The Fosters is an American teen/family drama series on ABC Family that premiered on June 3, 2013. The series follows the lives of the Foster family, a lesbian couple raising children together. On July 30, 2013, The Fosters was picked up for a full season. An additional ten episodes will be produced, with the season returning on January 13, 2014.
On October 11, 2013, ABC Family renewed The Fosters for a second season.
Lena Adams Foster (Sherri Saum) and Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo) are a same-sex couple living in San Diego, California. Lena, a school administrator, and Stef, a police officer, are raising three children: Stef's biological son from a previous marriage, Brandon (David Lambert), and a pair of adopted twins, Jesus (Jake T. Austin) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez). In the pilot episode, Lena and Stef also agree to take on a troubled foster child, Callie (Maia Mitchell), and her younger brother, Jude (Hayden Byerly). Their lives become more complicated as the family members deal with Stef being partnered at work with her ex-husband, Mike (Danny Nucci), with Mariana secretly reaching out to her drug-addicted birth mother, and with a growing romantic attraction between Callie and Brandon.
Cast and characters
Main cast and characters
Teri Polo as Stephanie "Stef" Marie Adams Foster: Stef is a police officer. She and Mike, her partner at work, are Brandon's biological parents. At the end of 1x10, Stef and Lena were officially married, legally cementing their long-term union. Stef is very strong and tough, but is also very funny and loving. Callie initially doesn't feel comfortable around her due to her position as a cop.
Sherri Saum as Lena Elizabeth Adams Foster: Lena is Stef's wife, Brandon's stepmother, and the other children's adoptive/foster mother. She is the biracial vice principal of the charter school the kids attend. She first took Callie in after she got out of the juvenile detention center. Lena is very aware of the people around her and takes on the role of caring mother to all of the kids.
Maia Mitchell as Callie Jacob: Callie, 16, is one of the Foster family's new foster children and possibly the main character of the show. Callie is beautiful, headstrong, and tough. She deeply loves her younger brother, Jude, and was sent to Juvie for destroying a car in order to protect Jude from his foster father's abuse. After she is released from Juvie and placed with the Fosters, Callie and Brandon rescue Jude, who is subsequently fostered by the Fosters as well. Callie has had a hard life--her mother is dead and her father is in jail, and she has been abused in many ways in the foster care system. She initially has trouble opening herself up to her new family, but she is slowly coming to love and accept them. Initially Callie opens up mainly to Brandon, and the two develop a romantic relationship, even though it is forbidden by the rules of the foster system. Callie is also friends with/dating a boy named Wyatt, and the nature of their relationship remains unresolved.
David Lambert as Brandon Foster: Brandon is the 16-year-old son of Stef and her ex-husband, Mike. He is one of Callie's love interests. He is very talented musically, specifically with the piano, and writes piano pieces which he presents for chances at scholarships. He has been shown to have an unsteady relationship with his father, Mike, due to the fact that Mike is a struggling alcoholic and has disappointed Brandon many times through his childhood and teen years. At the start of Season 1 Brandon has a girlfriend named Talya, but he breaks up with her in "Quinceanera" because of his growing feelings for Callie and his annoyance and anger at her harassment and jealousy directed at Callie. For most of Season One Brandon has continued to pursue Callie romantically, even though she warned him that she could be kicked out of the house if they got involved. Brandon continues to make reckless decisions, included violating a restraining order, in order to be with Callie. Ultimately, he accepts that Callie needs a family more than a relationship, and agrees to a mutual break up in episode 1x15. *
Jake T. Austin as Jesus Foster: Jesus is one of the twins that Lena and Stef fostered as children and eventually adopted. He is 15 years old and is the more laid-back of the twins. He has ADHD, for which he takes medication. After a fainting spell caused by his pills in "House and Home", he decides with the suggestion of Mike to join the wrestling team to cope with negative effects of ADHD. He is close with his sister as they were both in the foster care system and he acted as her protector; however their personalities and values clash occasionally, causing many arguments. He even went as far to take the blame for her selling his pills to have money for their birth mom, Ana, who he feels disgust and resentment towards because she uses drugs and gave him and Mariana away for them. He starts dating his sister Mariana's best friend Lexi whom he has known for many years as Mariana and Lexi have been friends since the first grade, in "Consequently" after defending her from a guy. He falls out with his sister in "Quinceanera" when she finds out he's been secretly dating Lexi and feels betrayed by Jesus for doing so. They make-up in the "The Fall-Out". He has sex with Lexi once in "The Morning After". His relationship with Lexi is on hold when she moves back to Honduras because her grandmother is sick and her family cannot find a way back as they are illegal immigrants.
Cierra Ramirez as Mariana Foster: Jesus's 15-year-old twin sister, Mariana was fostered as a young child, and eventually adopted, by Lena and Stef. She is very smart and girly, and cares about her appearance very much. She is popular and social, likes to gossip, and speaks Spanish fluently. She is naive when it comes to certain topics - especially her birth mother but she smartens up about her in "Consequently", realizing she was using Mariana for money. She changes herself for guys like in "The Morning After" when she sees that an old friend, Garrett is cute now and writes poetry, goes to a Poetry Slam with him, and pierces her nose herself for him since he was hanging out with a girl who was dressed much edgier than Mariana. In "House and Home", her self-absorbed and manipulating friend Kelsey slips a hat into Mariana's bag without paying, Mariana is angry once finding it and declares she'll return it when Chase who plays a lead in the play Mariana and Kelsey are involved in says it's perfect for his character and this immediately justifies not returning it for Mariana.
Hayden Byerly as Jude Jacob: Jude is Callie's younger brother, who Callie and Brandon rescue from an abusive foster home. He is a quiet child with slightly sheltered views on foster homes, though he has been moved from foster home to foster home along with his sister. Once he is moved into the Fosters' home, he quickly begins to adjust to the new lifestyle and becomes more talkative and energetic. At school, he makes new friends, specifically with a boy named Connor. He also begins to express who he really is and starts to wear nicer clothes.
Danny Nucci as Mike Foster: Mike is a San Diego police sergeant, Brandon's father, and Stef's ex-husband and ex-police patrol partner. As the series progresses, it is revealed that Mike has a drinking problem.
Alex Saxon as Wyatt: Callie's former love interest. In "I Do" Wyatt reveals that his mother is moving him to Indiana to live with his grandmother.
Madisen Beaty as Talya: Brandon's ex-girlfriend and at one point Callie's enemy.
Alexandra Barreto as Ana Gutierrez: Mariana and Jesus' biological mother. She is a drug addict, and repeatedly tries to manipulate Mariana into giving her money. She even suggests that Mariana steal something from her parents in order to obtain more money for herself.
April Parker-Jones as Captain Roberts: Stef and Mike's boss.
On January 27, 2014, it was confirmed that ABC Family greenlighted a spin-off digital series of The Fosters, named The Fosters: Girls United. The five-part web series will follow the residents of the Girls United group home. Maia Mitchell, Daffany Clark, Cherinda Kincherlow, Annamarie Kenoyer, Alicia Sixtos, Hayley Kiyoko, and Angela Gibbs will be starring in the series.
Development and production
"Although [the script] was about a non-traditional family and had some newer themes, it had some really basic themes as well about family and love and what's really important. And life can be complicated and messy sometimes and not simple. It gives a really good depiction of family in this day and age."
—Lopez on the show's concept.
In July 2012, The Hollywood Reporter, among other sources, confirmed that Jennifer Lopez and her production company, Nuyorican Productions, were developing a yet-to-be-titled hour-long drama project for ABC Family. Lopez serves as executive producer along with Simon Fields and Greg Gugliotta, as well as co-creators/writers Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg. In August, ABC Family ordered a pilot for The Fosters, a series which tells the story of a lesbian couple and their diverse family. The comedy-drama is about two women raising a "21st-century" multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological children. The socially conservative One Million Moms, a division of the American Family Association, an SPLC certified hate group, condemned Lopez and the show, encouraging audiences to boycott it. The group is against lesbian themes, stating: "While foster care and adoption is a wonderful thing and the Bible does teach us to help orphans, this program is attempting to redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise these children together." They issued the following statement:
"Obviously, ABC has lost their minds. They haven’t let up so neither will we. ABC’s Family Channel has several anti-family programs, and they are planning on adding to that growing list. ABC Family has approved a series pilot from Jennifer Lopez’s production company, Nuyorican, about a lesbian couple and their diverse family".
In response, ABC subsequently backed the television show. ABC Family President Michael Riley said The Fosters merges perfectly with the network’s "groundbreaking storytelling and iconic characters" and will feature “the same depth, heart, close relationships and authenticity that our viewers have come to expect". Other sources have also defended the show. Josh Middleton, a writer from Philadelphia magazine, called One Million Moms' statement "silliness" as well as "ridiculous" and said, "They obviously missed the boat on shows like Modern Family and The New Normal, which have been on air — and killing it in the ratings game — for a while now".
On April 11, 2013, TV Guide unveiled the first official cast photo of The Fosters, while its first-look trailer was released on April 19. The pilot premiered on June 3, 2013.