Out of 23 scripted TV shows that aired in the 2015-2016 season on NBC, there were only 7 lesbian or bisexual female characters. Compared to last season, with 9 characters, and 2013-2014 season, with 11. Of the 7 characters, 3 are series regulars, 2 recurring, and 2 guest stars.
Bury Your Gays
NBC killed off Blindspot regular character Bethany Mayfair, along with one of her love interests. The remaining character on Blindspot is a guest star and as a love interest for Mayfair as well, is not expected to appear again.
Crowded was also cancelled after one season – regular character Stella Moore identified as sexually fluid, although her sexuality was mostly played as a joke.
Returning in 2016-2017
The only character left on NBC at the end of the season and expected to appear again is Kate Kaplan from The Blacklist, a recurring character, and the only hint that she might not be straight was a conversation she had with another character, in 2014, in which she mentioned sleeping with an unknown woman.
We looked at prime-time scripted TV shows that aired on NBC between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016. To qualify, a character had to appear in more than 1 episode.
Season 1 (23 episodes, renewed)
- Bethany Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) – Main cast (23 episodes), lesbian, killed in the season finale.
- Sophia Varma (Sarita Choudhury) – Guest character (5 episodes), lesbian, Bethany’s lover. Sophia faked suicide early in the season, came back in end of the season for a couple of episodes.
- Alexandra Harrison/Donna Hollaran (Eisa Davis) – Guest character (4 episodes), lesbian(?). Supposedly a salesperson Mayfair becomes romantically involved with, she is stabbed to death in her hotel room as a warning for Mayfair to stay away from Carter’s death. The investigation that follows implicates Mayfair as the killer and reveals Alexandra as a disgraced private-eye-turned-fixer under federal investigation. May have only pretended to be a lesbian.
Season 1 (23 episodes, renewed)
- Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) – Regular cast, bisexual. Though it was canon in the series that Alana and Margot met, fell in love and eventually married, they had little screen time together and most of their relationship happened off screen. However, they were still alive and together at the end of the show.
- Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) – Recurring cast, lesbian.
Season 1 (13 episodes, cancelled)
- Stella Moore (Mia Serafino) – Main cast (13 episodes). Identifies as sexually fluid. In S1 Episode 3, after kissing a girl goodbye, Stella saunters into the kitchen where she tells her family, “Just because I slept with a woman doesn’t make me a lesbian.” It is revealed in a later episode that the mom once slept with a girl as well.
Season 3 (renewed)
- Kate Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) – Mr. Kaplan worked for Raymond Reddington for many years, as a longtime confidant and fixer. She was often seen helping Red dispose of bodies and clean up crime scenes. Kate is a lesbian, as revealed in a conversation with Red in which she remembered she was sleeping with some coroner’s sister (Season 2, Episode 3).
Season 4 (23 episodes, renewed) – 0 lesbian/bisexual characters remain in the current season
- Leslie Shay (Lauren German) – main cast in S1 and S2, lesbian. Shay is openly gay, often cracking self-deprecating jokes about it, and is entangled in a relationship with her ex-lover Clarice who was married to a man and pregnant. An accident in the cliffhanger season finale of season 2 leaves Shay is critically injured in the explosion of a building and she dies in the third season premiere. The subsequent investigation reveals that Shay had been murdered. When discussing her death, Matt Olmstead, executive producer, stated that “All the characters were assessed on equal footing.”
- Clarice Carthage (Shiri Appleby) – recurring (6 episodes in season 1), bisexual. The pregnant ex-girlfriend of Leslie Shay. In 1×13, Shay and Clarice reconcile their relationship and Clarice moves back in with Shay, only for Clarice to break up with Shay for a second time at the end of season 1. Reinforcing the trope that bisexual characters always end up with men, Clarice then went back to her husband.
No lesbian / bi characters:
Aquarius, Chicago Med, Chicago P.D, Game of Silence, Grimm, Heartbeat, Heroes Reborn, Law & Order: SVU, Shades of Blue, Superstore, Telenovela, The Carmichael Show, The Mysteries of Laura, The Player, Truth Be Told, Undateable, You, Me and the Apocalypse