Fans hoping to enjoy the FBI Season 4 finale on Tuesday night were in for a rude surprise.
Due to a horrible real-life tragedy, the episode was pulled a few hours before being broadcast by CBS. As of yet, there’s no word on when it might air.
However, given the circumstances and the episode’s content, it’s possible it may be a while before fans see how FBI Season 4 was supposed to conclude.
Why was FBI Season 4 finale pulled?
Pulling a TV episode isn’t something networks take lightly. That’s especially true for the season finale of a huge hit like FBI. However, in this case, it was unavoidable for CBS.
Hours before the Season 4 finale was to air, a horrible tragedy occurred as an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The news coverage of the event dominated, and several network shows broke into broadcasts for a live speech from President Joe Biden on the shootings.
As it happened, CBS had already pulled the Season 4 finale of FBI, whose content would have been far too timely. Titled Prodigal Son, the episode’s synopsis indicated a plotline hitting too close to the current news.
“As the team investigates a deadly robbery that garnered a cache of automatic weapons for the killers, they discover one of the perps is a classmate of Jubal’s son, who is reluctant to cooperate with the case.”
Jeremy Sisto had discussed the episode, which seemed to revolve around preventing a school shooting. Obviously, having that air right after such a real event would have been in bad taste, so it’s no surprise CBS pulled the episode.
This seemed to affect the show’s production as the official FBI and Wolf Entertainment Twitter feeds were silent through FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted rather than the real-time clips and tweets regularly posted every episode.
Now, the question for fans is when the Season 4 finale will air… and if it ever will.
When will the Season 4 finale air?
The reaction from some viewers was being upset at the sudden pulling of the episode, but most understood why.
FBI star Missy Peregrym (who had to take the last few episodes of Season 4 off due to her pregnancy) praised CBS’ decision on her Instagram feed.
“Nothing I say here will satisfy the depth of grief I feel for the families of this heartbreaking and hateful reality. I commend @cbstv for pulling the finale.”
At present, CBS has not announced when the finale will air. It’s likely to be held for a few more weeks to distance the plotline from the Uvalde shootings. There’s also a question if CBS will edit the episode to tone down the school shooting aspects.
There’s also the possibility CBS may decide to hold the episode later and make it the Season 5 premiere instead. While that may seem extreme, further distance from the events in Uvalde might be better for the network.
The most extreme possibility is that CBS simply decides not to air the episode at all. However, given it’s a season finale and likely some setup for Season 5, that seems unlikely.
There is a history of TV shows being affected by real-life shootings. A famous case is the WB pulling an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer involving a school shooting after the 1999 Columbine massacre. That episode eventually aired five months later.
As of now, the Season 4 finale remains in limbo as real-life news dominates and FBI fans will have to understand why there’s a delay in wrapping up the year.
FBI Season 5 airs Tuesdays this fall on CBS.