Nearly the entire "Brothers & Sisters" cast has gathered on a sound stage at Disney Studios to shoot the May 11 season-ending finale. As usual, someone in the Walker clan is experiencing a momentous occasion.
But that's four fresh episodes away; the show finally returns Sunday (ABC, 10 p.m. ET/PT), and there's plenty of drama in between.
Romance will be in the air for many, including Walker son Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and his on-again, off-again boyfriend Scotty Wandell (Luke MacFarlane). Kevin appears to be ready to settle down for good, and "there are sort of a series of proposals that are done sort of badly by Kevin," teases Rhys. Boding well for the union's success: MacFarlane has been added to the cast as a full series regular for next season and is expected to assume a permanent position in the annual Walker family photo. Among other developments:
The paternity question
A lingering mystery in the series has been who fathered the daughter of the late Walker patriarch's mistress, Holly. Before the writers' strike, thirtysomething alum Ken Olin returned to his acting roots to play a man who might be the biological father of Holly's daughter, Rebecca (Emily VanCamp). In one of the new episodes, viewers will learn if Olin's David or the late William Walker is the true daddy. "It's a potentially devastating experience to be going through," says VanCamp. "She's fallen in love with this family."
Complicating the paternity situation is a possible attraction between Rebecca and the young man she believes to be her brother Justin (Dave Annable). For months, VanCamp and Annable have been instructed to play a repressed attraction between their supposed siblings. Rebecca's true paternity, Annable says, will leave both "confused and unsure in which direction the relationship should head. There are a lot of feelings they have to deal with."
Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) returns her focus to the family company, and mom Nora (Sally Field) will begin a new career that uses her homemaking skills. But Sarah might be looking for a new job before too long. "Saul (Ron Rikfin) and Sarah put the company on the edge," Griffiths says, "and by the end of the season we're at risk of losing the whole Walker family wealth."
A ticking biological clock
Calista Flockhart's Kitty has been struggling to have a baby with new husband Robert (Rob Lowe). Flockhart savors the story line. "A lot of women are choosing to have careers and waiting to have children until their late 30s and early 40s and coming up against the fact that they can't," Flockhart says. "It speaks to a lot of women who are in Kitty's situation." By season's end, the couple will decide how they intend to become parents, supervising producer Monica Breen says.
Robert lost his bid for the White House, but Lowe says he will be asked to accept the vice presidential nomination. The big question: Will he accept? Flockhart, for one, hopes he does not. "We can't possibly compete with Hillary and Obama and John," she says of the current real-life front-runners. But Breen hasn't totally abandoned her Camelot dreams. While Breen acknowledges that moving Kitty to D.C. "would fissure the family togetherness, I would love to end the series with the Walkers being the first family of America."