Late last year, actor Danny Masterson was fired by his agent and dropped from Netflix’s The Ranch after he was accused of rape by five separate women. Still, the long-running Netflix comedy needed to address his departure somehow, and, as its most recent season illustrates, they decided to keep his fate at least somewhat ambiguous.
First, though, some context. The allegations hit Masterson while the series was filming its last season, and the producers provided his character, Rooster, a potential exit in its finale by having him leave town after being threatened by an ex’s current boyfriend.
Across this season’s first several episodes, his father and brother (played by Sam Elliott and Ashton Kutcher, respectively) find his motorcycle destroyed at the bottom of a cliff. A police officer informs him that Rooster is dead, though a body hasn’t been found. This leads Kutcher’s character, Colt, to believe Rooster faked his death, while the rest of the family accepts that he’s gone. It’s a posthumous package from Rooster, sent before he died presumably, that seems to convince Colt that his brother is truly dead, and he attends a tearful memorial service for the character. So, though his fate is kept ambiguous, the show seems to be leaning hard into the character actually being dead.
Masterson took to Instagram this weekend to comment on the series. “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.”
Upon finding out that he was being written off last year, Masterson asserted his denial of the accusations and lamented that, “in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.” Meanwhile, the LAPD investigation into the rape claims against him “inexplicably stalled,” with some positing that the Church Of Scientology—of which he is a member—has been covering for him.