James Lafferty

Will One Tree Hill's Dan Scott gain forgiveness in this final season?

As the resident villain, Dan (Paul Johansson) has long been shunned by his son Nathan (James Lafferty) and his family, but on the Season 9 premiere a much more broken-down Dan returned to town in hopes of convincing Nathan and his wife Haley to help him to get back on his feet.

"In the past, Dan's presence has brought a lot of turmoil and conflict, but this year, the way he colors Nathan's life is much, much different," Lafferty tells TVGuide.com. "Nathan's actually going to need Dan a bit more this year."

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But can Dan ever redeem himself for killing his brother Keith, among other things? Lafferty says, "That remains to be seen. That's largely at the heart of Nathan's storyline this season and that's one of the things we have to see him come to terms with — whether or not he can forgive Dan towards the end."

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It only seems fitting that the series, which began by highlighting Nathan and Dan's intense relationship, comes full circle with the storyline — although it seems one of them might not make it out alive. When asked about that body Haley identifies in the season premiere, Lafferty says, "It definitely has something to do with Nathan's storyline, but I can't tell you how much."

In addition to wrapping up a nine-seasons-long saga, Lafferty says the show will subtly nod to earlier times. "There's a prevalent feeling of nostalgia in our last couple of episodes. We allude back to the original structure of the show and we hint at the beginning when it was about the Ravens basketball team and when it was about Tree Hill high," Lafferty says. "We don't focus too hard on it, it's not as if we go back and play those roles again, but we definitely harken back to a time when things were simpler for our characters and their formative years."

Lafferty, who's one of the few original cast members remaining, says that although fans will be "thrown for a loop," they'll ultimately be satisfied by the way Nathan Scott signs off. "Tying this relationship up between Nathan and Dan is something that was really needed for Nathan's storyline, Dan's storyline and probably the show as a whole. This season, Dan's back in a huge way and there's very close attention paid to that relationship between father and son that either needs a total break off or mending."