Justin Hartley Jokes About Shirtless Scenes in 'Tracker,' Reveals a 'This Is Us' Connection (Exclusive)

ET is exclusively in Vancouver on the set of the new CBS drama, which premieres right after Super Bowl LVIII.

Justin Hartley reveals his chiseled body less than five minutes into his new CBS drama, Tracker. No complaints here. But inquiring minds want to know if the 47-year-old actor -- known for his heart-melting piercing eyes as much as he is for his washboard abs and Adonis-like physique -- planned it that way.

The short answer? No. But such is the life of Colter Shaw (Hartley), a lone-wolf survivalist who roams the country and has a knack for tracking down targets in an effort to help both private citizens and law enforcement solve all manner of mysteries while contending with his own fractured family. 

Hartley's not just the star of this new CBS drama. He's also an executive producer, and ET's Deidre Behar spoke with Hartley in Vancouver on the set of Tracker to find out, among other things, if offering a shirtless scene so quickly into the pilot episode -- 4 minutes, 52 seconds, to be exact -- was merely another tease to draw in the viewer and keep them glued to the tube.

"Well, being executive producer, I get to delay that," Hartley quipped. "They wanted it at 4.3 seconds. And so, I was able to eke out another four and a half minutes. I guess that's how powerful I am."

He added, "No, that's not by design. I think it's just sort of [how] he lives, right? He showers here. He sleeps here. He changes his clothes here, and he eats here. So, we see a lot of his life happen in here."


Here being the Airstream Hartley's character travels and lives in to hunt down his targets. The new series, slated to premiere immediately following Super Bowl LVIII, is based on the best-selling Jeffery Deaver novel The Never Game, and it also stars Robin Weigert, Abby McEnany, Eric Graise, Fiona Rene and Mary McDonnell.

Tracker marks Hartley's return to TV as a series regular after starring as Kevin Pearson on the NBC drama This Is Us for six seasons, which aired its last episode in January 2022. After wrapping This Is Us, Hartley and his wife, Sofia Pernas, made a guest star appearance on Quantum Leap.

That the series will premiere immediately after the Super Bowl signals CBS' strong faith in the show becoming a major hit. And that this is Hartley's next major project following the monumental success of This Is Us could also mean Hartley's banking on the same thing. But as of right now, Hartley's not putting a time limit on how long he sees himself playing Colter Shaw.

"I'm having a blast right now because the show is so interesting. It's gripping. It's entertaining. It's thrilling. It's relevant," he tells ET. "And as long as we can do all of that and keep doing all of that then, you know, I don't have a time limit on something like that. I'm having such a good time."

For what it's worth, This Is Us also aired right after the Super Bowl in 2018. The episode was seen by nearly 27 million viewers, before the show went on to become a cultural hit. Speaking of This Is Us, Hartley joked with ET earlier this month about a possible This Is Us reunion on Tracker when he suggested the possibility of a very meta crossover episode.

"Maybe we could find out [my character's] such a good tracker, maybe he finds Jack [Pearson]," Hartley quipped, referring to the This Is Us character played by Milo Ventimiglia. "Like [maybe] he never died, something like that?"


But in all seriousness, Hartley appears to be coming for his co-star and TV mom, Mandy Moore.

"Mandy, I'm gonna pitch it to you first. I'm not gonna do it here on TV. I'll call you personally because I still have your number," Hartley said. "And I'm gonna pitch it to you and it'll be more than a day ... we're gonna keep you here for a bit."

Whether that pans out remains to be seen, but Hartley says there's at least one This Is Us connection this season, as Jon Huertas (who played Jack's best friend and Rebecca Pearson's second husband, Miguel Rivas) is directing one episode.

"So, that will be my first This Is Us reunion on Tracker," Hartley said.

The series premiere of Tracker airs Feb. 11 right after the Super Bowl on CBS.