Liz Carr said it was time to “focus less on the dead and more on the living”, as she exited Silent Witness in an explosive series finale that included the death of a major character.
The 23rd series of the BBC crime drama ended on Wednesday with a dramatic episode in which Dr Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) died after he was exposed to a deadly nerve agent.
The forensic pathologist had been investigating a cure for the nerve agent after Jack Hodgson (David Caves) was contaminated, but ended up being contaminated himself.
He collapsed, choking, but refused to let his colleagues into the room to help him so as not to poison them too.
Carr’s character, forensic examiner Clarissa Mullery, survived the nerve agent drama but gave in her notice at the Lyell Centre after deciding she wanted to spend more time with family.
Clarissa had previously hinted it was time for her to go, and confirmed her departure in Wednesday’s episode.
Actress Carr said: “After eight years of getting to play the fabulous character Clarissa Mullery, I’ve decided it’s time to leave Silent Witness.
“To quote Clarissa, ‘I just know, deep down – that it’s time for me to move on, to focus less on the dead and more on the living. On life’.”
She went on: “Originally only employed for four episodes as Jack’s sidekick, I am incredibly proud that I leave as a main character in one of the BBC’s landmark dramas.
“Silent Witness has given me such an amazing opportunity to develop as an actor, but I know this is the right time to take a leap of faith, leaving what I know and seeing what other opportunities await.
“It has been a rollercoaster of a ride but I feel I’m leaving on an exhilarating high.
“I will very much miss the other Lyell regulars – Emilia (Fox), David (Caves) and Richard (Lintern), along with my on-screen husband, Dan Weyman – I have loved working alongside them for the past eight series and I leave knowing I have their love and support for my decision.”
Carr said her “hugest thanks” went to the fans who had followed her and Clarissa over the years.
“Without your love for the character, I doubt I’d have made it through my first series,” she said.
“I hope you’ll understand why we felt it was time to leave and that you’ll continue your support for Silent Witness whilst hopefully following me in all my future adventures.”
Carr had been with the show since 2013, while Lintern started playing Thomas Chamberlain in 2014.
BBC Studios executive producer Richard Stokes said: “Liz and Richard, in their individual and brilliant ways, brought so much to Silent Witness.
“They have been much loved characters and will be missed by us all at The Lyell.”
The BBC has announced that the show will return for a further two series – a 24th, as well as a 25th anniversary series.
BBC drama controller Piers Wenger said: “Silent Witness entertains audiences from all generations and continues to be one of the UK’s most successful returning crime drama series.
“I’m thrilled it will continue to grip the nation in 2021, and can’t wait for viewers to see what is in store for its 25th anniversary in 2022.”
Series 23 and past series of Silent Witness are available on BBC iPlayer.