What's breaking in Eureka: A new romance, some old friends, a big threat

When SCI FI's Eureka returns for the second half of its third season next week, it will immediately deal with the cliffhanger of Sheriff Carter's (Colin Ferguson) firing. (Spoilers ahead!)

Sheriff Andy, a billion-dollar robot, replaces him as Carter looks for a new job. Andy lasts only one episode, but series co-creator and writer/producer Jaime Paglia already wants him back.

"I would like to have Sheriff Andy make a return to the show," Paglia told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. "He very nearly [returns] in the season finale, but I would definitely say that, looking forward optimistically to season four, I think that he would be great to have come back, on at least some kind of recurring basis."

The finale that will close the third season will deal with everything from fire to water to human emotion, according to star Colin Ferguson. Paglia, who wrote the season finale, also had his hands full. "For me as a writer, that was probably one of the most gratifying to write," Paglia said. "It was a really big challenge, I think, from the story standpoint. But once we wrap our heads around what that was and then, knowing what the character storylines are going to be, those are the great ones."

Before that, expect to see the town of Eureka deal with ghosts and a high-tech baby shower. Paglia wanted to have some corporate synergy with the Ghost Hunters of the SCI FI reality series showing up to help Sheriff Carter, but that did not work out. "As I recall, when we were in the exploratory phases, we just couldn't get the schedules to work out," Paglia said. "In [the] episode that actually introduces the Tess Fontana character, Jaime Ray Newman's character, to the show, it is a paranormal ghost episode."

Fontana has eyes for Carter. Fans hoping that he and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) will finally hook up now that Stark (Ed Quinn) is dead will have to deal with an all-new romantic triangle. "We wanted to bring in a new love interest for Carter and sort of change the dynamic," Paglia said. "We traditionally have had, with Nathan Stark's presence, the two alpha males battling over the alpha female. With Stark's passing, we wanted to bring in a new character, which we did with bringing in actress Jaime Ray Newman, playing Tess Fontana, who has a history with Allison. They're old friends, but that also gets a little tense when she and Carter start to develop a connection, a romantic connection."

Allison is still pregnant with Stark's child as the new run of 10 episodes begins. Before the season wraps, she'll have a baby shower, Eureka style. Thania St. John wrote the episode in which the town scientists create the ultimate baby gifts.

"What does a super-absorbent diaper or a baby bottle or a bib look like when it's been created at Global Dynamics?" Paglia asked. "I think those are some of my very favorite ideas. In particular, there's an aspect of that show that ultimately it was very important that ties into the emotional through-line of the episode for Carter and Allison in a way that is the backbone of the episode."

With all these individual ideas, it may seem like a collection of 10 stand-alone episodes. Paglia assured fans that there is still another overarching conflict that carries through until the finale. The Big Bad of season three is not just a "bad guy," and it relates to the town history.

"So instead if it being necessarily a person, it's a thing," Paglia said. "You don't know what it is, and the question is, is it from out there? Is it man-made? But it's coming towards Eureka, and we have to deal with it. That allows us to bring in some new characters and bring back some old characters that we haven't had a chance to see in a while. I think that was also a lot of fun for all of us: to be able to get back some of the people that we've been missing for a little while."

Could it be Olivia D'abo? Frances Fisher? Matt Frewer? "I don't want to spoil it," Paglia said. "I can't spoil it, but I can tell you that there are two characters who have been a major part of our series who will be making reappearances, as well as Lexi Carter is coming back, who's played by Ever Carradine. She's back for a couple episodes, but, yes, we do have two favorites, I think, who are making a reappearance. And Billy Campbell: We got Billy Campbell, too."

One character who is definitely not coming back, no matter how much fans cry, is Nathan Stark. "I knew the question was coming," Paglia said. "I don't want to tease fans and disappoint them. He will not be back in these back 10 episodes."

Eureka returns on July 10 in its new Friday timeslot, 9 p.m. ET/PT, on SCI FI.

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