Netflix’s Master of None will return in May with a third season allegedly shutting down Aziz Ansari’s on-screen presence more than three years after the acclaimed comedy co-creator was the subject of a sexual assault allegation.
Instead of focusing on Ansari’s character as Dev Shah, the new season will put Lena Waithes Denise, Variety Reports, in the spotlight. A Netflix employee declined to comment.
Master of None’s exploration of Denise’s sexuality focused primarily on her instead of Dev in a season two episode titled “Thanksgiving,” earning Ansari and Waithe their first Emmy for writing. Angela Bassett was guest (and received an Emmy nod) as Denise’s mother, and while she’s not officially returning for season three, her voice can be overheard on the phone.
Moving away from the first two seasons’ focus on Dev as a single man looking for love is helping the series and Netflix move away from the aforementioned incident in Ansari’s personal life. In January 2018, a 23-year-old woman published an article online claiming that a date with Ansari ended in a non-consensual sexual encounter with the actor.
Shortly afterwards, Ansari published a statement with the words: “It was true that everything seemed fine to me. When I heard that she didn’t, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she said. “
A year later, Ansari declared his side with the Netflix standup special Aziz Ansari: Right Now. In it, he addressed the allegations and admitted that he felt “terrible”, that his accuser felt he had hurt her.
“There were times when I was scared, there were times when I felt humiliated, there were times when I felt embarrassed,” he said of the special. “And in the end, I just felt terrible that this person felt that way. And after about a year, I just hope it was a step forward. It moved things forward for me and made me think a lot. I hope I became a better person. “
Master of None, twice Emmy nominees for best comedy series and for which Ansari won a Golden Globe for best comedy actor in 2018, released its second season back in May 2017.