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Balthazar Getty not leaving 'Brothers & Sisters' for good

February 11, 2009 |  5:49 pm

Getty The tale of Balthazar Getty's alleged exit from "Brothers & Sisters" puts us in mind of the phone tree device used so well on the ABC series to denote how the Walker siblings communicate (not!) with and about each other.

For several weeks it's been rumored that the actor, whose marriage and sex life has been covered by the tabloids, has been acting up on the job and that producers were looking for a way to kick him out of the series.  Getty plays Tommy Walker, the brooding brother who has committed illegal acts of late to try to push his dead father's former mistress, Holly (Patricia Wetig), out of the family produce business.

This afternoon, speculation intensified when E! reported that Getty's exit occurs in the 19th episode (five episodes from now).  But that is only partially true. Tommy leaves Los Angeles in that episode, but he returns before the season is over in a story line that strips the character of everything and everyone in his life.

"Balthazar is taking time off from the show right now because we felt that character was really on a downward spiral and you see him really go on it," said co-show runner Alison Schapker. "In almost trying to be his dad, he's destroyed by it, and he has lost everything by the end of the year."

Tommy will go through a period of spiritual examination and renewal before the Walker clan can get its hands on him again, Schapker said.

"Tommy is in no way permanently gone," she said. "This is just the logical end to this year's story. What we'd like to do is bring him back next year in a different way."

That is, of course, provided that ABC renews the series for a fourth season, which is likely to happen.

—Maria Elena Fernandez

(Photo: Ann Johansson / For the Los Angeles Times)

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