How Adan Canto's Absence from “The Cleaning Lady” Was Handled by Showrunners, Who Are 'Devastated' by His Death

The actor died at age 42 in January after a private journey with appendiceal cancer

<p>FOX/Getty</p> Adan Canto for season 2 of


Adan Canto for season 2 of 'The Cleaning Lady'

Adan Canto’s tragic death was not only a time of sadness and grief for the team behind The Cleaning Lady, it also meant a shift in the story they’d tell.

The actor was the lead of the Fox series, and also well known for his role in Netflix’s Designated Survivor, when he died in January 2023 after a private journey with appendiceal cancer. He was 42.

The loss proved to be “quite a struggle” for the team behind the series — and his castmates — as they had begun filming season 3 in December, showrunner Miranda Kwok told TVLine. However, Canto had not yet joined due to his health challenges, which Kwok said he kept "very private."

He was planning to join later on in the season, so the showrunners created a plotline where his character, Arman, went missing in the meantime.

Related: Adan Canto Remembered as Designated Survivor Cast Reunites for Memorial: 'We All Came to Say Goodbye'

“We had to, of course, pivot when we found out he may not be able to join us. So there are actually several episodes where we’re searching for Arman, and we were hoping that we would ultimately be able to bring him back on the show,” Kwok explained.

Originally, Kowk and showrunner Jeannine Renshaw had “crafted the season around him,” so while he wasn’t yet filming, she said, "It was a dialogue with him the whole time about how he was and how he was feeling."

<p>FOX/Getty</p> Adan Canto in 'The Cleaning Lady'


Adan Canto in 'The Cleaning Lady'

In light of Canto’s death, Kwok said it was “really important” for the series to “honor him as a person and also him as a character, and what he meant to the show, and what he meant to fans.”

“It was very carefully thought out and discussed so that we could tell the best story we could that would also honor him and allow our other characters to process his absence," Kwok added.

The season 3 premiere aired Tuesday night with an opening card that dedicated the season to Canto, calling him “our beloved friend.”

“It was so sad for all of us and a very, very tragic moment, but we also felt we honored him in a really nice way,” Renshaw told the outlet of the dedication. “All of the crew and the other actors really got a chance to process it, and hopefully the audience will get that chance, as well.”

"We were all so devastated to lose Adan," Kwok added. "He was such an important member not only of the cast, but of our family."

<p>FOX/Getty</p> Adan Canto in 'The Cleaning Lady'


Adan Canto in 'The Cleaning Lady'

Related: Adan Canto's Costar Italia Ricci on the Time He Made Her and Her Grandmother, Who Also Died This Year, Swoon

While the task of restructuring the season was up to Renshaw and Kwok, among others, the cast was aware of how delicately Canto’s loss was being treated.

“I’m not involved in the writing of the show, so I’m not sure how things were handled before. What I can tell you is that… they’ve had a lot of meetings to make sure that his memory has been honored, that we would do things the right way for him and for his family — for our audience as well,” star Elodie Yung told Deadline.

“It’s been extremely difficult. It’s losing a partner, a friend. This crew is very close to each other. We’ve been doing it for three seasons… it’s been it’s been tragic, and it’s been very painful,” Yung, 43, continued of her late costar. “But I hope that I poured my heart into what I had to do this season. I know I did. I hope that I’ve honored our relationship, Thony and Arman.”

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New episodes of The Cleaning Lady air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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