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If you're a fan of Friday Night Lights who also happens to watch Parenthood, you may have noticed that Jason Katims has a tendency to bring actors from his previous series over to the current one. It's likely how we got Michael B. Jordan, Minka Kelley and Matt Lauria, among others. And soon we can add Jurnee Smollett, another FNL beauty who's been cast to play a role in the NBC drama series. Smollett is set for a recurring role in Friday Night Lights' approaching fifth season.
TVline posted the news, stating that Smollett will recur as Heather Hall, "a smart, feisty, up-and-coming political dynamo" who - SPOILER alert! - is hired by Kristina to be her campaign manager. Kristina's running for local office! There's plenty of potential for interesting plot developments there, especially if her obligations to the campaign conflict with her responsibilities to her family and particularly to Max, who's always needed a bit of extra attention. I'm also wondering if Heather Hall will turn out to be a friend to Kristina? Or could she pose some competition to her down the line? That's probably thinking a bit far ahead.
As mentioned, Smollett is a Friday Night Lights alum, having played Jess Merriweather in the series. If it's BBQ that you crave in Dillon, Jess was the girl to go to. In addition to managing the family business, Jess also looked after her three younger brothers and she lead the East Dillon Spirit Squad. Go Lions! More recently, we've seen Smollett fighting the good fight as pro-supernatural activist Nicole Wright on True Blood. She also appeared in the short-lived medical dramas Do No Harm and The Mob Doctor. And amidst her numerous small-screen roles, she toyed with infidelity in Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. The movie wasn't particularly great - a bit on the melodramatic side if you ask me - but Smollett carried the lead well. And she's pretty great in everything she's in, so I have no trouble seeing her fitting in well at Parenthood.
Smollett's casting follows word that fellow Friday Night Lights alum Matt Lauria would be returning to the series for Season 5. Lauria's character is involved with Amber in the series, while newcomers David Denman and Linda Walger are signed on for arcs involving Julia and Joel. Denman will play a volunteer and stay-at-home-Dad who connects with Julia, while Walger will have something to do with Joel's work situation and she says or does something that upsets Julia over her own situation as a full-time Mom. Ray Romano is also set to return for Season 5, which relates to Sarah's story.
Smollett's role fills in another blank in the series, related to another branch on the Braverman family - this one Kristina and Adam. Hopefully we'll hear some news about what's going on with Crosby and Jasmine.