The Chi is back for season 5 and this time around and it is a big season for Jacob Latimore and Hannaha Hall’s Emmett and Tiffany

After finally committing themselves via marriage, Tiffany was hopeful that they’d live happily ever after. But Emmett’s philandering ways put a damper on the honeymoon. Fed up with his cheating, but not ready to walk away, she decided to try an open relationship, to Emmett’s dismay. The decision turned out to be a turning point, and just as Emmett was ready to fully commit, Tiffany’s worldview opened up to what she was potentially missing.

This season, Emmett and Tiff forge ahead as co-parents as Tiff grows closer with Rob (Iman Shumpert). Rob models mature, healthy masculinity for an emotionally-jaded Tiff, while Emmett finds himself becoming a better man, but for another woman, he’s always envisioned himself with. 

Ahead of the Season 5 premiere, Shadow and Act spoke with the actors about their characters’ ever-changing relationship.

Despite Emmett’s pitfalls, Jacob Latimore says viewers root for him because he lacks malice in his actions.

Emmett and Tiffany’s journey has been one that’s up and down. They share a son but Emmett has trouble remaining faithful, despite marrying Tiffany last season. Even when he slips up, fans still cheer him on. Latimore says it’s because they see Emmett’s heart.

“I think his intentions are pure, but I think it’s just his decision-making in the process of trying to reach his goal is where he gets a little immature,” he told us. “We are just watching a young man grow. He’s forced to grow up with three kids, and three different women. It’s tough. It’s not pretty. It’s not perfect. But it’s a likable character, but he has real-life mistakes, and I think those are some of the most important parts to me about the character.”

The on-screen couple say they debate each other about their character’s decisions and go back and forth regarding whether or not they should stay together.

Last season, Tiffany made the decision to have an open marriage after learning once and for all again that Emmett was unfaithful. Social media reactions were overwhelming. This season is a continued exploration of the fallout from that. Playing these characters for five seasons now, both Latimore and Hall admit they sometimes don’t know whether Emmett and Tiffany should remain a thing.

“We’re giving Emmett technically what he wanted, but kind of modifying the circumstances to also have Tiffany get something out of it. And it kind of reflects the whole cliche of how men can dish out whatever but can’t take it,” Hall said, admitting she didn’t agree with the couple’s decision on the show.

For Latimore, it was interesting seeing the man have to accept the consequences while still trying to work things out. 

“I think it was different for Emmett to react to that situation of being open. I think it helped me as an actor to sort of really tap into something different than I wouldn’t naturally,” he reflected. “Which is like, ‘Baby, I’m sorry’ versus ‘I’m leaving.’ Because that’s the natural, trendy reaction for most men. But it’s like now you see a man that’s really trying to make his relationship work and really trying to fix it. And it could come off of maybe a little cringe to watch.”

Hall says Tiffany being a central character on the show was an unexpected yet welcomed surprise

In the beginning, Tiffany was just one of Emmett’s baby mamas. But as the show progressed, so did their relationship. Many viewers felt, and still feel, the two are unequally yoked, and Emmett will end up with his longtime friend/former girlfriend Kiesha (Birgundi Baker). Regardless, Tiffany is here to stay. 

“Definitely around season three [is when I realized Tiffany was going to be more than a sub-character]. I was shocked by the growth and evolution of the character. I think they are a strange couple and they are thrilled and they thrive off the drama and I think that’s good TV,” she said. “So I think that’s what really kind of brought her back. But it’s a real story, though. It’s situations in real life, situations where people are struggling, trying to deal with a baby mama or baby daddy or co-parent. So I think just because it’s such a real story is so relative to so many people that it was inevitable for us to expound upon that storyline.”

The Chi season 5 debuts Friday on streaming and on-demand for Showtime subscribers before making its linear debut on Sunday at 9 p.m.