariana assures her that if anything, her sister will “be welcome with open arms” back at The Coterie.
Mitchell’s time on Good Trouble concludes with Callie boarding her flight to D.C. She unwraps Mariana’s present: her sister’s doll from the thrift shop in season one. “I wanted you to have the Mariana doll and I’m keeping the Callie doll. This way, we both have a piece of each other,” a note reads.
One final surprise awaits Callie just before take off. Coming down the aisle is Jamie (Beau Mirchoff), who is also moving to D.C. for a new job. Mirchoff has also exited Good Trouble as a series regular.
“I guess the universe has conspired again,” she says.
Good Trouble showrunner Joanna Johnson spoke to Deadline about bidding farewell to Mitchell, who first debuted as Callie in The Fosters back in 2013. See the Q&A, which has been edited for length and clarity below.
DEADLINE: Talk to me about crafting that final episode for Callie, solely in The Coterie. What impact does that setting have, considering her history in the foster system?
JOHNSON: It felt very much like an episode that should be all in The Coterie. She’s saying goodbye to her family that she was adopted into, but also the family that you create when you become an adult, and go out in the world. I really wanted to have those moments with every character so she could have a little intimate moment with all of the characters in The Coterie.
DEADLINE: When did you learn about Maia’s decision to move back to Australia?
JOHNSON: I knew that Maia has been playing this character for nine years and that how much she loves this show, and she loves this family. I also knew that she really missed her family a lot – not being able to see them for those two years of COVID. She was ready to make a change.
I knew near the end of season three that she really needed to move on. I asked her if she would stay and do a couple of episodes in season four to give us a little time to give her the right send off, and she was totally game for that.
DEADLINE: And was the ACLU always going to be Callie’s end goal?
JOHNSON: Yeah. She always wanted to go work for the ACLU, and she kept getting derailed by going to work as a clerk for Judge Wilson. That didn’t work out. So, she ended up at legal aide, and then she ended up wanting to help the character who was unhoused. Then she ended up working for Kathleen Gale. I always knew that her end game would be to go to the ACLU because that was her dream.
DEADLINE: Joining Callie on the flight to D.C. is Jamie. Is this the last we’re also going to see of Beau in Good Trouble?
JOHNSON: Oh, I hope not. In The Fosters world and the Good Trouble world, we never really say goodbye to any character. People always tend to come back at some point, and I absolutely would love to see Beau back, and I think there’s possibilities that we’ll see Callie again. Just maybe not as a series regular. I think it’s possible that we could have some Foster family episodes that perhaps Callie would be a part of, too.
DEADLINE: You’ve worked with Maia for so long. What did that moment of saying goodbye to to her and Callie look like?
JOHNSON: There was a table read at the end of season three. The scene of the fantasy courtroom scene where she’s talking to Judge Wilson, and he’s talking about her life. What is she doing? Why does she keep getting derailed? Where is she going? Callie’s fears of “What if this is as good as it gets? What if I’m making a mistake?” Those were things that I know were going through Maia’s mind because it’s so hard to leave the family that she’s created, that she’s been with since she was 19 years old.
So, she got choked up on that, and then I just started crying. We both had a little trouble getting through the rest of the table read. It’s very emotional because she’s like a daughter to me, and seeing her and Cierra grow up and go from young women into more mature women you know..it has been such an honor to be able to see that. They do feel like my daughters. I feel very protective of them, and I love them a lot. It felt like someone leaving the nest you know. My kids are younger, but I thought, oh gosh, one day my kids are going to leave the nest and it’s going to feel like this.
DEADLINE: So, when is Mariana booking a ticket to D.C.?
JOHNSON: I guess when we can go on location. When COVID dies down and we can actually travel. That would be fun to do. It would be fun to go to D.C. and shoot an episode.
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