Anne-Marie Johnson on leaving In the Heat of the Night: ''I want other challenges.''

Johnson knew it was her time to leave.

MGM Television

There's nothing wrong with getting comfortable somewhere, but you should always be wary that comfort doesn't make way for complacency. Discomfort can feel a bit stressful at times, but it's also a necessary feeling in order to become the best version of yourself.

Although Anne-Marie Johnson knew that it was time for her to leave the regular cast of In the Heat of the Night, she still loved her role as Althea Tibbs.

In an article for the Gannett News Service, Johnson called her character strong. "Althea speaks her mind," she said. "She's from Philadelphia and she has that air about her. It does not totally allow her to assimilate into the Southern attitude. But I think she is a strong addition to Virgil Tibbs." Strong-willed and intelligent, Althea Tibbs offered guidance to many of the characters in In the Heat of the Night.

Moreover, Johnson was proud of her work on the series as a whole. "What is interesting, is that even though the series is in 1988, the racial tension is still there," Johnson said. "I think the show is indicating that the more things change, the more they remain the same."

In another interview with the Okmulgee Daily Times, Johnson was quick to praise the series. "If you want to see quality writing, good stories, and a strong cast that outshines any other show, it would be easy to convince anyone to watch us," she said. "I walk on air some days just watching the acting."

In spite of this incredibly warm reception, Johnson decided to depart from the series, after a number of years in the main cast. The decision wasn't made due to any lack of love from Johnson, but rather, the knowledge that she had loved Althea Tibbs so much that it was simply time for her to move on.

"I had a really good five and a half years with the show, but I did all I possibly could do with the character," Johnson said to The San Bernardino County Sun. "I want other challenges." 

Even in her exit, she was willing to acknowledge just how much a show like In the Heat of the Night had done for her, as she said the series "put [her] on another level."

"I'm used to being involved with cattle call auditions and begging for jobs," she said. "Now I'm meeting with several different writers who want to develop something for me."

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Runeshaper 21 days ago
Johnson was GREAT as Althea Tibbs (-:
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