On Sunday, news broke that Bill Paxton had passed away at the age of 61. The veteran actor died from complications from surgery. Best known for his roles in blockbusters like Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic, Paxton had appeared in nearly 100 movies and TV shows across his 30-year career. His most recent credits included turns in History Channel miniseries Texas Rising, Vince Vaughn-fronted action dramedy Term Life, and CBS reboot Training Day, which only debuted earlier this month. He’s also slated to appear in sci-fi thriller The Circle as the father of Emma Watson’s Mae, but the project was already in post-production by the time he passed.
Paxton’s death has, however, left the future of Training Day very much in the air. Only four episodes have been broadcast thus far, but production on season 1 of the drama wrapped back in December, meaning Paxton had already completed work on all 13 episodes, including the remaining nine.
Variety now reports that Thursday’s episode will honor the late actor with a dedication at the top of the show. The series, which picks up 15 years after the events of the original movie, stars Paxton as Frank Roarke, a seasoned but morally ambiguous LAPD detective partnered with rookie cop Kyle Craig (played by newcomer Justin Cornwell). According to Deadline, the episode, titled “Wages of Sin,” will see Kyle try to help Frank clear his name after Deputy Chief Lockhart (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) opens an internal investigation into a past shooting that could cost Frank his badge and freedom.
The tribute is a touching gesture. That fans will get to see fresh performances from Paxton throughout what is now his final series is special on its own, but the dedication is a welcome bonus. How Training Day will recalibrate after Paxton’s death remains unclear, but realistically, it may not even be an issue. As of yet, its ratings have been below average for CBS. The debut episode drew under 5 million viewers and only a 0.9 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, and with the most recent episode posting a 0.7, things seem to be on the decline. Paxton’s passing likely won’t do any favors for its chances of renewal.
At the same time, it could be nice to move on after only one season and leave Paxton’s now vacant role untouched. They could write out his character, but that would call for an entirely new conflict, since the show revolves around Kyle investigating Frank. As CBS’ decision pends, at least Paxton will get his due credit.