How Nashville's Series Finale Brought Back Connie Britton

Nashville Rayna Connie Britton
(Image credit: CMT)

Spoilers ahead for Nashville's series finale.

Nashville fans were left devastated when lead character Rayna Jaymes was killed off in what turned out to be the series' penultimate season. While Rayna has been gone from the small screen, her portrayer has been super busy. Since leaving the show, actress Connie Britton starred on several shows, including Ryan Murphy's 9-1-1 and Showtime's SMILF. Considering her busy schedule, how on earth did Nashville get Britton back for the pivotal send-off? Nashville's creator Callie Khouri explained, saying:

We made it happen. Obviously Connie was working on another show, 9-1-1, and working on some other stuff too, her son was on spring break, and we just had to figure out how to get it on the day that she could be there. She literally had one day that she could do it. So we just moved everything around in the schedule to make that happen, because it was too important. I was so sure that to finish the show without her would leave on such a wrong note, that it was just impossible. And I think she, and everyone in the cast, felt that. We all felt like she needed to be there. It would just be some horrible injustice not to get to have that moment with everybody, and she really wanted it, and I think she was really glad she came, Everybody got to hug and kiss on each other, and it was just like old home week., It was really, really beautiful.

In the end, it all worked out. Thank goodness for schedule shuffling! Many fans will certainly appreciate Nashville creator Callie Khouri's sentiments regarding the show closing out without Rayna. As she told Deadline, it would have been wrong, especially for fans, considering that Rayna was one of the original forces of the series. Gone but not forgotten was certainly something Nashville found a way to present in a meaningful way.

In the lead-up to Nashville taking its final bow, fans were left to wonder if the show would give a nod to its one-time co-lead. Well, it turns out Nashville did just that, courtesy of Deacon flashing back in time to his wedding night with Rayna. The moment also provided the impetus for Deacon to take a huge step forward in his relationship with his father. And that was not Connie Britton's only scene during the Nashville finale.

In the finale, Nashville made a bold move as Deacon's father joined him on stage for a song. As many fan favorites among the living went on to join him, so did Connie Britton. No, it was not the ghost of Rayna Jaymes. It was the beginning of a scene that ultimately led to Nashville creator Callie Khouri also coming on stage as the scroll "Celebrating 6 Wonderful Years" came on-screen, thus breaking the fourth-wall once and for all.

As important as it was for fans to see Rayna on Nashville one last time, it took some convincing given the circumstances of her deadly exit. Connie Britton shared an intriguing tidbit behind her return for the series finale to TVLine. If you were against Rayna Jaymes making her series finale appearance as a ghost, you were not alone. As it turns out, so was Connie Britton. Speaking about her initial hesitation regarding a return for the series finale, Britton said:

I'll admit: When they first called me to do it, I was a little against it. Because I thought, 'Rayna's gone. And I don't like the idea of having her come back as a ghost. Then she told me about the last moment on the Ryman stage, and I loved the idea of that. So we made it happen,

When it all came down to it, all it took was a little flashback magic and breaking the fourth-wall mystique to give Nashville a send-off that culminated six seasons. And it all circumvented a potentially dreadful ghost Rayna scenario that could have been disastrous and slightly controversial. The flashback also created forward motion in Deacon's relationship with his father, a poetic symmetry a songwriter could appreciate.

For new television shows coming around the bend, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.