Kiefer Sutherland, Geena Davis, Damon Wayans return to TV this fall



The fall TV schedule includes “The Exorcist” and “Lethal Weapon,” but reboots aren’t the only source of nostalgia in the lineup. There are a number of actors returning to primetime this season, and some of their roles may surprise you.

Kiefer Sutherland

Sutherland has been focusing on his budding country music career lately, but he’s especially well-known for his role as Jack Bauer in Fox’s spy thriller “24.” Sutherland is an executive producer on Fox’s upcoming spinoff “24: Legacy,” slated to premiere after the Super Bowl.

Where you’ll see him this fall: ABC’s “Designated Survivor.” Sutherland stars as Tom Kirkman, a low-ranking cabinet member who is appointed president following an attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Also in “Designated Survivor” is Kal Penn, who famously took a hiatus from acting to work for the Obama administration and has an apt role as a White House speechwriter (he’s also a consultant on the show). Natascha McElhone, whose last major TV series role was in Showtime’s “Californication,” plays Kirkman’s wife, Alex.

Maggie Q rebounds from Fox’s critically panned procedural “Stalker” to play an FBI agent, while Italia Ricci (last seen as the lead in ABC Family’s abruptly cancelled drama “Chasing Life” and in a recurring role on “Supergirl”) stars as Kirkman’s chief of staff. The show airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Geena Davis

Davis won an Oscar for her supporting performance the 1988 film “The Accidental Tourist” and received a best actress nod a few years later for “Thelma and Louise.” On television, she’s best known as Mackenzie Allan, the (fictional) first female president in the ABC drama “Commander in Chief.” She won a Golden Globe for the role in 2006 ahead of the show’s cancellation later that year. Her 2014 stint on “Grey’s Anatomy” marked her first substantial television role since “Commander in Chief.”

Where you’ll see her this fall: “The Exorcist” on Fox. Davis plays Angela Rance, a mother who consults her priest about a menacing presence that seems to be lurking in her family’s home following her eldest daughter’s return from college.

Alan Ruck, best known as Ferris Bueller’s put-upon best friend Cameron Frye in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” plays her husband, Henry, who is recovering from a traumatic injury. The show airs Fridays at 8 p.m.

Damon Wayans

Wayans had a brief stint on “Saturday Night Live” in 1985 before getting fired, but his career took off when he created the sketch comedy show “In Living Color” with his brother, Keenan. After film roles, he co-created the ABC sitcom “My Wife and Kids,” which ended in May 2005.

Where you’ll see him this fall: Fox’s “Lethal Weapon.” Wayans plays Detective Roger Murtaugh (a role originated by Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” film series) opposite Clayne Crawford’s Detective Martin Riggs. The show airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Archie Panjabi

Panjabi is remembered warmly for her Emmy-winning role as poker-faced investigator Kalinda Sharma on the CBS drama “The Good Wife,” which ended its seven-season run in May. Panjabi left the show at the end of Season 6 amid rumors of a rift with the show’s star Julianna Margulies.

Where you’ll see her this fall: NBC’s “Blindspot,” which returns for its second season. Panjabi’s character, Nas Kamal, leads a secret department within the National Security Agency, and promos for the season premiere depict her aggressively questioning the show’s mysterious protagonist, Jane Doe. The show airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Mandy Moore

The former teen pop star’s small screen credits include playing a version of herself on HBO’s “Entourage” and brief arcs on “Scrubs” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” She had a more prominent role in Fox’s short-lived teen hospital drama “Red Band Society,” which was canceled in early 2015 before it had completed its first season.

Where you’ll see her this fall: NBC’s ensemble dramedy “This is Us.” Promos for the series are intentionally vague, but we know that Moore’s character, Rebecca, and her husband, Jack, are about to become parents.

Jack is played by Milo Ventimiglia of “Heroes” and “Gilmore Girls” fame. Ventimiglia will also reprise his role as Jess Mariano in Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” alongside Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham. The four-part miniseries will be available to stream on Nov. 25. The show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Piper Perabo

The “Coyote Ugly” actress is known for her lead role in USA’s “Covert Affairs,” which ended its five-season run in 2014 with a cliffhanger ending that was left unresolved when USA declined to renew the show.

Where you’ll see her this fall: ABC’s “Notorious.” Perabo stars as a TV news producer whose success is built on an alliance with a camera-friendly defense attorney played by Daniel Sunjata. The characters are based on a real-life friendship between criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker. The show airs Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Bianca Lawson

Lawson, 37, holds the distinction of having been able to play teenagers on television for more than two decades — early credits include “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” and “Dawson’s Creek,” while more recent roles have landed the actress on “Pretty Little Liars,” “Teen Wolf” and “The Vampire Diaries.” (In an important bit of pop culture trivia, she also happens to be Beyoncé’s stepsister.)

Where you’ll see her this fall: “Queen Sugar,” which premiered earlier this month on OWN. Lawson plays Darla, a recovering addict and mother to a 6-year-old son. The show also stars Rutina Wesley, best known as Tara Thornton HBO’s “True Blood.” Wesley followed up her breakout role with a stint on “Hannibal” before NBC canceled the show last year.


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