'This Is Us' Star Justin Hartley Teases a 'Busy' Rest of the Season & Nicky Revelations

Ingela Ratledge
Preview Maarten de Boer/NBC

Poor Kevin. On This Is Us's third season of family drama, the former sitcom star (Justin Hartley), now a recovering addict and soul searcher, has been investigating his late father's tour of duty in Vietnam.

Why did Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) refuse to discuss his war days, and how did his soldier brother, Nicky (played in flashbacks by Michael Angarano), die over there? But rather than get answers to his burning questions, Kevin has discovered that, well, he doesn't know Jack.

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From resolution for Beth and Randall (and his career in politics) to more of present-day Uncle Nicky.

Neither do the rest of us. Turns out Jack kept a huge secret regarding Nicky — who viewers learned was alive, if not exactly well, in last November's fall finale — from his family.

"People have this idea of Jack and how honest he was," Hartley says. "It was a shock to find out he'd been lying, and it's going to be interesting to figure out why and what the heck happened."

Needless to say, the news about Uncle Nicky is going to be tough on the Pearson clan — including mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Kevin's siblings, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kate (Chrissy Metz). (The story will unspool in the January 22 episode and continue into the following week, with Griffin Dunne stepping into the role of Nicky.)

While they'll each react in their own ways, Kevin will be hit the hardest. "He's been on this quest, only to realize that this person he loved was leading a false life," Hartley says. "Where is he supposed to put that disappointment when his father isn't here [to explain]?"

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The actor is returning to NBC, and will debut in Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) backstory episode.

The potential for fallout is especially worrisome given Kevin's fragile grasp on sobriety and tenuous romance with free-spirited Zoe (Melanie Liburd). "Kevin thinks he's stronger than he is, but he's always at the doorstep of disaster," Hartley cautions. "It's going to be a busy second half of the season!"

This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC

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