‘Parenthood’: Will Someone Die? Producer Jason Katims Previews Final Season

"I have a responsibility to everyone...to try and make these episodes great"

Parenthood cast

Is Amber pregnant?

Will someone die?

What will happen to Julia and Joel?

Writer and producer Jason Katims promises an emotional and unpredictable final season for NBC’s hit drama PARENTHOOD.

The low-rated but beloved series faced cancelation after last season when it became increasingly costly to produce and cast members refused to accept pay cuts.

Eventually, everyone agreed to return for one final, abbreviated season, with each of the principle actors appearing in 11 of 13 episodes.

The final installments will be tied together by one major family event that will help tie up all of the show’s ongoing story lines, Katims tells me.

“It is something that is another one of these big life moments that I think the show tackles well when we do them,” he says.

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“When we did Kristina’s cancer storyline a couple of years ago it was, I thought, one of our strongest stories that we did and obviously some of the best performances.  So we want to do a story that, again, is one of those where the [whole] family has to deal with.”

We will all have to wait until this fall to find out exactly what he has in store, but Katims teased a few of the possible twists and turns when we caught up in Beverly Hills yesterday:

Will Sara Ramos (Haddie Braverman) be back this season?
We hope so.  She is in college so it is about her schedule.  Hopefully we are going to get her for the first episode and then we can figure it out.

How much of the major storyline do you have figured out?
I have been working with the writers for seven weeks already.  I feel like I came in on the first day having a lot of thoughts about where we want to get to by the end of the season.  So we have a lot of the episodes and a lot of the stories are broken.

Have there ever been discussions about a PARENTHOOD spinoff?
We make a lot of jokes about it in the writers room, but there haven’t been any talks about any spinoffs.  But I am hoping.

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Was last season’s finale intended to be the series finale if the show wasn’t renewed?
It’s weird because we have been doing episodes for five years and I never written anything as a series finale.  And for the last several years, people have said, ‘Oh, it seems like the show is over.”  I think it tends to have — because you have a lot of resolution and catharsis in the end — the show seems to have sort of a finality to it when it gets to the end of the season.  Though this season I was hedging my bets a little bit and had that ended up being the finale I would have been okay with it.  There was a sort of sense of closure.

Now that Zeke and Camille have sold there house, will we see it again?
It is not something we intend to use on an episode to episode basis.

The last few episodes seem to hint that maybe Amber is pregnant.  Did Ryan and Amber have sex in the hospital bed?
Yes.  There was sex.

Is the question of whether Amber is pregnant something that is addressed right away?
We will deal with that in the first episode of the season.

Is there a time jump between when we last left the Bravermans and where we rejoin them?
It is approximately two to three months.

What is Ray Romano’s status?
Ray is coming back and he will be a part of the show again.

What are you comfortable saying about Joel and Julia this season?
I felt like in the last episode of last year there was sort of a ray of hope.  But I really didn’t want to skip over the issues that we had, so when we pick up we are going to see this couple still dealing with the issues of their marriage and by the end of the season we hope to resolve those issues one way of the other.

With only 13 episodes, and knowing that you have so much to resolve with the Bravermans this year, do you envision bringing in any new characters this year?
Other than Ray, there are a couple of significant people coming in to the show.  One storyline that we hope to be telling more of is Hank and his daughter.  And maybe Hank’s ex-wife.  But it is largely going to be focused on our core group.

Based on everything you have said about the final season — especially the first episode — it really feels like someone is going to die.  Are you comfortable saying someone is going to die?
I am not comfortable saying that.  That may or may not be what is going to happen.

Is there pressure now, knowing how beloved this family is, for you to nail the finale?
I think pressure is the wrong word.  I feel responsibility.  I don’t feel pressure because pressure implies “Oh, my God, what are we going to do?”  And I haven’t felt that way.  I feel like we are going into this in a very confident way of there are stories that we want to tell and we are going to kind of leave it all on the field and try to do a great season.  But I feel a tremendous responsibility to the fans of the show because it is such an incredibly loyal fan base.  Every time you meet somebody who knows the show it is very special how much they love the show.  And by the way, I care about the show.  It is a show that is a big part of my life as a writer and my life as a person.  It is something that I feel like I have a responsibility to everyone who makes the show too to try and make these episodes great.

PARENTHOOD airs Thursday nights at 10:00 PM on NBC.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly