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The real reason FBI star Missy Peregrym left the show twice

Missy stars as FBI agent Maggie Bell in the CBS series

Missy Peregrym sits at a table in an episode of FBI© CBS
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
August 23, 2023
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FBI star Missy Peregrym has become a fan favorite over the last five years, starring as Maggie Bell in the hit CBS drama. But the actress has also left the show twice, once during season two in 2020 and again in season four in 2022. 

Missy, now 41, stars alongside Zeeko Zaki as the two protagonists, both agents in the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as they work to keep the city, and the country, safe from terrorism and organized crime.  Missy's challenging profession and its intricacies led to her character's temporary exits,  but the real reason the actress left was not because it helped with the storytelling but because she was growing her family with husband Tom Oakley. 

Missy Peregrym stars as Maggie Bell in FBI© CBS
Missy Peregrym stars as Maggie Bell in FBI

In 2019 Missy and Tom revealed they were expecting their first child together, and to allow for her maternity leave, the show wrote Maggie out by announcing during season two episode 17 that she had taken a temporary assignment that would see her go undercover for another department; the request came from the FBI Assistant Director in Charge, making it an offer she could not refuse. 

The episode was filmed in late 2019 and aired on March 10, 2020, however the COVID-19 pandemic forced the show to cut its second season down from 22 episodes to 19, and so it is unclear if Maggie would have returned by the end of the season or not. 

Missy gave birth to her son, Otis, on March 21, 2020. 

Jeremy Sisto, Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym in FBI© CBS
Jeremy Sisto, Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym in FBI

At the beginning of season three, which returned to screens in November 2020,  Missy was also back but towards the end of season four, she again took an extended leave of absence when she became pregnant with her second child, a baby girl named Mela who was born in June 2022.

This time, the writers took a different tack, and Maggie became dangerously ill when a sarin canister, a deadly chemical weapon, fell on the agent and exposed her to the toxic fumes. Maggie was rushed to the hospital, and remained there for the rest of season four and the first six episodes of season five.

Missy Peregrym as Maggie Bell in FBI© CBS
Missy left the show in season two and season four

Maggie returned to the field in season five, episode 7, on November 15, 2022, and the return of Maggie played out across a two-episode arc that followed how she would react to being back in the field following the effects of her injuries, and in particular how her partner OA (Zeeko Zaki) would cope with the return of his friend. 

Missy also acknowledged that her return after seven months away felt very similar to Maggie's to the New York office. 

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"Maggie had seven months off, and we’re both coming back for Day 1 a little bit nervous, hoping we can do the job right out of it. So that was an easy transition to play," she told The Wrap.

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