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Is Harold Perrineau the 'Lost' holdout? [Update]

October 20, 2009 | 11:46 am

Harold Could Oceanic Flight 815 be missing a passenger when "Lost" returns next year?

With rumors rampant that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof will be setting the clock back (at least temporarily) on "Lost" next season and bringing quite a few characters back from the dead, E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos is reporting that one of the ABC drama's former stars isn't too keen to return to the series, which wraps up its six-season run next spring.

Citing unnamed sources, Dos Santos reports that "offers went out to the original cast members several weeks ago, and this particular 'Lost' star decided to decline." So just who could the final holdout be? Let's take a look at the clues.

We already know that series regulars Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Naveen Andrews and Terry O'Quinn will be returning for the final season of "Lost." It's been widely reported that Emilie de Ravin, who plays missing single mother Claire Littleton, will be back in some capacity this season. Dominic Monaghan appeared at the "Lost" panel at Comic-Con, so he's clearly on board.

Ian Somerhalder, currently filming the CW's "Vampire Diaries," has shot scenes in Hawaii, so Boone will definitely be making another appearance or two. Despite his massive growth spurt, Malcolm David Kelley has turned up several times on the series since Walt sailed into the sunset at the end of Season 2.

So who's left?

The process of elimination would therefore leave both Maggie Grace and Harold Perrineau as the likely suspects. Although Grace's participation has not been confirmed, the actress has made statements that strongly indicate Shannon will be returning next season.

The finger of suspicion therefore points most strongly to Perrineau, who was written out of the series seemingly for good at the end of Season 4, when his character, Michael Dawson, was seemingly blown to smithereens when the freighter exploded with him aboard.

Following the broadcast of the fourth season finale, Perrineau was quick to question the decision behind killing off Michael in an interview with TVGuide.com, where he accused Cuse and Lindelof of having a racial motivation. "Listen, if I'm being really candid, there are all these questions about how they respond to black people on the show," Perrineau said at the time. "Sayid gets to meet Nadia again, and Desmond and Penny hook up again, but a little black boy and his father hooking up, that wasn't interesting? Instead, Walt just winds up being another fatherless child. It plays into a really big, weird stereotype and, being a black person myself, that wasn't so interesting." (For their part, Cuse and Lindelof denied Perrineau's racial accusations, pointing to the diversity of the cast.)

As recently as last month, Perrineau said that he hadn't been asked to participate in Season 6 of "Lost," telling TV Guide Magazine, "Nobody’s said anything to me and I haven’t asked." He did however indicate that he would be likely to accept an offer to return to "Lost," if asked.

Although it's theoretically possible that "Lost" producers have made overtures to Perrineau in the weeks since that article ran, sources close to the production say Lindelof and Cuse had ended Michael's story at the end of Season 4 because they had no intention of bringing him back, even in flashbacks.

So is Perrineau the cast member that Dos Santos hints at? It seems more than likely, though there's no definitive proof that it's Michael who won't be boarding Oceanic Flight 815 this time around. 

Efforts to to confirm or deny Perrineau's participation in Season 6 of "Lost," via his publicists, went unanswered. We will continue to update this story as it develops.

[Update 1:03 p.m.: When contacted for comment, Perrineau's publicist said that she could "neither confirm nor deny" whether the actor will return for Season 6 of "Lost."]

-- Jace Lacob (follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)

Photo credit: ABC

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