The Conners has now debuted in the US and the exit of Roseanne’s character is no longer a secret (at least for US viewers).
With no word on an Australian screening, I see no problem with publishing those details, now that you have read Spoiler warnings, thanks to Variety:
The series debut of The Conners wasted no time revealing that yes, Roseanne Conner is dead. In fact, it picks up three weeks after the fact, with the family struggling to move on without her while positively drowning in leftovers from well-meaning neighbors. (And yes: the dissonance between the sentimental grief onscreen and the knowledge of how bitter the reality is offscreen is definitely hard to reconcile.)
What’s more, the episode soon details, Roseanne didn’t actually die of the heart attack they thought she did, but an accidental opioid overdose.
This isn’t exactly a surprising outcome; many, including Barr herself, suspected as much thanks to a storyline in the revival involving Roseanne getting a little more dependent on the pain medication for her knee than she, or anyone else, quite realised.
“The Conners,” to its credit, doesn’t take this turn lightly. When Dan (John Goodman) finds the hidden bottle of pills that seem to have been the breaking point, he goes scorched earth on the woman whose prescription they belonged to by taping a sign to his car that calls her, and what he thinks she did, out by name. But when Marcy herself (played by surprise guest star Mary Steenburgen) shows up on their front door, he’s forced to realize that the situation is far more complicated than Roseanne simply taking a few too many.
As Marcy tells him through tears, she and Roseanne weren’t just friends, but part of a group of neighbors who tried to help each other out when prescriptions were simply too expensive for them to afford, with or without insurance. “I would never have given them to her if I knew she had a problem,” Marcy says, because she “know[s] what it’s like to have that problem.”