Shameless’ Explosive Finale Joins List of TV’s Most Controversial Series Endings

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The series ended its 11-season run on April 11, 2021. Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) is diagnosed with the coronavirus in a hospital and soon dies while on a ventilator—a most harrowing cautionary scene amid the current pandemic. The character, who rarely wore a mask, was initially hospitalized after displaying more severe symptoms of his alcohol-related dementia and after suffering a suspected suicide attempt by overdose.

As he passes away, he imagines himself rising up above the rooftops while sitting in a chair in his hospital gown as he narrates a letter, filled with words of “advice,” that he left for his family. In the post-credits, his body, saturated with ingested alcohol, is cremated, with explosive results.

Despite much hope among fans, Emmy Rossum, who left the show in season nine in 2019, did not return for the finale to reprise her role of Frank’s eldest daughter Fiona Gallagher. However, old footage of her was included in short family flashbacks experienced by Frank. 

Aside from his final accession, the finale also left even more up in the air: Lip (Jeremy Allen White) gets an offer to sell the family’s home and hopes to start a new life with Tami (Kate Miner), their son Freddie and his brother Liam (Christian Isaiah). Debs (Emma Kenney) plans on moving to Texas with her daughter Franny (Paris Newton) and a new girlfriend. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) accept their new yuppie lifestyle. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) embraces a new position in the police department that will allow him to stay true to himself. Kev (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) plan a move to Kentucky.

One thing does conclude nicely: Lip is acknowledged for stepping up and doing what Frank never succeeded in doing for his family.

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