Skeet Ulrich Describes the Riverdale Cast Getting ‘Picked Up Off the Floor’ During Luke Perry Tribute

It’s not surprising that saying goodbye to a beloved co-star would be tough, but Skeet Ulrich describes filming Riverdale‘s Luke Perry tribute as “brutal” on the tight-knit cast. In fact, no one was expecting just how much of an emotional toll it would take to properly send off Perry, who passed away in March after suffering a stroke.

Ulrich, who plays FP Jones on the show, told Us Weekly that the extreme response he and his co-stars had filming season four’s “In Memoriam” episode essentially caught them off-guard. “It was really hard on everybody. We had gone through the hiatus and sort of, in a way, could dodge the feelings if we needed to, whatever the healing process became. We could lean on each other through that break and then when we were tasked in retelling our own grief, in a way, in a way, it was quite a bonding experience,” he explained before adding, “It’s really a tight-knit cast as it is, but that really put us to task.”

It wasn’t until they stepped on the set that the cast truly realized how heartbreaking that retelling would be. “There wasn’t a day where somebody wasn’t getting picked up off the floor from their emotions of it. It’s hard. It’s incredibly hard,” Ulrich admitted, choking up at the thought.

Ulrich, whose character was old friends with Perry’s Fred Andrews, still has a hard time wrapping his head around the injustice of the loss. “I mean, he should be here right now, doing this,” said Ulrich. “He’s not gone. He’s as much as part of us now. I just miss his presence, and I think we felt that really deeply in the making of that episode, and it was quite a challenge.”

As difficult as it was, though, the cast made it through in honor of their late friend. In the resulting episode, which kicks off the fourth season, fans will learn how Fred dies, how the town is affected and how the show will feel in his absence. According to Ulrich, that includes his FP Jones stepping in to help take care of Fred’s son, Archie (KJ Apa). “A lot of the beginning part of the season is the protection of Archie with Fred’s absence and him understanding that what Archie’s doing isn’t necessarily by the books,” the actor shared.

Catch the emotional tribute to Perry on Wednesday, when Riverdale returns to The CW at 8 p.m. ET.

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