'Gilmore Girls' Made a Subtle Nod to Chad Michael Murray Leaving for 'One Tree Hill'

Chad Michael Murray spent nearly a decade playing Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill. Before becoming associated with the TV show as the sensitive, book-loving, basketball-playing teen, he portrayed the polar opposite on Gilmore Girls

Chad Michael Murray’s ‘Gilmore Girls’ character has a crush on Rory Gilmore 

Prior to becoming synonymous with the fictional town of Tree Hill, Murray spent time in another charming yet pretend locale; Stars Hollow. On Gilmore Girls, he plays Tristan Dugray, a classmate of Rory Gilmore’s (Alexis Bledel) at Chilton. 

Murray makes his first appearance as Tristan in Gilmore Girls Season 1 Episode 2: “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton.” Considered the most eligible guy at the prestigious private school, Rory finds Tristan annoying. 

For example, when Rory starts school at Chilton, Tristan doesn’t call her by her name. Instead, he refers to her as Mary. Tristan continues to be a source of annoyance for Rory. It’s only later in the show Rory learns Tristan has a crush on her. 

According to his acting credits on IMDb, Murray played the part of bad boy Tristan in a total of 11 episodes from 2000-2001. 

Chad Michael Murray’s ‘Gilmore Girls’ character, Tristan Dugray, leaves Chilton for military school

The writers behind Gilmore Girls dispense of Murray’s character in the show’s second season. But it comes after some drama involving Tristan, Rory, and her boyfriend, Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki). 

In one of the final episodes of Gilmore Girls Season 1, Rory and Dean break up. In the aftermath of their split, Rory goes to a Chilton party. Hurting over her break up, Rory shares a kiss with Tristan. 

After Rory and Dean get back together, the kiss between her and Tristan becomes an issue. Rory debates whether or not to tell Dean what happened. Deciding not to tell him, she asks Tristan to keep it a secret. Ultimately, Tristan tells Dean about the kiss. 

Murray makes his final appearance as Tristan in Gilmore Girls Season 2 Episode 9: “Run Away, Little Boy.”

The episode finds Tristan and Rory prepare for their second kiss, this time during a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But out of nowhere, Murray’s character says goodbye.

Tristan tells Rory his dad is sending him to military school in North Carolina. The line is a nod to Murray’s new gig on One Tree Hill, filmed and set in North Carolina.

Had Murray continued playing Tristan on Gilmore Girls, the show may have explored a relationship between him and Rory. But no one knows because the actor left for One Tree Hill

Chad Michael Murray doesn’t play Tristan Dugray in ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’

When the cast of Gilmore Girls reunited in 2016 for Netflix’s Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, plenty of the cast members showed up to participate. However, Murray wasn’t one of them.

According to what Liza Weil (Paris Gellar) told ET at the time, Murray couldn’t make it work with his schedule of acting gigs. That didn’t stop Tristan from getting a mention in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The revival shows the back of Days of Our Lives actor, Anton Narinskiy, pretending to be Tristan.

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