Jason Lee, <I>My Name Is Earl</i> Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of The Office and 30 Rock by securing an early renewal, NBC's My Name Is Earl (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET) will be playing to all its strengths in the coming months, combining list work with a standalone arc, all of which will lead up to a buzzworthy season finale.

"Last week we aired the first in a five-episode arc, where Darnell's Witness Protection identity was exposed, so he had to flee," series creator Greg Garcia tells TVGuide.com. "We're now going to spend some time with [Darnell, Joy and the kids] away from Camden County, with different identities." As the mystery is finally solved as to why Crab Man is in the Witness Protection Program, we'll meet his dad, played by guest star Danny Glover.

"He was fantastic," Garcia says of Glover's turn as an operative in a secret government agency. "You ask yourself, 'Who do you want to come in and be this powerful presence?' and he certainly gives you that."

Also paying Earl a visit this spring will be Emmy-winning Golden Girl Betty White as "a crazy witch lady that's always lived in town and who everybody has always been scared of." Garcia previously worked with White on Yes, Dear, where she garnered the comedy's lone Emmy nod (in the guest-star category).

Following some cool "list" episodes and one in which a Dateline-type investigative crew comes to uncover a Camden County mystery, My Name Is Earl will broach "the paternity of the son Joy was pregnant with when she married Earl," says Garcia. "We never really explored who Dodge's father could be, and that might lead up to a nice season-ender."