After eight seasons and reportedly more to come, Showtime’s Shameless is a bonafide hit. The much-beloved series about a dysfunctional Chicago family has served as a showcase for actors William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, as well as the stellar ensemble cast. In the show, at least one member of the Gallagher family seems to be in trouble at any given moment. Now, in an event that seems to be a case of life imitating art, one of the show’s stars is grappling with his own drug-related legal troubles.
Ethan Cutkosky, who plays drug-dealer-turned-solider Carl Gallagher on the series, was arrested back in early November. According to police, he was traveling at an unsafe speed, making dangerous turns, and straddling lanes. When police stopped him, they reportedly smelled “the distinct odor or burnt marijuana” on the 18-year-old actor. When Cutkosky told police he had smoked weed earlier in the evening, he was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Since drugs other than alcohol are involved in approximately 16% of motor vehicle crashes, police action may have prevented a subsequent accident by pulling him over.
But just like how the Gallagher family always seems to scarcely escape disaster, Cutkosky was able to plead no contest to a “dry reckless driving charge,” which prompted the prosecutor to drop the DUI charges against him. Cutkosky was ordered to pay a $250 fine (which was already satisfied at the time this story broke) and was sentenced to two years of informal probation. He must also attend either a 12-hour class or 26 Narcotics Anonymous sessions. While alcohol may be the number one drug problem in the U.S. — to which Cutkosky’s character can attest, as his father (played by William H. Macy) has struggled with alcoholism throughout the show’s run — Cutkosky may have his own issues to contend with.
Fortunately for fans, the legal ramifications of this incident will have virtually no impact on the show. The same month Cutkosky was arrested, Shameless was renewed for a ninth season. Showtime president and CEO David Nevins told reporters at the Television Critics Association that the show will likely be around for years due to its stellar ratings. The premiere episode of season eight had the highest ratings since season three’s premiere, and Nevins says the positive response will keep the show running.
“I don’t know what the end point of that show is,” Nevins admitted. “A lot of people feel like this was one of its best creative years, too, so as long as it keeps doing that, I’m happy to have them for as long as possible. Shows that show the ability to renew themselves get to stay — if I can afford them.”
Nevins may have been referring to Emmy Rossum’s highly publicized quest for equal pay. Rossum’s demands held up the renewal of the show, but she’s now making as much as (if not more) than her male co-stars. Considering what an asset the show is to the network, it’s arguable that Nevins and the Showtime team couldn’t afford not to pay Rossum what she’s worth.
Once Rossum and the team reached a decision, she tweeted that work on the show would resume in May. That gives her Shameless sibling plenty of time to attend those NA classes.