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One of the most heartbreaking story lines throughout The L Word‘s 2004-2009 run was during season 3 when Erin Daniels’ Dana developed breast cancer and died. It was a brutally emotional development, especially for Dana’s best friend and (sometimes) girlfriend Alice.
Daniels’ departure from the show was devastating to the cast and still haunts co-creator Ilene Chaiken to this day:
ERIN DANIELS: We would all meet with Ilene before each season started, and she would take us to lunch. So she took me to lunch, and we were talking and she was like, “So your character gets breast cancer. And then she dies.” And I’m like, “What?!”
JENNIFER BEALS: We were all devastated.
KATHERINE MOENNIG: That was dreadful.
LEISHA HAILEY: It was horrible. We cried a lot. Just knowing that day was coming was horrible.
ILENE CHAIKEN: I’ve often said in retrospect that it’s the one thing that I regret. I mean, it was a good story. I believe in the story. I think we told it with great sensitivity and verisimilitude, but the audience never forgave me for it. It’s just the one thing that I maybe would change if I could go back and change anything.