The Cleaning Lady's Balancing Act: Honoring Adan Canto's Arman Morales and the Show's Future

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The heartbreaking death of Adan Canto has left the world stunned and saddened as they mourn the loss of the gifted actor, who passed away at the age of 42 after a private battle with appendiceal cancer.

Canto had a vast body of work, including runs on successful series like The Following and Designated Survivor. Most recently, he starred in the FOX hit series The Cleaning Lady.

You may have recognized him from any of his performances and walked away thinking he made quite the impression, as his passionate delivery and intensity followed him from role to role.

Arman Morales - The Cleaning Lady

Since news of his passing broke, many have spoken about Adan's kindness, with many glowing tributes talking about the man behind the characters fans have grown to adore. He was a man who loved his family and was a consummate professional through and through.

TV Fanatic mourns the loss alongside his family, friends, and countless fans, as we spent countless hours immersed in the series we were blessed to watch him star in.

Betrayed - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 10

Through his role on The Cleaning Lady, a broad audience had the chance to watch the complicated character of Arman Morales through Canto's brilliant eyes, as he lent a raw vulnerability to a man who, at first glance, seemed like he would be a romantic interest and perhaps anti-hero, but became so much more.

One of the things that fans connected to from the start -- we sure did here at TV Fanatic -- was Canto's on-screen presence.

Arman makes his first appearance during The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 1 when he encounters the main character of this tale, the cleaning lady herself, Thony De La Rosa, and immediately steps in to defend her from a blatant show of disrespect.

It becomes a pattern in the relationship and dynamic between Arman and Thony, who are undoubtedly the story's center. Throughout the first two seasons, Thony struggles at various times to save her son, her family, and even herself.

At nearly every turn, Arman assists and helps her. However, simplifying their relationship down to just that doesn't do nearly enough justice to the complex and vital role their pairing adds to the crime drama.

Arman's Discovery - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 9

In Arman, we meet a man trying to forge his path but finding himself stifled by those in power over him. And that's not to say Arman is a beacon of morality because he's not, but he's also not some dastardly bad guy.

There are two sides to Arman Morales, one being ruthless and single-minded. He's come from low beginnings to cement himself in the mighty Las Vegas underbelly, which means having shrill brutality to get what he wants.

But there's another side of Arman, the softer side who longs to take care of people. Who whisks Thony away to help her son get care and who puts himself in danger to protect the people he loves.

Arman's many faces were portrayed beautifully by Adan, who infused a quiet charm into a man whose middle name could have been brooding for as often as he was put in positions to fight for the things he wanted.

The Cleaning Lady is, at its core, a series about family and the lengths we'll go to protect the things we hold closest to us. But beyond that, it's also a deep look at good and evil, right versus wrong, and the gray area we so often struggle to understand in a world that loves to paint the sky black and white.

Making His Appeal - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 8

And that's what is unique about Arman and Adan's portrayal. Arman's troubled yet brave. Stoic, yet aggressive.

Adan gave Arman so much depth in how he walked, talked, and commanded a scene with his captivating voice and incredible charisma.

The series' writers now have the impossible task of moving forward with The Cleaning Lady Season 3 and deciding how to proceed with Arman's character.

It's a highly delicate issue that I'm confident the creatives will treat with the care and respect it deserves. But as production on the season continues, a decision will undoubtedly be made as the series will continue.

It's been reported that Adan could not return to filming with his castmates when they returned in December, though he was expected to rejoin his castmates and return to the role of Arman Morales.

Making a Choice - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 7

With that in mind, the beginning of the season will most likely make note of Arman's absence, though it's unclear what reason will be given.

If you remember, The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 12 ended with Kamdar dead, Nadia in control at La Habana, and Thony and Arman working together to bring Fiona home.

Depending on how much time has passed when the season returns, there are various plausible reasons Arman may be missing, most notably due to Kamdar's death.

It's unclear where they are at in turns of production, but they may have to change tactics with storylines and the like as they look to determine what the series looks like now.

Knowing that Arman's parents will be introduced this season, the character's presence will be felt throughout its third season run, regardless of the decisions made.

Going into Business - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 5

Recasting the role is always an option, though not an easy decision. Arman is a central character with a hand in a variety of stories. And that's to say nothing of the paramount Armony relationship, which has been well-established since the pilot.

Arman has his hands in so many different things, and recasting would allow that character to continue within the universe and keep different storylines intact with very little change to the overall narrative.

But it's tough to bring a new actor in to replace someone who is irreplaceable.

Recasting can be risky as you can't know how the audience will respond until the episodes hit the airwaves, at which point it's presumably too late to make a change.

Respect should be the number one thing when dealing with tragedies of this scale. As they say, the show must go on, but it will look differently now, and a lot of care has to go into making this decision.

Avoiding Nadia - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 4

If they decide to recast, Arman will look different, and the new actor will naturally bring something different to the role as a unique voice, but in no way will it diminish the origins of the character that Adan brought to life in so many ways.

If they choose not to recast Arman, a viable option, they'll have to decide how to bring that character's arc to a close.

On the one hand, they will already have a built-in reason for Arman's absence from the start of the season. If that reasoning makes sense to prolong, they could use that to explain why Arman won't be returning to the show.

However, there's a possibility the reason for his absence won't make sense to extend, which leaves them with a decision to make regarding how to essentially write Arman's exit.

It's possible to write Arman off so that his character remains a part of the story. He could be traveling, keeping a low profile since Kamdar's death, and decide that it's too risky for him to return to Vegas.

Kamdar's Death - The Cleaning Lady Season 2 Episode 12

They could periodically read in the audience via exposition about what he's doing and perhaps even how he's helping Thony and Nadia from afar.

It's hard to imagine Arman not being there while Thony and Nadia are potentially struggling or in danger, which may lead them to kill off Arman's character.

It's an extremely touchy situation for all involved, and killing off a character whose actor has recently departed can feel, on the surface, very unkind and uncomfortable.

In the case of Arman, his line of work often puts him directly into dangerous situations, so it's not inconceivable to think of a scenario where he, unfortunately, finds himself in a scenario where his past catches up to him.

Suppose the decision is made for Arman's character to pass on. That will open a lot of room for Thony to navigate what her new life as a part of a criminal enterprise in Las Vegas looks like without the person who got her involved with everything in the first place.

Together - The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 10

Thony was a fast learner and, at some points, hopeless, meaning she often got in over her head. Thony's always been capable enough to make her way, but Arman has also always been there for her to lean on and help her navigate dangers she wasn't equipped to handle.

Without Arman's guiding hand, that changes a lot for Thony, including her mission to get Fiona back.

Arman had many connections that Thony could use to her benefit, and without him, it may be hard for her to make the same inroads. However, it won't be for lack of trying, surely.

Thony will do anything to get her fractured family back together.

Nadia's life also becomes incredibly changed with Arman gone. Though the two were on shaky ground, and Nadia's windfall with Kamdar's death set her up to shift the power dynamic in their relationship, there was still a lot of love there.

Putting Luca at Ease - The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 8

Through the lies and hurt, Nadia has always loved Arman; with him gone, she'll be missing a piece of her heart.

The love triangle between Arman, Thony, and Nadia has always been a bit divisive, like most are, with fans firmly landing on liking one pairing over the other.

But outside the romantic ships, many have wished for Thony and Nadia to work together, which could become a real possibility.

The two working together without Arman, who was always the bridge between them, could help them grieve and open up new avenues for the characters to explore a working relationship that could benefit them both.

Face off - The Cleaning Lady Season 1 Episode 6

Thony and Nadia have little in common, but they have specific skill sets that would make them valuable partners.

Whatever option the writers decide upon, the loss of Adan will weigh heavily on the series.

We know any decisions will be handled with the care they deserve to honor the profound talent Adan brought to the role.

The Cleaning Lady Season 3 Premieres on FOX on Tuesday, March 5.

Whitney Evans is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lover of all things TV. Follow her on X.

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