'This Is Us' Star Justin Hartley Admits to Fearing for His Character's Death

Justin Hartley's Kevin Pearson has been through a lot in just two seasons of This Is Us, which led the actor to fear for his character's life.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Saturday, Hartley said season three will show fans that Kevin could still turn back to his vices as he still grieves from the death of his father, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia).

"Well he’s fresh from that. He’s in recovery," Hartley said of Kevin, who fans have watched struggle through an addiction to pain medication. “He’s in remission but he’s barely there. I think he’s got one foot in the door, but the other one’s on a banana peel, maybe.”

The only member of the Big Three we know survive into the future is Sterling K. Brown's Randall, who has been featured in flash-forward scenes. Kevin and Kate (Chrissy Metz) have not had their own flash-forwards yet. So, of course, Hartley is worried about Kevin dying.

“I’m not going to — listen, I’m not too cool for school. I’m going to tell you the truth, I mean, 'worry' is a strong word," Hartley told ET. "I don’t worry about it but I do think about it when people bring it up. [Kevin] was on very thin ice there last season so we’ll see what happens.”

Even though Kevin has been missing in flash-forward scenes, he does play an important role in season three. He is heading to Vietnam to learn more about his father's experiences during the war.

"He's going there — it's a healing thing for him — so he's going to get a lot of information, some stuff that he didn't know and didn't expect," Hartley told Entertainment Weekly last month about Kevin's trip overseas. "And it's going to jar a few things."

Hartley also said the This Is Us cast has a surprise in store for the Emmys on Monday. The series is the only broadcast drama up for Outstanding Drama Series, and Brown has a shot to repeat as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama.

"I can tell you that I know what it is. I can tell you that it’s very, very, very cool," Hartley told ET of the Emmys surprise. “Very well-deserved. It’s special, it’s going to be fun, and I think everyone will enjoy it, but I think especially — internally we’ll enjoy it as a cast. It’s amazing! It’s awesome!”

It will make everyone "stand up and cheer," Hartley added.

The first episode of season three is titled "Ave Maria" and, like the previous two season premieres, takes place on the Big Three's birthday. Viewers can expect to see flashback scenes of Jack and Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) first date, while Randall and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) continue to help their foster child, Deja (Lryic Ross).


This Is Us season three kicks off at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 25 on NBC.

Photo credit: NBC