The CW showrunner explains the shocking death in Season 5 of All American

SPOILER ALERT: The content on this page pertains to All American, Season 5, Episode 11

The All American showrunner explains what led to that significant character leave. The CW’s decision to extend All American for a 6th season brought good news for the 5th season earlier this year. The early pick-up acted as a vote of confidence in the sports drama, which regularly attracts large audiences, given the network’s changes following a sale and its move away from young adult dramas. However, due to the stunning events of season 5 episode 11, titled “Time,” the show will no longer include one member of the original cast.

In the episode, Taye Diggs’ character, head coach Billy Baker, loses his life while attempting to save another All American character. The team’s bus involved in a dangerous accident on the way back from the Crenshaw combine. Billy first exits the bus with the rest of the group, but he returns to try to save Jabari (Simeon Daise) and takes the terrible decision that ends his life. Jabari still stranded on the bus since it is partially hanging down a cliff.

Why Diggs Exit?

Showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll explains the reasons behind Diggs’ exit from the show in an interview with Variety.

“I had a pretty good idea that’s where the season was headed towards the end of last season. One of the things we had always talked about was that we had no clue how long we would be able to hang on to Taye Diggs. Because we were so unbelievably grateful to have him be a part of this production from the very beginning. He’s Taye Diggs, after all. So we said, “Let’s always be in communication with one another, and when it feels like the perfect moment if we’re both feeling that way, we’ll have the talk and figure out a cool way to have him quit the show.”

We now have the opportunity to achieve something that no one will anticipate since it became a mutually beneficial arrangement. Is this the ideal moment to carry it out? Both of us believed it to be. Even though it was so far in the future, I was already certain of how I would deal with it whenever it occurred. Although it still easily a year away, I presented it to him like I started presenting an episode, beat by beat. It seems like the right moment to do it, and it feels like the right method to do it, he said. Simply put, it felt good for both of us.

How Will Taye Diggs’ Exit Affect All American?

The episode’s conclusion leaves viewers wondering how Billy died or even if Jabari survived. It was written by John A. Norris and directed by Dawn Wilkinson. Instead, the episode ends with reactions to Billy’s passing from others including Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) and Grace (Karimah Westbrook). Carroll says in the same interview that each episode of the upcoming All American season 5 would pay some attention to showing how the loss has impacted each character and how those who knew Billy are all dealing with it in very different ways.

The two characters who will be most influenced by the plot development are Olivia (Samantha Logan), Billy’s daughter, and Jordan, Billy’s son. Jordan will require to take care of the home. Spencer (Daniel Ezra) will have to deal with his guilt about his difficult final chat with Billy.

The remaining episodes of All American season 5 will focus on Olivia’s journey, including what it’s like to lose a father and how she deals with her sobriety. The loss of a key actor, especially one with Diggs’ kind of talent, always necessitates adjustment. However, based on all Carroll said, his contributions to the series will still felt to a great extent.

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