Previewing BROTHERS & SISTERS S5 with David Marshall Grant

Season 4 of BROTHERS & SISTERS ended with a bang.  Or rather, a crash, the left the Walker clan once again dealing with tragedy and loss.  When Season 5 picks up roughly a year later, our gang is still dealing with the traumatic events of that night and what it means for them about moving forward.  I had a chance to chat with Executive Producer David Marshall Grant about where the characters are as we enter this new season, and what he hopes to see for the majority of them (some spoilers below).

So we had quite a season finale for Season 4.  How do we recover from that destruction going into the new season?
I think that’s exactly the question that we asked ourselves.  I think that we’re going to jump ahead a year but I think that it’s very important for us to deal with what that accident was, to honor who might have been lost in that accident and to really take stock of what happened, as well as moving forward.  I think the premiere episode this year is going to be a very emotional journey where we really see the Walkers dealing with what happened and at the same time, really moving forward.

Was the decision for the season finale made at the beginning of last year, or was it something that came up as the season went?
I think that we had really been thinking about that, by about the middle of the season.  We really wanted to try to find a way to create a great cliffhanger for the show, and we also wanted to, there was a lot of celebration at the end of that finale that seemed like they had struck California gold, Saul seemed HIV negative.  Justin, Rebecca, seemed like they were going to make it, and Kitty and Robert seemed like they were going to make it.  We wanted to end with the hard twist of fate landing on them at the end of the season last year.  that was always sort of the sense of how it would be.  The accident, we went back and forth with different ways to accomplish that, but finally, this sort of idea of a multi car pile up was something we hadn’t really seen on TV, a lot of us, so we thought it would be a good thing to try.

With the show, it’s not brand new, so this crash opens up such a wealth of new storylines, that you can still tackle.
Yes, I mean, I think that we wanted to, in this next season, it’s important to honor our show, honor the past, honor what happened, and at the same time, going a year ahead is a way for us to put these characters in new and exciting situations, new and different conflicts, and new and different problems and journeys.  That’s something that I think we’ve really been concentrating on.

Can you touch on a storyline for some of the gang, where we are for each of the Walker clan?
I think that’s a great way to look at it.  You know, in terms of Kitty, everybody knows Rob is going to be leaving the show, so Kitty’s gotta face her life without Robert McAllister.  For Kitty,t he beginning episodes of this season is a journey of rediscovery for her.  Kitty lives in such rarified air as a person.  She was nearly first lady of the United States, she ran for Senate.  She lived in that upper stratosphere, so to speak, so I think that Kitty, where Kitty’s going to be moving up to Ojai in the beginning of the season, to really find who she is now without Robert, so it’s really a journey of rediscovery, in mid life, for her.  This will involve a romantic interest at some point for her.  We cast this great actor Jeremy Davidson, so that will be sort of the beginning part for Kitty.  Nora, I think is really stretching, trying to stretch her wings this season.  She has a job when we start the premiere, working at a florist.  For Nora Walker to be out of the house is amazing.  She’s really trying to figure out how she can be more than just a mother.  I think it involves work and love, hopefully, and I think one of the exciting things we’re going to do this year, I think Nora, through a chance meeting with a radio producer, is going to land her job, having her own AM radio talk show, called ASK MOM.  She’s going to be able to take her gifts not just to her family, but to the world on radio.  I think this will open her up to a romance, and I think that Nora has flirted around with men before, but she’s just never seemed to be ready.  I think this season, Nora is ready for change both professionally in terms of getting a career, and change in terms of looking, maybe really finding love.

In terms of Sarah, she’s busy and happy with Luc.  Luc is still here with her.  One of the fun things we’re doing with Luc is that in the year that we’ve left him, he’s been signed by a modeling agency, he’s booked and underwear model campaign, so she’s living with that whole sort of world, and taking care of Paige.  Her relationship in the beginning is going to be all about her family, about a new man living with her, a daughter who seems new to her, because she’s like a tween, and pushing back, and slowly trying to understand what to do with the land that she held onto and it turned out to be worth a lot of money.  So she is there dealing with her family, trying to figure out what to do.  Those are the three women which are the heart and soul of our show.  As for Kevin and Scotty, you the surrogacy failed, over the interim, so they’re facing life, again, without any leads in terms of having a family, so I think we’re going to explore with them, the idea of foster adoption.  Which I think could be a great story for them, and bring in a character that would be a great foil for Kevin and Scotty, and maybe be the person that they end up adopting.

And just to say a quick thing about Justin which is really important.  I think that Justin, in the year that’s been gone, he’s really finally become a man.  We’re really excited about Justin this year, and what he does as a forceful man, and not what he’s often been in our show, which is sometimes you know a troubled kid, if you will.

I’m sure that with Emily leaving, that opens up a whole other story about how it affects Justin and Rebecca, and Holly and Rebecca.
Yes, we really felt that it was important to honor that whole relationship, Justin and Rebecca.  I mean, it was such an integral part of our show.  It was really important to us,and we spent a lot of time on those episodes, where Rebecca came back and did two episodes for us so far.  It’s about Justin and Rebecca, and saying goodbye.  It’s also about Rebecca and Holly, and their relationship too.  It’s a lot that Rebecca needs to deal with and come to terms with before she can leave.

BROTHERS & SISTERS premieres tonight on ABC at 10/9c following the season premiere of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.