“I just felt that there wasn’t really anything else I could do with the character,” said Metcalfe, who played singer-songwriter Trace Riley.
He also said that delays in filming because of the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of working with a new showrunner contributed to his decision.
“Getting to know a new showrunner and create a working relationship with a new person was not necessarily something I wanted to do,” Metcalfe said. “I just felt like it was time to turn the page and start the next chapter of my career. I definitely wanted to pursue my film career with greater focus and also find the next challenge.”
Metcalfe made his final appearance on the show during the second episode of Season 5, which aired Sunday, August 22 on Hallmark Channel. Trace Riley left town after a quick good-bye to Abby O’Brien (Meghan Ory). When she asked him where he was going, he said he wasn’t sure.
“I think there’s something missing inside of me,” Trace said. “I tried to find it in my music. I tried to find it with us. Now I’m going to try to find it in myself.”
A long career
Metcalfe got his start on television in 1999, when he began playing Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on the soap opera Passions. He went on to star in Desperate Housewives and the reboot of Dallas.
In 2015, he starred in the Hallmark Christmas movie A Country Wedding. Later that year, he was cast as Trace Riley on Chesapeake Shores. His character was the high school sweetheart of Abby O’Brien, a single mother who returns to her small hometown after a divorce.
Throughout the series, the two had an on-again-off-again romance. The two shared a kiss in the Season 4 finale, leading many fans to believe that they were getting back together.
Filming on Season 5 was delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. In January 2021, Hallmark announced that Metcalfe was leaving the series.
“Jesse is a valued member of the Crown Media family,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “We look forward to continuing to work with him on projects, including original movies on Hallmark Channel.”
Metcalfe was largely silent on his choice to leave the show until his interview with ET. He said part of the problem was that he wasn’t allowed any input this season.
“That creative relationship was not really established this time around,” he said.
Metcalfe agreed to appear in the first two episodes of Season 5 to be written out of the show. In a series of flashbacks, Trace and Abby argued about getting back together, and Trace finally announced his decision to leave town.
As for the fans who want him back on the show, Metcalfe said anything is possible.
“Trace didn’t die,” he told ET. “It’s not the end of the road for Trace. He could always come back to Chesapeake Shores.”
Chesapeake Shores airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on Hallmark.More: Chesapeake Shores, Hallmark Channel, Jesse Metcalfe