After a season of having each other’s backs, Elizabeth and Philip are back at odds as they disagree about whether to introduce daughter Paige into their dangerous way of life. As the Center applies more pressure, "growing divisions" between the couple will upset their fragile marriage, executive producer Joe Weisberg says. "What happens when you have serious conflict with your partner about what to do and how to deal with raising your children?" the EP posits. Feeding the clash is the pair’s former handler Gabriel (Frost/Nixon‘s Frank Langella), who comes out of retirement with more than one troubling message from the motherland. As for Nina, who last was seen being driven away to face treason charges, she’s still very much a part of the series, but won’t be seen on American soil – at least not anytime soon.
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 10/9c (FX)
The three episodes following Oliver’s seeming death "are among the best we’ve ever done. They’re incredibly compelling," EP Marc Guggenheim promises. The fallout at home not only "makes it necessary" for Laurel to don the Canary costume, but also brings together characters that previously haven’t shared a lot of screentime. "There’s a lot of Thea and Felicity,” and “[Felicity will] have some pretty big moments with Laurel as well." Diggle gets "emotional" in the first hour back, shares David Ramsey, who also hints that the H.I.V.E. storyline will be revisited. Viewers also haven’t seen the last of another elite group. "We’re definitely going to bring back the Suicide Squad," EP Andrew Kreisberg confirms. And though Sara’s killer has been unmasked, Sin will play "a pivotal part" in that storyline in Episode 12, while Sara (Caity Lotz) and Vertigo (Peter Stormare) both appear in Episode 13. Not to be outdone, big bad Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) returns the following week.
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 8/7c (The CW)
THE BIG BANG THEORY
Although EP Steve Molaro says the writers “aren’t in a rush for a Leonard and Penny wedding,” upcoming episodes will dive into the finer points of their engagement — specifically, “future living arrangements regarding Sheldon.” Also in the next batch of episodes: a tribute to Carol Ann Susi, the late actress who voiced Wolowitz’s mother. (“The death of Carol will be dealt with,” Molaro says. “We just needed time to process the loss of our friend.”) As for Sheldon and Amy’s slow-burn relationship, there are no immediate plans for the twosome to tackle another milestone after the L-word was dropped in November. “We are discovering the show, the relationships, the problems, as we go along,” Molaro says. “It’s more a discovery process than a planning one.”
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Jan. 8 at 8/7c (CBS)
The upcoming two-parter — which kicks off on Super Bowl Sunday and concludes days later in the drama’s new Thursdays-at-9 time slot — will be "really special," attests creator Jon Bokenkamp. "It takes place on a much larger canvas and is a bit more cinematic. It will have some really great answers about Liz's past and her connection to Red” – as well as feature guest-star Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) as a Big Bad. Following February's two-night event, the show will spend significant time on Harold Cooper's grim diagnosis, which Red alluded to in the Season 2 premiere. "What it means for him, what it means for his family and what it means for his relationship with Red and the task force will all be featured in the back half of the season,” Bokenkamp says.
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Feb. 1 (following the Super Bowl), then moving to its new time slot on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 9/8c (NBC)
The Fox drama is again in the family way as Brennan and Booth attempt to keep the news of their second pregnancy a secret from co-workers. Meanwhile, Hodgins and Angela face "a good amount of conflicts," T.J. Thyne reveals, especially when the topic of spirituality vs. science is brought up after Avalon receives a message from Sweets. (Adds Michaela Conlin: "It’s an artist and a scientist making a life together. That will always bring up some issues.") Another couple, Cam and Arastoo, find themselves at a crossroads when he goes back to Iran to take care of his ailing brother and in turn becomes a political prisoner. But perhaps most troubling of all is this teaser from star Emily Deschanel: "There’s a possible serial killer" coming up soon.
RETURN DATE: Thursday, March 26 at 8/7c (Fox)
Having been banned from working with the NYPD due to his “mob ties,” Rick sets up shop as a private investigator, “and part of that is driven by his desire to work with Beckett,” says showrunner David Amann. In fact, husband and wife will chase the same case in the winter premiere, “and of course it will not go entirely smoothly” — though it does do wonders for their love life! Beyond that, Episode 12 will dive into the world of telenovelas and guest-star Nathan Fillion’s One Life to Live pal Kamar de los Reyes; a Ryan-centric outing is on the books for later in the season; and the February sweeps two-parter will tackle a “big case,” bring back 24′s Annie Wersching as Dr. Kelly Nieman and touch upon the ongoing mystery of Rick’s vanishing/amnesia.
RETURN DATE: Monday, Jan. 12 at 10/9c (ABC)
Lady Mary’s ever-shifting love life once again takes center stage this season, as she tests the waters (that was a sexual innuendo, in case you missed it) with potential husband Tony Gillingham. “Everyone wants Mary to be happy and for her to marry again, but nobody would want that to happen too quickly, because they want to respect the memory of Matthew,” executive producer Gareth Neame says. (That said, Mary is fairly eager to make a second trip down the aisle.) Also on tap for Season 5: A surprise visitor will shed new light on the Dowager Countess’ past, a third party will create friction in the Crawleys’ marriage and a new-ish flame will tempt Tom to return to his roots — far, far away from Downton. Plus, will Edith’s secret child remain a secret? (Spoiler alert: No.)
RETURN DATE (STATESIDE): Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9/8c (PBS)
Judging by the title of Episode 10, "Revenge of the Rogues," Barry won’t get a breather after his battle with Reverse-Flash. Wentworth Miller warns that as Captain Cold teams with Heat Wave (Prison Break‘s Dominic Purcell) to stop the speedster, the foes "aren’t friends, but they do have a kind of intimacy." Cisco – who’s getting a brother! – will face Cold’s fury when the villain’s sis, Lisa Snart (Tomorrow People‘s Peyton List), uses her wiles on S.T.A.R. Labs’ geek boy. Meanwhile, Caitlin – reeling from her “dead” fiance’s reappearance – may be led down a questionable path. "There are some moments – maybe she goes back to a bar? maybe she makes some bad decisions? – that are really fun," Danielle Panabaker teases. Also on tap: Star Wars‘ Mark Hamill reprises his ’90s Flash role as The Trickster; Grant Gustin sings (courtesy of the Pied Piper?) and (accidental) time travel makes its debut.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 8/7c (The CW)
The infamous Arkham Asylum — including its off-kilter inhabitants and new security guard Jim Gordon — looms large as the freshman drama returns. “Not only are there dangerously insane people there, but some people are put there for the wrong reasons,” says EP Danny Cannon. “[Arkham]’s a big rug that corrupt Gotham can sweep people under.” One bright spot amid that darkness: It’s through his demotion that Jim meets Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Homeland‘s Morena Baccarin), with whom he has “a lot in common. We have a lot of plans for that relationship,” Cannon notes — especially since Jim’s estranged fiancée Barbara, sideswiped by another setback in the winter premiere, is bound for a “very dark” place. Elsewhere, Bruce and Selina continue to bond, we’ll learn about Alfred’s past, and new faces to be glimpsed include the circus-performer parents of a oneday Boy Wonder and a villain we’ll call Scarecrow Sr.
RETURN DATE: Monday, Jan. 5 at 8/7c (Fox)
If your New Year’s resolution was for more royal action in Portland, Grimm has you covered. Adalind and Viktor will appear in the Pacific Northwest in search of little Diana, but whether they’ll be successful in reuniting Ade with her Hexenbaby is TBD. Star David Giuntoli reminds that his on-screen mom still has the child secreted away “somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe.” — and given that creators David Greenwalt and James Kouf tell TVLine we probably won’t see Kelly Burkhardt this season, that’s where they’re likely to stay for now. Meanwhile, the ramifications of Juliette’s Hexenbiesting will reveal themselves slowly, Monrosalee will continue to fight the haters (look for Secundum Naturem Orden Wesen to escalate its activity), Garcelle Beauvais (Franklin & Bash) will recur as a Hexenbuddy of Renard’s, a snake monster will terrorize the town and Wu will slowly adjust to the reality that fairytale monsters exist.
RETURN DATE: Friday, Jan. 16 at 9/8c (NBC)
JANE THE VIRGIN
A hurricane is headed for Miami just as Alba lands in the hospital after her “fall” down the stairs. "There's definitely real emotional and physical jeopardy there," EP Jennie Urman says, adding that a brain injury will leave Jane’s grandmother with no memory of what transpired moments before her “accident.” As for Rafael’s secret, Urman notes that Sin Rostro’s identity will be unmasked in Episode 12 and "it’s all connected." Meanwhile, Jane’s unexpected bun in the oven becomes "more real" when the baby starts kicking. "That's going to be a moment," Urman shares. "And from the point in which she's showing, the pregnancy becomes a lot more present, visually and emotionally, for Jane. There are definitely some ups and downs with the pregnancy."
RETURN DATE: Monday, Jan. 19 at 9/8c (The CW)
Raylan is rarin’ to slap Boyd with a RICO charge before reuniting with Winona and their baby in Florida. Boyd is angling to pull off one last score before exploring his own greener pastures. And Ava is… well, just hoping to survive. As such, show boss Graham Yost says a theme for the final season is “One last thing before I go,” akin to how movie bad guys will tackle “one more big job” before calling it quits — “and that rarely goes well!” With Raylan and Boyd “at loggerheads” and Ava struggling with her role as snitch, the farewell run “really brought it back to our three central characters,” Yost notes. That said, two new faces bring fresh wrinkles: Garret Dillahunt (Deadwood) as a “big, obvious threat to Raylan,” and movie vet Sam Elliott as Katherine Hale’s powerful ex. And while Yost doesn’t yet know exactly how the series will end, he has one goal: “To remain true to [author] Elmore Leonard and the tone he tried to hit. That’s most important.”
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 10/9c (FX)
Patrick and boss Kevin attempt to make a go of a relationship, although the fact that the latter refuses to dump his longtime boyfriend becomes, not surprisingly, a major hurdle. Another sizeable wrinkle: Patrick’s still-potent feelings for his ex Richie. Elsewhere, Agustin gets an unlikely new love interest (played by relative newcomer Daniel Franzese), and work issues threaten to tear apart Dom and Lynn.
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 10/9c (HBO)
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Having established in the winter finale that Skye is not just Daisy Johnson but also an Inhuman, exec producer Maurissa Tancharoen acknowledges that the ABC series is “blending and merging” certain Marvel source materials. Also, that reveal will only spawn more questions, especially since Skye “doesn't necessarily know what’s happening” as a result of her being “transformed” by the obelisk’s Terrigen Mist, says EP Jed Whedon. (As Tancharoen notes, “All of it will be tied to a very sad event in losing a dear, dear friend” in Agent Tripp. “It’ll be a complex journey.”) Elsewhere, Raina’s own reaction to the mist will quickly be confirmed, we’ll learn the name and agenda of the Man With No Eyes, and Melinda May will become a bit less of a mystery. As hinted by this piece of casting, “The long-awaited Cavalry story will be revealed,” Tancharoen promises.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, March 3 at 9/8c (ABC)
THE MINDY PROJECT
Mindy begins her Stanford fellowship with Danny in tow (at least at first), but that doesn’t mean their relationship isn’t without its challenges — especially when Mindy runs into the first guy she slept with, played by Pushing Daisies‘ Lee Pace. That encounter causes the flighty OB-GYN to do some soul-searching regarding Dr. C, though series creator Mindy Kaling says her alter ego “just sort of thinks it’s going to work out” in regard to marriage, babies, etc. “I like that about the character, that she doesn’t fixate on those things… Largely, she isn’t that worried about it.” Know who is worried? Morgan. “There is trouble afoot” in Nurse Tookers’ relationship with Tamra, writer/star Ike Barinholtz says. “They’re about to hit a bit of a rocky patch, and Morgan is going to explore some other arenas.” (Translation: Look for guest star Julia Stiles to resurface.)
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 9:30/8:30c (Fox)
In the wake of Rayna ditching Luke the day of their wedding, “There might be some short-term craziness,” showrunner Dee Johnson says. “But part of Rayna’s journey was to recognize what was most meaningful to her and keep that front-and-center instead of postponing it.” But if that “most meaningful” bit applies to Deacon, Rayna might have to put a pin in it: Her old flame will push away just about everyone in his life as he endeavors to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret. On an even darker note, we’ll find out whether Layla survived her alcohol-and-pill-infused dip in Jeff’s pool, while Gunnar and Scarlett’s increasing closeness will hint at a rekindled romance. (As Johnson notes, “They can’t do a song together without it stirring things up.”) Juliette and Avery will let the news of their nuptials percolate — expect Ju to sit out at least one episode to accommodate Hayden Panettiere’s pregnancy — and we’ll learn more about Sadie’s history with her violent ex, who isn’t leaving anytime soon. “Pete wants what he thinks is due him,” the EP notes.
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 10/9c (ABC)
TV’s most watched drama returns with a bang as we finally meet Gibbs’ second ex-wife, Rebecca Chase (played by Jeri Ryan) – in an episode that also brings back Melinda McGraw as Diane. Show boss Gary Glasberg says that Rebecca’s appearance is “unexpected, but welcome,” and that with Gibbs’ first ex also on hand, “You see the different chemistry that he has with different women.” The “action-packed” episode also fires back up the Sergei Mishnev arc, which Glasberg says will “really come to a head” in February. Also on the horizon: Cast member Rocky Carroll directed “a really touching story about an openly gay Medal of Honor nominee,” another hour will flash back to Tony’s days as a teenage military academy student, and watch for Robert Wagner Jr. to return as DiNozzo Sr. as early as March (and possibly for multiple episodes).
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 8/7c.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Upon allying with Maleficent (whose “resurrection” will be explained), Ursula and a magical Cruella de Vil, the banished Rumplestiltskin will be on “a collision course” with Regina as they all seek out the mysterious, soon-to-be-ID’d storybook Author for a rewrite. As Season 4B explores its overall theme — “What makes a hero? What makes a villain?” — watch for an “interesting connection” to be revealed between the Charmings and the Queens of Darkness, August (in multiple episodes) and Ariel will be seen again, we’ll meet Aurora’s father King Stefan and Ursula’s pop aka Poseidon, and “Emma will continue to explore what her particular heritage really means,” says cocreator Adam Horowitz, “as we learn that there are more secrets attached to who she was, is and will be.”
RETURN DATE: Sunday, March 1 at 8/7c (ABC)
Exec producer Julie Plec reveals that the latter half of Season 2 will shed new light on the Curse of the First Born, as Dalia’s threat against baby Hope is fleshed out. Meanwhile, “Little things will start to materialize that will make us realize there’s something extraordinary about [Hope],” Plec teases. Elsewhere, Klaus will “juggle keeping his daughter and his city safe”; Hayley and Jackson will embark on a “pretty special” journey; and Rebekah will adjust to life in her new (mortal!) witch body, which EP Michael Narducci assures us isn’t “necessarily” permanent. “There are plenty of flashback [opportunities] to explore what Rebekah has been doing for the past 1,000 years,” he says, giving Claire Holt fans at least the hope that they’ll see her again someday.
RETURN DATE: Monday, Jan. 19 at 8/7c (The CW)
PARKS AND RECREATION
Seeing as last spring’s finale brought Leslie Knope & Co. into the year 2017, showrunner Mike Schur says the Season 7 premiere plays "like a new pilot." Since the time jump didn't get to touch on everyone’s new jobs or relationships, "You'll know by the end of the premiere exactly what the situation is with every character," he confirms. Andy and April will be a focus of the first episode, after Andy finds success with his own TV show, Johnny Karate's Super-Awesome Musical Explosion Hour. "April has a moment when she realizes they're grown-ups, because Andy has a job and a steady paycheck," Schur says with a laugh. "They actually have responsibilities." Midway through the farewell season, viewers will meet Leslie and Ben's nanny, played by SNL alum Rachel Dratch (“She was one of the people that we really wanted to get”), while Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe, Paul Rudd and even Jon Hamm are set for encores.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 8/7c, with weekly back-to-back episodes; series finale airs Feb. 24 (NBC)
As Francis and Mary drift further apart — showrunner Laurie McCarthy says Mary still can’t “separate the trauma of being raped … from the choices that Francis made” — the queen will find herself gravitating towards Condé, as seen in this unsettling exclusive photo from the winter premiere. Speaking of marriages in crisis, Princess Claude will continue to turn up the charm (and the crazy!) on Bash, whom she intends on stealing back from Kenna. As for Catherine and ghost Henry, try to wrap your head around this: Their supernatural sex in the midseason finale won’t be their strangest interaction for much longer; rather, McCarthy promises several “satisfying revelations” from their unnatural new courtship.
RETURN DATE: Thursday, Jan. 22 at 9/8c (The CW)
The ABC sudser is issuing a Code (Malcolm) Black in 2015, as our favorite Hamptonites face off against David’s true captor, played by Sons of Anarchy‘s Tommy Flanagan. Teases showrunner Sunil Nayar, “You’ll see what Emily and the others have to do to avoid [Malcolm’s] threat”— and it’s not going to pretty. Meanwhile, Emily and Victoria will continue to clash over “who’s to blame for what happened to Daniel”; Nolan and Louise’s bizarre friendship will take a “wonderful turn” towards the end of January; and Margaux, now carrying the last hope for the Grayson line, will find herself strangely “energized.” Oh, and remember that ex-wife Ben mentioned to Emily? She won’t be just a memory for much longer.
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Jan. 4 at 10/9c (ABC)
Coming off a season in which Fiona 1) cheated on her boyfriend with his brother, 2) was responsible for her baby bro ingesting drugs and 3) went to jail (twice!), the eldest Gallagher “has learned her lesson, but she’s still confronted with how to make the best choices, especially when it comes to guys,” exec producer Nancy Pimental previews. Complicating Fi’s decision-making is the fact that four different fellas are circling her, including Dermot Mulroney’s 12-Step diner boss, bad boy rocker Davis (played by Axle Whitehead) and his bandmate/“good choice” (Steve Kazee), and the returning Jimmy/Steve. On a different romantic front, Ian’s denial about his bipolar disorder becomes “a big obstacle” for him and Mickey. Meanwhile, Lip is “struggling with having one foot in both worlds” when he returns home after his first year of college. As for this season’s watercooler moment, “Everyone’s going to freak out over Debbie,” Pimental teases. “She’s rarin’ to have sex.”
RETURN DATE: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 9/8c (Showtime)
Moloch may be dead, thanks to Henry’s last-minute surprise in the midseason finale, but that doesn’t mean that life will get any easier for the Witnesses. “There will be lots of creatures, and there are going to be plenty of trials and tribulations. But now they’re trying to make sense of what it all means,” showrunner Mark Goffman says. “Is there a plan? Did they thwart the plan? Is there somebody else behind it? We don’t know.” Also unknown is what became of Henry, who’s MIA when the Fox series returns. (“Is he the new Big Bad? Is he just gone? Did he die?” Goffman muses.) Speaking of death, Frank can’t really be gone… right? “There’s a lot more to Irving’s story,” teases the EP. “His impact is far-reaching.” Elsewhere, the Cranes will continue to “have a lot of issues to work out in their relationship,” one of the Mills sisters will heat things up with Hawley. Finally, the show’s ongoing “twistory” lesson will introduce Wings‘ Steven Weber as Thomas Jefferson, Buffy‘s Michelle Trachtenberg as Abigail Adams, and the “truth” behind the Salem Witch Trials (“There’s some surprising stuff we’re going to learn about Katrina in that episode,” Goffman promises).
RETURN DATE: Monday, Jan. 5 at 9/8c (Fox)
The premiere opens up with the "immediate aftermath" of Louis demanding name partnership in exchange for keeping Mike’s secret, executive producer Aaron Korsh reveals. But will he actually get his moniker on the wall? "They can’t just appease Louis, because to do that would be to give a power-hungry, power-crazed person exactly what they want," the EP says. "It would never end." And since the betrayal stems from Mike’s lies, Louis is "certainly going to take some vengeance out" on the young lawyer, who also experiences "some interesting fallout – different than you might expect" — in his relationship with Rachel. Meanwhile, Harvey, who is "reeling and responding" to the Louis crisis, "goes through a lot in the last six [episodes]," Korsh previews, adding that the back half of the season features "more of the personal dynamics…and not as much the power dynamics of the firm."
RETURN DATE: Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 10/9c (USA Network)
After the fall finale’s blood bath, the Mark of Cain promises to be an even bigger issue than ever for Dean. Maybe Cain, himself, can help with that when Timothy Omundson (Psych) reprises his role? Also, Felicia Day’s Charlie returns from Oz "under precarious circumstances," co-executive producer Robbie Thompson previews. "She’s brought something back that’s very dangerous. She teams up with the boys to track that dangerous thing down and hunt with them, basically." Adds EP Robert Singer: "Let's just say that it's a Charlie we haven't seen before." Meanwhile, Rowena will continue to meddle in her son Crowley’s business.
RETURN DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 9/8c (The CW)
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
Elena’s resolutions for 2015 include escaping Kai’s clutches — who could she be calling in this photo from the winter premiere? — and rekindling her romance with Damon. Meanwhile, Caroline will focus her attention on Sheriff Forbes’ cancer diagnosis (Is there a supernatural cure?), requiring her to spend more time with Stefan. “What we'll come to see is that their relationship will be shaped by [her mom’s illness],” EP Caroline Dries reveals. Elsewhere, Bonnie will return to the present with a new “badass” outlook on life. “She’s learning to put herself first,” says exec producer Julie Plec, who adds that Bonnie’s beau will also undergo big changes. “Jeremy needs to figure out what he wants out of life, and that journey will be kickstarted by the realization that he’s in his own prison.” (That explains her tweet about Jer applying to art school!) Also on tap for ’15: Enzo will fall in lust, a set of twins will merge, 24‘s Annie Wersching recurs as a “caustic” mystery lady, and a major character will kick the bucket.