TVLine reports that Eric Close will not be a regular cast member in the upcoming fourth season of Nashville. The last we saw of Close’s Mayor Teddy Conrad, he was led away in handcuffs on TV after getting trapped in a convoluted plot of classic Mayor Teddy proportions (finally going out on a date, finding out she was an escort, continuing to see her anyway, embezzling money to pay her off, getting caught talking on a wire about the embezzlement, etc., etc.).
The loss of Mayor Teddy will undoubtedly be a relief to the rest of Nashville, as TVLine reports that the show aims to focus more “squarely on the music business,” which has always been its strongest suit. Although in the pilot, Nashville attempted to offer other plots about the scandalous side of the city’s local politics, most of the characters involved in those storylines (Powers Boothe’s Lamar, Robert Wisdom’s Coleman, Judith Hoag’s Tandy, Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s Peggy) have since been killed off or left town. As Nashville’s flagship mayor, Close-as-Conrad did very little in these past few seasons outside of wincing while talking on the phone, although the city did appear to put on a great many music festivals and elaborate benefits.
Since Teddy is also the ex-husband to series star Rayna James, biological father to Daphne, and the father that Maddie grew up with, his complete disappearance from the series would be a bit abrupt: “A source tells TVLine that there’s a very good chance Close will be back as a guest star.” Visiting dad in prison! These country songs just write themselves.
Moving on (rather quickly, as you might expect), Close will reprise his role of lawyer Travis Tanner for an episode in the Suits’ upcoming fifth season.