Beth Maitland (aka Traci Abbott) Returns to The Young and the Restless

Michael Logan
The Young and the Restles
© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com

Everybody calm down. Traci Abbott is in the house! That much-missed fan fave Beth Maitland returns to CBS’s The Young and the Restless November 17 to kick some ass—with loving kindness, of course.

“Traci has her bucket, her mop and her disinfectant and she’s ready to clean up the mess created by her rich, entitled, ridiculously emotional siblings who overreact to everything,” Maitland sayswith a laugh. “She’s here to be peacemaker.” Not easy, considering one Abbott brother was recently caught bedding the other brother’s wife. But, Maitland notes, “It’s time to knock off the crap and be a family. These people need to sort things out and love each other, and Traci is the person to make it happen.”

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Seemingly the only one in Genoa City with a lick o’ common sense, bestselling author Traci is the kind of sage, no-baloney truth teller that were once quite common in soaps—think All My Children’s Mona, Days of Our Lives’ Alice and Guiding Light’s Bert—but are now very nearly passé.

“The tides of daytime keep changing,” says Maitland. “We go through periods where it’s all about explosions and times where all they want are young people in bathing suits. I’m just so grateful that every once in a while the soaps swing back to legacy characters and family and relationships. The term ‘moral compass’ is overused completely, but a show needs that grandma or that aunt who represents goodness and hope and heart.”

A good sign we may be seeing lots more of Maitland on Y&R: She’ll be prominently featured on December 7 in the first, eagerly awaited script from new head writer Sally Sussman.

“Traci was always the relatable one on Y&R,” Maitland reminds us. “She was never the glamour girl, never the temptress. She was always a little bit odd and out of place from the very beginning—and that was 34 years ago. I love that. When I’m out running around, people will stop me and ask: ‘Uh…don’t I know you?’ or ‘Where did you go to high school?’ or ‘Did you used to babysit my kids?’ They feel a connection but never think it’s from television.”

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Maitland, who won Y&R’s very first acting Emmy back in 1985, will guest on the January 25 episode of CBS’s Criminal Minds and is also part of the starry cast (Laurence Fishburne, Larenz Tate, Brittany Snow, Tracee Ellis Ross) of the upcoming podcast series Bronzeville, where she plays five different roles. But Y&R will always be home. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t get that call to come back for the holidays,” Maitland says. “It’s the highlight of my year.” Ours too.