Actress Lyric Ross, who plays Deja on the NBC family drama, has been promoted to series regular for the upcoming third season, ET has learned.
Ross was introduced in season two as Randall and Beth Pearson's foster child, while her mother was incarcerated. She appeared in nine episodes, her last being the sophomore finale, in which Deja was seen smashing the Pearsons' car window with a bat following Kate and Toby's wedding.
Ross' promotion means she'll be joining a core ensemble that includes Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan, Jon Huertas, Eris Baker, Faithe Herman and newly promoted regular Melanie Liburd, who plays Beth's cool cousin and Kevin's new girlfriend, Zoe. The new season will also introduce the long-awaited arrival of Jack's late brother, Nicky, played by Michael Angarano.
Ross, a relative newcomer to film and TV, previously appeared in USA Network's Sirens and NBC's Chicago Fire, as well as the indie film Rogers Park and the upcoming Canal Street, where she portrays the daughter of a Chicago prosecutor (played by Mekhi Phifer).
Earlier this month, This Is Us producers hinted that in the aftermath of Jack's death mystery now solved, they're looking to approach the new season with a more hopeful tone.
“We felt like at the end of season two, our family had grieved and processed the loss of Jack on a deeper level than they ever had before,” co-showrunner Elizabeth Berger shared during the Drama Showrunners panel at the Television Critics Association press tour. “This is a very hopeful season and a season about true new beginnings for everybody.”
Co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker shared that they’re going to be breaking the rules a little with the format.
“A typical episode of This Is Us has three sibling storylines and then a past [storyline], and then every now and then we’ll devote one solely to one character. But this season, we’re really throwing that out the window and saying all bets are off,” he told a small group of reporters following the panel. “So maybe we’ll do an episode where every act is a different time. Maybe we’ll have something that jumps five timelines in an episode. We’re pushing the limits of what people can comprehend.”
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.