Following Allegations, Netflix Wrote Danny Masterson Out of ‘The Ranch’ With a Mysterious Death

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In its three seasons (broken into six parts), The Ranch has remained one of the most popular shows on Netflix. The rural sitcom ranks higher on Netflix’s list of fastest-binged shows than critical and commercial powerhouses like Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, and House of Cards. Ashton Kutcher plays a failed football player who moves back home to Colorado to help his brother Rooster (Danny Masterson) and his father Beau (Sam Elliot) run the family ranch.

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In late 2017, after five women accused him of rape, Masterson was fired from the show. However, he’d already filmed episodes for the upcoming season, and had appeared on the show through the beginning of its third season (part five). The Ranch part five ended with Masterson being forced to leave town after getting threatened by an ex’s boyfriend.

Part six, which debuted on Netflix this weekend, introduces the first episodes filmed after Masterson’s firing. In the early episodes, the police find Rooster’s motorcycle at the bottom of a cliff, but having not found a body, Kutcher’s Colt believes his brother faked his own death. Later, he finds a package delivered to the ranch from Rooster that had evidently been sent before his death. This leads Colt to believe that his brother is really dead and decides to go to his funeral.

Masterson responded to the debut of the new episodes on Instagram. “The Rooster may be MIA but The Ranch is back and it’s incredible,” he wrote. “Please support this great show we spent years putting together. The cast is beyond incredible. The writers were given the ultimate worse case scenario and instead of throwing in the towel they worked longer hours to create new heartbreaking and hysterical storylines.”

What’s weird is that although Colt seems to find closure for his brother’s death, the show decides to leave his fate ambiguous, which could hint at some possible return in the future. That seems like a strange move for Netflix, who made the right decision in cutting ties with him completely. But an ambiguous ending like this somewhat muddles that choice.

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Elsewhere on Netflix, the streaming service had to deal with this on House of Cards, after Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct. In that case the writers simply killed off his character, making his co-star Robin Wright the lead of the show. There was no ambiguity with that death, which was the right move.