Why Mandy Milkovich Was Recast In Season 2
11 mins read

Why Mandy Milkovich Was Recast In Season 2


  • Jane Levy left
    after season 1 to star in
    , kickstarting her successful TV and movie career.
  • Emma Greenwell took over as Mandy Milkovich, offering a darker take on the character that propelled her arc.
  • Mandy’s recast didn’t hurt the show, showcasing great decision-making given the similarity in appearance and character direction.



The original Mandy Shameless actor, Jane Levy, was recast recast after season 1, with Emma Greenwell taking over, and many viewers still wonder why — especially since the original Mandy Milkovich actress didn’t do a bad job in the role by any stretch. As the acclaimed Showtime comedy-drama ended upon completion of the 11th season in 2020, with Greenwell’s Mandy Milkovich having been a prominent character in the series, but the question of why the original Mandy Shameless actor left is still on the audience’s mind.

Ian Gallagher found himself in a precarious situation when he carried on a secret relationship with Mickey in Shameless season 1 while fending off the romantic advances of Mandy Milkovich. This narrative arc featured Jane Levy as Mandy, which made for one of the earliest memorable storylines on Shameless. While the Showtime series saw a lot of cast exits over the course of its time on the air, including Fiona Gallagher herself (played in Shameless by Emmy Rossum), the Mandy Milkovich season 1 actress was one of the first notable actors to leave the show.

is available to stream on Netflix.


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Why Jane Levy Stopped Playing Mandy Milkovich On Shameless

She Was Offered The Starring Role In ABC’s Suburgatory

Jane Levy behind a white picket fence in Suburgatory

The first Mandy Shameless actor Jane Levy ultimately left the Mandy Milkovich role for greener pastures, taking the starring role of Tessa Altman in the ABC sitcom Suburgatory. Speaking in a 2012 interview with Backstage, Shameless season 1 actress Jane Levy said that she’d been very eager to land the part in Suburgatory, elaborating:

I try not to get attached to stuff; I try to move on. But this was the first one I went out for and it was exciting… When I found out it was actually going to happen, I went crazy

Though Suburgatory ended up running for only three seasons, this first leading role was a major springboard for the Mandy Milkovich season 1 actress Jane Levy’s TV and movie career. The actor has since gone on to star in horror movies Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, and eventually landed the titular role in the musical NBC series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which was canceled after two seasons but was revived by The Roku Channel for a two-hour film.


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What Happened To Mandy Milkovich After Shameless Season 1?

Emma Greenwell Was Offered A Regular Role In Hulu’s The Path

Mandy looking at Lip in Shameless

While the original Mandy Shameless actor left the series, Emma Greenwell took over the role as Mandy Milkovich from season 2 onwards, appearing regularly in the following four seasons of Shameless, and returning briefly in season 6. After finding out that Ian was gay, Mandy’s crush on him instead became a close friendship. Mandy had a passionate romance with the oldest Gallagher brother, Lip, but the two went through a messy break-up involving a love triangle and a hit-and-run.

Like the Mandy Milkovitch season 1 actress, Greenwell eventually had her own reason to exit Shameless to pursue other acting opportunities too, starting with a regular role in Hulu’s The Path. Mandy Milkovich’s story in Shameless ended with her working as an escort and killing a client in self-defense when he tried to strangle her. Ian helped her get rid of the body and Mandy briefly crossed paths with Lip again, though they didn’t say anything to each other. Mandy’s whereabouts in Shameless after those events are unknown, and she didn’t attend Mickey and Ian’s wedding in season 10.


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Mandy Was Jane Levy’s First Role

It Was The Catalyst For Her Strong TV Acting Career

Mandy from Shameless looks up in Ian's shop and smiles suggestively.

is the show where Jane Levy got her start, it’s clear that the actress has been on the rise since then.

It’s interesting to note that the Mandy Milkovich season 1 role was Jane Levy’s very first acting credit. Obviously, this part helped boost the Mandy Shameless actor’s budding career, as she left the series directly after to star in Suburgatory. While the show was not long-lasting, it further cemented Levy in the minds of studios as a talent, since her next role after Fun Size was as the lead character in The Evil Dead reboot. Since then, the actress has taken on numerous parts in movies and television, including a 10-episode stint on Castle Rock as Jackie Torrance.

The Mandy Milkovitch season 1 actress wasn’t done there, as after her run on What/If she got the lead role in the Peacock series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, followed up by a 2021 movie spinoff Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas. While Shameless is the show where Jane Levy got her start, it’s clear that the actress has been on the rise since then.


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Mandy Wasn’t The Only Shameless Recast

Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Character Is The Subject Of Major Confusion

Jeffrey Dean Morgan looks serious in Shameless

Of all the things wrong with Shameless, recasts weren’t generally a problem. However, outside of the Mandy Shameless actor, there were at least five other recasts over the course of the series’ 11-season run. The first Shameless recast to occur was that of Sheila Jackson in season 1. In the pilot episode, she was played by Allison Janney but was replaced by Joan Cusack from then onward. Debbie’s boyfriend and father of her child Fanny, Derek Delgado, was played by Luca Oriel (The Boys) for seasons 5 and 6, and then recast in season 8 with Damien Diaz (Modern Family).

One of the characters that caused confusion over the years is Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Shameless character Charlie Peters, who was recast after the Shameless season 4 finale with Dermot Mulroney and renamed to Sean Peirce as Fiona’s love interest for seasons 5 and 6. Xan, the girl Lip takes care of in season 8 was originally played by Scarlet Spencer in season 8, but then recast in season 9 with Amirah Johnson. The youngest Gallagher child, Liam, was portrayed by a revolving door of actors, with the older Christian Isiah taking the part for the final four seasons.


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Jane Levy Vs. Emma Greenwell: Which Shameless Actress Played Mandy Best?

Both Mandy Milkovich Actresses Brought Something Unique To The Role

Shameless' Lip and Mandy

The first Mandy Shameless actor, Jane Levy, and Greenwell had different takes on the character that are hard to compare. What happened to Mandy Milkovich has happened to plenty of other TV characters over the years, and a recasting can make or break a show — even in the Showtime series, as Joan Cusack replaced Allison Janney in Shameless after the pilot episode. However, the recast certainly didn’t hurt Mandy’s character.

The recasting bears the hallmark of great decision-making given Levy and Greenwell’s similarity in appearance and the intended direction of the character.

It’s hard to say which actress actually played Mandy better, but Greenwell’s version offered a darker take that helped propel Mandy’s arc in an interesting direction over the rest of the seasons she appeared in. In the end, Mandy’s recasting in Shameless doesn’t hurt the show at all, and the recasting bears the hallmark of great decision-making given Levy and Greenwell’s similarity in appearance and the intended direction of the character.


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What Jane Levy & Emma Greenwell Have Done Since Shameless

Jane Levy Became Something Of A Scream Queen

Given that Jane Levy left Shameless to pursue bigger roles, the Mandy Shameless actor achieved exactly that. Along with starring in Suburgatory, Levy also quickly became a lead movie actor, playing Mia Allen in Evil Dead. The 2013 horror flick was a huge deal, as it’s part of a classic franchise and Mia was effectively replacing the iconic Evil Dead hero Ash Williams. Levy went on to have a great working relationship with Evil Dead director Fede Álvarez, who also directed her in the terrifying horror flick Don’t Breathe. As a result, Levy has become something of a scream queen.

Unlike Levy, Emma Greenwell didn’t transition into starring in movies quite as seamlessly after her tenure on Shameless. However, Greenwell did star in two very different period movies back to back in 2016, with the first being Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the second being Love and Friendship. The actor also starred in the 2019 Netflix thriller Rattlesnake. Most notably, Greenwell starred in all three seasons of The Path, which has a huge cast, including Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. The drama series follows the members of a fictional religion called Meyerism.


Shameless is a Black Comedy, Family Drama created by Paul Abbott and starring William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Justin Chatwin. The premise follows the Gallagher family and their closest friends as they deal with a not-so-helpful father, Frank Gallagher. His children each find their own path, growing into their own flawed people without much guidance or help from the family patriarch.

William H. Macy , Jeremy Allen White , Justin Chatwin , Ethan Cutkosky , Joan Cusack , Emmy Rossum , Emma Kenney , Cameron Monaghan , Noel Fisher , Steve Howey , Shanola Hampton

Release Date
January 9, 2011


John Wells

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