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“Tracker”'s Sofia Pernas Shares Why Billie Declined Colter's Dinner Date: 'She Is Terrified of Being Vulnerable' (Exclusive)

Pernas guest starred on the CBS series that features her husband, Justin Hartley, as the lead

<p>Ed Araquel/CBS</p> Sofia Pernas as Billie and Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker

Ed Araquel/CBS

Sofia Pernas as Billie and Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker

Sofia Pernas and Justin Hartley might be married in real life, but on screen, they’ve developed more of a will-they-won’t-they dynamic.

Hartley, 47, who stars on and serves as an executive producer of CBS's new drama Tracker, plays “rewardist” Colter Shaw. He’s calm, cool, collected, and he will come fix whatever problem ... for a price.

On Sunday night, Pernas, 34, guest starred on the show’s sixth episode, titled “Lexington,” as a rival of Colter's. Billie Matalon is a bit of a bounty hunter herself, and though she may have a special interest in Colter, she’s not letting on (that much).

<p>Ed Araquel/CBS</p> Sofia Pernas as Billie and Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker

Ed Araquel/CBS

Sofia Pernas as Billie and Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw in Tracker

“I love this role. I love everything about it. I've always liked playing strong women, and I think those roles just kind of find me, honestly,” Pernas tells PEOPLE. “I never play the cheerleader. I don't know why. I would love to, but I don't think that's in the cards for me.”

Pernas says that she grew up watching Xena: Warrior Princess, and she’s kept that sense of inspired girl power throughout her career.

"I just love seeing strong women on screen, but strong women that convey vulnerability," she says. "Those are my favorite people to watch. It's like strong women can feel things. We're not machines. We just cover it."

Related: Justin Hartley and Wife Sofia Pernas Say Shooting Their Joint 'Quantum Leap' Cameo Was 'Not Work at All'

The same sentiment is true for Pernas’sTracker character Billie, who, thanks to her shared past with Colter (the two have worked together on jobs before, though not always successfully) is just as strong-willed as she is cautious.

“Well, I just think, who was this girl? Why do they have this history? You just become a P.I. in their life and just ask a bunch of questions. And some of them the writers give you, and some of them you just have to take your own liberty and fill in yourself,” says Pernas of how she approached the role.

“For me, I played it like [Billie] wanted to see him on this job," she adds. "Every time she goes on one of these jobs, she's like, ‘Is Colter going to be here?’”

With that context in mind, Pernas was ready to jump in to the role head first, even if her husband’s character surprised her.

“He's so different in this role that it was very disarming at first because I was like, 'Oh my God, you are a completely different person right now,'" she says. "There's some roles that come along that are just so different. Colter is one of those, I think for Justin, and I think it is just so cool seeing him really, really settle into this guy's skin.”

The pair have worked together before, too. They first met while they were costars on the soap opera The Young and the Restless in 2015 when Pernas joined the cast.

<p>Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024/Getty </p> Sofia Pernas and Justin Hartley at the 81st Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024/Getty

Sofia Pernas and Justin Hartley at the 81st Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

“It was like riding a bike and so different at the same time because of how different he is, which honestly made my job a lot easier,” she said when asked about acting opposite Hartley yet again. “It's a lot easier to play chemistry when you feel like you don't know the person.”

Related: Justin Hartley Says 'Every Night's a Date Night' with Wife Sofia Pernas — Even Cozy Evenings at Home (Exclusive)

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Throughout the episode, which follows the story of a missing, prized racehorse that Billie and Colter must work together to find, the two rewardists end up in quite a few compromising positions — including hiding chest-to-chest under a table, almost kissing in the car and having a tough conversation at the end of the episode.

With the case eventually closed, Colter asks Billie out to dinner — an idea she herself had pitched earlier — but Billie shockingly declines.

Related: Tracker's Justin Hartley Says He's Finally Found 'Peace' and Wants to Leave the 'Drama on Screen' (Exclusive)

“I think she is terrified of being vulnerable, and I think if she had dinner with him, she would have to address the pink elephant in the room inside of herself and be like, ‘Oh crap, I actually like this guy,’” says Pernas of her character’s decision. “I think she is someone who probably doesn't like to address her feelings as readily as she addresses other things.”

The good news? Fans can expect to see Billie again, but they just might have to be a little patient.

“It'll be for sure season two,” says Pernas of her eventual return. “There's too much stuff Colter has to address before we go into the Billie of it all, I think.”

Tracker airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

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