‘911’: What happened to Michael? Rockmond Dunbar’s exit, explained

‘911’: What happened to Michael? Rockmond Dunbar’s exit, explained

911 may feature melodramatic cases in each episode, but we keep coming back for the characters. That’s why Connie Britton’s exit was upsetting, and why we want to know the origin of Chimney’s (Kenneth Choi) name. While Athena Grant (Angela Bassett) and Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) are happily married (even more so after that cruise disaster), her ex-husband Michael Grant (Rockmond Dunbar) was once a major character on the ABC drama.

While it’s inevitable that characters don’t always last on TV series that last for seven seasons or more, it’s still shocking when a major character leaves. What happened to Michael Grant on 911 and was there a reason why Rockmond Dunbar exited?

How did Michael’s 911 storyline end?

Screenshot via ABC

Michael Grant’s last episode of 911 was season 5, episode 8, called “Defend In Place.” Michael and David Hale (La Monde Byrd) got engaged and moved to Haiti. This was a particularly impactful episode considering everything that Athena and Michael had been through. Since Michael was an important part of 911 and also a compassionate character, it was a shame to see him go. However, it was good that the TV drama opted not to kill the character off, as is so often the case when an actor leaves.

Back in season 1 of 911, Michael and Athena had been married for 14 years when Michael came out. The characters remained in each other’s lives and committed to raising their two children together. After they separated, Athena thought about what she wanted out of life and realized that she had feelings for Bobby.

While much of Michael’s time on 911 focused on his parenting and his love life, he was also diagnosed with a brain tumor. Thankfully, he learned in the season 3 episode “What’s Next” that it had gotten smaller and he would live after all.

Although Michael didn’t return after season 5 of 911, he was mentioned in the season 7 episode “Buck Bothered and Bewildered” when Athena and Michael’s son Harry (Elijah M. Cooper) visited Athena after punching the owner of a convenience store.

Why did Rockmond Dunbar leave 911?

Screenshot via ABC

In 2021, Deadline reported that the reason for Rockmond Dunbar leaving 911 was because he asked for a religious and a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on set. When he was told no, the decision was made that Dunbar would no longer appear on the TV drama.

Dunbar told Deadline that he didn’t want to disclose medical details and said “I have enjoyed the last 5 seasons with this wonderful cast and crew.”

In February 2022, Variety reported that Dunbar sued Disney over his 911 firing. According to the lawsuit, he alleged that the 911 producers said this might not be the end of Michael’s arc and Dunbar might be able to come back. He also sued for racial discrimination and said that he was the only 911 cast member who was fired for asking for an exemption from the vaccine. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a judge dismissed Dunbar’s claim that his firing went against the Civil Rights Act.

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