The Roseanne spinoff The Conners officially premiered on ABC on Tuesday, October 16, without its former namesake, and the show wasted no time before addressing the death of the character played by Roseanne Barr. Warning: Spoilers are ahead.

In the opening scene of the first episode, the family gathered in the familiar kitchen of the Conner household to mourn Roseanne’s death. While they originally thought she had died of a heart attack, the coroner’s report revealed that it was actually due to a fatal opioid overdose.

Dan (John Goodman) was frustrated, having flushed what he thought was the remainder of her pills following her knee surgery, but he soon found she was hiding the powerful, and very addictive, pain medication throughout the house.

“This is a problem — and again, we’re doing a comedy — this is a problem that affects tens of thousands of people, opioid addiction,” executive producer Tom Werner said on a panel at the Paley Center for Media on Tuesday night, via People. “80,000 people died last year dealing with opioid addiction and overdose. We felt that this is something that we could shine a light on.”

Barr, together in a joint statement with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, said Roseanne’s opioid-related death “lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”

ABC brought Roseanne back to the air in March 2018, and it was an immediate massive ratings hit. The show was renewed for a second season just weeks into its revival, but two months later, ABC abruptly canceled the series when Barr posted a racist tweet about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The Conners’ aim, without Roseanne, is to continue to explore “common ground through conversation, laughter, and love,” according to ABC, as well as to deal with contemporary issues affecting America.

What do you think about how The Conners handled Roseanne’s death? Let us know @BritandCo.

(photo via ABC/Eric McCandless)