Nashville is about to meet the ultimate pot-stirrer.
On Thursday’s episode, titled “The Night Before (Life Goes On),” Big Little Lies star Jeffrey Nordling makes his debut on the country music drama as Brad Maitland, an egotistical and powerful Nashville record label owner who has a contentious history with his ex-wife, singer-songwriter Jessie Caine (Kaitlin Doubleday).
In ET’s exclusive sneak peek at Nordling’s introduction, it’s clear his character’s unexpected presence will ruffle feathers in the Music City, and cause trouble for Jessie and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten).
Describing Brad as “a bull in a china shop,” Nordling -- who played Laura Dern’s husband, Gordon, on Big Little Lies -- says his character “is a guy who takes over a room." “The temperature changes when he walks in. He’s a very successful musical producer and probably has the ego to match it,” the veteran actor tells ET.
Speaking more specifically to Brad’s difficult past with Jessie, Nordling teases that there’s conflict bubbling under the surface. “It’s not good,” he teases, adding that his three-episode arc this season is only the tip of the iceberg. “Without revealing too much, he’s someone who’s used to having the power and when the split happened, it was pretty acrimonious. It didn’t end well.”
In the clip, Jessie’s obvious discomfort with Brad raises red flags for Deacon, who may be facing yet another obstacle in his post-Rayna reality. “Deacon’s world is shaken already and in my mind, [Brad’s] there with the answers. They might not be the answers that he wants initially, but that’s the relationship -- ‘I got this, I can do this’ -- and whether or not he wants to go along is the question,” Nordling hints.
Though Nordling appears in only three episodes this season, he teases that there is a very distinct possibility he’ll be back for the 16-episode sixth season. “As far as I know, I am,” he says. “[Showrunner] Marshall [Herskovitz] says that he’s got a couple storylines that they’re toying with, so we’ll see what happens.”
“First of all, I’d be thrilled. Second of all, I just don’t know,” says Nordling, who also stars in Showtime's I'm Dying Up Here, of the likelihood of a Big Little Lies follow-up. “I’ve heard rumors. I’ve probably heard what you’ve heard. In a way, [director] Jean-Marc Vallee was quoted -- and I kind of agree -- ‘Look, all we can do at this point is disappoint people.’ It’s very difficult to capture lightning in a bottle twice."
"But having said that, if we could get the same team together, with David E. Kelley writing all the scripts and Jean-Marc directing and Liane Moriarty coming up with the storylines, it ain’t gonna be bad.”