International Star Talks Luke Kleintank’s Exit As Forrester, And I’m Flashing Back To FBI: Most Wanted’s Biggest Tragedy

The season finales of all three of CBS’ FBI shows are quickly approaching, but FBI: International didn’t wait until the very last minute to deliver a major cast change. Luke Kleintank, who has played Scott Forrester from the beginning, appeared in his final episode last week, and the remaining two episodes of Season 3 will have to address his absence.

Details are few and far between about what will happen to close out International‘s run in the 2024 TV schedule, but Eva-Jane Willis spoke with CinemaBlend in a way that left me thinking back to how FBI: Most Wanted said a tragic goodbye to Jess LaCroix two years ago.

Smitty, Forrester, and Vo standing together in FBI: International Season 3x09

(Image credit: Nelly Kiss/CBS)

What Eva-Jane Willis Told Us

News broke back in late April that Luke Kleintank would leave FBI: International with two episodes remaining in the third season, and fans could only speculate about ways that the show could say goodbye to Forrester. Eva-Jane Willis, whose character learned a devastating truth in the most recent episode, didn’t drop spoilers about Forrester’s fate, but did share her thoughts on International as a show that can add and lose cast members without losing its foundation:

I think that there are shows where everyone is always safe all the time. This is not one of those shows. This is a show where there are real stakes. We’re really going in with guns. We’re really being blown up one minute and shot at the next. And we want the stakes to be real and the stakes to be high and for the audience to know that these people really are in danger and they are real people and they might not survive. So I guess what FBI does is keep the stakes high. Keep people guessing and make sure that it’s as much of a roller coaster for you as it is for us.

Willis herself joined FBI: International as Smitty to replace Christiane Paul as Katrin Jaeger, although Jaeger fortunately was not blown up or shot for her exit. The actress’ comments about the high stakes and characters in danger don’t mean that Forrester is getting an unhappy ending, but they reminded me of what FBI: Most Wanted showrunner David Hudgins told me when that show killed off Jess LaCroix two years ago.

FBI: Most Wanted Jess LaCroix Julian McMahon

(Image credit: Mark Schfer/CBS)

What FBI: Most Wanted’s David Hudgins Told Us

It was known well ahead of time in 2022 that Julian McMahon was leaving FBI: Most Wanted before the end of Season 3 and showrunner David Hudgins was open about the process of writing out Agent Jess LaCroix, but it was still a surprise when “Shattered” aired and killed off Jess. He was killed in the line of duty while saving a civilian, just when it seemed that the case was closed and everybody would get to go home alive and well.

At the time, I was able to speak with the showrunner about the twist, and he explained the decision to kill off McMahon’s character to write him out:

In the writers room, we discussed many different scenarios, but ultimately, we kept coming back to this idea that in a way it serves the premise of the show, which is on Most Wanted we are hunting the most dangerous of the dangerous, right? These are the most wanted guys. It’s an extremely dangerous job. And you know, there’s always the risk in the job, of getting hurt on the job… The decision was, let’s do this. It’s a very real risk of the job and it happens to Jess and it’s tragic, but we felt like it was true.

Now, FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted are two very different shows even though they exist in the same nine-show Dick Wolf TV universe, so Most Wanted killing off its leading man to accommodate the actor doesn’t mean International will do the same. Still, Eva-Jane Willis talking about “real stakes” and people who are “really in danger” is awfully similar to how David Hudgins talked about the “very real risk” and “extremely dangerous” job.

Does this mean bad news for Forrester in the final two episodes of Season 3? Maybe not, but I’m just a bit more on edge about his fate now than I was, even with the upcoming arrival of a Chicago Med alum. For now, check out the promo for the penultimate episode of the third season:

Tune in to CBS on Tuesday, May 14 for the second-to-last episode of FBI: International Season 3, which will be the first without Luke Kleintank as a series regular. If you want to revisit earlier days with Forrester, you can find the first two seasons streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription and the third season so far streaming with a Paramount+ subscription.

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