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Put On A Bus / Live-Action TV

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People catching buses (metaphorically) in live-action TV.

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  • 7th Heaven was famous for this, writing characters off by putting them on buses to New York (Mary, Matt), college (Simon), etc., only to continue the characters' plotlines offscreen.
  • Because of the lengthy time gaps between "days" and the high turnover at CTU and other government agencies, characters' disappearances on 24 are usually justified. However, one notable exception is Milo Pressman, who vanished without any explanation — though he was referred to at least once later on — in the middle of Day 1 when actor Eric Balfour unexpectedly left the show. He would then reappear as a full-time CTU employee in Season 6 only to be killed in the day's final hours at the actor's request. Tony Almeida was effectively "put on a bus" in the middle of Season 5 for his return into Season 7, while Charles Logan was "put on a bus" during the middle of Season 6 for his return to Season 8.
    • Kim Bauer leaves after season 3. She only makes guest appearances in 9 episodes for the rest of the series. Not that most people really cared though.
    • Very often, characters are put on a bus for a good handful of episodes roughly sometime during the first quarter or in the middle of the season so they can return much later on that same season, with the most common excuse being that a character will be fired and then later returns when someone personally needs their help. The most noteworthy example of this is Chloe during season 4.
    • Series protagonist Jack Bauer won't be returning for Legacy, though this may be justified considering he turned himself in for the Russians at the end of Live Another Day.
  • Subverted in 30 Rock when Kenneth broke his promise to his mother that New York would not change him and decided to move back home to Georgia, but returned a few minutes later because he missed the train.
    • Also subverted with the writing out of Josh's character: he claims to have gotten on a bus.
    • Jack's wife Avery gets taken hostage by Kim Jong-Il (and later Kim Jong-Un) in North Korea, which excused Elizabeth Banks for other projects. For a while, she's not even mentioned, but then Jack spends a lot of time the next season trying to get her back. She returns in the final episodes of the season, only for them to divorce in the finale.

  • The entire Tanner family (i.e. every regular human cast member) was painfully put on the bus for the TV movie Project ALF, dismissed by a line of dialogue as having been relocated to Iceland. Since the movie was made in order to wrap up the series storyline, the bus never came back.
  • All in the Family: Henry Jefferson was devised as a sort of "placeholder" character to stand in for George Jefferson until actor Sherman Hemsley (who had been offered the role of George but wasn't available due to his commitment to the Broadway show Purlie) finally became available in season 4. Once that happened, Henry moved to Chicago to open his own dry-cleaning store. He was only sporadically mentioned on the spinoff The Jeffersons. His son, Raymond Jefferson (played by Gary Coleman), appeared on an episode in the 5th season.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! did this quite regularly, usually lampshaded through the ridiculous way the character left.
    • After her actress' departure from the show at the end of the third series, they opted to explain why Maria had suddenly vanished when she was trapped in the prison camp for British soldiers with the majority of rest of the primary cast by explaining that she had attempted to escape by disguising herself as a package and getting mailed out. Unfortunately, she didn't have enough stamps and was as such "returned to Switzerland."
    • The original Le Clerc visited his brother in prison and switched places with him because he preferred it to the café.
    • Hans Geering was spirited away by the Communist resistance and sent to England because he was disguised as a British officer - he then defected, even reprising his role as a British intelligence worker a few seasons later.
    • The two British airmen were eventually explained to have escaped back to England on a submarine, 'disguised as a couple of squids'. They came Back for the Finale.
    • Only the Italian Captain Bertorelli is given a serious explanation - the series skips forward to a time after Italy have surrendered.
  • In Andromeda, Rev Bem was a main character until the 12th episode of the second season, which opens with Rev's recorded message that he isn't coming back from the long spiritual journey that hadn't even started yet in the previous episode. The Bus Came Back in the third season only to give him a Metamorphosis before putting him back on the bus.
    • Mainly due to the actors problems with the makeup he had to wear for the role.
  • Are You Being Served?'s Young Mr. Grace was said to have gone on a sabbatical to write a book when actor Harold Bennett became too infirm to continue in the role. However, he appeared once to say good-bye and made one cameo before Bennett died.
  • Annyong from Arrested Development left the scene early in season 2 when Lucille ships him off to the Milford Academy, only to reappear late in season 3 to plot his revenge against the Bluths. It even turned out that he never even arrived at the academy but instead was living inside the walls of their model home gathering intel on them, as well as vandalizing the Banana Stand offscreen.
  • In Auction Kings, Several of the old experts haven't been seen in a while. Sometimes items of their expertise don't come in. Other times, they just vanish.
  • In the last season of The Avengers (1960s), writers dealt with Tara King's uselessness by putting her in drugged sleep for an episode and sending her on vacation for another (in which she was replaced by another character).

  • In Babylon 5, commander Ivanova was put on a bus (given her own ship to command) when the actress left the show. She appeared a year later in the last episode, which was however filmed as the last episode of the season when the actress was still part of the cast.
    • Well before this, the station's original commander, Jeffrey Sinclair, is put on a bus at the beginning of the second season by being reassigned to a diplomatic post on the Minbari homeworld, and is replaced by Captain Sheridan. Sinclair reappears to make guest appearances in seasons two and three.
    • Given the complex nature of trying to deal with potential actor change-ups that might interfere with a tightly-plotted 5 year arc it turns out that every character had a bus ticket waiting at the will-call desk (referred to as "trapdoors") in case they needed to be changed out. With the number of major and minor characters that ended up getting on that bus it seems like Babylon was as much a bus station as a space station. Though, given the number of bus crashes they encountered it might be best just to stay.
      • An exception to this is the aforementioned Sinclair bus trip, which was not planned but rather precipitated by actor Michael O'Hare's mental health issues (he had schizophrenia). J. Michael Straczynski did have a trapdoor for Sinclair, but didn't expect it to be triggered until at least after Season 2, which led to him scrambling to find a way to work it into the series believably a whole season or more earlier. Since O'Hare understandably wanted his struggles kept private, JMS didn't say the actual reason, instead saying that Sinclair's arc had run too quickly; after O'Hare's death, JMS actually said why (at O'Hare's request).
  • Chano Amenguale was put on a bus on Barney Miller, but viewers weren't told for several seasons. Following his disappearance, no one mentioned him until a few years later when a new detective was transferred to the precinct to replace him, causing Barney to marvel at how long it took the department to send anyone.
    • Also Barney's wife Liz, who had been unseen on the show for several seasons after being played by Barbara Barrie in Seasons 1-2. (The producers actually came up with the separation storyline as a way of bringing Barrie, whose character had been deemed as not "working" in the context of the show, back before the viewers.)
  • This is the fate of the Number Three Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. After a Number Three Cylon disobeys the consensus of the other Cylon models, it's decided that the Number Three models are inherently flawed. The Number Threes are then "boxed up" and their memories and consciousnesses downloaded into cold storage indefinitely. At least one number three is "unboxed" later on in season 4.
  • One of the most notorious and self-influential incidents in Beverly Hills, 90210's narrative history was putting Brenda Walsh, the show's powerhouse, on a plane to London after actress Shannen Doherty was fired for repeated unprofessional behaviour. Brenda was only supposed to stay in London for a year, but never reappeared in the original show. Charmed (1998), the next Aaron Spelling product that Doherty starred in, went one further when the actress was dismissed (again) and killed off her character.
  • Priya on The Big Bang Theory was put on a bus (or rather, a plane) back to India. After a few episodes of Commuting on a Bus via web cam, she cheats on Leonard off screen, the next episode offhandedly confirms he's single, she's never mentioned again, and Leonard ultimately gets back together with Penny, highlighting the fact Priya only existed as a Romantic False Lead.
  • Eugene, the forgotten Barkley brother, in The Big Valley ... he was never a huge part of the show, but he would pop up periodically while visiting from college. Then actor Charles Briles got drafted, and Eugene was never mentioned again. Though considering the show was set in the 1870's, he was more likely Put On a Train.
  • Big Time Rush: In the middle of Season 2, Jo leaves L.A. for New Zealand to film a movie franchise for three years, resulting in the two breaking up. She ends up coming back in Season 3 when production gets cancelled due to the testing audience hating the first film and burning down the set.
  • Big Wolf on Campus first season character Stacy Hansen is a prime example of this trope. It's revealed at the start of the Second Season that she had left for college. Though, she never did return and was never mentioned again. This is somewhat based on real life in that the actress who played Stacy really DID go to college.
  • The Blacklist: In the final few episodes of the third season, Elizabeth Keen was at one point killed off for apparent shock value. Due to actress Megan Boone's real life pregnancy, this fake death was added in to facilitate Boone's maternity leave until she was available for filming future episodes from the third season's finale and onward.
  • In Blake's 7 the entire cast is scattered after having to bail out of their ship in the opening episode of Season 3 after a massive space battle involving thousands of ships. Most of the regular cast reunite, apart from Blake and Jenna. The characters spend much of the next two years trying to find Blake, but Jenna gets forgotten about. When Blake does return in the series finale, he says Jenna is dead. However, in the closing moments of the show he reveals that all of his actions in the finale were a morass of deception and lies to see if his old crewmembers were still loyal to his ideals and test their reactions, so the fate of Jenna is very much left up in the air. If she was still alive, that makes her the sole regular castmember of the show not to be killed off (with the possible exception of ORAC, who vanishes before the final scene).
    • There was some ambiguity about all the deaths except that of Blake himself (the actor requested that it be clear that Blake be decisively killed), making it something of a Bolivian Army Ending. Specifically, fanon has it that Vila avoided getting killed by faking it, as his actor falls the wrong way.
  • The Bold and the Beautiful: Taylor Hayes was a particularly egregious example. After being shot in 2002, and being discovered as Not Quite Dead in 2005, the character appeared in cameos as a silent ghost several times during the intervening three years.
  • On Bonanza, Adam Cartwright moved to Australia when Pernell Roberts left the show.
  • Bones:
    • Goodman goes on sabbatical at the beginning of season 2 so Brennan won't be mad at him for hiring Cam over her head, and never gets mentioned again.
    • Zack was also Put on a Bus twice in Season Three- briefly (for half an episode) at the very beginning, and then again at the end, permanently.
  • On Boy Meets World Harley is sent away to military school near the end of season two (but returns for one more episode in season three).
    • Mr. Turner, having gotten into a motorcycle accident in season 4, wasn't heard from after his accident. Minkus was similarly not shown on the show for a long time, but reappears at graduation, mentioning Mr. Turner being there. Both get more detailed fates in Girl Meets World.
  • The Brittas Empire: Laura leaves at the end of Series 5 to raise a child in America after reconciling with her estranged husband.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Oz put himself on a bus... twice in one season.
    • Faith gets put in a coma, then later rides the back of a truck (which is almost a bus). She then gets put in jail for a while.
    • Cordy and Angel shared a bus to L.A. after Season 3. Cordelia then gets put on a bus several times over the course of Angel.
    • Likewise Wesley is last seen in Buffy during the Season 3 finale being put into the back of an ambulance after a Negated Moment of Awesome. He returns later in Angel having taken a level in badass that gets higher as the show goes on.
    • Riley is put on a helicopter in "Into the Woods", when he decides to re-join the military and go demon-hunting somewhere that's not Sunnydale.
    • After Anthony Head expressed a desire to spend more time with his family in England, Giles was put on a plane in Season 6. The character's flimsy reasoning for this departure was Buffy's need to grow into a stronger, more stable person and Slayer, and he cited his presence, the fact that she often relied on him, as a hindrance to her self-reliance. Given it was his job as her Watcher to let her rely on him and the mountain of trauma she had recently suffered, many fans let out a collective "Huh?!" at his decision to abandon her "for her own good". This departure did allow him to be a Big Damn Hero at the end of the season, but Buffy and the team would suffer for his absence for the rest of the series. The character played a somewhat larger part in Season 7, but he was still constantly on and off the bus in the form of searching the world for Potential Slayers, leaving the rest of the team to try (and fail) to carry on effectively in his absence.
    • Amy. We know where she went (got turned into a rat) and she eventually returns for a few episodes after she was de-ratted.
    • Everyone who survived in the final episode actually escaped town in a school bus.
    • Harmony in Season 5.
    • The First Evil wasn't destroyed or trapped or anything like that, and is presumably still around, doing...whatever it does when it's not tormenting the good guys. Justified as it only had a very small window of becoming corporeal due to Buffy's resurrection and other events. It's alive but not as much of a (direct) threat.
    • Ethan being arrested.
    • This happens to Wood in S8 in an identical way to how many Fanfics do it.
    • Happened to Kate after Elisabeth Röhm left the show to join Law & Order. She quit fighting supernatural crime in the West Coast to fight normal crime in the East Coast.
    • Lindsey was put on a bus and then came back.

  • After a season-and-a-half of acting as one of the show's co-protagonists alongside his sister, Peter Fairchild in Central Park West is sent off, with next-to-no warning, to a South American resort by his stepfather, Allan Rush, after Peter inadvertantly caused his unstable wife to fall on her own knife. This was done partially due to the fact that the series was likely going to be cancelled at that point, and because it gave the writers a possible out if the show was renewed and the actor was to return. Peter only gets one final (voice-only) cameo, narrating a letter he'd sent to his mother, but doesn't appear for the rest of the series.
  • Leo from Charmed (1998) was put on a bus in season 8 temporarily (the network slashed the budget in half and the actor had to be written out of the show for about ten episodes) when he had to be frozen in time to prevent him being killed in the crossfire of the battle between the Charmed Ones and the Ultimate Power.
  • In El Chavo del ocho the absence of several characters was explain this way:
    • After Maria Antonieta de las Nieves left the show to work as a dramatic actress on another network, her character La Chilindrina was send to live with some aunts in Guanajuato. Thankfully, The Bus Came Back when her career didn’t advance.
    • Quico was send to live with some far relatives away from la chuzma, after Carlos Villagrán left the show due to differences with Roberto Gomez.
    • Also Don Ramón’s absence after Ramón Valdez’s departure due to both disagreements with Gomez and health issues was resolve explaining that he was looking for a job around the world and wouldn't return until he became a millionaire (thus never).
  • Chuck:
    • Harry Tang, shortly after achieving his apparent dream job of Buy More Assistant Manager, is abruptly put on a plane after walking in on the spy team. This freed up actor C.S. Lee to become a permanent cast member on Dexter.
    • Anna Wu moves to Hawaii with her family. Morgan goes with her and becomes a chef at a Benihana restaurant, but can't hack it. He came back after a show or two as planned, but Anna stays behind having found a new boyfriend. She has since made one cameo comeback trying to get Morgan back, but he got to gain closure by telling her he wasn't interested in her anymore.
    • Although a recurring guest star rather than a regular character, Chuck's Fulcrum agent ex Jill was put on a bus at the end of the second season when Chuck let her escape rather than return her to government custody. With quite a pricey engagement ring to let her "start over". Jill's ultimate fate after Fulcrum was defeated was never revealed.
  • Community:
    • At the end of the first season Vaughn, a one time love interest of both Britta and Annie, transfers to a Delaware school.
    • Midway through Season 5, Troy leaves after being informed that he will receive $14.3 million dollars from Pierce (who had been McLeaned) if he can honor his friend's last request by sailing around the world. A Freeze-Frame Bonus in a later episode implies that Troy and LeVar Burton (It Makes Sense in Context) were captured by pirates, providing an explanation as to why he hasn't returned yet.
    • Shirley leaves the show between Seasons 5 and 6, with the Season 6 premier mentioning that she had to leave the school in order to take care of her ailing father. Britta does state that she will likely return at some point.
  • On the first season of Cougar Town, Jules had a young lover named Josh. After six episodes she broke up with him after he confessed that he loved her when she only wanted a fling. It was about this time that the show was Growing the Beard and shifted focus from Jules' love life to her close circle of friends and family.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Jason Gideon leaves in the episode "In Name And Blood" (season 3), after leaving a note for Spencer Reid at his cabin. While he doesn't leave on a bus (he left in his car), it's basically the same.
    • AJ Cook was fired, so JJ was forced to leave the team to work at the Pentagon. The episode, appropriately titled "JJ," was a solid hour of the writers of the show bitterly saying "eff you" to the people who fired Cook. She comes back.
    • Later in that same season, Emily Prentiss is killed. Later JJ is seen handing travel documents to a brunette woman with chewed fingernails. Earlier, Spencer had commented on Emily's chewing habit. Paget Brewster had been fired, but protests from fans brought both her and Cook back.
    • Ashley Seaver was transferred to another unit at the beginning of season 7, and written off the show.
  • Sara Sidle of CSI, leaving with the possibility that she'll return if actress Jorja Fox and CBS change their minds.
    • Jorja Fox and show execs virtually guaranteed in interviews that she would be popping in for a guest spot sometime in the near future - and did just that in season 9.
      • And Grissom followed her off of CSI, too. Since both roles have been replaced by new rookie CSIs it's probably safe to assume that the bus will not be returning anytime soon.
      • Wanna bet? Jorja's back on the show!! Although it's kinda like Commuting on a Bus, as she isn't in every ep these days.
    • And now, Catherine.
  • CSI: NY did it three times. First, Mac fired Aiden for considering planting evidence, but then her storyline ended in a combo of Bus Crash and Stuffed in the Fridge. Mac's ex girlfriend Peyton left suddenly with only a note to Mac, then The Bus Came Back for one episode. Stella left for the New Orleans crime lab between seasons 6 and 7.

  • Toby in Dani's House left after the first season, where in the season 2 opener it is stated he has left for medical school (after he managed to pass the test after answering every question with the word "bum"). He does show up again in the Christmas Episode, though.
  • Andie of Dawson's Creek was written off the show by sending her to Italy. She returned only once, for the gang's high school graduation. She also came back to say goodbye to Jen in the uncut DVD version of the series finale
    • Similarly, Janice on Head of the Class, who between seasons 3 and 4 got a scholarship to MIT, but showed up in the series finale because she forgot to pick up her high school diploma.
  • American soap Days of Our Lives, which has a habit of making departing characters get Killed Off for Real (or do they?), allowed fan favorite Calliope Jones Bradford to move to New York City (and come back to visit occasionally).
  • Degrassi. Alberta seems to be the favored destination for the in-series bus.
    • Darcy supposedly goes to Africa as some sort of missionary, when in reality Shenae Grimes was really working on 90210.
    • Craig and Ashley were put on buses as well; in fact Ashley was put on a bus twice.
    • Happened to Mia as well when she went off to Paris to model. In reality she ran off to The Vampire Diaries.
    • Also happened in season 10 with Alli while Melinda Shankar was filming How to Be Indie and again in season 11 with Connor.
  • Dennis the Menace: When Joseph Kearns, who played the cantankerous George Wilson, died suddenly in February 1962 (a time when filming of the current season was still ongoing), the producers had to make some hasty changes that eventually put Mr. Wilson (and wife, Martha) on a bus. Those changes, which extended into the fall of 1962, were as thus:
    • Initially: Two scripts where Mr. Wilson was either non-essential to the story or did not appear were shot first, with his lines either being removed or rewritten for other characters.
    • The last six (6) episodes of Season 3: With George "out east on business," George's brother, John (Gale Gordon) stays at the Wilsons. John will remain with the show for the remainder of the run.
    • Starting with Season 4: Sylvia Field, who played Martha, is let go, and she and George have moved away, presumably "out east." After a few scattered mentions of the original Wilsons in several early fall 1962 episodes, the two are never seen or referred to again.
  • As many actors came and went from Doctor in the House and its sequel series, some of them were put on a bus to allow for the possibility of their eventual return, but some never did return:
    • Simon Cuff as Dave Briddock only appeared as a regular in Doctor in the House, passing his final exams at the end of the series with the other main characters; Briddock's name was mentioned a few times in the next series, Doctor at Large, but otherwise was largely forgotten.
    • Barry Evans as Michael Upton, the original central character, was obliged to leave the franchise after Doctor at Large due to personal problems affecting his reliability; Upton was said to have proposed to a notoriously loose-moralled nurse in a drunken haze, and run off to join the Merchant Navy when he realised what he had done. He continued to be mentioned through the other series in the franchise.
    • Richard O'Sullivan left after Doctor in Charge to play Robin Tripp in Man About the House; his Doctor character, Lawrence Bingham, was written out as having become father to triplets before moving from St. Swithin's to rival hospital High Cross.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This the standard way that companions have exited the series throughout its existence. Exceptions include Katarina and Adric, who were Killed Off for Real.
    • Done at the end of the serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" where the Doctor leaves his granddaughter Susan behind so she can marry a nice young resistance fighter and have some stability in her life. She would have stayed with her grandfather out of a sense of obligation if he hadn't. She returns in "The Five Doctors".
    • The Mechonoids' in-universe backstory as forgotten remnants of a human colony are eerily prophetic to their out-of-universe fate. They only had around four minutes of screentime in their debut story and have never appeared again (outside of old comic annuals and the very occasional derisive cameo in modern expanded universe media). Like every other "Dalek rival" from the '60s, they are consigned to the dustbin of history.
    • In "The War Machines", Dodo is sent off to the country to recuperate after being brainwashed in London, and is never seen again.
    • In "The Faceless Ones", Ben and Polly are both abducted early in the story, with both Anneke Wills and Michael Craze appearing in full only in the first two episodes of the story. A pre-filmed departure scene allowed them to return for a quick goodbye at the end of the last episode. The contracts for the two actors actually ran through Episode Two of the following story, but it was decided to go ahead and write them out of the series. Anneke Wills has said in interviews that she was told that Michael Craze was being written out, but she was given the option of staying on. She opted to leave when he did.
    • Liz Shaw left for Cambridge offscreen in "Terror of the Autons", apparently dissatisfied with her job of "passing the Doctor test tubes". Barry Letts apparently didn't like the character and didn't renew Caroline John's contract, and in any case she would have been unavailable for the next season due to pregnancy. She's said to have returned to UNIT and was stuck in the moonbase as of the The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Death of the Doctor".
    • "Terror of the Zygons" marks the departure of Harry Sullivan, who decides he'll take the train back to London. It would also be the Brigadier's last appearance for seven years until "Mawdryn Undead". In a real-world context, the Zygons, despite occasional dialogue references and enduring popularity with fans, would not appear in another official Doctor Who episode until "The Day of the Doctor" aired more than 38 years later.
    • Sergeant Benton appeared to be killed in action by an android duplicate, but it turns out that he retired from UNIT in 1979 and has since become a used car salesman.
    • "The Seeds of Doom" marked the last appearance of UNIT in the series for a long time. Except for a minor appearance in "The Five Doctors", there wouldn't be another UNIT story until "Battlefield" 13 years later.
    • Sarah Jane Smith, who as of "The Hand of Fear" left Doctor Who for a total of 30 years ("The Five Doctors" doesn't quite count, as the Doctor she principally interacted with was still travelling with her, even though she left. Time travel's confusing that way.) Longest. Bus. Ride. Ever.
    • In the case of Leela, Louise Jameson found her character Put on a Bus against her will — Jameson wanted to leave, and at the time had no real interest in returning sometime down the line, and so asked that her character die at the end of her last serial. The producers decided the event might be too traumatic for children (more likely, they were concerned about the increasing violence in the show — the series was already being targeted by Media Watchdogs), and so instead had a last-minute romance occur between her and a capitol guard, prompting her to stay on Gallifrey.
    • Romana makes her last TV appearance in "Warrior's Gate"; Big Finish later revealed she found a way out of E-Space and wound up succeeding Rassilon as president of Gallifrey.
    • Tegan gets left behind at an airport in "Time Crash". She comes back with shorter hair next season.
    • It's unknown what happened to Sil after "Mindwarp", not helped any matters by the story being already surreal.
    • In the cases of Grace Holloway and Chang Lee from the TV movie, rights issues between the BBC and Universal Studios currently prevents the two characters from reappearing anywhere in the Whoniverse (and that includes the Expanded Universe). If they do get mentioned at all, it's through a very oblique reference.
      • While both are excluded from Big Finish audios and the novels, Grace has appeared in at least four separate comic stories, with significant roles in both The Fallen and the Eighth Doctor's chapter of Prisoners of Time. Chang Lee, however, has yet to reappear.
    • After being trapped on a parallel Earth with no chance of return twice ("The Age of Steel" and "Doomsday"), Mickey returns to the Doctor's universe in "Journey's End" for more (so far unseen) adventures.
      • "The End of Time" shows that he and Martha got married and became independent alien hunters together.
    • "The Sound of Drums": Jack's team has been sent by the Master off on a wild goose chase to the Himalayas so Jack can't call on them for help.
    • Unlike other Davies-era companions such as Rose and Donna, Martha has no obstacles keeping her from reuniting with the Doctor. She even has him on speed dial, which she made use of in Season 4. Martha has not made an appearance since the Tenth Doctor bid her goodbye in part 2 of "The End of Time", but actress Freema Agyeman has said as of 2017 that she would be open to coming back to reprise the role.
    • "The Doctor's Daughter": Title character Jenny takes off at the end to have her own adventures. While she has yet to return to the TV series as of Series 11, she did get her own Big Finish Doctor Who audio play, as well as appearing in comic book The Lost Dimension.
    • "Planet of the Dead": Lady Christina literally takes off in a flying bus at the end and hasn't been seen since, on TV anyways. She does appear in an Eleventh Doctor comic where she seems to recognize the Doctor despite his change in appearance.
    • In "The Doctor Falls", Bill leaves the Doctor's company after her consciousness is freed from her Cyberconverted shell to travel with Heather, but she can return to her human body with the help of Heather in time for tea so that her adoptive mother doesn't have a chance to miss her. However, it seems she's done travelling with the Doctor for now. The sad thing is neither knows the other is still alive and able to return to normal life. Nardole meanwhile stays behind on the Mondasian ship at his behest when the Doctor convinces him he will be more use contributing his services to the orphanage and survivors than wasting his life in a fight against the Cybermen. That, and Hazran has a strong crush on him. Nardole also does not know if the Doctor survived or not, and vice versa.
    • With Torchwood on indefinite hiatus (there are audiobooks that make up a 5th series, however), Captain Jack Harkness has been subject to a dearth of appearances, although he makes another appearance in "Fugitive of the Judoon." According to Moffat, they wanted to have him in "A Good Man Goes to War", but John Barrowman was still filming Torchwood: Miracle Day in America and the schedules couldn't work. His stag parties are mentioned in "The Wedding of River Song", as one of the things the Doctor could do, before meeting his death at Lake Silencio. The Doctor could visit all of them in one night, but he doesn't.
    • "The Time of the Doctor": Tasha Lem vanishes from the narrative after returning Clara to be with the soon-to-die aged Doctor. She is not seen, nor referenced again, even after the Daleks are destroyed.
    • The Pasternoster Gang, who featured recurently throughout the Eleventh Doctor's era following their introduction, haven't been seen or heard from since Twelve's premiere episode; save for Strax who had a one-time adventure with Jago and Litefoot in a Big Finish drama, and Vastra who crossed paths with a young Winston Churchill in another Big Finish audio. That changed once Big Finish gave them their own series in 2019.
    • Heather disappears after the events of Series 10's "The Pilot".
    • See the below folders for The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood examples.
  • Doogie Howser, M.D.: Dr. Jack McGuire, the hunky (yet not too suave) doc played by Mitchell Anderson. Although an integral part of the show, Anderson quit the series at the end of season 2, and was subsequently written off. McGuire, after returning from a life-changing mission trip to Mexico, decided to move across the border to continue pursuing his medical aspirations.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: When stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat held out in a salary dispute prior to season 5, their characters of Bo and Luke were sent off to "join the NASCAR circuit" and given a pair of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes in cousins Coy and Vance. Once Schneider and Wopat resolved their contracts, Bo and Luke were brought back to the show while Bryon Cherry and Christopher Mayer (who played Coy and Vance) were quickly and unceremoniously shown the door.
    • Sheriff Roscoe was also (back to the Police Academy) for a few episodes in season 2 due to James Best having his own dispute with producers. Ironically, one of the two men who replaced him at the time was the actual Other Darrin, Dick Sargent.

  • In EastEnders characters are regularly Put On A Train and go to live in Manchester or Spain so that the writers can bring them back. That's not to say that dead characters can't be brought back anyway, such as Den, who was shot and drowned 14 years previously. Sometimes they're Put On A London Black Cab, or (in the case of Official Couple Kat and Alfie in 2005) Put On A Ford Capri.
  • In The Electric Company (2009) this happened to Lisa who was shown in the first episode of season 3 on a flying TV as being on "a scientific expedition." Since she's already been replaced in the titular Company by newcomer Marcus, it's unlikely they'll be back anytime soon.
  • In ER, Sherry Stringfield's character is put on a train to take care of her sister and her newborn daughter, due to the actress wanting to take a temporary vacation from showbiz and spend more time with her family.
    • The actor and character returned for 4 more seasons starting in 2001, and she made a final appearance in the series finale in 2009.
  • Taggart was a recurring character for the first 2 seasons of Eureka but inexplicably disappeared after the 2nd season finale. When he finally returned for 1 episode at the tail end of season 3 he revealed he went on a Walk About only to disappear again and show up only for Christmas Episodes and a brief cameo in the series finale.
    • The writers wanted to put Stark on a bus early in season 3. Having concluded the Artifact arc that defined his term they wanted to minimize his character, but the actor declined and requested they just kill him off over leaving him in limbo.
    • Zoe hopped a bus of early enrollment to Harvard at the end of season 3.
    • The season 4 finale appears as if Jo was putting herself on the same bus that Taggart took, but it's subverted when the events of the season 5 premiere force her to come back.

  • Frasier: Kate Costas (Mercedes Ruehl was uncomfortable with the routine of doing a weekly sitcom), and Julia Wilcox (the writers were not happy with the Season 10 romantic triangle between Frasier, Julia, and Roz.)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had Will's fiancée Lisa, whose relationship with Will Season 5 revolves around. After the two of them decided they weren't ready to get married twice, she's never seen again.
  • Inverted in Friends when Chandler went on a plane to Yemen to escape his girlfriend Janice, and she was the one that disappeared from the show.

  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show put Gendry on a boat in season 3 in "Mhysa", when he was freed by Davos Seaworth. The boat finally came back in the season 7 episode "Eastwatch" when he stopped rowing, ready to join Jon Snow's raid beyond the Wall.
    • Bran and his entire supporting cast (e.g. Hodor) do not appear anywhere in the fifth season, as Bran instead spends his time training with the Three-Eyed Raven offscreen. Word of God explains that this is not only because it's a natural pause for that arc, but also because they've run out of book material for him. The Bus Came Back in Season 6.
    • Rickon, Shaggydog, and Osha do not appear in Seasons 4 and 5 after they part ways with Bran's group in "The Rains of Castamere", as they are incognito while Bran passes beyond the Wall. In Season 6, Shaggydog is Killed Offscreen, while Rickon and Osha are Killed Off for Real by Ramsey.
    • Nymeria. While the books imply that she's still around the Riverlands and the alpha female of an entire horde of wolves, the show makes no mention of her after Arya shoos her away. She makes one final appearance in season 7 where her role as a pack leader is confirmed to be true in the show as well, but then she leaves forever.
    • Ghost gave the crew some trouble during Seasons 2 and 3, where it's often unclear where he is. He finally returns in "Oathkeeper" during Season 4, where it's revealed he's been trapped by the Night's Watch mutineers.
    • The Greatjon doesn't appear in Season 2, neither does he appear in Season 3 onward, either. Justified via a Season 2 DVD extra: Robb sent him to liberate the Riverlands while he pushed into the Westerlands.
    • Rorge and Biter in Season 3, unlike in the books where they joined the Brave Companions and is present when Jaime is captured. They are eventually brought Back for the Dead in an episode of season 4.
    • Myrcella is sent off to Dorne to meet her betrothed. She isn't seen again until Season 5, when there is a lot more focus on what is going on in Dorne.
    • Barristan Selmy in Season 2. He's dismissed by Joffrey for the thinnest of reasons in the first season, and eventually joins Daenerys in the third.
    • Varys ends Season 2 by telling Tyrion he won't be around for a while, and is conspicuously absent from the first two episodes of Season 3.
    • Dany sends Daario to recapture Yunkai and he isn't seen for the rest of Season 4, in a bit of Real Life Writes the Plot thanks to Huisman's role on Orphan Black. He's back for Season 5, however. Later, he's then the only one not on the bus as he's left behind to keep an eye on Meereen as Dany sails to Westeros, likely never to be seen again.
    • Yara barely appears after her major introduction in Season 2; only a brief 3 minute scene in Season 3, another brief 3 minute scene in Season 4 (which wasn't well received), then not at all in Season 5.
  • In Gilmore Girls Jess leaves on a bus, has a couple character centric episodes, and is for the most part written out of the show from that point on, with a few exceptions such as his mother's wedding.
  • Glee: Matt and Ken, with one line of explanation. Matt transferred and Ken had a nervous breakdown.
    • Dave Karofsky was put on a bus immediately after Prom Queen. He waved to us in The First Time, and made few appearances in Heart and On My Way. He promptly boarded the bus again. And then he came back for season 6.
  • At the end of the fourth season of Good Times, Florida Evans was shipped out to Arizona to be with her new second husband, Carl Dixon. This was due to a dispute between Esther Rolle and the show's producers over the show's direction (particularly, the ramping up of JJ's Uncle Tom Foolery in the wake of James Evans' death). She spent the entire fifth season "in Arizona," before returning for the final season. A condition of Rolle's return was that no mention could be made of Carl, (A Hollywood Atheist Rolle thought Florida - a devout Christian - would've never married.)
  • Gossip Girl has done this a few times. Background character Kati Farkas was said to have moved to Israel halfway through the first season. This was also used twice to explain Georgina Spark's absence; when she first appears on the show, she is said to have been in boarding school in Switzerland all this time. Then, in the season one finale, she is hauled off to reform school in some undisclosed location, where she remains until the last half of season two. Used again earlier in season two when Marcus and Lady Catherine returned to England and haven't been seen since.
    • Jenny Humphrey was sent to a boarding school in Hudson in the last episode of season 3.
  • Among other events, the first season of Gotham sees crime lord Carmine Falcone departing the city, and his ambitious lieutenant Fish Mooney shot and knocked into the harbor, roughly coinciding with news of Jada Pinkett Smith's departure from the show. (That said, Sal Maroni is dead-dead.)
  • In season 2 of the lush, 1906-set Spanish drama Gran Hotel, the new maître d'hotel, Ernesto, had only appeared in five episodes when, even as his character was making headway wooing the stiff head of housekeeping Angela, the actor, Juan Luis Galiardo, died unexpectedly. Remaining footage allowed him to appear briefly in two more episodes, both dedicated in his memory—unusually, in place of the series title at the end of the opening credits. Shortly thereafter Angela found his uniform and a note, saying he was leaving and apologizing for attempting to gain her affections. Her reading of the note was accompanied by footage of Ernesto, played by a stand-in, leaving as he had arrived—aboard a very early Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
  • On Grey's Anatomy, Addison Montgomery was put in a convertible to LA so that she could rediscover herself in her spin-off, Private Practice. Theoretically she was going to involve herself in more mature things than hospital Love Dodecahedrons, but whether that actually happened is doubtful.
    • Though since then Isaiah Washington ran off rather than marry Cristina Yang, Brooke Smith's newly lesbian character vanished the day after getting her first girl/girl orgasm from Callie O'Malley, then at the end of season five TR Knight is hit by a bus because he complained too much about not getting enough screen time.
  • Grimm season 2: literally, in the case of Rosalee (most likely due to Bree Turner's poorly-hidden pregnancy.)
  • Boner on Growing Pains went off and joined the Marines. He never did return, and was never even mentioned again.
  • Guiding Light did this with Samantha Marler in the early 1990's. She had been living with her uncle Ross for a few years. One day, she "went upstairs," and was never seen again. Various explanations were later given for where she went.
    • A literal example is Rita Stapleton, after numerous romantic entanglements with the men in town, Rita is put on a bus, just shortly before it was implied she was pregnant. However, Rita boards the bus and is never heard from again.

  • Hawaii Five-0:
    • Lori leaves Five-0 during season 2 after rejoining the DHS at Governor Denning's request when Five-0 get tangled in an incident with an employee of the Russian consulate.
    • Catherine leaves the team in season 4 after deciding to remain in Afghanistan to continue her search for Najib and since then, has become a recurring character in later seasons.
    • Max leaves the team midway during season 7 after deciding to return to Africa as part of Doctors Without Borders with his role as medical examiner taken over by Noelani.
    • Chin Ho and Kono leave the team between the season 7 finale and the season 8 premiere with the former accepting the offer to join Five-0's Los Angeles departmenr and the latter joining a multi-agency task force combating sex trafficking. This is due to their actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park leaving the show due to salary disputes with the showrunners and were replaced by Junior and Tani, respectively.
  • Heroes does this a lot. Season 2 did it to the spouses and children of every married character, plus Matt's FBI partner. DL had a bridge dropped on him instead. Season 3 alone has:
    • Sent Molly off to India with a passing throwaway line
    • Removed Maya's power and had her depart for... somewhere, although she is later shown to be living in an apartment (likely in America, given how Mohinder tried to visit her).
    • Micah was after one episode, apparently not in the least curious after a woman identical to his dead mother appears and asks for his help. He returns in Volume 4, though....
    • Caitlin, Peter's Irish girlfriend from Volume 2 is left stranded in an alternate future that the season finale prevents from coming to pass, and never mentioned again. Good luck getting back from that one.
    • The one with the best execution was Claude's departure in Season 1: it's built into his character since he's invisible. After HRG and the Haitian attack him and Peter, he turns invisible and runs out of Peter's apartment and was never seen on screen since. But he did play a major role in one of the online graphic novels and they subtly alluded to him a few times onscreen.
  • Highlander did it with Charlie Desalvo. The Bus Came Back, but he was Killed Off for Real in the ep.
  • In Home Improvement, Randy Taylor goes to Costa Rica for a school trip. He only makes one appearance later on in the show, a Christmas Special, where he notes how no one even missed him (except the viewers).
  • This happens to Foreman, Cameron and Chase in the 3rd season finale of House. Foreman later returns in season 4, while Cameron and Chase make cameo appearances. Interestingly enough, Amber is put on a bus in the 4th season finale, although this probably doesn't qualify for tolerably obvious reasons...
    • Season 6 has a lot of bus jumps. Cameron moves from the commute to a more permanent bus, Chase jumps off the commuting bus and into the cast, while Taub was temporarily bussed until House got his licence back. (Probably to give his actor a break). 13 appeared to be on the bus, but it was too temporary to count.
    • And in Season 7, 13 vanishes for the majority of the season.
  • In How I Met Your Mother Victoria was put on a bus at the end of The Ducky Tie. She had been figuratively put on a bus in season 1 when she went off to Germany and became close to Klaus in her class.
  • In Hustle season 5, Danny and Stacie are revealed to have gone to America after season 4, hence their absence from the gang. Though, given that the gang was in the US at the end of season 4 (more or less) this might be more a matter of "didn't catch the bus home".

  • iCarly:
    • Ms. Briggs, Sadist Teacher, after playing a prominent role for the first half-season, disappeared until mid-season two. It would've been more of a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome if Sam's Character Blog hadn't mentioned that she accessed the school computers and manually removed any trace of Ms. Briggs from the schools' files. Apparently, it's been cleared up. Ms. Briggs' actress showed up on Disney Channel's A.N.T. Farm as the principal of that high school, pretty much guaranteeing she won't be back on Nick.
    • Also, Chuck, Spenser's nemesis, was sent off to military school since the actor had moved to Pair of Kings on Disney.
  • Is It Legal?: Dick takes up early retirement between the events of "Indecision" and "A Question of Pants", which writes him out of the show for the rest of the series.

  • When Caroline Quentin elected not to return for series four of Jonathan Creek, the writers sent her character to America, where she maintains contact with Jonathan via e-mail and postcards.

  • Kamen Rider:
    • Zigzagged in Kamen Rider OOO episode #38. Date seemed to be dying, but in reality he faked his death to give Gotou the drive to become the new Kamen Rider Birth so that he can replace him. He takes the 50 million yen payment he received from Kougami and left Japan to get the shrapnel removed from his brain, returning near the end of the series and joining Gotou in battle with the Prototype version of the Birth suit.
    • In the original Kamen Rider, the title character Takeshi Hongo had to be bussed early on because actor Hiroshi Fujioka shattered his legs in a stunt gone wrongnote . They wrote around Fujioka's injury for as long as they could, but when the Stock Footage ran dry, they introduced the second Kamen Rider (Hayato Ichimonji) and had Hongo go to fight Shocker's overseas operations. After Fujioka healed up, Hongo returned and he and Ichimonji paired up.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Ryoma Sengoku was written out of the series briefly because his actor Tsunenori Aoki had been cast in a play; in Episode 33 he's seen evacuating Yggdrasil Tower in an Escape Pod. He returns in Episode 38, where it's shown that he was apparently acting as Yggdrasil's representative with its overseas stock holders.
  • Kickin' It: At the end of Season 3, Kim leaves for boarding school in Japan, due to her actress leaving the show to film I Didn't Do It.
  • Speaking of Season Two Replacements, in Knight Rider, Bonnie was replaced by April. Bonnie came back in Season 3.
  • Knots Landing:
    • Val's second (third if you count marrying the same guy twice as two marriages) husband Ben follows a woman named Jean Hackney to Central America to make her pay for threatening his family... or something... and is never heard from again. (In the next season Jill Bennett cruelly pretends to be Ben and tells Val that he's coming home.)
    • Karen and Mack become foster parents to a teenager named Jason in season 12. He leaves for a year studying abroad in Sweden the following season and is never seen (or even mentioned) again.
  • Subverted both literally and figuratively in Die Kuhflüsterin (The Cow Whisperer). In one episode, a big deal is made about Jill having to return to Australia, and at the end of the episode, she gets on a bus while sad music plays. Then the bus crashes immediately afterwards and she ends up staying after all.

  • In Last of the Summer Wine Seymour Utterthwaite is literally put on a bus in the series 12 episode "Return of the Warrior", as he leaves town to take a teaching position. He's never seen again. Most other characters simply disappear without mention when their actors die or leave the show, with the exception of Compo, who gets three episodes devoted to his death and funeral.
  • This is the standard way for Law & Order franchises to write out characters, especially over the last several years. Dick Wolf is said to regret that Jill Hennessy's Claire Kincaid was Killed Off for Real, and thus could not be brought back.
    • More examples from the Law & Order realm: Jamie goes back to criminal defense, Alex goes into Witness Protection, Abbie goes to work for the feds, Serena is fired, etc.
      • Alex was then brought back in season ten of SVU, and after a short stint in the Court of Appeals, Stephanie March had her name added to the opening credits once again in episode five of the eleventh season.
      • Before returning to SVU, Alex had her own show, Conviction, where she was a Bureau Chief in charge of several other ADAs. It only lasted 13 episodes.
      • In a double whammy of SVU's season 9 finale, both Chester Lake and Casey Novak were put on a bus. Chester for shooting a cop accused of raping two women. Casey Novak was suspended for her actions during Chester's trial. Immediately in the next season we learn Novak was fully disbarred for every rule she broke that season. This was later retconned into her merely be censured, and she has since then come back and worked with the unit again.
      • Beginning Season 13, SVU's FBI psychiatrist George Huang was absent for more than a year with no mention at all until his guest appearance 20 episodes later with the simple explanation of having been reassigned to Oklahoma.
      • Dan Florek's character, Captain Donald Cragen, was written off of the show because his character reached the NYPD's mandatory retirement age, which was as much a case of Real Life Writes the Plot as being Put on a Bus. He made a guest appearance in the Season 16 episode Perverted Justice to provide some insight and assistance regarding an old case.
      • John Munch retired from the NYPD but took a new gig as an investigator in the DA's office.
      • Nick Amaro caught a bus to California to spend more time with his children.
    • In the same vein as above, Max Cavanaugh, the father of Jill Hennesey's Jordan Cavanaugh in Crossing Jordan, "went underground" after being suspected of killing a police officer. That he was quickly cleared didn't apparently give him enough reason to return, giving the show an opportunity to cut a large set out of the expected places to put scenes.
  • Lip Service: Frankie returns to the US early in Season Two and isn't seen again.
  • Several episodes in the final season of Lizzie McGuire had Miranda "visiting family in Mexico". The same excuse was used to justify her absence in The Movie.
  • In Lost, the character of Walt had to be written out of the show because the actor who played him, 12-year-old Malcolm David Kelley, would have aged several years while his character would have only aged three months. Walt and his father Michael were written out of the show after Michael sold out his friends to get off the island at the end of season 2. However, Michael returned for Season 4, and Walt has made guest appearances in every season since.
    • Claire would also find herself riding the bus for season 5, but was back in season 6.
    • Subverted when Edmund Burke gets hit by a bus and dies, allowing his wife Juliet to leave her "regular" life and come to the Island.
  • Susan Dey was fired between seasons 1 and 2 of Love & War. In "Just in Time", the first episode of season 2, Jack is devastated when he receives a letter from Wally explaining that she has left him, the bar, and the country.

  • In MacGyver (1985), Pete Thornton casually comments at the start of one episode in 3rd season that Nikki Carpenter is on assignment in South America. She is never heard from or mentioned again in the show.
  • The Mandalorian:
    • Mando’s brethren The Tribe who were hiding out on Nevarro, namely Paz Vizsla and The Armorer and many more including some Mandalorian foundlings disappear after Season 1. Paz Vizsla and other Mandalorians are last seen aiding the protagonist escape in "Chapter 3: The Sin", it’s confirmed later in Chapter 8: “Redemption" that Imperials killed many of them but The Armorer who’s shown to have survived assures Mando that some of his tribe likely escaped genocide. Though none of them including The Armorer show up in Season 2.
    • In Chapter 6: “The Prisoner” while Ran and Qin are killed by New Republic officers piloting X-Wings when Mando plants a tracking beacon on Qin (ironically just as they were planing to kill him) the other three criminals Mayfeld, Xi'an and Burg are thrown in a cell by Mando their fates left to the New Republic. Mayfeld returns in Season 2 and has a Redemption Quest, but no word on Xi'an and Burg whether they’re imprisoned or executed.
    • Axes Woves the male Mandalorian introduced in Chapter 11: “The Heiress" alongside Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves, notably doesn’t return like his female companions for the finale to the confusion of fans. There’s some rumours that he will return in a Spin-Off, while others believe he was cut in order to have the Amazon Brigade sequence with Bo-Katan, Koska, Cara Dune and Fennick Shand.
    • Grogu aka The Child gets on a X-Wing ride with Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 after saying goodbye to Din Djarin aka Mando.
  • The first time Katey Sagal (the actress who played Peggy Bundy) became pregnant during her time on Married... with Children, the producers worked it into the storyline, only to have to backtrack when Segal tragically suffered a miscarriage by making the entire season six storyline of Peg and Marcy being pregnant a dream. And on a dream episode, no less, where Al is a private eye out to clear his name when he's accused of murder. When Segal became pregnant again later in the show's run, the writers didn't go back to the "Peg is pregnant" well again, and, instead, wrote off Segal's frequent absences from the show as a storyline where Peg is traveling the world to get her parents back together after her father walks out on her. In these later cases, The Bus Came Back once Segal was ready to return to work.
    • David Garrison, who played Marcy's first husband, Steve, left the show in the fourth season to return to stage acting. On the show, Steve was written off as having left Marcy so he could work as a forest ranger in Yosemite National Park (though, as a favor to the writers, Steve has returned on a few occasions: on the season six episode where Steve is on the run from the FBI for stealing a rare bird's egg, on a later episode where Al can't find his car after it's been through the car wash, and a Poorly Disguised Pilot where Steve is the dean of Trumaine University [the college Bud was enrolled in from seasons seven to ten] and Marcy protests against two Dumbass DJs)
    • When Peggy read a pirate story, she incorporated several characters from the series into the tale. David Garrison played Rubio the Cruel and was credited as Steve Rhodes.
  • On M*A*S*H, Henry, Trapper, Frank, and Radar were all discharged and Put On A Plane back to the states. In Henry's case, the plane crashed.
  • Played straight in McLeod's Daughters, many times. Becky's one true love, Brett, is sent off an a bus to go find a job—then comes back to propose to her, but falls off a bridge and dies before ever seeing her. Becky later gets on a bus to go to college, and never comes back. Meg gets on a bus and goes off to the woods to write a book. Jodi's first love, Roberto, gets on a bus to get his visa straightened out in his home country, then comes back on the same bus to marry her, until she gets cold feet. You'd think this was the only way to get out of Nowhereville, Australia. That or getting killed in a freak accident, which a lot of characters have also opted for.
  • Men Behaving Badly: Dermot (Gary's roommate in Series 1) is written out at the start of Series 2, with his absence being explained as having gone on an around the world motorcycle tour.
  • On The Mentalist, Detective Cho put his ex-hooker informant/girlfriend on a literal bus. Ostensibly because she was still too much of a bad girl and could pull him to the dark side, but more likely because as a character she served little purpose other than creating an excuse to show Cho in bed without a shirt.
  • In season 3 of The Middle, Sue Heck's boyfriend Matt moves to another town in "The Paper Route".
  • Midnight Caller: Devon King sells KJCM early in the third season and moves to Tahiti with her husband and baby, since Wendy Kilbourne temporarily quit acting to raise her family.
  • When actress Lynda Day George was pregnant during Season 7 of Mission: Impossible, her character was said to be working "deep cover" in Europe. A character played by Barbara Anderson filled in for several episodes.
  • In Monk, Monk's first assistant Sharona Fleming, left Monk to re-marry her husband Trevor. This happened as a result of her actress Bitty Schram having a contract dispute with the producers. Subsequently, Traylor Howard was cast as replacement assistant Natalie Teeger. Even then, Sharona does come back for the season 8 episode "Mr. Monk and Sharona".
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, by the end of the series the entire original cast had been replaced (Except for Mary Jo Pehl as Pearl who debuted in Season 7).

  • An NCIS example is Gerald, Ducky's first assistant who is shot in the shoulder, requiring several months of rehab. And just as he is about to come back, he is kidnapped by the same man who shot him. He never returns and we don't find out what happened to him.
    • The kidnapping is resolved by Ducky trading himself in for Gerard. It is later mentioned that Gerald left NCIS due to his shoulder injury and he is replaced by Jimmy Palmer.
    • The writers unfortunately did this with the very annoying Agent Barrett.
  • In Neighbours this happens all the time... characters leave very suddenly on a long holiday (e.g. Rosie and Frazer), to visit family (Sienna), to take a job elsewhere (Riley) or to have long-term medical care (Nicola, Kirsten). The worst example of this has got to be Lou Carpenter's mother-in-law Marlene, who 'went on a cruise' in 1997 and hasn't been seen since.
    • In the early years of Neighbours they used a very particular sequence where the departing actor would announce they were going somewhere (often, supposedly, temporarily) in one episode. During the next episode said actor would appear once, sitting on a hotel bed, making a telephone call to another cast member and would perform some exposition. The actor would never be seen (and rarely, if ever, spoken of), again.
  • Happened to Danny, the sixth member of the New Kids cast in its early incarnation.
  • NewsRadio sent Catherine on a plane to London in Season 4. She returned for the tribute episode following Phil Hartman's death.
  • Surprisingly for a soap, almost totally averted in Night and Day (probably because it was so short-lived). All of the main characters introduced in the first episode remained right to the end, in one form or another.
  • Junito from Noah's Arc, who was put on a bus at the end of season 1, but returned later.
  • When Peter MacNicol did a stint on 24, his NUMB3RS character was Put On A Space Station.
  • Happened to CC Babcock on The Nanny when actress Lauren Lane went on maternity leave. The Bus Came Back once Lane was ready to return to work.

  • The O.C. subverted this with Mischa Barton. Everyone knew she was leaving the show at the end of the third season, and the episode had the plotline that she was going away to live with her dad, seemingly using this trope. However, on her way to the airport, she was in a car accident and died.
    • This was quite a surprising twist when it originally aired in the US. For some reason, the Australian station on which the OC was playing felt that instead of allowing the viewers to experience this shock twist, it should start having ads three weeks before the finale saying "MARISSA... WILL... DIE". Thanks, channel 10.
    • In Season 2, Zach was Put On A Plane (to Italy). He returned a handful of episodes later, and Seth Lampshaded the subversion:
      Seth: Hey, man, you came back! People never leave and come back.
    • Trey (Ryan's brother) goes on a bus after the events of the end of season 2 and is never seen or heard from again.
  • Stan in On the Buses departs the series to drive buses Oop North. So he was put on a bus.
  • On One Tree Hill, main characters Peyton and Lucas drive off in a car at the end of one season, never to be seen again. This was both unsatisfying and confusing, as they gave no indication that they would be leaving Tree Hill.
  • The Originals:
    • Rebekah is exiled in the middle of season 1 by Klaus to give her the freedom she wants and to stop the toxic family dynamic that the two developed with one another. She comes back at the end of season 1 and Klaus gives Baby Hope to her to take care of and she leaves town again. She is briefly seen at the beginning of season 2 before disappearing for awhile. She returns to New Orleans in the middle of season 2 after her mother begins tracking her to get Baby Hope. She is soon put into a different body and spends the rest of the season in that. At the end of season 2, Rebekah in this new body leaves New Orleans to find a way to resurrect Kol. In the sixth episode of season 3, she is seen again in the new body looking for a spell to resurrect Kol before being daggered. She returns to her original body in 9th episode of season 3 where she's daggered in that by Elijah to protect her. She hasn't been seen since.
    • Tristan de Martel is trapped in a shipping container and dropped to the bottom of the ocean to drown over and over again in episode 13 of season 3. He is revealed to have escaped this fate by being transported to an astral plane in episode 14 but is returned to the shipping container by the end of the episode.
    • Aurora de Martel is sealed behind a wall which she can't cross due to a spell in the same episode.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the last season of the television series, Madison High School is suddenly closed and demolished to make room for a new freeway. With Miss Brooks taking a job at a private elementary school, Walter Denton, Harriet Conklin and Love Interest Mr. Boynton are Put on the Bus. With Mr. Boynton, The Bus Came Back as he returns near the end of the season. Also an example of Negative Continuity, as the concurrent radio series continued at Madison High and the events of the final season were ignored in The Movie Grand Finale.

  • Happens thrice (with a fourth time narrowly averted) on Parks and Recreation.
    • Mark (Paul Schneider) leaves to take a private sector job at the end of Season 2. Rumor has it that Paul Schneider was unhappy with the way the show went and decided to leave after two seasons.
    • Halfway through season 6 Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe) move to Michigan to start a family.
    • At the beginning of season 6 Andy (Chris Pratt) is taking a job in London for a time as Pratt was busy filming Guardians of the Galaxy. The Bus Came Back though.
    • It was considered writing out April (Aubrey Plaza) at the beginning of season 6, with her planning to become a veterinarian. The writers did have her change her mind in the last moment though, as losing both April and Andy as well as the upcoming departure of Ann and Chris would have been too much for the show to handle.
  • When Sarah Shahi got pregnant with twins, her character on Person of Interest was apparently killed off. However, her "death" scene was ambiguous enough that the rest of the heroes could reasonably believe she had survived and they looked for her without success over the next two episodes. After they stopped the search, a scene confirmed for the audience that she had indeed survived and was captured by the bad guys.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
      • Tommy was depowered and sent off, as per the arc of his Japanese counterpart, Dragon Ranger, who actually died in the storyline of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger and thus Saban exhausted their supply of Dragon Ranger footage to use for the Green Ranger. When FOX ordered an extra half-season of footage, Tommy came back, a change probably also required by the ratings - hence why he was suddenly a completely different ranger (they pulled the White Ranger footage from Dairanger.)
      • Similarly the original Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers, Jason, Trini, and Zack, were sent to a peace conference and never appeared in the show again. The joke among the cast and crew of the show was that if you ever saw in a script that your character was going to a peace conference, you were never coming back. Jason did, however, becoming the Sixth Ranger of Power Rangers Zeo and making a couple more guest appearances.
      • Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger, left to pursue a career as a gymnast. In Power Rangers Zeo, she sent Tommy a "Dear John" Letter that some fans would rather believe to be a hoax. She and Jason appeared in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, when Divatox would sacrifice the both of them to Maligore. (They got better, and Jason would return once more for the tenth anniversary Reunion Show.)
      • Rita Repulsa was imprisoned by Lord Zedd back into the space dumpster at his debut episode. She crashlanded on Earth in the two-part episode "The White Light" but got sent back into space by the Rangers in the end. The three-part episode "The Wedding" marked her definitive return for the remainder of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
      • Rita's father, Master Vile, appeared in the series and stayed for a handful of episodes and, after getting tired of being defeated, returned to the Galaxy MI-5, where "evil always wins".
    • Power Rangers Zeo
      • Rita, Zedd, Baboo, Squat, Finster, and the Tenga Warriors sought refuge at Master Vile's place to escape Mondo's forces. They, except for Baboo and Squat, eventually came back to rescue Rito and Goldar and fight back.
      • The Rangers seemingly destroyed Mondo in "Mondo's Last Stand", but Queen Machina told her son Sprocket that Mondo had survived a similar defeat before, thus foreshadowing his return. Near the end of the Zeo series, he did return. Fearing Mondo's wrath, Prince Gasket and Princess Archerina fled and were never seen again. It's unknown if Zordon's sacrifice at the end of Power Rangers in Space destroyed or purified them and, ever since an episode of Power Rangers Wild Force established the Machine Empire left survivors, if it even affected them at all.
      • In the last episode, the Royal House of Gadgetry was tricked into accepting an exploding gift from Lord Zedd and ended up as (barely alive) pieces. They returned in Power Rangers in Space.
      • Also in that episode, Bulk and Skull left the country to work in a mystery but they were back as cops in the Turbo movie without any explanation to what became of the case.
    • Power Rangers Turbo
      • Rocky made his last appearance in the first episode for the graduation ceremony.
      • Zordon and Alpha 5 returned to Eltar and were replaced by Dimitria and Alpha 6.
      • Ernie was given a write-off in the episode "Shadow Rangers".
      • Tommy, Kat, Tanya, and Adam left the team to live their adult lives.
      • When Cassie, Ashley, T.J., and Carlos went into space, Justin stayed behind. He returned for one episode of Power Rangers in Space.
    • At the end of Power Rangers in Space, the purified Rita, Zedd, Divatox, and Astronema/Karone left. Karone became the second Pink Ranger of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and Rita became the Mystic Mother of Power Rangers Mystic Force but the others never returned.
  • On Pretty Little Liars, Caleb is on the bus with the main character of a spinoff Ravenswood. He stays in Ravenswood for the spinoff. He does return to Pretty Little Liars back to Hannah.
  • Primeval: Jenny Lewis resigns from service partway through series three (being so far the only A.R.C. member not to leave the team in a body bag). Emily Merchant returns to the 1800s at the end of series four, but returns permanently only two episodes later, in 5x03.
  • Charlie in Privileged who left in the penultimate episode of Season 1. There was talk of him returning in Season 2, but since the show was cancelled that never got to happen.
  • Shawn's girlfriend Abigail in Psych abruptly informed him she was taking a teaching job in Uganda.

  • Red Dwarf:
    • Rimmer went off to become the next "Ace Rimmer" (What A Guy!) in series seven. The Rimmer seen in series eight is a clone created via nanotechnology. It is unknown if the Rimmer in Back to Earth and the later seasons is a hologram of the series 8 Rimmer or the original having returned from being Put On A Bus.
    • The ship's AI, Holly, was put out of service by a flood before Back to Earth.
      • This is Holly's second bus trip; during Seasons 6 and 7 the main cast had lost the ship, and therefore contact with its computer.
      • Holly finally returns after a few decades of absence in Series 12 in the final episode “Skipper” in an Alternate Universe and returns for real in Red Dwarf The Promised Land although it’s technically not the same Holly but a back up.
    • Lister’s Old Flame Kristine Kochanski (who already changed actresses) disappeared completely after Season 8 and makes no return for the Revival Series. In Back to Earth she’s seemingly dead having been sucked out of an airlock according to Kryten and treated as The Lost Lenore by Lister. This is later to revealed to be a lie and Kochanski actually just left the ship apparently feeling she was wasting her life with Lister, though this is according to Kryten who’s always been jealous of her relationship with Lister. Kochanski at the end of Back to Earth makes one last physical appearance in Lister’s fantasy but so far hasn’t shown up again, Doug Naylor claims there’s always a chance Kochanski can come back.
  • On The Red Green Show:
    • Patrick McKenna had to briefly leave the show due to personal problems. His character, Harold, was thus written as getting a job in the city. Once McKenna was able to return to the show, he was written back in as being his company's liaison to the community in which the show is set.
    • Rick Green (Bill of the eponymous "Adventures with Bill" segments) also bowed out for a few seasons to do History Bites. As a result, the other characters began appearing in that segment in his absence.
  • Rentaghost: Davenport and Mumford were written out by having them acquiring permanent jobs haunting a stately home. Davenport was never going to come back because his actor (Michael Darbyshire) had died. Mumford left the show because Anthony Jackson did not want to continue without his co-star.
  • Roswell did it with Alex Whitman. At least until it was revealed that he'd been used and abused by Tess, then killed.

  • The Sarah Jane Adventures:
    • Having reintroduced K-9 in Sarah Jane's guest reappearance of Doctor Who, the entire first series of Sarah Jane's subsequent spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures was then obliged to trap him in a black hole, since the Robot Buddy's creator had sold a K-9 series elsewhere. He gives a token appearance in the season one finale and Comic Relief special, returning as a regular in "The Mad Woman in the Attic", only to be put on a bus again from "The Nightmare Man".
    • Maria Jackson and her dad Alan leave for America at the end of the Season 2 premiere as Maria's actress was in her GCSE year and wanted to concentrate on her studies, making a guest role in "The Mark of the Berserker".
      • It was originally intended for Rani to be written out at the end of season 4 (but still make guest appearances like Tommy Knight (Luke)) as the writers felt her actress was becoming too old for the programme. Rani's exit would have involved her taking a work placement in Manchester.
      • Had the show not been cancelled, Clyde and Rani would either have left at the end of season 5 or midway through season 6, as their actors felt it was time for them to move on. Sky would also have left at the end of season 5 as she was only intended to be in the show for one year. She would have exited the program by Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence, where she would protect the Earth from the Trickster for the rest of time.
  • Scandal: Henry Ian Cusick (Stephen) for season two.
  • Sea Patrol has a couple examples due to Real Life Writes the Plot including Chefo between seasons 1 and 2, and Nav, Spider and Buffer between season 3 and 4, and Bomber between seasons 4 and 5, tough at least Bomber going away was referenced in the season 4 finale.
  • Sesame Street:
    • When Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died in late 1982, and after his last completed episodes aired in early 1983, there were still several weeks left in the 1982-1983 season; little reference was made to his being away. note  When planning for the 1983-1984 season began and ideas were being considered to address why Mr. Hooper was no longer around, this was indeed one of the suggestions, perhaps stating that he had retired to some other location, that he had stated his farewells during the off-season and was not coming back. Ultimately, this and a few other ideas – notably, hiring another actor to play Hooper – were discarded and they chose to also kill off Hooper as well.
    • David, with the Season 21 opening episode when he moved to Florida to care for his grandmother and manage her farm. This came after Northern Calloway was fired (or resigned, depending on whose story you believe) from the show due to personal issues he was having at the time. His fate remains ambiguous, since that episode is the last time David is referred to; Calloway died in January 1990.
    • While the departures or absences of most human characters have not been explained, most of their actors are still with Sesame Workshop as they make live appearances, appear in re-used street stories, web videos and eventually returned in Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
  • In Sherlock, Sherlock is sent on a suicide mission by his brother after a case went south in a way that ended in high treason and murder. He gets called back when Moriarty is apparently resurrected. This happens before the plane even leaves the tarmac.
    Mycroft: How are you enjoying exile?
    Sherlock: I've only been gone four minutes!
    Mycroft: Well, I certainly hope you've learned your lesson.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World: Malone spent the beginning of Season 3 in the Spirit World (a holdover from the end of Season 2), and the later part of the season on his own. Veronica also spends some time offscreen when she rides in Challenger's hot air balloon and gets blown far away.
  • Kate in Slings & Arrows is put on a limo to Hawaii at the beginning of the second season.
  • Smallville
    • Pete Ross was sent off this way. Interesting because he was the show's sole prominent black character, and because, despite being a main character, he hasn't been missed by the viewers. This may be because Television Without Pity calls him "Product Placement Pete" for his annoying tendency to shill stuff. The episode in which he visits is an hour-long commercial for Stride gum. While still noticeable, not nearly as glaring on the DVDs when you don't have real commercials highlighting the in show placement.
    • Whitney Fordman at the end of Season 1. They then Dropped a Bridge on Him in Season Two...
    • Perry White made his exit on an actual bus at the end of the one episode in which he appeared.
    • Lana Lang at the end of season seven.
      • This however was long overdue since Lana being Lana was loved by the creators and hated by the fans. The creators kept making every excuse to bring her back until 'finally giving her the boot, by giving her superpowers and absorbing a massive amount of Kryptonite radiation, making her permanently deadly to Clark......Thank God....
  • Sons of Anarchy:
    • Rosen, the Sons' original lawyer. In one episode a colleague of his, Ally Lowen, shows up with the explanation that Rosen couldn't come because he was "in court." From that point on he is not mentioned again and Lowen serves as the Sons' legal counsel.
    • Vic Trammel, the sheriff's deputy on the Sons' payroll. He is shot while performing a traffic stop on behalf of the Sons, and never appears again (without even an explanation of whether he died from his injuries, retired from the force, etc).
  • In The Sopranos, Tony puts Janice on a literal bus after she shoots her fiancé. Yep, she comes back.
  • Catalina in Space Cases is put on a space ship, where she avoids certain doom by being put in a parallel dimension. This was so the actress that played her could work on another show. However, it was implied that she might come back, if the show hadn't been cancelled soon thereafter.
  • Spin City had this happen to both Michael J. Fox (when his Parkinson's Disease grew unmanageable in light of filming a weekly sitcom) and his girlfriend for the first season.
  • On Spooks, Zoe Reynolds is exiled to Chile. At the beginning of the next serious, a brief mention is made of Sam Buxton "being sedated" after the death of her love interest, Danny, and never reappears in the series. In the fifth season, Ruth is Put On A Boat when she's implicated in a murder.
  • Stargate:
    • Jack O'Neill from Stargate SG-1 gets put on a bus by being promoted out of the SGC (this was so actor Richard Dean Anderson could spend more time with his family). He still made a few appearances later in the series and in its spinoff Stargate Atlantis. General Hammond also gets put on a bus the same way.
    • Jonas Quinn was put on a bus after season 6 (he returned to his home planet) and came back for a guest spot in season 7.
    • In the 200th episode ('200'), the characters themselves point out the methods used to get around O'Neill being put on the bus, such as one-sided phone conversations.
    • Daniel was put on a bus for the entirety of season 6, though he did commute a few times, thanks to Michael Shanks wanting to try pursuing other projects for a bit. He knew he might come back so they wrote him off in a way that he could return.
    • Stargate Atlantis put Dr. Weir on a bus at the start of season 4 at the request of the actress so she could film a movie. She wanted to come back, but by the time the writers got around to it she felt how minimal the planned arc was would be a disservice to the fans and declined, turning the bus trip into a crash.
  • Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation pulls an offscreen stint at Starfleet Academy for Season 2, Dr. Pullaski filled her position during that time.
  • Stuck in the Middle:
    • In the middle of Season 2, Harley's best friend Ellie leaves the show and starts attending a boarding school called Radistone Academy. She makes a few guest appearances in the final season.
    • Early on in the final season, Rachael leaves the family to attend fashion college, and doesn't come back until the Grand Finale.
  • In a way, the transition between The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and the Spin Off series The Suite Life On Deck is an inverted example with Zack, Cody, London, and Mr. Moseby. They are the only characters that are main characters in both shows, with most of the characters from the original series completely disappearing. Only 6 of the characters from the original series reprise their roles, half of which only make one time appearances, and that's them coming to visit, rather than the characters returning home.
    • Maddie Fitzpatrick is put on a bus temporarily in Season 3 of the original series. She comes to visit once in On Deck.
    • Marcus Little, who entered the series midway through second season of the spin off, is put on a bus about a third of the way through third season, due to his actor Doc Shaw leaving to film Pair of Kings. It would have been nice to see him appear again in the series finale, since they were in New York at that time, where he had moved to.
  • Supernatural :
    • Meg is a recurring nemesis in Season 1 and appearing in one episode in Season 2, but she drops off the face of the planet for quite a while. The Bus Came Back in Season 5. However, she still doesn't show up too much — twice in Season 5, once in Season 6, three times in Season 7, and once in Season 8. All in all, Meg appears pretty sporadically.
    • Ellen and Jo Harvelle throughout Seasons 3 and 4. Ellen was supposed to come back for two episodes in the third season, but negotiations fell through with her actress. The Bus Came Back in Season 5.
    • In "When the Levee Breaks", Castiel finally arrests Anna even after she saved his life. She doesn't appear again until more than halfway through the next season.
    • Chuck Shurley at the end of Season 5. They pretty much had to, because he is God, and therefore a huge gamebreaker since He openly sides with Sam and Dean. He gets a cameo in Season 10, and The Bus Came Back during the last few episodes of Season 11. Then both he and Amara get Put on a Bus again at Season 11's end, and the Bus Came Back again at the end of Season 14 (for Chuck) and during Season 15 (for Amara).
    • The Impala gets put under lockdown in the Season 7 episode "Slash Fiction", and Dean is not happy. It doesn't return until the Season Finale.
    • Pretty much every episode with Charlie Bradbury ends with her going off someplace to not be seen for the rest of the season, until "Dark Dynasty" where she's Killed Off for Real, that is.
    • When Harry Winston and Ed Zeddmore return after four seasons of absence, it's revealed that fellow Ghostfacers Maggie and Spruce left the gang to pursue a normal life.
    • Gavin, son of Crowley, the King of Hell is a possible affront to the universe after being pulled out of his original timeline to be used as a bargaining chip of sorts and then... is simply asked to disappear and specifically not to mention his father or title as Prince of Hell. When he returns three seasons later without so much as a previous mention during that time, he literally gets off a bus to tie up his storyline.
    • In "Girls, Girls, Girls," Hannah leaves her vessel so the latter can be reunited with her husband. She returns for two more episodes afterward, both of which show her in a male vessel.
    • Sheriff Donna Hanscum throughout Season 12. She was slated to appear, but it didn't work out. She did get a mention in the penultimate episode, where Jody tells Alex to seek refuge in Donna's safe house while she and the other hunters take down the British Men of Letters.
    • Post-resurrection, Eileen lives in the Winchester bunker for a while, but she leaves in "The Trap" after Chuck uses her as an unwitting spy and an unwilling torturer (against Sam).

  • Many in "Teen Wolf", including Jackson, Isaac, Derek, Aiden, Ethan, Deaton's sister, Danny, Gerard...
  • In That '70s Show, main characters Eric Forman and Kelso are both written out due to their respective actors working on other projects. Eric leaves in the seventh season finale to teach in Africa; Kelso remains among the cast for the first few episodes of Season 8 before leaving for Chicago. Both make guest appearances in the finale episode.
    • Due to Tommy Chong's prison sentence, his character spends a portion of the series on vacation, returning just after Chong's release.
  • Three's Company had this happen with a bunch of characters. The Ropers were screwed when they were written out of the show and their spinoff was canceled. They only returned once as guest stars for an episode a couple years later. Suzanne Somers's character, Chrissy Snow was also sent away when her contract wasn't renewed because of her protesting for a pay raise. Her character was sent off to tend to her sick aunt. She spent the rest of her run on the show in brief on-the-phone segments until her contract ran out.
  • Torchwood: Two cases, one literally, for two of the single-episode relevant characters in "Out of Time". Diane flies off into the sky (and what's hinted indeed travelling through the rift), while Emma boards a bus to London to start a new job and life there.

  • Happens to Hoyt Fortenberry in season five of True Blood.

  • Alexis Meade of Ugly Betty. Reportedly, Rebecca Romijn didn't like the way the character was being written. Also the fate of Ashley Jensen's character Christina.
  • Ultra Series
    • Ultraman Ace does this to Yuko in episode 28 when she is revealed to be actually an alien, leaving Seiji as the sole host of Ultraman Ace. The two would eventually reunite in Ultraman Mebius.
    • In Ultraman Leo, everyone that isn't Gen or Tooru suffers from this in episode 40 when they are all killed off by the new Big Bad's first Monster of the Week. The biggest example is Dan Moroboshi/Ultraseven, who returns to the Land of Light to recuperate his injuries, leaving Gen/Leo alone on Earth to deal with the kaiju.
    • In Ultraman Gaia, Hiroya is put on the bus in episode 26, where he is presumed dead after passing his Agulator to Gamu. He does return about 10 episodes later though.

  • The Vampire Diaries: Apparently happened to Tyler Lockwood mid-season 2. He comes back at the end of the season and stays until mid-season 3, where he once again leaves town for a few episodes. He comes back, and yet again leaves town in Season 4. But he always comes back, so this is really more of a "once a season" commute.
    • The heroine of the show Elena Gilbert is put in a coffin after a spell renders her unconcious till whenever Bonnie dies.
    • Jacob Gilbert is put on a bus to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the middle of season 6 and doesn't appear on the show again.
  • On Veronica Mars, Logan's girlfriend Hannah is sent to a Vermont boarding school when caught canoodling with him. This served to hit the reset button on his romance with Veronica.
  • On the NBC version of The Voice, this happens to Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green temporarily after Season 3 so that they can tour and record new music, while Shakira and Usher fill in. Shakira and Usher became so popular that they ultimately returned to the coaches' chairs for the spring 2014 season.

  • The Walking Dead has, surprisingly, a lot of bus rides for a series where Anyone Can Die.
    • Morgan is put on a bus after his initial appearance in the series premiere, where he chooses to stay on his home town instead of heading to Atlanta with Rick. Morgan is brought back into the show in Season 3, when Rick travels back to the town looking for him, but once again decides to stay behind. He is left on the bus for two more seasons until he finally returns in Season 5. He then leaves after Season 8 to join Fear the Walking Dead.
    • Merle Dixon is left on a bus for two seasons after T-Dog drops the keys to the handcuffs restraining him to a roof with oncoming walkers in the first season. While there is an attempt to bring him back, they fail, leaving his character on an What Happened to the Mouse? situation. A hallucination of Merle appears briefly in Season 2 before he himself eventually comes back in Season 3 as one of The Governor's right-hand men.
    • Big Bad The Governor gets put on a bus between the finale of Season 3 and the fifth episode of Season 4.
    • Carol is put on a bus at least twice during the series. The first time being in Season 3 when she is believed to be dead by the group, but actually isn't, the second time in Season 4 after Rick exiles her for killing Karen and David. She comes back, of course.
    • Glenn is put on a bus in Season 6 after he is believed to be dead by the characters and the audience. He returns four episodes later.
    • Rick is put on a bus against his own will at the end of "What Comes After" when he seemingly dies and is abducted by a mysterious group of helicopter people. Six years later in-universe and he still hasn't returned, leaving his ultimate fate unknown.
    • Maggie leaves with her son Hershel after the fifth episode of Season 9 to help build a distant community with a woman named Georgie. She returns in the sixteenth episode of Season 10 saving Gabriel from a few Whisperers.
    • Michonne departs in the thirteenth episode of Season 10 when she discovers evidence that Rick may still be alive and vows to bring him home.
  • In Water Rats Several Characters are put on the bus. Tommy (Jay Laga'aia) and Terry (Aaron Jeffery) disappear. Tayler Johnson (Raelee Hill), transfers to another division. Frank Holloway (Colin Friels) goes off to follow a forgotten dream, in real life Colin Friels was fighting cancer.
  • On Weeds Celia Hodes' older daughter Quinn was Put On A Bus to Mexico for most of the first four seasons.
  • Sam Seaborn from The West Wing disappears entirely after losing his election and doesn't get brought back until the last few episodes of the final season. In that case, it's because Rob Lowe was leaving to star in his own show.
  • In The Wire's fourth and fifth season, several characters who were assumed to have been put on a bus reappear. Nick Sobotka (who was last seen in season two peering out at the Baltimore docks before going into witness protection) reappears as a belligerent protestor at a news conference at the docks in the fifth season, and is subsequently arrested. The Greek (who left the country in season two) reappears at the end of season four, and makes a couple sporadic appearances afterwards. Judge Phelan returns for the final episode after being gone for two seasons, and Steve Earle takes two seasons off before returning in season four as Bubbles' AA sponsor, Weyland. In a much straighter version of this trope, Brother Mouzone disappears after helping Omar successfully assassinate Stringer Bell.
    • Played straight when Omar is put on a bus to New York at the end of the first season while he waits for Bawlmer to cool off a bit.
  • Justin from Wizards of Waverly Place in the Alex vs. Alex special is mentioned heavily but not actually seen. At the time, David Henrie was working on another movie, but the scheduling conflicts were impossible to rework, so he chose not to return.

  • Requisite The X-Files example: David Duchovny decided to leave after its seventh season. Like Gillian Anderson's pregnancy six years before, this decision changed the entire future of the show: Mulder went on the run, Agents Doggett and Reyes joined the cast, and Mulder and Scully finally get their happy ending (until the movie six years later, when they're both dragged out of hiding to help the FBI, which Scully really doesn't want to do...)

  • Yes, Minister: In the last episode of the first season, Jim Hacker's political advisor Frank Weisel is appointed to a QUANGO, never to be seen again (although he could have, technically).

  • In Zoey 101, Chase is put on a plane to England for almost the entire last season, until his brief return in the finale.


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