Southampton’s Brooke Shields made her final appearance on ABC’s The Middle on Tuesday, March 20.
The episode, titled “Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle” pits the show’s protagonist and narrator Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), along with her family and neighbors, against the trashy neighborhood tyrant Rita Glossner (Shields) and her ever-growing household of wayward boys. The catalyst for this final showdown occurs when the Glossner boys steal one of the Heck’s cars right out of their driveway and “gift” it to Rita. After the police decide not to get involved, lest they suffer the wrath of the Glossners, the Hecks decide to take matters into their own hands. Fed up with years of the Glossners stealing and vandalizing the neighborhood’s property, the Hecks, Donahues and Bill Norwood (Pat Fin) team up to break into the criminal house, get their stuff back and teach those boys a lesson.
The Middle is wrapping up its final season after nine years on the air. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country in Orson, Indiana, Frankie, her husband Mike (Neil Flynn) and their three kids must stick together to get through their not-so-ordinary lives.
Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, creators/executive producers of the show, said in an August 2017 press release that, “Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close. It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye. Plus, we wanted to go out before too many people knew we were on the air.”
Shields has played Rita the beer-chugging, chain-smoking neighbor from hell in six episodes throughout the show, and her character is always looking to start a fight with Frankie. Here’s a glimpse of the two in action from a 2014 episode called “The Wind Chimes.”
The Middle airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC, with the next new episode scheduled for April 3. “Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle” is now available on Hulu and ABC Go.