There were ''no hard feelings'' when Linda Purl left Matlock
The father-daughter relationship in Matlock wasn't developed or explored the way she hoped it would, so Purl left the show.
When watching Matlock, which scenes would you say are the best? The ones where Ben is being a family man or showing his criminal defense skills in the courtroom?
If you chose the second one, that's one reason why Linda Purl, who played Charlene Matlock, the daughter of Ben (Andy Griffith) on the crime-legal drama series, departed. Just as ratings began to soar, the actress quit the NBC show and had good reason for doing so.
In an interview with the Abilene Reporter-News in 1987, Purl explained why she left the series.
"There wasn't any unpleasantness, and neither money nor 'creative differences' had anything to do with it," she said. "It was simply that my role as Matlock's daughter changed in almost every way after the pilot that attracted me to the series, and I wasn't happy with that."
In what ways did it change? Well, instead of looking at Ben as a family man, viewers wanted to see more of the criminal defense attorney in action in the courtroom. So, producers made it happen.
Purl added, "The audience seemed to want to see more of Matlock in court or solving mysteries and less of him as a family man, and that left me with less to do. I asked to be released, and the producers agreed."
The actress was thrilled to be a part of the show, but when the need for her character, Charlene, to be around was seemingly nonexistent, it was time to move on.
"I treat my career the same way as I do my private life — I want to do things that are fun and interesting, and money has nothing to do with it. I didn't want to be window-dressing for the sake of five years of security. I'd rather be out of a job."
Purl wasn't out of a job, actually. She snagged a lead role in the ABC movie Hollow Point and appeared in various films, TV movies and shows after her departure.
The father-daughter relationship in Matlock wasn't developed or explored the way she hoped it would, but the character of Charlene was still important.