Mitchell Leery
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "The Long Goodbye"
Created by Kevin Williamson
Portrayed by John Wesley Shipp
Nickname Mitch
Occupation Football Coach, restaurant manager, substitute teacher.
Spouse Gail Leery

Dawson Leery (son)

Lily Leery (daughter)

Mitch Leery was a fictional character from the American television program, Dawson's Creek, played by John Wesley Shipp.


Mitch Leery is Dawson's father, and the husband of Gail Leery. He married Gail Leery, his college sweetheart, after four years of dating. His son, Dawson, was born on March 14, 1983, after four years of trying to have a child. His only daughter Lily was born in May 2001, just six months before his own death that October, as the result of a car accident.

Season 1[]

Just before their twentieth anniversary, Mitch discovers that Gail is cheating on him with her co-anchor Bob. During a hurricane, Mitch and Gail fight over the situation, leaving Dawson stranded in the middle. As a result, Mitch leaves and files for divorce.

Season 2[]

Mitch and Gail attend marriage counselling in a bid to save their ailing relationship. After consulting a friend, Mitch suggests to Gail that they try having an open relationship. She doesn't really want to, but goes along with it because she feels guilty about her affair and will agree to most things in a bid to be with Mitch. Things don't work out and the couple separate a few episodes into the season and Mitch later files for divorce. During this season, Mitch takes up a temporary post at the high school, as English teacher, a position vacated by bullying teacher Mr Peterson. Towards the end of the season, Gail attempts a reconciliation with Mitch, but when she sees him with another woman, a teacher at Capeside High School, she takes up a job offer in Philadelphia, despite Mitch's last minute attempt to get her to stay.

Season 3[]

Mitch takes up the position of Capeside High School's new varsity football coach, recruiting surprise newcomer to the sport, Jack McPhee, as the team's star player.

Mitch's ex-wife Gail returns a few episodes into the season, and it emerges that her new job has not worked out. In a bid to help her, and build a new friendship with her, Mitch suggests she opens a restaurant in Capeside, a dream the two of them shared since the early years of their marriage. With Mitch's help and encouragement, Gail opens Leery's Fresh Fish, and eventually makes Mitch the general manager, further strengthening the bond between the two of them.

Towards the end of the season, it becomes clear that Mitch and Gail are still attracted to each other, and they begin to reconcile in the final few episodes. In the season finale, Gail and Mitch get remarried, with Dawson as the best man, and Joey the maid of honour.

Season 4[]

During this season, Mitch takes up his third position at the high school, this time as guidance counsellor. In this role, he ends up having to lie to the principal about a senior prank his son Dawson and his friends, Pacey and Jack, pull. It emerges that Mitch works out that the three students are behind it, even though they frame school troublemaker, Drue Valentine, in what they personally describe as an act of karma, primarily in revenge for Drue's recent behaviour towards members of the boy's social group.

Shortly into the season, Mitch and Gail discover that they are expecting their second child, and after much consideration and deliberation, they go ahead with the pregnancy. Towards the end of the season, Gail gives birth to an overdue baby daughter whom the couple name Lily, after Joey's mother Lillian, who was a close friend of Gail's. The couple must then deal with Dawson's graduation and impending departure, as he pursues a university degree in California.

Season 5[]

When Dawson returns home from a trip to Boston, Gail and Mitch learn that he plans to drop out of USC. Disappointed, Mitch buys Dawson a ticket back to L.A. While driving home from the store, Mitch is killed in a car accident in October 2001. Mitch reappears in flashbacks during his final appearance in "The Long Goodbye".