Josh Duhamel All My
Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

It seems like you never stay dead on soap operas. But All My Children‘s Leo du Pres remained among the deceased longer than most. Or so we thought, anyway.

Today, Josh Duhamel’s beloved con man made his return to Pine Valley after a nine-year absence. “I guess in a way it was just my way of saying thank you to go back and do an episode,” Duhamel says of the long-running serial, which is set to air its final episode Sept. 23 before debuting as a web series by online production company Prospect Park on Sept. 26.

“I’ve been thinking about it for years. I always wanted to go back, even if it was just walking in the background of a scene and have the characters go, ‘Wait…was that Leo?'” A double-take would be merited. To conclude his three-year arc in 2002, Duhamel’s Leo plunged into a raging waterfall — although his body was never found — while trying to protect his wife, Greenlee (Rebecca Budig). In today’s episode, Greenlee, now married to Cameron Mathison’s Ryan Lavery, woke up in a hospital to find — shock! — Leo asleep on a gurney. Tomorrow’s installment will conclude Duhamel’s arc and “provide closure” on the Leo-Greenlee relationship, the actor says.

After leaving All My Children, Duhamel made the jump to primetime with Las Vegas and the big-screen with the Transformers franchise. Though, he may have gone on to bigger and better things, he still credits AMC with “giving me my break.” With the sudser now going off the air, Duhamel he benefited from an opportunity young actors in the future won’t have. “Soap operas are such a great way to break-in to the industry,” he says. “The diminishing landscape of daytime TV means it’s going to be harder for young talent to get discovered.”

Still, even cancellation doesn’t mean this will be the last time fans will see their beloved Leo. When asked whether he might yet appear on AMC after it goes digital as a series of webisodes in September, he says, “I wouldn’t rule it out. Sure, why not?”

Pine Valley-philes, what d0 you make of Duhamel’s return? Do you think this will be the Leo-Greenlee reunion you had hoped for?

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