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Exclusive: Y&R's Michael Mealor Previews Harrison is Missing

Michael Mealor

Sonja Flemming/CBS

This coming week, Kyle Abbott will be hit with every parent’s worst nightmare – his child gets kidnapped! And all clues point to someone his son trusts – Claire Newman. It will start innocently enough with Claire bringing over Harrison’s beloved toy that he left behind at GCAC during the anniversary party. Claire sits down with Kyle and the two get to talking. She shares just how overjoyed she is not to be living under her Aunt Jordan’s thumb, living out her revenge fantasy, and describes the positive experience it has been getting to know her family after all these years. When Harrison bounds in to be reunited with his lucky charm, Kyle has a moment of pause — but brushes it off and allows Claire to read his son a story before bed.

Jack and Diane arrive home sometime later to find their son frantically on the phone with 911. Harrison is missing and it looks like Claire has him! “I think as a parent, your worst fears come to life in this situation. That is pretty much your worst fear,” explained Kyle’s portrayer, Michael Mealor. “I mean, sheer panic, bewilderment and fear. He’s wrestling with the accusations from Summer. He’s wrestling with himself. He doesn’t want to blame himself, but he knows he’s responsible, and he may have trusted the wrong person. And so, I think he’s really grappling with all those emotions.”

Kyle struggles with self-blame and remorse at putting his trust in the wrong person. “I think secretly, and definitely not out loud, he is totally blaming himself, beating himself up,” Mealor explains. “I think that’s one of the reasons he doesn’t want to believe that Claire was in on it because, at that point, he then has to question so many things about his judgment and his parenting. All those kinds of things that he thought were solid, but deep down, he’s trying to get to the bottom of it and doesn’t quite ask himself the hard questions. Inwardly, he totally is spiraling that he’s the one who let the wolf in the door.”

So why did Kyle let her in? With the complicated relationship between his two parents and their history, Kyle knows a thing or two about judging others and leading with forgiveness. “I think Kyle…probably sees a girl who really just wants to be a part of the family, and fit in and wants to be loved,” the actor mused, sharing his thoughts on Claire’s character. “He knows about her past and he knows about her history and all that kind of stuff. But I think at the end of the day, Kyle is Jack Abbott’s son, so he does have this big heart, and he kind of leads with it a little bit.”

Claire has tapped into Kyle’s own feelings of wanting to be accepted. “I know she kind of draws him in and then makes him question everything,” he revealed. “And I really appreciate that about Kyle, that he really gives everyone a chance. He rarely judges people based off of what he hears about them. He allows them to speak for themselves, which is kind of a nice trait to have, I think.”

The actor explains that Harrison’s instant rapport with Claire also influenced his trust in the Newman family’s latest addition. “He sees that Harrison, Kyle’s son, is taken with her right from the beginning. Kyle really wants to kind of nourish that. And because his son is so taken by her, he wants to kind of give her the benefit of the doubt right now.”

Harrison’s complicated entry into his life is another reason that Mealor thinks his character longs for a better future for the young boy. “Kyle always just wants what’s best for his son because he’s making up for lost time.” Mealor explained Kyle’s thought process saying, “He wants Harrison to have the family and the stability that he never had within this family. And so I really think that Kyle maybe naively is letting Harrison dictate a little bit of whether we trust Claire right now or not. But he definitely acknowledges and respects that Harrison is in love with Claire right from the beginning.”

Giving Harrison a stable family foundation is the number one goal in Kyle’s mind. “And that includes having a stable mother, which is Summer,” he continued. “Whether Kyle and Summer are together or not. He knows that Summer needs to be in Harrison’s life and needs to be a prominent maternal figure in his life.”

Summer had reservations about her newfound cousin early on but Kyle downplayed them. “I think he sees where Summer’s coming from, but he thinks that he’s really putting his son’s needs first rather than Summer’s possibly irrational worries or fears or that kind of thing. It’s their first time [co-parenting]; we can’t judge ’em. [He laughed] But yeah, I think she definitely has merit. I think that anyone who would have a logical adult conversation within the Abbott household would kind of say there’s a little room for pause.”

One thing is for sure, this is one storyline that Mealor is looking forward to. “It’s an interesting one, that’s for sure. I always said there was a list of soapy things that I wanted to happen within my soap career, and this is another one I get to check off the box for sure.”

Will Harrison be found? Has Claire succumbed to her deranged aunt’s agenda? Has she been a part of it all along? One thing is certain — you won’t want to miss a moment of the action this coming week.