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Did Nashville Just Kill Off Rayna James?

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Liz Raftery

Has Rayna James (Connie Britton) sung her swan song on Nashville?

Ever since Nashville was rescued from ABC cancellation by CMT last year, many have speculated that Britton was leaving because she had reportedly only committed to doing 10 episodes of the 22-episode fifth season. And Thursday's episode (the eighth in the season) may have validated those rumors, as the show appeared to kill off its star in the final moments.

Rayna has certainly survived her share of hardship over the course of four-plus seasons, and on Thursday, she appeared to dodge another bullet -- or a knife, as it were. After being released from prison, Rayna's stalker, Carl Hockney (Linds Edwards), first takes up residence outside her and Deacon's (Charles Esten) house and then somehow manages to break into the offices of Highway 65, where he comes after the country diva with a knife. Luckily, her security team arrives just in the nick of time and tackles Hockney as he puts the blade to Rayna's throat.

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But then, just when Nashville fans had been led into a false sense of security, the police car that's escorting Rayna home after her harrowing evening gets T-boned by a pickup truck. And judging by the preview of next week's episode, Rayna is, at the very least, seriously injured in the crash -- if not worse.

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However, this certainly wouldn't be the first time Rayna has walked away from a bad accident. In the Season 1 finale, she and Deacon were involved in a wreck that left her in a coma for the first part of Season 2. Could she be so lucky a second time?

What do you think, Nashville fans? Would the show really kill off Rayna James?

Nashville airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CMT, with episodes available on Hulu the day after broadcast.