Tracker: Justin Hartley Returns to Network TV with CBS' New Series

Justin Hartley is back on network TV with the premiere of CBS' Tracker, a procedural series following the adventures of lone-wolf survivalist Colter Shaw as he solves mysteries and confronts his own family issues. The show, based on the book The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver, departs from the source material while maintaining the essence of the character. In an interview with Deadline, Hartley talks about his involvement in pitching the show, his experience playing a different character, and the potential for future seasons.


The Pitch and Creative Control

Justin Hartley reveals that he was involved in pitching the show, along with director and producer Ken Olin. They had been working together on This Is Us and wanted to continue collaborating. After finding the book The Never Game and loving the character of Colter Shaw, they pitched the idea to 20th, Hartley's production company. CBS loved the idea and they were given the chance to make the show. Hartley expresses his pride in the unique and entertaining series they have created.

Hartley explains that in addition to acting, he was attracted to the opportunity to be an executive producer and have creative input and control. He enjoys learning new things and sees this show as a chance to do so under the guidance of Ken Olin. He appreciates the opportunity to play a different character from Kevin in This Is Us and describes it as an actor's dream to take on a role that is completely different.

While the series is based on a book, Hartley explains that they have created their own stories and only taken the character from the source material. They have made adjustments to the character to suit the medium of television, such as finding a creative way to handle his inner dialogue and thoughts. However, the character's backstory and sensibilities remain intact.

Colter Shaw's Journey and Family Drama

Hartley reflects on his experience playing Colter Shaw and describes it as absolutely wonderful. He loved playing Kevin in This Is Us, but finds it exciting and fulfilling to take on a role that is so different. He discusses how Colter's character arc in Tracker is a new and different journey from Kevin's in This Is Us, and he appreciates the opportunity to explore other aspects of storytelling and character development.

The show hints at Colter's fractured family and his brother trying to contact him, but the reasons behind it are not initially revealed. Hartley teases that this season will delve into Colter's questions about his childhood and family, and how new information challenges his assumptions. He promises answers and a rewarding payoff for viewers.

Looking ahead, Hartley shares his vision for the series and potential future seasons. He wants to see Colter face situations where he may be in over his head, offering suspense and fear for the audience. He also emphasizes the need for Colter to find answers and peace with his past and his family, indicating that there is much more to explore in future storylines.

Premiere and the Road to Success

Hartley expresses his pride and excitement that Tracker is premiering after the Super Bowl, calling it a wonderful feeling. He acknowledges the challenges they faced during the show's production, including the pandemic, a writers strike, and an actors strike. Despite these obstacles, the show thrived and now has the coveted post-Super Bowl spot. Hartley reflects on his second Super Bowl experience and appreciates the journey it took to reach this point.

In conclusion, Hartley highlights the potential longevity of the series. If viewers enjoy watching the show, there are still many stories to tell in future seasons. He hints at uncovering even bigger mysteries and continuing to explore Colter's personal and familial journey. Overall, Hartley is proud of what they have created and looks forward to audience reception.