Nearing its final stretch of episodes for its inaugural revival season, Will & Grace isn't about to fall behind on giving fans big surprises for its last batch of episodes, and the latest announcement involves both a big return and an unexpected shake-up. Grace's communication-lite father Martin Adler is returning for a Season 9 episode, but instead of Alan Arkin reprising the role, audiences will see comedian Robert Klein once again playing Debra Messing's TV dad. Here's the actress sharing the news.
In an interesting and possibly disappointing-to-some twist, Will & Grace will have to give Grace's father a new face for his return in an upcoming episode, with Debra Messing relaying Alan Arkin's busy schedule kept him from returning to the NBC sitcom for a second round of family fun. It seems like Will & Grace's creative team could have easily just pushed Martin's appearance until next season in order to allow for Alan Arkin to possibly find a hole in his schedule to fit a Will & Grace episode shoot, but perhaps that angle was also looked into. Arkin might just be really busy and Grace might just really need her dad soon.
In any case, we won't complain about getting Robert Klein back on TV, even if it's only for whatever episode he's filming. As Debra Messing hinted at in her post, Klein played Leo Diamond across two seasons of Mysteries of Laura, with Leo being the father of Messing's Laura Diamond. It's definitely not the most predictable way for the two celebs to reconnect on NBC, but we're hoping for big laughs and possibly a heartfelt moment or two. And if Klein's leg can't stop shaking the whole time, so be it.
Martin Adler first appeared on Will & Grace during Season 7's "It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World," which aired in 2005. In the episode, Grace tried rebuilding her relationship with her dad after getting stuck alone with him during his birthday, and Martin proved himself a hard nut to crack. Though not a monster in any way, Martin is the kind of guy who would rather turn every situation into a joke, regardless of the emotional circumstances. The episode ended with the two on good terms, so hopefully we'll get to see more kinship whenever Robert Klein takes over.
During its first year back on NBC, Will & Grace has brought back tons of characters and former guest stars that fans were clamoring for, and we can also celebrate Blythe Danner returning as Will's mother Marilyn. From Bobby Cannavale's Vince to Harry Connick Jr.'s Leo to Minnie Driver's Lorraine and then some, it's been a round robin of excellent appearances. The biggest absentee star has been now-retired actress Shelley Morrison, whose Rosario was given a pretty touching farewell within the show.
It's not clear when Robert Klein will make his Will & Grace debut, but it'll be coming soon, since the revived hit only has six episodes left. Find it every Thursday night on NBC at 9:00 p.m. ET. And to see when other revived classics, as well as brand-new series, are hitting primetime soon, check out our midseason premiere schedule.