transparent jeffrey tambor

Roughly two years after allegations of harassment against star Jeffrey Tambor put Transparent on hold, the Emmy-winning Amazon series is returning for one final curtain call. But its main character played by Tambor, the transgender Maura Pfefferman, will be nowhere in sight. The feature-length series finale of the acclaimed series will be a musical episode that kills off Maura at the beginning and follows “the Pfefferman family as they come together in their grief and celebrate her life.”

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Transparent will kill off Jeffrey Tambor’s character Maura in the finale, which will cap off the show’s five season run with a feature-length musical episode.

“When the time came to bring the Transparent journey to a close, it was clear that saying goodbye to Maura was our path forward,” Transparent creator and executive producer Jill and Faith Soloway said in a statement released to press on Thursday. “In this musical finale, we dramatize the death of Maura in an odyssey of comedy and melancholy told through the joyful prism of melody and dance.”

Now that is certainly a lot to process in one sentence (A musical episode! The central character gone!), but the one thing it does make clear is that Transparent is going the route of many shows before it by killing off the characters of actors in light of their real-world misdeeds. Whether it is sexual assault (Kevin Spacey in House of Cards) or racist political statements (Roseanne Barr), this seems to have become the norm for TV shows.

However, Transparent brings with it some troubling baggage: the history of violence against transgender people. Though it is not reported how this death will play out — it’s just as likely that Maura will die offscreen of natural causes — I wonder if playing out the death of the show’s major transgender character, whose transition has provided the backbone of the series, will be done well in a musical episode. The show has never before done a musical episode, though it’s a common gimmick with long-running shows, and it may be jarring for viewers who will be experiencing the loss of the show’s main character.

But you’ve got to admire the audacity of Jill Soloway to close out the show this way. Faced with her lead actor’s departure amid allegations of a history of harassment and inappropriate behavior, the creator and writer decided to go all-out on a ballsy concept. Soloway writes and directs the extended finale, titled “The Transparent Musicale Finale,” with her sister, executive producer Faith Soloway, penning the music and lyrics.

The final installment of Transparent will be released on Amazon Prime in September 2019.

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