Winter TV Spoiler-palooza! Your Scoop-Filled Guide to 39 Returning Favorites
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Malcolm Merlyn, as the Dark Archer, attempted to frame Arrow for a slew of kills; he also made Moira’s nosy husband Walter vanish. Meanwhile, Oliver, ex-love Laurel and her new beau Tommy tried to work trough the “awkward” stage of their new dynamic.
COMING UP NEXT | In addition to the Dark Archer, Oliver will have his hands full with other baddies — including “The Count,” who peddles a drug called Vertigo on the streets of Starling City. As played by Fringe‘s Seth Gabel, “He’s a departure from any of the villains that we've had so far,” says series lead Stephen Amell. “I spend a lot of time as Arrow going after him, and it's personal for me for reasons I can't explain.” There’s also Cyrus Vanch (Alias‘ David Anders), whom Amell describes as “reckless and incredibly confident — and I don't go after him; he comes after me!” On the romantic front, Oliver will rekindle “something” with a vice cop played by True Blood‘s Janina Gavankar (“The reason that I end up doing so will surprise everybody,” Amell teases), while Laurel forever finds herself drawn to one hooded vigilante. “There’s this magnetic sort of almost sexual tension between the two of them,” says Katie Cassidy. “She so wants to know how he does what he does, who he is…. And I think she wants to be a part of it.” (Hmmm!)
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, January 16 at 8/7c (The CW)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Vincent discreetly joined Catherine at her father’s wedding reception, where viewers were repeatedly taunted to bellow at the TV, “Just kiss already!” Later, when loony Rena Sofer ran Cat off the road, a beasted-out Vincent pulled his love away from the wreckage… just as Evan pulled up in his own car!
COMING UP NEXT | “A lot of juicy stuff is going to be stirred up in the back half of the season,” executive producer Sherri Cooper promises – including an “explosive love triangle” featuring Vincent’s onetime fiancée Alex (played by Legend of the Seeker‘s Bridget Regan; see exclusive photo). Upon reuniting with his ex, “Vincent will try to be as honest as he can be [with Catherine], but he might be surprised by his own emotions,” Cooper previews. Other obstacles for the titular twosome include a “young, power-hungry” ADA (Heroes‘ Sendhil Ramamurthy) who is resolved to “bring in New York's newest menace,” and a returning threat. “Catherine and Vincent thought that Muirfield had lost track of them, but we'll see that that is not the case.” Lastly, will anyone else learn about the very special fella in Cat’s life? “I'll tease it this way: Tess is a best friend,” says Cooper, “and best friends eventually catch on to what's going on in each other's lives.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, January 24 at 9/8c (The CW)
THE BIG BANG THEORY
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Sheldon and Wolowitz’s escalating fight over a CalTech parking space eventually involved Amy and Bernadette, too. Wolowitz bonded with his father-in-law. A classmate’s interest in Penny sparked Leonard’s jealousy, which she quenched with an unexpected declaration of love for her on-and-off beau. Meanwhile, Sheldon’s assistant Alex had designs on an oblivious Leonard, and Raj hung out with the ladies.
COMING UP NEXT | Pretty soon, Alex is going to drop some hints even Leonard can’t ignore. “She will be making her agenda a little more well known,” says executive producer Steve Molaro. And we bet Penny won’t be psyched about that, right? “That is a very accurate guess,” he says, laughing. Sheldon will become more involved in his assistant’s hunt when he “tries to manage this situation and makes it way worse and finds himself talking to the folks at human resources at the university.” Enter guest star Regina King (Southland), who’ll play the school’s HR boss. Sheldon will somehow get Bernadette, Amy, Raj and Wolowitz rolled into the brouhaha too; though Molaro’s mum on how it all turns out. “I don’t mind telling you that the scenes with Regina and Sheldon and the cast are unbelievably funny. That episode, I can’t wait for it to air.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Jan. 3 at 8/7c (CBS)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | A street artist reignited Angela’s creative spark (and caused tension with Hodgins), Arastoo was revealed as Cam’s secret boyfriend, and Sweets moved in with Booth and Brennan following his break-up with Daisy. Oh, and Pelant is still out there, ready to strike again.
COMING UP NEXT | And strike again he will. The psycho killer will resurface in late January in a 24-esque episode that “opens with a body being discovered with Angela and Hodgins in their bed,” previews exec producer Stephen Nathan. “It’s a phenomenal episode that escalates the Pelant story.” On the romance front, Sweets and Daisy are forced to deal with some unresolved issues surrounding their split when they’re thrown together on a case, Cam and Arastoo go public with their relationship (“Brennan is going to be very disapproving, even though it’s completely hypocritical,” notes Nathan), and Angela’s professional frustrations will continue to test her marriage to Hodgins. “She’s getting antsy,” he teases. “She wants to explore other avenues.”
RETURN DATE | Monday, January 14 at 8/7c (Fox)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Michelle accidentally blinded the dancers with pepper spray during a production of The Nutcracker, inviting the ire of the parents. Even an "Oh Captain, my Captain!" performance from the girls couldn’t stop her from leaving them behind.
COMING UP NEXT | The new season finds Michelle giving up small town life to re-embrace trashy glitz, following her dramatic exit from Paradise. "She’s in Vegas, sleeping on her friend’s couch and working as a magician’s assistant at a casino. It’s pretty sad," her portrayer Sutton Foster reports with a laugh. Back in the sleepy town she left, the dance studio has been shut down and "the girls are scattered all about. Everyone’s just kind of at a standstill." For those worried that means there will be even less fancy footwork, Foster promises "there’s more dance in the back half [of the season] than there was in the first half."
RETURN DATE | Monday, Jan. 7 at 9/8c (ABC Family)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Rick and Kate endured multiple gauntlets – including their first Christmas as a couple, having their parents meet and trying to keep their romance on the down low at work.
COMING UP NEXT | Series creator Andrew Marlowe hedged when we asked about the next crucible on tap for crimesolvers-in-love Rick and Kate. “I don't know…. Don't we want to leave these two alone, so they can settle into their relationship? So they can get a groove?” he posed. “No. No. You want drama.” Along those lines, on Jan. 7 you get the well-promoted return of Castle’s ex-wife Meredith (who will crash at Rick’s the same time Kate is doing so!) and a tricky first Valentine’s Day featuring a “subtle competition” in gift-buying. The latter episode also features guest star Gina Torres, raising the question: Any in-jokes to be had for Firefly fans? “We'll probably find something,” Marlowe allows, “but I'm sure Nathan and Gina will find something as well.” Elsewhere, an episode about an at-risk youth will reveal “a lot more of who Esposito is, what life was like for him growing up,” and the return of big, bad Senator Bracken (Jack Coleman) will be met by “twists and turns” that add a new wrinkle to the Johanna Beckett mystery.
RETURN DATE | Monday, January 7 at 10/9c (ABC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | In a season finale designed to double as a series finale if necessary, the Greendale Gang all found happy-ish endings. Most notably, Jeff Winger at long last chose his true friends — the study group! — over his former life as a lawyer and opted to seek out his MIA father. Evil Abed was defeated, as well.
COMING UP NEXT | If new bosses Moses Port and David Guarascio are to be believed, more of ousted creator Dan Harmon’s signature innovation lies ahead. “The only thing we care about is keeping it this weird, wonderful gem," Guarascio has promised. Some Season 4 specifics include an Inspector Spacetime convention with British comedian Matt Lucas and Battlestar babe Tricia Helfer; a little revved-up romance for Britta and Troy — and perhaps even Britta and Jeff; the introduction of Jeff’s father (played by James Brolin) and brother; and graduation for some — but not all. As you’ve no doubt also heard, this season will be Chevy Chase’s last.
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8/7c (NBC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | John Ross proposed to Elena, but she ultimately nixed him to hook back up with Christopher, who had been thoroughly scorned by his wife Rebecca (aka Pamela Rebecca Barnes, as in Cliff’s daughter). Bobby survived his battle with an aneurysm, Sue Ellen stayed in the race for governor after Anne blackmailed Ryland, and J.R. promised to teach his son every dirty trick he knows, to wrest Ewing Energies from Christopher and Elena.
COMING UP NEXT | As Christopher angles to get his marriage to Rebecca annulled and secure custody of their unborn twins, John Ross’s own agenda — which includes corrupting an instrumental third party — threatens to make that easier said than done. (Plus, when Ms. Barnes resurfaces, she won’t be playing nice at all.) Ryland taunts Anne with news about their daughter, but she struggles with meeting his price. Oh, and Elena seemingly got a personality transplant over the fall.
Though Larry Hagman filmed several episodes before passing away, Episode 8 (as first reported by TVLine) will write in the funeral of his iconic character. J.R.
RETURN DATE | Monday, January 28 at 9/8c (TNT)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | As they went about collecting pieces to the puzzle that is Walter’s plan to defeat the invaders, the team met back up with the “child” Observer, who has been dubbed “Michael.” He helped Walter realize that the “Donald” who helped him devise the plan was in fact September. What?
COMING UP NEXT | Just three more hours spread over two weeks. As previously shared, show boss Joel Wyman calls the finale the “biggest, most expensive” season-ender the show has ever done, a final hour that packs literal punches as well as emotional ones. “By rights we really shouldn’t be here, and without that support and respect [of fans and the press] we wouldn't be, so I wanted to be sure I handled that [action element] and the emotional with equal import.” Among the finale’s surprises: a critical assist from AstroAsterisk Astrid, which delighted her portrayer. Noting that for much of Season 5, Walter’s lab assistant “wasn't super-integral,” Jasika Nicole happily reports that Astrid “gets her moment to shine in the last episode. Without her, I can honestly say, everything’s going to go downhill!” Although the day-saving moment is a brief one, Nicole shares, “It meant the world to me.” (But which world…?)
RETURN DATE | Friday, January 11 at 9/8c (Fox)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Hannah ate cake. With her bare hands. On a beach. These things also transpired: Hannah and her unlikely beau Adam broke up; Shoshanna lost her virginity to Ray; Jessa staged a surprise wedding with Thomas; Marnie made out with the random wedding officiant instead of hooking up with ex-boyfriend Charlie; and Elijah decide to move in with our leading lady.
COMING UP NEXT | “We have some really amazing guest stars and some really exciting new storylines,” Girls creator Lena Dunham shares. “You can expect the continued drama of this group [of friends], with some new players in the mix” — namely, Donald Glover, Patrick Wilson, Rita Wilson and Colin Quinn. Dunham describes the Community star’s character as “a rival with Adam for Hannah’s affections,” while the Gifted Man alum joins as a sexy doctor who’s also into Miss Horvath. Other goings-on include Marnie reconnecting with Jorma Taccone’s sexy artist — and possibly hooking up with Hannah’s gay ex — Shosh and Ray continuing to get it on and Jessa enjoying — at least initially — her quirky version of married life.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Jan. 13 at 9/8c (HBO)
THE GOOD WIFE
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Kalinda made her nefarious hubby vanish into thin air – but was it magic or… murder? The FBI tightened its noose around Eli as Peter’s campaign reached a critical stage, a flirtation ignited between Will and Laura (Amanda Peet), and Alicia had sex — dirty, no-strings bathroom sex — with Peter.
COMING UP NEXT | With Nick out of the way, Kalinda and Cary will reconnect — as friends and (maybe) lovers. “There’s some unresolved sexual tension there,” notes exec producer Robert King, “so it could go either way.” Will’s burgeoning romance with Laura (Amanda Peet) will create some awkwardness for Alicia, who will continue to grow closer to Peter — at least sexually speaking. “The question is, ‘Can you have one-night stands with your husband?'” muses King. “She is trying to detach the emotional from the sexual, but can [she] keep doing that?” Eli, meanwhile, will have his hands full juggling the FBI inquiry and running Peter’s campaign. Complicating matters further will be the arrival of Grey’s Anatomy alum T.R. Knight as Eli’s No. 2, who ends up “competing with Eli for Peter’s affection.”
RETURN DATE | Sunday, January 6 at 9/8c (CBS)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Group leader Lauren became engaged to her boyfriend (Hayes MacArthur); Ryan realized that he might actually be ready to re-enter the dating world; and oddballs Sonia and Danny finally did something about their growing attraction — they made out!
COMING UP NEXT | Look for things to get shaken up by the addition of Piper Perabo as an ex-group member and new love interest for Ryan. “She’s somebody who challenges both Ryan and Lauren right out of the gate,” creator Scott Silveri reveals. “She pulls a lot of attention, because she’s a big personality and very fun to look at… But Lauren usually controls the group and in Ryan’s mind, he’s the star [of it], so they’re both quite threatened.” Also coming up: a Mr. K-centric installment; more of Sonia and Danny’s quirky romance; and some ambivalent wedding planning for Lauren and Wyatt.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 9/8c (NBC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Adalind returned to Portland bent on acquiring the key for her new royal employers and avenging her mom’s murder. While in town, she also had Hank beaten so he wouldn’t be around to back up Nick. Juliette still hadn’t regained her memory, but she had acquired an increasing attraction to Capt. Renard. Their lust manifested in a kiss – witnessed by Monroe — at the spice shop, after which Juliette quickly confessed the act (but not her paramour’s identity) to an angry, hurt Nick. Not long after, Monroe made sure his Grimm pal had the missing piece of the infidelity puzzle.
COMING UP NEXT | Now that Nick knows Renard and Juliette are smooch buddies, “He’s not exactly happy about it,” says Grimm co-creator James Kouf. “It’s something he realizes he kind of has to deal with. The captain is out of the bag, so to speak.” Expect a huge confrontation between the men – “It’s like a long-term marriage where suddenly all this stuff jumps out,” says co-creator David Greenwalt — when the drama returns in March. Also ahead: Former hexenbiest Adalind will tap into a new kind of power; Hank will continue to have “a pretty weird year”; Rosalee and Monroe will get closer upon her return to Portland (thanks to the end of Bree Turner’s real-life maternity leave); and a new Wesen from Africa will take the title of “the creepiest one we’ve ever done,” Greenwalt promises. As for Renard and Juliette, “There’s definitely some action between them,” Kouf says, adding, “It’s all messy.” Yes, but will she climb his beanstalk… if you get our drift? Says Kouf: “Well, they’re going to do something.”
RETURN DATE | Friday, March 8 at 9/8c (NBC)
HART OF DIXIE
PREVIOUSLY ON… | After a rough go of it as “friends with benefits,” Zoe and Wade decided to give a real relationship the old college try. Elsewhere, George found himself falling hard for new gal pal Tansy, while Lavon, heartbroken over Ruby’s sudden departure, blamed his ex Lemon and vowed to never forgive her.
COMING UP NEXT | “The second half of the season will find Zoe and Wade attempting to embark on a real, grownup, boyfriend/girlfriend, monogamous relationship and everything that entails,” showrunner Leila Gerstein tells TVLine giddily. “Which is obviously going to be difficult for both of them.” That said, expect lots of couple-y moments for the two, including dates, fights and (even more) sexytimes. Tansy and George will also attempt to make a go of it, but it won’t be easy with “the four of them trying to navigate living in the same small town.” Unfortunately, things are looking “very grim” for Lemon and Lavon when Dixie returns — “Worse than ever,” Gerstein reveals. Oh, and did we mention there’s a wedding on the way? Because there is!
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 8/7c (The CW)
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Barney, with Patrice’s help, orchestrated the world’s most elaborate proposal plan, which culminated in Ted pushing Robin towards her ex – and ultimately saying yes.
COMING UP NEXT | The road to Barney and Robin’s nuptials won’t be "completely smooth," says co-creator Carter Bays. "There's still going to be some bumps, some things to hammer out." The news of his dream girl’s engagement to his best friend will be "potentially devastating" for Ted, who’s in "a situation where maybe he was a little too generous and maybe he regrets his generosity a little bit in encouraging Robin to follow her heart." But the return of Hart of Dixie‘s Rachel Bilson as the titular mother’s roommate Cindy may be just the thing to set Ted back on the right path. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily will both face work issues, with the latter contemplating a change in careers.
RETURN DATE | Monday, Jan. 14 at 8/7c (CBS)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Raylan discovered that his own father was willing to risk killing him in the name of protecting Boyd. Daddy dearest also took the fall for Devil’s murder, thereby sparing Boyd a potential lifetime behind bars. Elsewhere, Quarles lost a limb (and his life), Ava turned a darker shade of cray-cray when she beat one of her prostitutes to a pulp, and Raylan promised Winona he’d be there for their child.
COMING UP NEXT | The premiere, which picks up roughly three months later, introduces a 30-year-old mystery that exec producer Graham Yost says “forms the spine” of Season 4. Raylan’s dalliance with bartender Lindsay turns into a full-blown romance. He’s also grappling with impending fatherhood — although Yost says his child with ex Winona (The Following‘s Natalie Zea, who returns for several episodes) will not be born this season. Meanwhile, Boyd and Ava are forced to confront both “the difficulty of running an ongoing criminal enterprise” and “their future together.” On the guest star front, Ron Eldard and Patton Oswalt join the cast in recurring roles, while Jere Burns returns as Wynn Duffy and ends up “being part of the drive” to solve that aforementioned mystery.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, January 8 at 10/9c (FX)
THE LYING GAME
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Emma and Sutton’s mom was revealed to be none other than Charisma Carpenter’s super-schemey Rebecca. What’s more, evil-ish twin Sutton is in on the secret! Elsewhere, Alec was arrested for killing Derek, thanks to his son Thayer’s plotting, Emma and Ethan broke up and Ted and Kristin seemingly ended their marriage after word broke that he and Rebecca once had an affair.
COMING UP NEXT | As expected, there are more twin-sted antics ahead for Sutton and Emma — namely, the realization that they are slowly morphing into the other. “Sutton will finds herself looking at Emma and wishing she could be more like her,” showrunner Chuck Pratt teases. “And at the same time, you’ve got Emma realizing that she’s slipped so easily into Sutton’s shoes: Is she becoming more dishonest [and] devious?” On her own, Sutton will explore “what it’s like to find your birth mother [in Rebecca] and then suddenly realize that maybe she’s not all she’s been cracking herself up to be.” Rebecca and Alec will continue to play their dangerous “cat and mouse game,” shares Pratt, while Mads will become smitten with a newbie played by Ryan Rottman — and he has a big secret of his own. Also, look for the quadrangle of Emma/Ethan/Sutton/Thayer to carry on throughout the season.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 9/8c (ABC Family)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Teddy confessed to Rayna about embezzling from the credit union and getting inappropriately close to Peggy. Despite (or maybe because of) Sean’s mom’s dislike of Juliette, the young country star proposed to her celibate QB boyfriend. Deacon accepted a gig with a band as Rayna revisited the notion of touring with Juliette. Gunnar and Scarlett kissed, though he wasn’t pleased with her subsequent freak-out.
COMING UP NEXT | As we learn more details about Juliette’s less-than-ideal Alabama upbringing – which will unspool as Jolene continues to be a presence in her daughter’s life — “you understand [her] impetuous moves,” says series creator Callie Khouri. Elsewhere, even though Rayna and Deacon had some friendly moments in the winter finale, they've still got to work through a world of hurt. “Rayna feels incredibly disappointed about the way things turned out with Deacon. He feels betrayed that she didn’t wait for him [when he was in rehab] or believe that he was capable of changing,” Khouri says. Rayna may wish she’d chosen differently as Teddy’s whatever-it-was with Peggy continues to unravel (“There will be ramifications that they all have to deal with,” Khouri previews) — but on the upside, an unhappy home life might just make it easier for Ms. Jaymes to say yes to that tour…
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 10/9c (ABC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Gibbs crossed paths with two women from his past – Miranda Pennybaker (played by ER‘s Alex Kingston) and ex-wife Diane Fornell; Ziva and Abby teamed up for a case; and Tony’s father paid a visit for the holidays.
COMING UP NEXT | First up, “Ziva will reconnect with her dad (played by Michael Nouri),” says showrunner Gary Glasberg. Eli’s latest encore will in part tee up “a big sort of turn for Ziva that will happen in the latter part of the season,” one that “affects her, affects her relationship with Tony and adds a whole other layer to the puzzle.” Glasberg also promises a “really fun” origin episode that introduces us to 10-year-old Abby and her brother Luca, plus a “terrific” turn by Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) as NCIS Deputy Director Jerome Craig. “Greg brings a sense of humor, a wit and a sarcasm that's unique and different.” As for his plans for the Season 10 finale, Glasberg told us in early December that he had “a basic sense” of what he wanted to do, adding: “I usually sit down in front of a fireplace with a hot toddy in my hand and stew about things over the holidays a bit, and then come back and dive in!” (We will, of course, keep you posted. And also treat ourselves to a hot toddy.)
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, January 8 at 8/7c (CBS)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Jess decided to make a go of it with Sam (David Walton), baby-conscious CeCe decided to take the arranged marriage path, and Nick and Angie’s (Olivia Munn) romance continued to go strong.
COMING UP NEXT | Nick and Jess will finally start “dealing with their feelings for each other,” reveals series creator Liz Meriwether. “And that ends up complicating” their respective relationships with Angie and Sam. Schmidt, meanwhile, will undermine CeCe’s efforts to find a mate. “He’s trying to figure out how to live in a world where he doesn’t have CeCe,” says Meriwether, “wherever that should take him.” (It’ll take him into the arms of actress-model Brooklyn Decker, who will guest-star in early 2013.) Lastly, Winston will embark on a new romance with Disney Channel starlet Brenda Song. “She’s going to give him some tough love,” says the EP. “We thought it would be fun if he had a girlfriend that was kind of like a coach.”
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, January 8 at 9/8c (Fox)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Our titular ass-kicker made it known to her Division-mates that Amanda was no longer going after her. Rather, the Big Bad would now be targeting those Nikita loves — aka everyone in her general vicinity. Alex, meanwhile, kept popping pills, and Birkhoff learned that Sonya is one of two moles — though only because Amanda is forcing her to comply under threat of her still-active kill chip.
COMING UP NEXT | Things are about to get dark for Division. In fact, says showrunner Craig Silverstein, Amanda’s “lessons” will “definitely go to some places that Percy would never even go.” Alex’s addiction, meanwhile, will be nipped in the bud in the first episode back, though, he teases: “Really, this is just laying the groundwork for some later developments.” And remember that “horrible” thing ahead for Michael that we’ve been teasing since Comic-Con? Well, it’s happening very soon, and “comes as a consequence of [their] going after Amanda,” Silverstein reveals, adding: “It’s going to be a really interesting problem.”
RETURN DATE | Friday, Jan. 18 at 8/7c (The CW)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Jim made his way to Philadelphia to start work at his new sports marketing venture, Nellie and Toby shared and impromptu smooch, and Erin — feeling neglected by an MIA Andy – grew closer to New Jim (aka. Pete).
COMING UP NEXT | Andy resurfaces and turns Erin’s romantic dilemma into something of “a horse race,” teases exec producer Greg Daniels. Elsewhere, Jim gets settled in at his fancy new job, the Scranton Strangler gets unmasked, new details about the documentary crew will be revealed in an “explosive, mind-bender of an episode” set to air in late January, and several old faces will reappear as the show charges towards its series finale. The big question: Will one of those faces belong to Michael Scott? “We have some cool [story ideas],” says Daniels. “But we’re still not 100 percent sure Steve [Carell] will want to participate.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, January 10 at 9/8c (NBC)
ONCE UPON A TIME
PREVIOUSLY ON… | With help from Regina – yet almost killed in the process! — Emma and Snow White traveled through a portal back to Storybrooke, reuniting with Henry and Charming. Meanwhile, off the coast of Maine, Cora and Captain Hook approached via ship, having fashioned a portal of their own….
COMING UP NEXT | “No one’s going to be happy” about the arrival of the pirate brig’s passengers, says Jennifer Morrison. “It’s too much of a threat to everything that we care about.” Speaking in character, she adds, “I don't really know that much about all these people from this other land, but I do know that those two are dangerous, so I’m certainly not going to want them anywhere near my kid.” Also, as revealed in recent weeks: Mulan, Prince Phillip and Smee will each make encores; viewers will meet Dr. Frankenstein’s father and brother (played by Gregory Itzin and Chad Collins); Emma’s baby daddy Neal Cassidy will be seen again; and Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait) and Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead) will surface in secret roles.
RETURN DATE | Sunday, January 6 at 8/7c (ABC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | The Bravermans were blessed with a Christmas miracle when a cancer-battling Kristina beat a nasty infection. Amber, meanwhile, ended things — at least temporarily — with Ryan after recognizing that perhaps she was ill-equipped to help “fix” the former soldier. And Sarah hopped into the sack with Ray Romano’s Hank just days after Mark called off their engagement.
COMING UP NEXT | “Resolution” is on the way for Kristina’s cancer story, and while showrunner Jason Katims won’t reveal her season-ending prognosis, he does promise much more levity ahead for the character. “Having had my wife go through breast cancer a couple years ago, you realize that life doesn’t stop so that you can just go through this,” he shares. “You have kids and stuff to deal with, and that’s when you come to realize [those things are] a blessing.” In Kristina and Adam’s case, it will be a funny storyline about teaching Max the importance of hygiene, as well as fighting alongside him in support of his beloved school vending machine. And fret not, Jason Ritter fans, because we have not seen the last of Sarah’s estranged fiancé Mark. Nor is Hank out of the picture. “That [triangle] will get picked up again in this last group of episodes,” Katims assures. “It’s not just over.” You can also look forward to Ryan trying “to get Amber to trust him” again, as well as Jasmine’s now-unemployed mom shacking up with her daughter and son-in-law. And filed under “Sad Things Ahead,” you’ll find a major complication when it comes to Joel and Julia permanently adopting Victor.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 10/9c (NBC)
PARKS AND RECREATION
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Leslie and Ben continued to bask in the glow of their recent engagement, while Ron and Diane came to terms with their increasingly strong feelings for each other.
COMING UP NEXT | Ben and Leslie are most certainly working toward a wedding, but before they say “I Do,” there’s still “a lot of story to tell about their engagement,” shares showrunner Mike Schur — namely, catering woes and dueling bachelor/bachelorette parties. “Neither [party] ends up going the way they intended,” he teases with a laugh. “It’s fun because Ann is throwing Leslie’s party… She really wants it to go well. And Chris is throwing Ben’s, [which starts as] playing board games and drinking Miller Lite at a friend’s house. ” However, in true Pawnee fashion, things will go a bit awry. Parks fans can also look forward to seeing Ron and Diane going strong “through the rest of the season and hopefully beyond,” as well as a surprising new career path for Ben and a possible rekindled romance for Chris and Ann. Hints Schur: “It’s not coincidental that these two main characters on the show are on parallel self-exploration journeys.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Jan. 17 at 8:30/7:30c (NBC)
PERSON OF INTEREST
PREVIOUSLY ON… | As the fall finale drew to a close, FBI Special agent Agent Donnelly — with (and without) help from Carter — cornered “the man in the suit,” who was found in the company of several other men in suits. Has Reese at long last been rounded up?
COMING UP NEXT | “There’s an interesting dilemma here for Agent Donnelly and the FBI,” says exec producer Greg Plageman. “All four suspects have been rounded up, and all four of them are men in suits – so there’s intrigue to be played with that, and it’s not easily resolved.” Playing an interesting, if difficult, role in Reese’s capture is his and Finch’s cohort Carter, here pressed to do the Feds’ bidding. As Plageman teases, “Donnelly is well aware of Carter’s history as an interrogator in Iraq, and now that he has Reese in custody, it will be very interesting to see how Carter is enlisted, while playing both sides of the fence.”
RETURN DATE | Thursday, January 3 at 9/8c (CBS)
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Last we saw the Liars, they were aboard a Halloween-themed train from hell. While along for the ride, Aria was abducted and nearly killed, Spencer experienced a major beat-down by a masked assailant, Ali’s body finally turned up and Ezra and Byron became the latest Team A suspects.
COMING UP NEXT | Big Bad Toby is here, and if executive producer Oliver Goldstick is to be trusted, he’s not going anywhere. “We’re going down a path [with Toby] and you need to know that [he] has a lot of strong motivation for wanting to take down these girls. It’s the price [they have] to pay for him taking the fall for a crime he didn’t do.” Dun-dun-dun! Guilty or not, we’re going to find out more about Byron’s “participation [the night of Alison’s death],” Goldstick reveals, “and it really is eye-opening and shocking.” Meanwhile, Aria’s baby secret will have “a major impact” on her relationship with Ezra, forcing the two to face “the biggest hurdle they’ve had to jump.” As for everything else: Mona is back with a vengeance — though she’ll seem innocent enough at first; and Meredith will become “a thorn in the girls’ side,” he shares.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 8/7c (ABC Family)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Emily finally let her guard down a bit, accepting Jack’s seemingly happy future with Amanda and beginning her own with Aiden. Daniel — who kicked Ashley to the curb after learning of her brief romp with Conrad — took control of Grayson Enterprises and NolCorp, unknowingly gaining interest from The Initiative.
COMING UP NEXT | Emily and Jack’s worlds, which for most of the season have remained separate, will soon collide in a major way. “I can tell you that for everybody who’s been waiting patiently for the Stowaway story to really pay off and wrap back around into Emily’s world, that’s about to come together in spades,” creator Mike Kelley dishes to TVLine. Additionally, the happiness Emily and Aiden are currently experiencing won’t last for long. “There’s going to be a huge loyalty challenge between the two of them, because he’s got his own drama and agenda,” the EP shares. The Initiative storyline, meanwhile, will soon shift a bit “so that it ties everyone together,” Kelley reveals. “We’re focusing on making sure that it’s not as nebulous going forward; that we understand specifically what they’re doing as it unfolds.” As for what fans can expect in the upcoming 14th (not the 13th, as previously reported) episode, which will feature the shocking sinking of the Amanda, Kelley shares: “This event is as powerful emotionally as last year’s [Fire and Ice Ball] was shock-wise.”
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9/8c (ABC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Charlie was reunited with her brother and mother in Philadelphia, as Miles rejected Monroe’s offer to rejoin the Militia. Together, the Matheson clan escaped but got stopped in their tracks by the sight of Bass’ airborne, pendant-powered military helicopter.
COMING UP NEXT | Now that Rachel and Miles have come face-to-face in the present, expect to get more answers about their mysterious backstory. "We're absolutely exploring it, because we left them with her getting handcuffed after surrendering to him in a flashback," says executive producer David Rambo. "We would like to see more of what happened 10 minutes later between the two of them." Meanwhile, Charlie and Jason’s "paths will cross again," and there’s a very good chance the NBC hit will explore the world outside of the Monroe Republic. "We had [exec producer] Jon Favreau with us for a day in the writer's room and he loves these other republics, what they could be," reveals Rambo. "He gave us some fantastic ideas about what these other places in North America might look like 15 years after a blackout."
RETURN DATE | Monday, March 25 at 10/9c (NBC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | President Grant was shot, badly, and Huck appeared to be the triggerman – until it was revealed that the ex-spook was framed for the job by his “girlfriend” Becky. As Fitz remained unconscious and VP Langston angled to lay claim to the Oval office, the question loomed: For whom was Becky working?
COMING UP NEXT | Captured Huck’s treatment will give the real-life CIA something to crow about in addition to Zero Dark Thirty; Sally Langston’s power grab will be put on hold (but for how long?); Cyrus acts fast to buy his stalwart husband’s silence; David Rosen’s head is not fingered like a bowling ball again; and Becky resurfaces (for better or for worse).
RETURN DATE | Thursday, January 10 at 10/9c (ABC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Fiona got her GED – and the guy, as Jimmy confessed his love to her and vowed not to leave. Lip returned to the homestead while his ex Karen ditched hers, since Sheila refused to give up her daughter’s baby. Finally, Ian found out that his older lover (guest star Harry Hamlin) is Jimmy’s dad!
COMING UP NEXT | The honeymoon period has ended for Fiona and Jimmy, who’ve been living together for four months at the new season opens. "Fiona’s become a bit of a hustler, and Jimmy’s become Mr. Mom," previews star Justin Chatwin, who adds that the couple is "not in the happiest of places, but they’re probably in the most honest of places." But with Estefania’s father coming to town and his many worlds on a collision course, "Jimmy’s castle begins to crumble this year," teases the actor. "His family life starts to fall apart."
RETURN DATE | Sunday, Jan. 13 at 9/8c (Showtime)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Playwrights Julia and Tom stumbled upon the idea for Bombshell, a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. When newbie Karen Cartwright ultimately landed the clamored-for lead, veteran chorus girl Ivy Lynn spiraled into despair and was last seen eyeballing a fistful of pills.
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, February 5 at 9/8c (NBC, two-hour Season 2 premiere); regular time slot premiere is Tuesday, February 12 at 10 pm
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Lydia chose to take a less active role on the force while pregnant, Ben and Sammy’s partnership was tested as the former got overly involved in a case involving a hooker’s child, and Cooper went back to being a training officer following Tang’s (Lucy Liu) promotion.
COMING UP NEXT | A mustachioed Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) guest-stars as Dave Mendoza, a likable but loose-cannon cop who pulls Ben down the wrong path. When Sammy’s not worrying about his partner’s sketchy new friends, he’ll be stuck in a hellish custody battle with his ex Tammi. (It’s not all bad, however, for the detective-turned-cop, who becomes a tabloid celebrity after a public act of heroism!) Meanwhile, Cooper and his new boot, army vet Gary Steele (guest star Derek Ray), don’t exactly mesh, leading to a pivotal confrontation during a traffic stop-gone-sideways. As for the preggers Lydia, returning to detective work while being a mother proves to be harder than expected.
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 10/9c (TNT)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Founding partner Daniel Hardman was ousted from the firm while Mike, spiraling from his grandmother’s death, hooked up with his married ex Tess – after rejecting Rachel, who later walked in on the tryst. So, so awkward.
COMING UP NEXT | Just because Hardman is gone doesn’t mean the troubles are over for the firm. "What happens in the aftermath of a civil war is, first of all, you’ve got to deal with the people who didn’t necessarily take your side," previews executive producer Aaron Korsh. And that means bad news for Louis. "Also, once your enemy is gone, who replaces Hardman is going to be a major question." Meanwhile, Mike’s troubling behavior is "going to test the limits of Harvey’s patience," while the sexual tension between the young associate and his would-be love Rachel "changes to anger" in the wake of his Tess tryst.
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Jan. 17 at 10/9c (USA Network)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Dean told his brother that Benny had killed Martin after being driven to the edge by a mentally unstable hunter while Sam ran into ex-love Amelia.
COMING UP NEXT | As if the trust issues between the Winchesters, the return of Cas’ mysterious heavenly arc and Amelia’s presence weren’t enough, Dean and Sam will also deal with daddy complications when their paternal grandpa, Henry, time-travels to the present in a family mythology episode. "When you meet your father’s father, that brings up some of your father issues. In other words, what did your father’s father have to do with the way your father turned out?" previews executive producer Jeremy Carver. “A lot of that is explored head-on." But it’s not all doom and gloom. Felicia Day’s Charlie Bradbury returns in what is sure to be a geektastic hour about live-action role playing.
RETURN DATE | Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 9/8c (The CW)
SWITCHED AT BIRTH
PREVIOUSLY ON… | Bay finally came to her senses about her bad seed pal Zarra and shared a sweet moment with ex-boyfriend Emmett. Daphne wasn’t as lucky and got her heart broken by Chef Jeff. Elsewhere, Angelo was awarded millions in the lawsuit against the hospital – and a pregnant woman promptly came looking for him. Uh-oh!
COMING UP NEXT | Here’s a shocker: "Weirdly enough, Bay’s not the rebellious one this [season] at all!" reveals her portrayer Vanessa Marano. "She’s studying. She’s listening to her parents. She’s being a good kid." And for all her well-intentioned efforts, she’ll be rewarded with… a cheating accusation! The scandal results in a big shake-up for Bay that brings her into contact with some new friends not of the street artist variety. In her love life, however, things have not changed too much. "She’s forgiven Emmett, which is nice," says the actress. "But she wants to be friends. She’s not ready to be whatever they were again, and he is ready." And what about Angelo’s baby mama? "I wouldn’t worry about that," hints Marano. But is the kid even his? "I can’t tell you that! But I will say this – Angelo clearly likes taking paternity tests."
RETURN DATE | Monday, Jan. 7 at 8/7c (ABC Family)
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
PREVIOUSLY ON… | After learning about Tyler’s rebellion, Klaus slaughtered all 12 hybrids and drowned Mrs. Lockwood in retaliation. Elsewhere, Damon set Elena free (kind of), April uncovered the staked Rebekah, and Bonnie, Damon and Professor Shane attempted to get Jeremy past his little "I want to kill my vampire sister" problem.
COMING UP NEXT | Tyler will be reeling from the loss of his last remaining family member by "keeping to himself, refusing to show his emotions and stewing in his own grief and anger, which is making it difficult to help him," teases executive producer Julie Plec. Despite Klaus’ terrible doings, the EP "wouldn't say it's the last we've seen of a connection between" the Original and Tyler’s girl Caroline. Though, "It's the last that she's going to want a connection between them." On the Damon/Elena front, he picked his words carefully and told Elena to go home, not to never think of him again, so expect "lots of sad longing…between the two." Meanwhile, neither April nor Rebekah will take lightly to being lied to or betrayed. (The latter, in particular, will seek revenge against Stefan.) And Jeremy gets an unexpected vampire hunter mentor in Damon!
RETURN DATE | Thursday, Jan. 17 at 8/7c (The CW)
THE WALKING DEAD
PREVIOUSLY ON… | During our heroes' assault on Woodbury, Michonne re-killed Penny and gouged out one of the Governor's beady eyes. Oscar was fatally wounded, Glenn and Maggie were rescued, and Rick — his mental state growing ever iffier — saw a vision of Shane. Plus, Merle at last was reunited with Daryl. But, since he'd just been exposed to the Governor as a liar, it was only for the brothers' executions! Meanwhile, back at the prison, Axel started sniffing around Beth, and Carl locked up newcomer Tyreese and his band of survivors. Won't that be a surprise when Rick gets home!
COMING UP NEXT | The “death” of his daughter will unleash an even bigger, badder Governor. “We haven't seen him activated to the extent that he's going to be activated in the back half of the season,” shares exec producer Robert Kirkman. “He’s going to be much more engaged and a little bit more aware of the threat that the prison represents. He’s going to be on the warpath.” Luckily, he’s facing a weakening enemy in Rick. “He's a person who's bearing the weight of everyone's survival on his shoulders, and I think that's become a little bit unbearable,” says Kirkman. “He’s certainly spiraling out of control. And now he’s starting to see [dead people]. It’s definitely a real problem.”
RETURN DATE | Sunday, February 10 at 9/8c (AMC)
PREVIOUSLY ON… | After Peter ran a DNA test on Sam’s (Treat Williams) blood, Neal discovered that Ellen’s friend was really his father, James.
COMING UP NEXT | The father/son reunion won’t be a pretty one. "[Neal is] pretty pissed off, partly because James has been essentially lying to him since he showed up," executive producer Jeff Eastin notes. "For Neal, that’s a real hard thing to reconcile." James also brings with him danger as there are "bad people out there" who want to get to the evidence that would clear Neal’s pop first. Meanwhile, a shake-up at the FBI forces Peter to get in touch with his morally gray Caffrey-esque side in order to "save himself, save his career [and] save Neal." And lest you think we forgot about romance – Neal is a charmer, after all – Sara returns for three episodes, during which her relationship with the con man gets "pretty interesting."
RETURN DATE | Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 10/9c (USA Network)