Viewers were shocked when Abigail was brutally murdered on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and the soap’s headwriter admitted he was heartbroken to write the scenes and insisted that the decision to write portrayer Marci Miller off the show in this way wasn’t taken lightly. But with the actress unavailable to the soap on a full-time contract, their options were limited.
“It made it challenging to tell story for Chad and Abigail,” headwriter Ron Carlivati told Soap Opera Digest in a recent issue. “That always becomes a problem when one-half of a couple is not going to be available to you. What’s the solution at that point? Do you break them up — which is also a bummer, especially when the couple is happy — and you make up a reason for them to leave town? It often leaves the other character in flux, or stagnant, like they can’t move on or ever have another love story or a relationship.
“Your options become very limited,” he continued. “And one option, of course, is for the character to die, which does ultimately free up the other person. But it is a hard, hard decision. That was a hard decision among the writers, with the network, with Corday Productions, with everyone, and we ultimately decided to do it.”
Another option would have been to recast the role of Abigail, perhaps with Kate Mansi, who has played the character in the past. “Kate has been willing to come back, but may not necessarily want to come back on contract,” Carlivati mused. “Then the option would be to recast yet again with someone who maybe is willing to be here on a more permanent basis, but then you’re dealing with a new face. We’ve been very lucky in recasting Abigail, but you don’t always know if that’s going to work. So ultimately, we decided to kill the character.”
Of course, as DAYS fans are well aware, death is often just a state of mind in Salem, with multiple characters coming back to life over the years. “There is always that possibility that death is not permanent, especially on a soap opera and especially in Salem,” he admitted. “That said, this is not going to be an instance of the car going off the cliff and you don’t see the person again. This is going to feel permanent and we wrote it as permanent.”