Ryan Kwanten Ryan Kwanten

Call it animal magnetism. The much buzzed-about True Blood panther finally prowls into Bon Temps—and heads right for Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) on Sunday (9/8c, HBO). As if the wannabe cop doesn't have enough to worry about trying to protect sis Sookie (Anna Paquin) and bounce back from a spat with new love Crystal (Lindsay Pulsipher).

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"He's dealing with his little simple life thrown upside down," Kwanten says. There are complications Jason can't even imagine when Crystal defies her father, Calvin ( Gregory Sporleder), and makes a major choice that will affect her and Jason's future. "There are a lot of things working against that relationship," says executive producer

Alan Ball.But before the couple has a chance to reunite, Jason meets the panther. "It's just as vicious, if not more vicious, than a werewolf," says Kwanten. When man and beast go toe-to-paw, will the claws come out — or will they hiss and make up?

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