Big Sky
BIG SKY: DEADLY TRAILS – “Do You Love An Apple” – It’s been a few months of relative peace in Helena, but all that’s about to change when Sunny Barnes and her family set up Sunny Day Excursions just outside of town. From the moment they arrive, things begin to go awry, with Cassie being called in to investigate a missing backpacker and the new sheriff in town, Beau, partnering up with Jenny to track down a murderer on the loose. A mountainous mystery begins to unravel for Cassie Dewell and Jenny Hoyt on the season premiere of “Big Sky: Deadly Trails,” WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Michael Moriatis) JENSEN ACKLES, KATHERYN WINNICK

Photo: EW

Big Sky returns. This time around, it includes Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles.

With the start of the fall TV season, it’s the perfect time to return to Helena, Montana and Duel and Hoyt’s private detective offices.

On Wednesday night, ABC’s Big Sky will officially release its third season at 10 p.m. Additionally, they got a new mystery alongside some flashy and fresh series regulars.

Currently renamed Big Sky: Deadly Trails, the third season chronicles the journey of policewoman Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), Beau Arlen (Ackles) – temporary sheriff, and Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) – a private investigator, as they dive into a group of new mysteries, most notably the case of a missing backpacker.

In the midst of their investigation, they meet Sunny Barnes (McEntire), the executive director of the family business for backcountry outfitters, who seems to have an interesting number of connections to the missing person cases.

Ahead of the show’s comeback, EW asked producer Elwood Reed to consider what to expect when things go wrong in the Montana wilderness.

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‘Big Sky’: Mystery of the Missing

In an interview with EW, Reid revealed the central mystery of the third season. 

“There’s a glamping outfit in Montana that is run by Sunny Barnes and Buck Barnes [Rex Linn]. In this family-run glamping outfit, a bunch of guests come up missing. We begin to realize, as the season progresses, that the Barnes family has a lot of secrets. They may or may not have something to do with some of these disappearances, and in true Big Sky fashion, the people that disappear also have some secrets and may not stay disappeared,” he shared. 

“This season we are also doing little runner mysteries, case-of-the-week formatting, in addition to our big mystery. One of the biggest reasons we’re doing that is we’ve Jensen Ackles. He’s an amazing asset and we wanted him and Jenny Hoyt to get out there and be solving cases the week of, and also, get involved in a big mystery for the season.” 

Additionally, Reid shared how he decided to cast McEntire and Ackles. 

“Jensen is one of those guys that I’ve always wanted to work with. He’s one of those guys that I’ve always loved. He’s someone my daughter and my wife likes, and a lot of guys like. There’s not a lot of people out there that tick all those boxes. And I’d heard nothing but raving from people who worked with him — what an amazing guy he was, what a professional he was,” he said. 

“Mutual friends put us in touch. He’s from Texas. So, I pitched this Texas-type character that finds himself up in Montana. I can’t say enough good things about him. He walks on the set and it changes.”

He added, “Reba is someone who a lot of us grew up with. I had written a character, and I described her as ‘Reba McEntire, circa Tremors.’ I always loved that character. So, I called her and pitched her the character.”

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