Home Celebrity Tracker Recap: Jensen Ackles Drops Supernatural Easter Egg

Tracker Recap: Jensen Ackles Drops Supernatural Easter Egg

Tracker Recap: Jensen Ackles Drops Supernatural Easter Egg

How 'Tracker' Featured a Subtle Nod to Guest Star Jensen Ackles' Role as Dean on 'Supernatural'

Jensen Ackles as Russell Shaw in ‘Tracker.’
Sergei Bachlakov/CBS

Jensen Ackles found a way to pay tribute to his iconic Supernatural character, Dean Winchester, while making his debut on Tracker.

During the Sunday, May 12, episode of the CBS series, Justin Hartley‘s character Colter was reunited with his estranged brother, Russell (Ackles). Colter agreed to help Russell track down his former army buddy who went missing after several weeks of paranoid behavior.

When Colter picked up his older brother at a motel (which already gave Supernatural fans a sense of deja vu), Russell made his way to the passenger’s seat — but not before playfully patting a Chevrolet Impala that was parked right next to Colter’s pickup truck. (The car was gone from the parking lot when Colter visited the motel again only to find out that Russell was gone.)

Fans of Ackles’ filmography should be very familiar with that subtle Easter egg. Before Ackles, 46, was cast as Russell, he rose to stardom playing Dean on The CW’s hit series Supernatural. Ackles starred opposite Jared Padalecki, who portrayed Dean’s brother, Sam Winchester, from 2005 to 2020.

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The Impala — which was affectionately referred to as “Baby” on the show — was passed down to Dean from his father, John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). From cross country trips to car crashes to chase scenes, the vehicle aided the Winchesters in their monster hunting activities over the years.

Ackles decided to take the car with him when Supernatural came to an end.

“As far as taking something on the final day, I will definitely be taking something that I’ve had my eye on since day one of Supernatural,” he told Digital Spy in September 2020. “But it’s OK, I’m not stealing it. I got permission. I begged and begged and pleaded for years, but I finally got it this year. They’re going to let me drive home the Impala.”

That same month, Ackles revealed he had a clause about the Impala put in his contract. “I’ve been talking about that for two years now, and they finally added that to my contract this last season,” he shared on Michael Rosenbaum‘s “Inside of You” podcast about how Padalecki was offered the car’s double to take home.

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Ackles continued to find success after Supernatural with guest roles on projects such as Big Sky and The Boys. He reunited with Padalecki, 41, in 2022 when Ackles directed — and made a cameo — in his former costar’s The CW show Walker. Ackles was also an executive producer and narrator on the Supernatural spinoff series The Winchesters, which ran from 2022 to 2023.

How 'Tracker' Featured a Subtle Nod to Guest Star Jensen Ackles' Role as Dean on 'Supernatural'
Courtesy of Jensen Ackles/Instagram

Now, Ackles is expected to play a major role on CBS’ Tracker. Ahead of his debut, viewers slowly learned about Colter’s issues with Russell. Colter has hinted throughout the first season that he was on the outs with Russell because he thought his older brother was responsible for their father’s death.

Russell offered his side of the story during Sunday’s episode when he claimed there was someone else in the woods the night their dad died. Despite not fully making amends, Colter agreed to help Russell as their investigation led to them digging into Special Forces missions, shady off-the-books programs and conspiracy theories. In fact, most of Russell’s scenes had blink-and-you-will-miss-it undertones that seemed very reminiscent of Dean Winchester.

Fans hoping to see more of Ackles down the road are in luck. Hartley confirmed earlier this month that Ackles is “gonna come back” for more episodes in season 2.

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Michael Courtney/CBS

“When it was time to cast Russell Shaw, I was like, ‘We built this whole thing up. It’s important that we get somebody in there that is just a juggernaut. Somebody that you would believe because he’s gonna go toe-to-toe with Colter, in a good or bad way, and that you also believe is his brother,’” the actor told Collider. “And I just thought Jensen Ackles would be perfect for it.”

Tracker airs on CBS Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. New episodes stream the next day on Paramount+.