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April 16, 2018 at 03:57 PM EDT

Thad Luckinbill never said how long he would be sticking around Genoa City when it was revealed in December that he was reprising his role as J.T. Hellstrom on The Young and the Restless.

But in today’s episode, it was made brutally clear that his days as Victoria’s on-and-off again husband were over: After Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) whacked J.T. from behind with a fireplace poker in Friday’s episode, the ladies discover that he is really, most sincerely dead. And photos released today show that getting rid of the body won’t be such an easy task.

Who knew Nikki had such strength? Clearly not Nikki. Let’s go back to the scene of the crime.

When asked why the sudser embarked on such an explosive Big Little Lies-like storyline, executive producer and head writer Mal Young told EW exclusively that it allowed them to focus on a “very pertinent social issue, domestic abuse, that sadly affects all walks of life and in various forms.”

“Utilizing J.T., an established character on the canvas, we felt gave this important story even more impact,” Young told EW exclusively. “The next arc of the story focuses on the consequences of J.T.’s death and brings together four characters — Nikki, Phyllis, Sharon, and Victoria — with strained relationships to become unlikely allies. This alliance is equally as dangerous as the secret they are keeping because they are only as strong as each other. Their secret will be in jeopardy when someone in the group is overcome with guilt and begins to crack.”

But that also means saying so long to the hugely popular Luckinbill, who was married to Amelia Heinle (Victoria) for 10 years before they filed for divorce in March. The two fell in love on the show after he joined the action in 1999.

“It’s hard to say goodbye,” admits Young of Luckinbill. “We thank him for the outstanding work he did with this powerful storyline.”

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.

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