Shameless: How Mickey Could Return in Season 10

Noel Fisher as Mickey in Shameless with Ian

Emmy Rossum's exit from Shameless in the season 9 finale marked the end of an era, but the promised return of Cameron Monaghan's Ian softened the blow - but where Ian goes, Mickey Milkovich tends to follow. So does that mean audiences can expect the return of fan favorite Noel Fisher in Shameless season 10? There's no clear answer to that question, but there's certainly room for the character to return.

When audiences last saw him, Mickey surprised Ian in jail during Monaghan's "last" episode, explaining that he'd rolled over on a cartel and gotten himself transferred back to Chicago. It felt too good to be true that Mickey would be able to arrange everything so neatly down to his cell assignment, but the joy of seeing Ian and Mickey finally catch a break outweighed any skepticism. With Shameless so committed to Ian and Mickey's happy ending, it feels like more than wishful thinking that Fisher could return in Shameless season 10 as the convict-with-a-heart-of-gold, but in what capacity?

Related: Shameless 9 Character Exits That Hurt the Show (And 10 Fans Want Back)

Fisher's schedule likely won't allow for Mickey to return as a series regular in Shameless season 10. In addition to his work in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, Fisher's presiding over a booming television career including appearances on Hulu's hit Steven King thriller Castle Rock and CBS' upcoming limited crime series The Red Line. He'll also play Junior in the upcoming Al Capone feature Fonzo alongside Tom Hardy, who'll play the titular mobster. But despite his dance card being pretty full, Mickey could potentially return in a recurring capacity in Shameless season 10, which would make sense given it's unlikely Mickey is leaving prison anytime soon.

While Ian's serving a relatively benign two-year sentence for arson, Mickey originally faced a 15-year sentence that was no doubt augmented in the wake of his eventual escape. It's doubtful rolling over on the cartel reduced his sentence in addition to allowing him the freedom to choose where he served time. But we've already seen Ian and Mickey attempt to deal with having a relationship when one of them is behind bars and one of them isn't. So, hopefully, if Fisher does return in Shameless season 10, it won't just be a repeat of the two dealing with what's ostensibly a long-distance relationship. These two are at their best when they're happy and working together, so maybe there's room for Mickey and Ian to create both a professional and personal relationship that takes advantage of Ian's status as a free man.

It would be easier to believe Mickey liked girls than to believe he didn't create some kind of criminal enterprise while behind bars, so a possible way to integrate Ian and Mickey into each other's storylines in Shameless season 10 would be to have them operate some kind of contraband smuggling operation. Ian might be a little difficult to talk into that at first, but Carl and Debbie would probably be on board in less time than it took for Kelly to break up with both of them. Working a scam is always allows the Gallaghers (and the Milkoviches) to shine, and it's possible their two years together allowed Ian and Mickey to cook up some sophisticated enterprises.

Or maybe Ian refuses to jeopardize his freedom and instead Fisher returns in a flashback sequence. As much fun as it is to imagine the two getting up to some of their old tricks, audiences would certainly be interested in seeing some of the life Ian and Mickey created in prison, but seeing them both return in Shameless season 10 would be even better.

More: What To Expect From Shameless Season 10

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