While viewers of The Young and the Restless might have seen it coming, Victoria, Sharon, and Nikki were surprised this week with the storyline twist that J.T. Hellstrom is alive and kicking -- meaning Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), Sharon (Sharon Case), and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) will presumably be saved from spending their lives in prison for his murder. However, the character's "return from the dead" has (thus far) not undone his shocking abusive behavior toward his ex-wife, Victoria -- and that's something that is difficult for both fans and J.T.'s portrayer, Thad Luckinbill, to swallow.
Luckinbill recently spoke with TV Insider and reveals that he was extremely hesitant to reprise his alter ego when asked to play Y&R's spousal abuse storyline at the end of 2017.
"It wasn't without a lot of thought that went into it on my end. I'm overly protective of J.T., to a fault," the actor says. "When Mal [Young, then-executive producer/head writer] came to me with the idea [of J.T. being an abuser], I had to really think about it because it was definitely out there. I always miss being at Y&R. I have strong friendships there. It's like a family or a high school class. I love the people and the place. Even though I'm doing something different now, the possibility of coming back and revisiting the show seemed exciting. But I had to be careful and think it through in regards to what we were saying with the character and what we were doing with it."
In the end, Luckinbill decided to trust the powers that be when it came to the long-term plan for the character he originated in 1999. And he reveals that what's to come will definitely keep viewers glued to their seats.
"I had to go with some of it on faith in regards to where I thought the story was going and what we could do with it as opposed to knowing everything up front," he explains. "I relied on the good faith we created with the character over the years in terms of his integrity and knowing my strengths as an actor... Even in this next round of me being there, it's really clever what Josh [Griffith, head writer] has come up with. You trust the process. I know Y&R works because they've been doing it for over 45 years. You let go. It'll be fun. It may not be exactly what I expect or it may be more than I expect."
For more from Luckinbill on his return as Y&R's J.T. Hellstrom, check out TV Insider's full interview with the actor here.
What do you think about the storyline twist revealing that J.T. is alive? What do you hope the writers have penned for the weeks and months ahead? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.