The Goldbergs are saying goodbye.
In the season 10 premiere of the ABC series, which aired Sept. 21, Adam (Sean Giambrone) reveals in a voiceover that his father Murray (Jeff Garlin) suddenly passed away. "Just a few months ago, out of nowhere, we lost my dad," Adam said as the camera focused on his dad's empty recliner. "We will always love you, dad. Always. And we will find a way to continue on together. Because, after all, we're the Goldbergs."
As the family copes with the loss of Murray, they begin giving away his belongings, including his recliner. However, Pop Pop (Judd Hirsch) removes it from the garbage, saving it so that Erica (Hayley Orrantia) can use it as a glider in her daughter's nursery.
In real life, Garlin exited the series following an HR investigation into misconduct on The Goldbergs set. At the time, Garlin told Vanity Fair he left of his own accord, denying that he behaved inappropriately towards the cast and crew. He dismissed reports that he got "physical" with anyone, adding, "And the verbal part was a joke that was completely missed." (You can find his full statement here.)
Co-showrunner Alex Barnow later confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that they intended to explain Garlin's departure by killing off his character, which would propel the story further. "This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father's gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that," he explained. "So we're starting with optimism about a baby coming and looking forward to the future. It's an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving."
Barnow said he even spoke with Garlin about what they plan to do for the show, though he kept it vague. "He's aware that he's not being replaced," he said. "The truth is, I don't know if he knows what his fate is, but I'm assuming he knows."
Garlin hasn't publicly addressed his character's off-screen death. However, ahead of The Goldbergs premiere, he shared that he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "Bipolar is a motherf--ker," he wrote on Instagram Sept. 21. "Sometimes it's just too much to deal with. I'm doing the best I can. This the first time that I've opened up about this."
The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays on ABC.