I will go to my grave wondering what this rabid fascination an apparently sizable group have with Melina Kankaredes/Stella, and the corollary that Sela Ward/Jo is so deplorable, apparently for the simple face that she is not Stella. It probably has little to do with her acting abilities. She's obviously very capable. Notwithstanding that Sela Ward has 2 Emmys and 2 Golden Globes to her credit as well. But never mind that, they will hate anyone who replaces her...Sela Ward, Jodie Foster, Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia deHavilland...anyone. And by the way, I will posit to you that Stella was often judgmental and condescending every bit as much as Jo is often glib and sarcastic. None of these are exactly endearing qualities. It also has nothing to do with the fact that she left the show. She didn't get fired, or killed off. She wanted to do "other things." Which until now is pretty much nothing. But everyone blames her departure on the show, Sinise, writers, the gaffer, anyone else. Characters come and go on TV shows; it's the nature of the genre. Sometimes those replacements take the show in a bit of a different direction. MASH lost Frank and Col. Blake, and got Charles and Col. Potter in return. True, the show was not the same. But it was every bit as good. In fact, I can think of very few shows to run 7+ years who didn't have changes in cast: Seinfeld, Friends, 90210, Murphy Brown (I think), Sanford & Son, there are others. Stella is gone and the show may be gone too. Just appreciate her prior contributions, and quit berating her replacement. You can always rent the DVDs if you're having Stella Withdrawal Syndrome.