'It felt like I was trapped in a burning building'
At the conclusion of the season 4 finale in May, Bush — she starred as Detective Erin Lindsay — left the series “because I wanted to. End of story,” she replied to an Instagram user in October.
Now, the actress, who reached a talent and development deal with 20th Century Fox TV — which calls for Bush to star in an upcoming pilot and gives her the power to develop additional projects as an executive producer — is sharing more insight about the “big decision” to quit her “dream job.”
“I don’t have to give everyone the specific breakdown of exactly why I left until I’m ready to do that. But, the overarching theme for me was that I landed my dream job. I landed this job that, since I was 20 years old and trying to become an actor, I said I wanted. And aspects of it, don’t get me wrong, were wonderful. But … I knew by the end of the second season I couldn’t do that job anymore,” Bush, 35, told Refinery 29’s editor-in-chief Christene Barberich on the UnStyled podcast.
“A year later, when I sat my bosses down — it was in the summer between seasons 3 and 4 — and I said, ‘Here’s where we are. Here’s everything you’re aware of. Here’s how I’m coming to you today. If something really drastic doesn’t change, I’m leaving at the end of the year’ — because I understand how the business works and how women are treated — I said, ‘I’m giving you not two weeks notice and I’m not coming in here throwing s— and breaking lamps and saying I’m never coming back. I’m giving you 23 episodes notice. I’m giving you that much time. So there will be no conversation in which I was hysterical, emotional, in which I was being a quote irrational female or whatever you want to put on it. I’m literally sitting in front of you like cool as a cucumber. If this has to be like a big swinging d— competition, I promise you I will win. But know this now: if we’re not having a very different conversation by Christmas, then you know with 100 percent certainty in December that come the end of April I’m leaving,’” Bush explained about having the “liberating” conversation with her bosses.
Although Bush said that coworkers had become like family to her while working on the NBC series, it was during the conversation “that I knew just how miserable I was going to work every day.”
“What you start to realize is that like if your house was burning down, you wouldn’t hang out inside because your brother was in there and you loved him. You’d be like, ‘Yo, I love you. Let’s get out of this house!’” said Bush. “For me, not to put it on anybody else, but for me, it felt like I was trapped in a burning building. I was just so unhappy and it was my dream job and I was miserable and I had to go.”
Though Bush is not yet ready to fully open up to fans about her exit — season 4 ended as Bush’s Detective Lindsay stared wistfully at the Chicago skyline, having just accepted a job offer with the FBI in New York City — she does feel like the time “is coming.”
“The analogy I like to use for big life things is almost like something’s approaching, but it’s still a little blurry in the foreground, but you can see it. You can see what the shape of it is. That’s kind of the stage where I feel like I am with the whole thing. And again, it’s hard because people who I care about are there,” she explained. “But again, as I was coming home and realizing that I was getting all sides of sort of accused of being heartless to screamed at for not having made my own statement, I thought, ‘I don’t owe it to any of you guys.'”