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Ryan Murphy Wishes He'd Ended Glee After Cory Monteith's Tragic Death

Fox's "Glee" was one of the most popular shows on TV during its six seasons on the network, but the musical television series was close to ending its run prematurely. Cory Monteith tragically died in 2013 of an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol, according to his autopsy report. The death of the leading actor on the show was a huge blow to the cast, crew, and especially to the show's creator, Ryan Murphy. Murphy had developed a close relationship with Monteith through the run of the show, but admitted to not having recognized his addiction at first. "I had no idea he had a drug problem. I was naïve, I didn't know," Murphy said on the podcast "And That's What You REALLY Missed."

Murphy would later learn about Monteith's addiction, and he ended up being a factor in Monteith's successful completion of rehab prior to his death. "I was the person who had to lead the intervention, not knowing what to do or what to say. Like, I was just like desperate for him to live," Murphy disclosed on the podcast. Monteith voluntarily admitted himself for treatment and fully completed the program just a few months before his death in 2013.

The passing of Monteith would end up being a pivotal moment on the show, not only because the cast and crew were grief-stricken, but also because the next move that Murphy and the corporate leadership at FOX would take could decide the fate of the hundreds of people who worked on "Glee." While explaining the situation on the podcast, Murphy posed the question, "When he passed, there was a decision that we had to make ... do we cancel the show or do we go on?"

Ryan Murphy says the tribute episode felt too raw and too soon

Ultimately, the show did go on, but first, Ryan Murphy had to figure out how to explain the death of one of the main characters. After talking it over with cast members and executives at FOX, he made the decision to honor Cory Monteith's character, Finn, in a single episode titled "The Quarterback." The episode ended up being one of the most popular and highly rated episodes in the six seasons that "Glee" was on TV, but it was never looked back on fondly by Murphy.

While talking about the episode that honored Monteith, Murphy disclosed, "It felt like it was way too raw, way too soon." That sentiment would be echoed throughout Murphy's appearance on "And That's What You REALLY Missed," which eventually culminated in the "Glee" co-creator sharing that he would have done things very differently if he were in that same situation today. "If I had to do it again, we would've stopped for a very long time and probably not come back," he said. "I would be like, 'that's the end.' Because you can't really recover from something like that ... It wasn't, like, a normal death where someone is sick, and you can see them. It happened so quickly with no warning."

After "The Quarterback" aired in Season 5, the show would go on for another 30 episodes before finishing its run in 2016 with a finale that included the dedication of the fictional McKinley High School auditorium after Finn.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).