When The Affair returns for its fifth and final season next year, there may just be not one, but two, familiar faces missing from the good-looking cast of characters. According to Entertainment Tonight, which was first to report the news, Joshua Jackson, who plays Cole Lockhart on the popular Showtime series, may not be returning for the upcoming season.
Or if he does return, a source told ET, “it would only be for one episode.”
The reasons for Jackson’s possible absence run a wide gamut, from the logistical (“Josh was only contracted for a couple of seasons,” one source told People) to the more cryptic (a source told ET that Jackson “left on very distinct terms” and does not have any intentions to return to the series).
Regardless, Ruth Wilson’s decision to leave the show earlier this year (she played Alison Lockhart, Cole’s primary love interest) likely has much to do with Jackson’s precarious will-he-won’t-he limbo status on the series. At the end of season 4, Alison had drowned in what looked to be an apparent suicide; off-screen, Wilson confirmed to Gayle King that the rumors were true: she had indeed wanted to leave the show.
“I’m not allowed to talk about why,” she told King. She later added further speculation about her departure in an interview with the New York Times, in which she explained that her decision to leave wasn’t “about pay parity, and it wasn’t about other jobs. But I’m not really allowed to talk about it.”
Representation for Jackson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Showtime did not have a comment about the upcoming season and Jackson’s role in it.
One thing is for sure, however: Season 5 of the series will likely fill in a lot of blanks for fans, revealing what exactly happened between Alison’s heartfelt chat with Helen (Maura Tierney) and her eventual, tragic death.