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Spoilers ahead for the Season 3 premiere of CBS' Bull.
Bull has never been the most grim and gritty procedural on the small screen, but its Season 3 premiere featured a devastating twist that deals a significant blow to the team. Hacker extraordinaire Cable was missing for the majority of the episode with no explanation about where she was. The answer finally came, and it wasn't one that fans were probably happy to get. Cable died off-screen between the end of Season 1 and beginning of Season 3. Here's how it happened.
Jason Bull returned after months recovering from his Season 1 finale heart attack, and most of the episode was dedicated to the team fighting on the corporate side of a woman needing a liver transplant vs. an insurance company that wanted to deny her that liver. Danny, however, was also focused on figuring out where Cable was. She apparently disappeared, and her mother was ready to consider her an official missing person. Danny had visited Cable's apartment more than once in the hope of finding clues about where she went, and it was there that she got a call from Cable's mom that revealed the terrible truth. Cable had been present on a bridge that collapsed in New Jersey, and the collapse had killed her.
The reason why Cable's death went unconfirmed for so long is that authorities were having difficulty getting to the bodies under the debris of the bridge, and Cable hadn't been driving her own car or going somewhere that a member of the team knew would take her across that bridge. In fact, she was in a rental car. The death was ultimately confirmed when Chunk delivered the terrible news to Bull, who had to sit down lest he risk another cardiac episode. Cable's body had been recovered and identified from under 30 feet of water. R.I.P. Cable.
Cable's death is shocking while also making a certain degree of sense. On the one hand, news broke back in July that actress Annabelle Attanasio, who played Cable in the first season, was departing the series, and there were no indications that she was expected to recur or even guest star. Killing off a character to explain an absent actor isn't exactly a revolutionary twist; many shows have done it and many more will undoubtedly do it in the future. Cable was going to be gone in Season 3 some way or other. Killing her off just made it... well, definitive. It still made sense.
On the other hand, Bull isn't an action-packed series that regularly kills off characters unless they're one-off characters who appear in the opening of a given episode, and there were ways to remove Cable from the equation without killing her off via bridge collapse. There's also the point that Annabelle Attanasio wasn't leaving Bull because of any bad blood on set or because she was difficult to work with. No, Attanasio chose to leave Bull because she got the chance to direct a feature film, which had been a long-term goal of hers. Leaving for that reason seemed to leave the door open for a potential return.
Then there's the little matter of Annabelle Attanasio's father's involvement in the series. Paul Attanasio is the co-creator and executive producer of Bull, so my money was definitely not on his daughter's character being killed off in the very first episode of the second season. For whatever reason, Bull decided to kill off Cable, and fans will have to get used to the show without her. We do already know who will fill Cable's spot on the team in Season 3, and it should be interesting to see how the team reacts to the newcomer after losing Cable.
New episodes of Bull air on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.