This Is Us already has a supersized cast, but they’re making room for one more. The most recent episode of the hit NBC drama, titled “Deja Vu,” introduced a new character, a troubled 12-year-old named Deja (Lyric Ross). The character is a new addition to Randall and Beth Pearson’s (Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson) family as they take on the role of foster parents.
While the initial introductions with their new foster child were rocky, the Pearsons made some headway with the young girl as Randall told her the story of his own birth story and adoption. But things took a turn when Randall had to deliver the bad news that Deja’s drug-addicted bio mom won’t be coming back for her anytime soon.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, This Is Us star Susan Kelechi Brown talked about how Deja will fit into the Pearson family dynamic, promising that viewers will “find out a lot of things along the way with her.” The This Is Us star pointed to Deja and the Pearsons’ socioeconomic and family structure differences, with the girl coming from a single parent household as just one of the challenges.
“What she’s been through are things that a lot of little girls have not been through,” the This Is Us star told THR.
“It’s just a completely different dynamic,” Kelechi Watson continued.
“There’s a feeling that this girl is much more mature for her age. She’s 12, but she feels a little older than she is. What she’s gone through is going to stir them emotionally because a lot of it makes them angry and sad and disappointed that this is happening in this young girl’s life and no one is there to protect her.”
This Is Us fans were introduced to Deja when she appeared at Beth and Randall’s house with a caseworker (played by That ’70s Show mom Debra Jo Rupp). It was immediately apparent that she wasn’t as bubbly as the younger Pearson daughters, Tess and Annie. In fact, the sullen, cigarette-packing Deja said she just wanted to go to bed when she initially arrived at the posh Pearson home. Later, when Beth found her hidden smokes, an argument ensued, and Deja flinched when Randall walked in as if she was expecting to get hit. It is obvious Deja is very damaged and was likely beaten by past father figures.
This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown had nothing but praise for Lyric Ross, the young actress who plays the troubled pre-teen.
“The young person that we have that will have several episodes throughout the course of this season is astonishing,” Brown told Us Weekly. “They are bringing the heat and classing up the joint. You’ll get to see a bit of this individual in episode three but by episode four, when it’s done, you’re going to be calling me to ask about this person!”
Lyric Ross’s past TV acting credits include guest spots in Sirens and Chicago Fire. The 14-year-old actress joins as a guest star on a This Is Us cast that includes three other teens and five younger children.
Take a look at the video below to see Lyric Ross as Deja on This Is Us.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
[Featured Image by Ron Batzdorff/NBC]