Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters Information

Brothers & Sisters is an American television drama series that centers on the Walker family and their lives in Pasadena, California. The series premiered on ABC on September 24, 2006, and aired its final episode on May 8, 2011. It aired, for its entire run, in a Sunday night timeslot after Desperate Housewives.

The cast included a collection of award-winning actors, including Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe and Patricia Wettig. Sally Field received both a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance throughout the series. Rachel Griffiths was also nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for her work on the show.

In May 2011, the show completed its fifth and final season on ABC. On May 13, 2011, it was announced that ABC had decided to end the show. No TV show since has succeeded in the ABC Sunday 10pm timeslot.



The series revolves around the lives and problems of the wealthy Walker family in the wake of the death of family patriarch William Walker (Tom Skerritt), the founder of the family business Ojai Foods. The family consists of wife and mother Nora Walker (Sally Field) who must deal with revelations about her husband's infidelity, and her children Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) and Tommy (Balthazar Getty), both married executives at Ojai Foods, Kitty (Calista Flockhart) a conservative activist, Kevin (Matthew Rhys) a gay lawyer, and youngest sibling Justin (Dave Annable), who has recently returned from the Iraq War with a substance abuse problem. They were joined by Nora's brother Saul (Ron Rifkin) and Holly Harper (Patricia Wettig), William's mistress. Plotlines typically revolved around the romantic relationships of the family, their business fortunes, especially with regard to the control of Ojai Foods, and the relationship between the siblings. Most conflicts were resolved with a renewed call for family unity.

Plot points

The show's narrative launched with the death of William Walker at Kitty's birthday party. His death causes a number of secrets from his life to be revealed"?secrets that impact the remainder of his family and which include the introduction of William's mistress Holly Harper and her daughter Rebecca.

Other main storylines throughout the series include the personal, political (usually through Robert and Kitty's and later Kevin's careers) and professional lives of Nora and all the brothers and sisters; their relationships with each other; interaction with Rebecca and her mother (William's mistress) Holly; and the running of the family business Ojai Foods"?which is mostly looked after by Saul, Sarah and Tommy along with Holly and Rebecca from season 3 onwards. After the family sells Ojai Foods, Scotty and Saul open a restaurant and Nora begins working at a radio station which Sarah decides to buy.

Main characters

Walker Family

  • Nora Walker, widow of William Walker, mother of Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin and Justin; Grandmother to Paige, Cooper, Evan, Elizabeth, William Jr ,(Deceased), Olivia and Daniel; home maker.
  • Sarah Laurent, daughter of Nora Walker and Nick Brody; mother of Paige and Cooper; President of Ojai Foods and former CEO of Greenotopia; ex-wife of Joe Whedon and wife of Luc Laurent.
  • Kitty Walker, daughter of Nora and William Walker, one year younger than Sarah; adoptive mother of Evan; writer and former communication director, television and radio host; widow of Robert McCallister.
  • Tommy Walker, son of Nora and William Walker, two years younger than Kitty; father of Elizabeth and William Jr (Deceased); former president of Ojai Foods; ex-husband to Julia Ridge and fiancé of Rose.
  • Kevin Walker, son of Nora and William Walker, one year younger than Tommy; adoptive father of Olivia; father of Daniel; surrogate father of Elizabeth and William Jr (Deceased); pro bono lawyer and former communications director and corporate lawyer; husband of Scotty Wandell.
  • Justin Walker, son of Nora and William Walker; ten years younger than Kevin; paramedic, war veteran and former med school student; former alcoholic and drug addict; ex-husband of Rebecca Harper.

Other main characters

  • Julia Ridge, ex-wife of Tommy Walker; mother of Elizabeth; teacher.
  • Joe Whedon, ex-husband of Sarah Walker; father of Gabe, Paige and Cooper; music teacher.
  • Saul Holden, brother of Nora Walker; restaurant owner and former CFO of Ojai Foods; fiancé of Jonathan Byrold.
  • Holly Harper, ex-mistress of William Walker; mother of Rebecca; former chairwoman and CEO of Ojai Foods and actress; fiancée of David Caplan.
  • Rebecca Harper, daughter of Holly Harper; former advertising executive at Ojai Foods; ex-wife of Justin Walker.
  • Paige Whedon, daughter of Sarah Walker and Joe Whedon.
  • Cooper Whedon, son of Sarah Walker and Joe Whedon.
  • Robert McCallister, deceased husband of Kitty Walker; father of Sophie and Jack and adoptive father of Evan; former Senator of California; ex-husband of Courtney McCallister.
  • Scotty Wandell, husband of Kevin Walker; father of Daniel and adoptive father of Olivia; restaurant owner and head chef.
  • Ryan Lafferty, son of William Walker and Connie Lafferty; former employee at Ojai Foods.
  • Luc Laurent, husband of Sarah Walker; painter and former underwear model.

Cast members

Main cast

Actor Role Duration
Dave Annable Justin Walker Season 1"5
Maxwell Perry Cotton Cooper Whedon Season 2"4 (Season 1 and 5, recurring)
Kerris Dorsey Paige Whedon Season 1"5
Sally Field Nora Walker Season 1"5
Calista Flockhart Kitty Walker Season 1"5
Balthazar Getty Tommy Walker Season 1"3 (Season 4 and 5, recurring)
Rachel Griffiths Sarah Laurent Season 1"5
Luke Grimes Ryan Lafferty Season 4 (Season 3, recurring)
Rob Lowe Robert McCallister Season 2"4 (Season 1, recurring)
Luke Macfarlane Scotty Wandell Season 3"5 (Season 1 and 2, recurring)
Gilles Marini Luc Laurent Season 5 (Season 4, recurring)
Sarah Jane Morris Julia Walker Season 1"3 (Season 4, guest)
John Pyper-Ferguson Joe Whedon Season 1 (Season 2, recurring)
Matthew Rhys Kevin Walker Season 1"5
Ron Rifkin Saul Holden Season 1"5
Emily VanCamp Rebecca Harper Season 1"4 (Season 5, recurring)
Patricia Wettig Holly Harper Season 1"5

Recurring cast

Actor Role Duration
John Apicella Frank Season 5
Amy Aquino Dr. Joan Avadon Season 4
Beau Bridges Nick Brody Season 5
Max Burkholder Jack McCallister Season 1, 2, 3
Luc Charbonnier Ben Tyler Season 3
Richard Chamberlain Jonathan Byrold Season 5
Peter Coyote Mark August Season 1
Jeremy Davidson Jack Randall Season 5
Ryan Devlin Seth Whitley Season 5
Marika Dominczyk Tyler Altamirano Season 1, 5
Justine Dorsey Sophie McCallister Season 1, 2, 3
Edwina Findley Jill Season 5
Peter Gerety Dennis York Season 4
Danny Glover Isaac Marshall Season 2
Nigel Havers Roger Grant Season 3, 4
Josh Hopkins Warren Salter Season 1
Jay Karnes Roy Scovell Season 4
Matt Letscher Alec Tyler Season 3, 4
Jason Lewis Chad Barry Season 1, 3
Will McCormack Ethan Tavis Season 3
Denis O'Hare Travis March Season 2, 4
Ken Olin David Caplan Season 2, 3, 4, 5
Roxy Olin Michelle McCormack Season 1, 4, 5
Eric Christian Olsen Kyle DeWitt Season 3
Tyler Posey Gabe Whedon Season 1
Keri Lynn Pratt Amber Trachtenberg Season 1
Isabella Rae Thomas Olivia Season 5
Emily Rose Lena Branigan Season 2
Matthew Settle Jonathan Sellers Season 1
Tom Skerritt William Walker Season 1, 2, 3, 4
Sonja Sohn Trish Evans Season 3
Jon Tenney Simon Craig Season 4
John Terry Karl West Season 5
Steven Weber Graham Finch Season 2, 3
Treat Williams David Morton Season 1
Eric Winter Jason McCallister Season 1, 2
Odette Yustman Annie Miller Season 5


Main article: List of Brothers & Sisters episodes

Season 1: 2006"2007

Main article: Brothers and Sisters (season 1)
Most of the season focuses on The Walkers dealing with the loss of William Walker and the secrets uncovered by his death, most notably the discovery of Holly Harper, a woman he had an affair with, and her daughter Rebecca. The season also introduces us to the lives of the Walker siblings who must deal with their jobs, turbulent love lives and each other.

Season 2: 2007"2008

Main article: Brothers and Sisters (season 2)
The second season focused mainly on the romantic lives of the Walker siblings. As Kitty and Robert start planning their wedding, Kevin runs into Scotty (his lover from the first season) and they become a couple. Sarah must now deal with her divorce and being a single parent while Tommy and Julia go through serious issues after struggling with the loss of one of their twins. Nora begins a new romance with one of Robert's staff and, along with Rebecca, tries to help Justin regain his life after being injured in the war.

Season 3: 2008"2009

Main article: Brothers and Sisters (season 3)
After the discovery that she is not, in fact, a Walker, Rebecca must deal with her new place in the family and her new relationship with Justin which could be in trouble with the appearance of Ryan"?William's actual secret child. Kitty and Robert face problems in their marriage as they try to adopt a baby while Kevin and Scotty settle into married life. Nora decides she wants a career of her own after spending most of her life in the back seat and finds a new romance. With Holly becoming a major presence at Ojai. Saul and Sarah decide to quit leading to a new business venture for the eldest Walker sibling, while Tommy turns to drastic measures to take back the family business.

Season 4: 2009"2010

Main article: Brothers and Sisters (season 4)
The show was renewed for a fourth season on April 23, 2009. It premiered on September 27, 2009 on ABC.

This season sees Kevin and Scotty decide to start a family while Kitty finds her family may be torn apart when she receives unexpected news that she has lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. Sarah finds love with Luc, a man she met in France who traveled to America to be with her, but the dream doesn't seem to last in her real life. Justin is finding it hard to balance his engagement to Rebecca with his medical school studies, while Rebecca has troubles of her own. After not having their wedding Rebecca comes to find out she is now pregnant with Justin's baby but Rebecca ends up having a miscarriage which causes some more strain on their relationship. While her children go through difficult times Nora must try her hardest to get them through their troubles and Ryan causes trouble for the Walkers and Ojai by teaming up with a man from William's past. Will Holly's obsession with the secrets of Ojai ruin her relationship with David? The season ends with a horrific car crash that leaves Holly severely injured and the fate of Senator Robert McCallister unsure.

Season 5: 2010"2011

Main article: Brothers and Sisters (season 5)
Brothers & Sisters was renewed for a fifth season on March 5, 2010. It premiered on September 26, 2010 on ABC. The events of the fifth season begin one year after the season 4 finale. Rebecca (Emily VanCamp) divorced Justin and was written out of the show early in the fifth season.

The season starts with Kitty holding on to Robert who has been in a coma for a year since the car accident. Sarah considered selling the new land and water found in Ojai and moving to France with Luc. Kevin has become a low-paid pro-bono lawyer working on family law cases. He and Scotty have also given up on having a child after their surrogate, Michelle, apparently lost the baby. They find Olivia through an adoption agency, and she joins the family. Saul bumps into an old flame, Jonathan, who now campaigns for a HIV+ charity, and reveals that it was Jonathan who infected Saul. Jonathan doesn't even remember it. However, they eventually become a strong couple. Nora has become distant from her family and has taken a secret job as a florist to fill her time, being bullied by her boss, although she soon quits and finds a place as an agony aunt on a radio show. Sarah then later buys the radio station as part of a business venture. Justin, having returned to the war front after Robert's accident, comes home to help fix everyone's problems but has issues of his own after having been separated from Rebecca for a year. Meanwhile, Holly has developed long term memory loss after the accident and is struggling to remember her life and loved ones. Nora's first love, Nick Brody, comes back into her life and they enjoy a passionate romance, until Justin sees Brody's medical records and realizes that he is Sarah's biological father. Scotty bumps into Michelle, who had mysteriously disappeared after claiming to have miscarried, and he and Kevin discover that she actually ran away and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Daniel. In the series finale, Sarah gets cold feet but in the end, marries Luc. To everyone's surprise, one of Nick Brody's daughters shows up uninvited to the wedding party. Jonathan and Saul decide to get married. Kitty also finds romance after Robert with younger college student Seth Witley. In the series finale, Kitty admits that she's pregnant. Seth is worried about how the pregnancy will affect her health after her cancer. At the hotel for Sarah and Luc's wedding party Justin runs into a former love and boss, Tyler. He finds out she is married but separated from her husband.

It was announced in an interview after the cancellation of the show that, if there had been a sixth season, the storyline would have followed Justin's future with Tyler, and Sarah's life with her newly found half-siblings (now that she knows Brody is her biological father). Kitty's pregnancy would also been featured and have her faced with the choice of her health or carrying the baby.

DVD releases

Season Episodes Title DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 23 The Complete First Season September 18, 2007 February 25, 2008 October 26, 2007
2 16 The Complete Second Season September 23, 2008 March 16, 2009 October 28, 2008
3 24 The Complete Third Season September 1, 2009 October 19, 2009 September 18, 2009
4 24 The Complete Fourth Season August 31, 2010 October 11, 2010 September 24, 2010
5 22 The Complete Fifth & Final Season August 23, 2011 November 14, 2011 November 2, 2011

Production notes

The series is from producer Ken Olin (star of thirtysomething and producer of Alias) and Jon Robin Baitz, one of Broadway's most prominent playwrights (The Substance of Fire). Noted producer Greg Berlanti was also an executive producer and "show-runner" during season one. Berlanti continues to serve on the series as executive producer. Mark B. Perry (The Wonder Years and One Tree Hill) served as the showrunner for twelve episodes before departing the show in the aftermath of the 2007"2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Perry was replaced by Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker who served as showrunners until they were replaced by David Marshall Grant shortly into season 4.

After the series pilot was shot, and the show was picked up by ABC, the series underwent some moderate changes. Most notably, three of the roles were recast:

  • The Walker family had originally been the March family, and the original matriarch of the show was Iva March, who'd been cast with veteran theater actress Betty Buckley. The role was ultimately renamed Nora and cast with Sally Field.
  • The character of Kevin had originally been named Bryan, and had been cast with actor Jonathan LaPaglia. Like the current Kevin character, the Bryan version of the character was also gay, but had been married, and was going through a divorce. The Bryan incarnation of the character also had a child, and he and his ex-wife were going through a custody battle. Bryan's child later reappeared during the first season as the show, where he was recast as "Gabe," Joe's child from his first marriage. The show has subsequently received positive press attention for its depiction of Kevin Walker, who came to be seen as a breakthrough in the depiction of gay men on television: he has had several love interests, has kissed his boyfriends on-screen, and had a commitment ceremony with his partner Scotty in the second season finale"?the first such ceremony ever shown on American network television between series regulars rather than minor recurring or guest characters.
  • The character of Jonathan, the man with whom Kitty was involved as the show began had originally been cast with writer and actor Dan Futterman. They had previously acted alongside each other as lovers in the film The Birdcage. The role was ultimately recast with actor Matthew Settle.
The more minor role of Cooper, Sarah and Joe's younger child, was also recast after the pilot episode.

Robert McCallister was the name of a character on a previous Greg Berlanti production, Jack & Bobby, about a boy who grew up to be the President of the United States. As with the Robert McCallister on Brothers & Sisters, the character on Jack & Bobby was a Republican who had a wife named Courtney and a son named Jack.

Brothers & Sisters is produced by Berlanti Television, After Portsmouth, and Touchstone Television (Fall 2006-Spring 2007), which is now ABC Studios (Fall 2007"2011).


Brothers & Sisters is airing on SOAPnet weekdays and also aired local syndication on weekends only until 2012.


Brothers & Sisters was filmed in the Greater Los Angeles area including: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, South Pasadena, Pasadena and other locations.

International broadcasting

Country TV network(s) Notes
Arab World Fox Series Arabic dubbing/Arabic subtitles
Argentina Universal Channel Spanish subtitles
Australia Seven Network & Universal Channel
Austria ORF1 Series 2 started in February 2012, 12.20-1 p.m., bilingual (two-channel tone)
Belgium Eén Dutch subtitles
Brazil Universal Channel
Bulgaria BNT 1
FOX Life
"???"?? ? ???"??? FoxLife-Tuesday to Friday @ 21:00
Canada Global TV
Colombia Universal Channel
Croatia HRT, Universal Channel
Czech Republic Universal Channel Czech dubbing
Denmark Kanal 4
Estonia Kanal 2
Finland MTV3
France TF1 Season 5 ongoing (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays @ 4.35 pm)
Greece ANT1 Season 1 starts in 10 September 2012 (Monday - Friday @ 12.00 pm)
Germany ProSieben
Cancelled during Season 1
Cancelled during Season 3
Hong Kong TVB Pearl
Hungary Universal Channel
Iceland RÚV Season 5 ongoing
India Zee Cafe All 5 seasons aired
Ireland RT"? One
Israel Hot 3 Season 5 ended.
Italy Fox Life
Rai 4
Rai 2
Season 5 ongoing.
Japan AXN Season 4 ongoing.
Macedonia Universal Channel and Sitel TV
Netherlands RTL 4
Fox Life
Dutch subtitles. Only Season 1.
Dutch subtitles. All 5 seasons aired.
New Zealand TV2
Norway TV2
Poland TVP1 Only season 1
Poland Fox Life
Portugal RTP2 and Fox Life
Romania Prima TV & TVR1
Russia Fox Life
South Africa MNet Season 5 ended.
Serbia Fox Life, Universal Channel
Slovenia Fox Life
Universal Channel
POP Brio

Aired the first two seasons as of January 30, 2011.
Aired only the first season.
Season 2 premiered on February 16, 2011 (Wednesdays @ 8.55 pm)
Spain Fox
Sweden Kanal 5, Kanal 9
Switzerland RSI La 1 (Italian)
SF zwei (German)
Turkey TNT
United Kingdom More4
Latin America Universal Channel & TV Azteca
Philippines Studio 23
Latvia Fox Life


U.S. ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Brothers & Sisters on ABC:

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Viewers High
(in millions)
Viewers Low
(in millions)
18-49 Average 18-49 High 18-49 Low
1 Sunday 10:00PM September 24, 2006 May 20, 2007 2006"2007 #37 11.0 16.10 9.13 4.67 6.2 3.4
2 Sunday 10:00PM September 30, 2007 May 11, 2008 2007"2008 #38 10.7 13.26 8.50 4.22 5.1 3.0
3 Sunday 10:00PM September 28, 2008 May 10, 2009 2008"2009 #33 10.7 12.35 8.84 3.47 4.8 2.8
4 Sunday 10:00PM September 27, 2009 May 16, 2010 2009"2010 #34 10.4 10.78 7.65 2.85 3.7 2.2
5 Sunday 10:00PM September 26, 2010 May 8, 2011 2010"2011 #52 8.2 9.47 5.70 2.60 3.0 1.6

British ratings

In Britain, the series debuted on Channel 4 on June 20, 2007 at 20:30 with an audience of 2.221m, the second episode was screened the same evening at 22:00 with an audience of 1.443m The series then settled down to a regular audience of around 600,000, and Channel 4 started airing the remainder of the series in double bills from September 2007.

The second season was shown on E4 (Channel 4's digital-only channel) starting on March 30, 2008 at 23:00, directly after each first run episode of the fourth season of Desperate Housewives. Season 2 ended on E4 in July 2008, though viewing figures are not published for this season as the show consistently failed to reach the channel's top 10 programmes (suggesting an average viewing audience of less than 300,000). From October 11, 2008, Channel 4 began airing Season 2 in double bills.

For Season Three, the show was moved to More4 (another of Channel 4's digital channels). It premiered on January 8, 2009 and had a regular slot of 22:00 on Thursdays (scheduled directly after the first run episode of the fifteenth season of ER). It concluded on June 18, 2009 and was more successful on More4 than it had performed on E4 the year before. First run episodes on More4 averaged ratings of 380,000 (with an average further 85,000 on the 1-hour time-shift channel More4+1) and the show was consistently in More4's top 10 throughout its run.

The show remained in the same Thursday 22:00 timeslot on More4 for its fourth season beginning on January 21, 2010 (scheduled directly after each first run episode of the first season of The Good Wife). So far, ratings for Season Four have averaged around 345,000 viewers for first run episodes on More4 (with an average further 85,000 viewers on the 1-hour time-shifted viewing on More4+1), and again the show has consistently been in More4's top 10 throughout the season"?with three episodes being the highest rated show on More4+1 for their particular weeks.

Season 5 began on the Thursday 20 January 2011 on More4. The show remained in the same Thursday 22:00 timeslot on More4 (scheduled directly after each first run episode of the second season of The Good Wife).

Awards and nominations

Year Award Title Recipient Result
2007 Australian Film Institute Award Best International Actress Rachel Griffiths
Casting Society of America Award Best Dramatic Episodic Casting Gillian O'Neil, Jeanie Bacharach
Best Dramatic Pilot Casting Gillian O'Neil, Jeanie Bacharach
Emmy Award Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Gillian O'Neil, Jeanie Bacharach
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Rachel Griffiths
Gold Derby TV Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Rachel Griffiths
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series
Peoples Choice Award Favourite New TV Drama
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie Rachel Griffiths
Best Drama Series
Young Artist Award Best Family TV Drama Series
2008 Australian Film Institute Award Best International Actress Rachel Griffiths
Casting Society of America Award Best Dramatic Episodic Casting Gillian O'Neil
Emmy Award Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Gillian O'Neil, Jeanie Bacharach
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Rachel Griffiths
Gold Derby TV Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Best Actress in a Drama Series Calista Flockhart
Best Drama Series
Best Ensemble of the Year
Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series Danny Glover
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Matthew Rhys
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Rachel Griffiths
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Television Drama Series Sally Field
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television Rachel Griffiths
Prism Award Best Performance in a Drama Series Dave Annable
Best Performance in a Drama Series Sally Field
Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Sally Field
2009 Emmy Award Lead Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Gold Derby TV Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Calista Flockhart
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Sally Field
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie Rachel Griffiths
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Sally Field
2010 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Drama Series

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