All in the Family



RON RIFKIN 2 X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COMYour relationship with Kevin, to me, is one of the more interesting on the show. The dynamic is flipped. He’s younger but much more comfortable in his skin than Saul is. How has that relationship been for you as an actor in trying to shape Saul?
Saul is pretty shaped. The fact is, and this sounds kind of trite ... we genuinely care about each other, this group of people. As a matter of fact, Dave Annable [Justin Walker] is getting married on the 10th of October, and he and Odette, his fiancée, asked me to marry them. So that’s how close we are. That’s why I do have to fly back from Long Island to marry them on the 10th. But we really are close and we’re champions for each other. And I’ve been very lucky. It was that way for me on Alias too, particularly with Jennifer [Garner], Victor [Garber] and myself.

And Jennifer was married by Victor, so the tradition goes on.
[Laughs] That’s correct.

So you’ve now had a 10-year run with ABC with two really well-regarded TV shows. Did you have any sense that would happen for you at this point in your career?
No, no ... I expect to get another one. [Laughs] I am. Whether or not it’s with ABC, I don’t know, but I’m definitely planning on another one. Hopefully it will last as long and be as interesting for me. Certainly Alias continued to be interesting throughout the run of the show. Brothers & Sisters has not. The first three years were very interesting, very satisfying, the last two have not been so, but, you know, that’s sort of what happens on television. You take the good with the bad.

What would you like to see happen with Saul, ideally?
I would hope that Saul’s relationship with his nephew and his nephew’s husband opens up a world for Saul in such a way that he can explore what he hasn’t had. If somebody like the character Stephen Collins plays comes along like that, suddenly there is a possibility for love, a possibility for a life he’s been longing for.

They’re written very richly for Kevin’s character. Why do you think that hasn’t happened as much for Saul?
Oh, don’t get me started on that. I think that’s a network thing. I think the network really dictates what can and can’t be done. One of the brilliant things about Robbie Baitz is that he writes like no one else. The first year of Brothers & Sisters, the writing was quite different. The story lines were quite different, and I think he ran into problems with the network. It’s something, obviously, I’m being cautious about. But it’s hard on network television, obviously, because they’re dictating to what they think is the audience for the show, and I just don’t think they give enough credit to people who are out there. It’s complicated to have a 71-year-old gay guy on television come out ... not only to come out, and people can go, “Ooh, he’s gay” ... and then to have him have AIDS ... “Ooh.” But it exists. It’s important.

Tags: television