The Fosters (2013 TV series)

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The Fosters
The Fosters intertitle.png
Genre Family drama
Teen drama
Created by
Theme music composer Kari Kimmel
Opening theme "Where You Belong"
by Kari Kimmel
Composer(s) Alec Puro
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 54 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Christine A. Sacani
  • Paul Sciarrotta
  • David Hartle
  • Mark Benton Johnson
  • Kristin Windell
  • Sharon Silverman
  • Debra Weinstein
  • Michael Jablow
  • Lowell Peterson
  • Kees Van Oostrum
  • Checco Varese
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Original network ABC Family (2013–15)
Freeform (2016–present)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release June 3, 2013 (2013-06-03) – present
External links
Official website

The Fosters is an American family drama television series that airs on the Freeform network in the United States and ABC Spark in Canada. The series follows the lives of the title Foster family, consisting of a lesbian couple (portrayed by Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a multi-ethnic blended family of biological, adopted and foster children (portrayed by David Lambert, Maia Mitchell, Jake T. Austin/Noah Centineo, Cierra Ramirez, and Hayden Byerly).

The series was created by Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, who also serve as executive producers alongside Jennifer Lopez for her production company Nuyorican Productions in association with ProdCo Original, Blazing Elm Entertainment and ABC Family Original Productions. The first season premiered on June 3, 2013, and concluded on March 24, 2014. The second season premiered on June 16, 2014.

In its first season, the series received generally favorable reviews from critics and has garnered particular acclaim for its portrayal of LGBT themes, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series and earning the GLAAD Vanguard Award for executive producer Jennifer Lopez, as well as winning the Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout Television Show.

On January 13, 2015, ABC Family renewed the series for a third season which premiered on June 8,[1][2] with the second half set to premiere on January 18, 2016 on Freeform.[3] On November 24, 2015, the premiere date was pushed to a week later on January 25, 2016.[4] On November 30, 2015, ABC Family announced that The Fosters was renewed for a fourth season.[5]


The Fosters follows Stef Foster (Teri Polo) a police officer, and her wife Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) a school administrator, and their multi-ethnic, blended family living in San Diego. Stef and Lena are the parents of Brandon (David Lambert), Stef's biological son, and the twins, Jesus (Jake T. Austin/Noah Centineo) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) who were adopted as small children. At the outset of the series, the couple take in two foster children: Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Jude (Hayden Byerly) who have recently been removed from an abusive home. Also part of their lives is Mike Foster (Danny Nucci), Stef's patrol partner/ex-husband and Brandon's father. Much of the series takes place in their quiet San Diego suburb, and Anchor Beach Community Charter School, where Lena works and the Foster children are students.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast of The Fosters
Character Actor Seasons
1 2 3
"Stef" Adams Foster Teri Polo Main
Lena Adams Foster Sherri Saum Main
Jesus Adams Foster Jake T. Austin Main
Noah Centineo Main
Jude Adams Foster Hayden Byerly Main
Brandon Foster David Lambert Main
Callie Adams Foster Maia Mitchell Main
Mike Foster Danny Nucci Main
Mariana Adams Foster Cierra Ramirez Main

Main cast and characters[edit]

  • Stefanie "Stef" Marie Adams Foster (Teri Polo)[6][7] is married to Lena, and is the biological mother of Brandon and the adoptive mother to twins, Jesus and Mariana. In the pilot episode, the pair take in two foster children, Callie and Jude, who they later adopt. Stef is a police officer with the San Diego Police Department, and is patrol partners with her ex-husband, Mike. Stef is characterized as having a strong exterior, have strong opinions, but can be shown as loving and motherly. Amid season 1, she and Mike help the twins remove themselves from encountering their biological mother, but Stef gets shot while trying to remove her from her drug addict boyfriend. Also in season 1, Stef and Lena legally marry and the discussion of Lena carrying her first child arises.
  • Lena Elizabeth Adams Foster (Sherri Saum)[7][8] is married to Stef, and is the step-mother of Brandon, and the adoptive mother to twins, Jesus and Mariana. In the pilot episode, the pair take in two foster children, Callie and Jude, who they later adopt. Lena is the vice-principal of Anchor Beach Community Charter School, a secondary school where the children attend. Lena is characterized as being more open and reasonable, oftentimes when it comes to the children's wrongdoings, but can be stern and forthcoming. Amid season 1, she and Stef legally marry and the discussion of Lena carrying her first child arises. In season 2, Lena interviews for a promotion at work, and reveals she is with a child, leading the panel to question her ability to balance work and home. Sadly, Lena has a miscarriage while being hospitalized with preeclampsia.
  • Brandon Foster (David Lambert)[7][9] is the eldest Foster child, the biological son of Stef and Mike, and is older brother to twins Jesus and Mariana, Jude, and Callie. Brandon quickly takes a liking to Callie, but soon realizes how it would hurt her adoption, and backs off. Brandon is also musically talented, excelling in piano, and on the verge of entering a prestigious music program. In a strong attempt to help the twins' buy off their birth mother, Brandon beings selling fake IDs to earn back the lost money but got in an argument with his dealer, who causes physical harm on Brandon. At the start of season 2, Brandon loses feeling in his hand and loses his spot in the music program. Still musically inclined, Brandon joins a band. In season 3, Brandon goes to the Idylwild band camp and competes to play at Disney Hall. Brandon ultimately wins the competition.
  • Callie Adams Foster (Maia Mitchell) [7][9] is the oldest foster child, and is the younger adoptive sister to Brandon and older adoptive sister to twins, Jesus and Mariana, and older maternal half-sister to Jude. In the pilot episode, Callie is placed in the Adams Foster home after serving time in juvenile detention for causing damage to her abusive foster father's property. Later, with Brandon's help, she goes to get Jude,who was still in the abusive foster home. Callie quickly takes a liking to Brandon, but the pair hold back their feelings in an effort to protect Callie's fostering. Callie attempts to run away, but with her history, is placed in a group home to counsel her actions and keep her away from Brandon. At the end of season 1, Callie's adoption is put on hold after discovering that she and Jude do not share the same birth father. In season 2, Callie is approached by a man who reveals to be her birth father, Robert Quinn. She is introduced to his family, and is quickly taken by his daughter, Sophia. After Robert feels ready to turn over his paternal rights, Sophia tears apart the paperwork hoping Callie feels the same way about their newfound sibling bond, which appears to be the exact opposite. She is officially adopted in the summer finale of season 3 and becomes an "Adams Foster" following a protracted battle with the justice system and an impassioned speech to a judge.
  • Jesus Adams Foster (Jake T. Austin/Noah Centineo)[7][9][10] is one of a pair of adopted Adams-Foster twins, and is younger brother to Brandon and Callie, twin brother to Mariana, and older brother to Jude. At the start of the show, it is revealed that he struggles with ADHD, and later joins the wrestling team in an effort to offset the negative effects of his medication through the advice of Mike. Although displaying a typical sibling relationship, Jesus loves his twin sister, Mariana, and the pair share resentment toward their biological mother. Jesus is also characterized as a womanizer, having a short string of romantic relationships, and sometimes charming his mothers, including when he covers up for Mariana's wrongdoings. In season 1, Jesus feels left out of part preparations for Mariana's quinceanera, but later opts to be her escort in an effort to be a part of the birthday celebration. In season 3 Jesus is at boarding school but returns after Callie's adoption, claiming it to be a surprise. However, he privately admits to Mariana that he can't go back to school.
  • Mariana Adams Foster (Cierra Ramirez)[7] is one of a pair of adopted Adams-Foster twins, and is younger sister to Brandon and Callie, twin sister to Jesus, and older sister to Jude. Mariana is characterized as a typical teenage girl, who enjoys being social, likes to gossip, and overly cares about her appearance, as seen in season 2 when she dyes her hair blonde in an effort to fit in. In season 1, it is revealed that Mariana has been supporting her birth mother financially by selling Jesus' ADHD medication. Jesus, later, confronts their birth mom to no longer contact Mariana, only to also rope in Brandon, which causes him financial and physical harm, for which she is heavily apologetic. In season 2, Mariana hopes to change her image, joins the dance team, and takes a liking toward one of Brandon's bandmates.
  • Jude Adams Foster (Hayden Byerly)[9] is the youngest adopted Adams-Foster child, and is younger brother to Brandon, twins Jesus and Mariana, and is the younger maternal half-brother of Callie. In the pilot episode, Callie rescues Jude from their abusive foster father. At school, Jude quickly becomes friends with a kind-hearted boy, Connor, and as their friendship grew, Jude begins questioning himself.[11][12] In a season 1 episode, Mariana paints Jude's nails blue, and Callie tells him to wash it off, but learns to accept Jude's choices. When Connor's father suspects Jude's feelings, he forbade the boys from seeing each other outside of school. Jude slips into a phase of selective mutism, only to finally open up to Callie about his feelings. At the end of season 1, Jude gets adopted by Stef and Lena Adams Foster, officially becoming part of the Foster family. Near the end of season 2 he and Connor kissed and began dating, but Jude refused to label himself as gay. After seeing how badly this affected Connor at an LBGTQ dance in season 3, Jude finally admitted he was gay. Following Callie's adoption, Jude admits he's in love with Connor who returns the sentiment.
  • Mike Foster (Danny Nucci)[7][9] is Stef's patrol partner/ex-husband, and is Brandon's biological father. He makes a number of appearances in the Foster home, oftentimes presenting himself as the paternal figure to the other Foster children. Mike is the sole financier for Brandon's piano lessons, but doesn't learn about him using the money to buy-off the twins' birth mother, and in an attempt to contact her at home, Mike witnesses Stef get shot and, in turn, fires at the shooter. A conflict challenges Mike's job as Stef keeps secret that the shooter was, technically, unarmed when Mike shot him. Also in season 1, it is revealed that Mike has had an ongoing alcohol addiction, is in AA, and has retained a live-in girlfriend named Dani who helps maintain his sobriety. The pair break up in season 2, when she gets arrested for statutory rape with an inebriated Brandon.

Recurring cast and characters[edit]

  • Ana Gutierrez (Alexandra Barreto) is Jesus and Mariana's biological mother who is a member of AA. In season 3, she gave birth to a daughter named Isabella.
  • Connor Stevens (Gavin MacIntosh) is Jude's best friend, classmate and boyfriend, who accepts Jude as he is. The two have problems in their relationship, mostly due to Connor's homophobic father and Jude's refusal to label themselves, but work through them. In season 3, Connor and Jude admit they love each other.
  • Monte Porter (Annika Marks) Principal of Anchor Beach School who kisses Lena in Season 2. Revealed to be bi-curious in Season 3.
  • Mat Tan (Jordan Rodrigues) Cousin of Lou and member of Someone's Little Sister. He was Marianna's first serious boyfriend until she breaks up with him in Season 3.
  • Emma (Amanda Leighton) is Jesus' ex-girlfriend, who is a member of the wrestling team and STEM with Mariana.
  • Rita Hendricks (Rosie O'Donnell) is the leader of Girls' United—a group home for troubled girls—who befriends Callie.
  • Daphne Keene (Daffany Clark) is Callie's close friend who met her in juvenile hall and lived with at Girls' United.
  • Wyatt (Alex Saxon) is Callie's ex-boyfriend, with whom she runs away.[13] He later returns in season 2 and in season 3.
  • Robert Quinn (Kerr Smith) is Callie's biological father who grows attached to Callie and considers bringing her home.
  • Sophia Quinn (Bailee Madison) is Callie's biological half-sister who grows overly attached to Callie.
  • Lucy "Lou" Chan (Ashley Argota) is Brandon's former love interest. She was introduced in Season 2 as a member of the band Someone's Little Sister.[14]
  • Dana Adams (Lorraine Toussaint) is Lena's mother.
  • Stewart Adams (Stephen Collins/Bruce Davison) is Lena's father.
  • Sharon Foster (Annie Potts) is Stef's mother.
  • Lexi Riviera (Bianca A. Santos) is Mariana's best friend, and Jesus' ex-girlfriend who moved to Honduras, but moved back to San Diego in season 3 after her and her family got their visas.[9]
  • Talya Banks (Madisen Beaty) is Brandon's ex-girlfriend who broke up with him after discovering his feelings for Callie.
  • AJ Hensdale (Tom Williamson), Mike's future foster son, initially fostered by Stef and Lena and now lives with social worker Rita.



The Fosters was originally conceived by openly gay creators Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige[15] who wanted to write a drama that reflected the "modern American family". After originally considering a story about two gay fathers, the pair decided the subject of two men raising a family had already been done on television and began to instead consider a story about two women.[16] When asked about the concept of two lesbian mothers raising a blended family, Bredeweg stated, "We realized that there was a kind of a vacuum when it came to stories about women raising families. So we set off in that direction. Many of our own friends are moms raising biological kids. Some of them have fostered and adopted. Suddenly, we realized that we had a story here that hadn't been told on television before."[16] Additionally, certain elements of the series which deal with the foster care system are said to have been inspired by a troubled childhood friend of Bredeweg, who struggled in the foster system before eventually being adopted in her senior year of high school.[16]

Executive producer Jennifer Lopez


When developing the concept, Bredeweg and Paige were initially met with some resistance from Hollywood, with Bredeweg recounting, "[T]here were some people around us, some people in town who said, 'You know, it is just not going to happen. You are never going to sell this show.'" After completing the first draft of the pilot script, the team was introduced to Jennifer Lopez through a friend who worked at her production company Nuyorican Productions, which was looking to branch out into scripted television. When describing their initial pitch to Lopez, Bredeweg stated, "When we met with Jennifer, she really fell in love with it. The moment we had her, we knew that we had a force behind us."[16]

Jennifer Lopez's decision to become involved in the project is said to have been largely inspired by her late Aunt Marisa, Lopez's mother's gay elder sister who had faced discrimination during her lifetime due to her sexual orientation and was unable to have a family of her own.[17][18][19] When discussing the show's concept, Lopez stated, "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."[19]

With Lopez on board, the team took the concept to several networks, including ABC Family, with Bredeweg recalling, "ABC Family was really receptive from the very beginning. Strangely, it felt a little like a match made in heaven. I mean, their slogan is 'A new kind of family.' We had a new kind of modern family, and it took off from there."[16] On July 6, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter, among other sources, reported that Jennifer Lopez and her production company, Nuyorican Productions, were developing the yet-to-be-titled hour-long drama for ABC Family, with Lopez set to executive produce alongside Simon Fields and Greg Gugliotta, as well as co-creators/writers Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg.[20][21]

Finally, the first televised promo appeared on ABC Family on April 19, 2013.[22]


On August 23, 2012, sources reported that ABC Family had ordered a pilot for The Fosters, a series which would tell the story of a lesbian couple raising a "21st-century" multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological children.[23][24][25] On September 24, 2012, it was reported that Teri Polo and Sherri Saum had been cast to star in the pilot as the two leads, Stef Adams Foster and Lena Adams Foster respectively.[26]

On February 6, 2013, it was reported that ABC Family had picked up the show, with production set to begin that spring for a summer 2013 premiere. The rest of the principal cast was also announced at that time, including Danny Nucci as Stef's ex-husband Mike Foster, David Lambert as their biological son Brandon Foster, Jake T. Austin and Cierra Ramirez as Stef and Lena's adopted twins Jesus and Mariana Foster, and Maia Mitchell and Hayden Byerly as their foster children Callie and Jude Jacob.

When recounting the casting process, Bredeweg explained, "[W]e spent tireless hours trying to find the right person for each role. Then they all began to line up—it was like dominos—the moment we found our Lena, the moment we found our Callie, the moment we found our Stef, it sort of all started to line up perfectly for us."[16] On April 11, 2013, TV Guide unveiled the first official cast photo of The Fosters.[27]

In March 2015, it was announced that Jake T. Austin would be leaving the show. He tweeted: "I'm honored to have been a part of such a groundbreaking series, but I personally want to let you know that my time on the show has come to an end. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family, it's been a pleasure." It was announced three months later that Noah Centineo would replace Austin in the role of Jesus.[28]


The Fosters premiered on June 3, 2013 and ran for ten episodes. On July 30, 2013, the series was picked up for a full season[29] and an additional eleven episodes were produced,[30] with the season returning on January 13, 2014. On October 11, 2013, ABC Family renewed The Fosters for a second season[31][32][33] that premiered on June 16, 2014. The summer finale premiered on August 18, 2014. In July, ABC Family announced a Christmas special to premiere in December with the second half of season 2 to premiere in January 2015. The third season premiered on June 8, 2015.[2]

In Australia, the series airs on Fox8. The second season premiered on February 3, 2015.[34]

In Turkey, the series airs on Dizimax Drama.[35]


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 21 June 3, 2013 (2013-06-03) March 24, 2014 (2014-03-24)
2 21 June 16, 2014 (2014-06-16) March 23, 2015 (2015-03-23)
3 TBA June 8, 2015 (2015-06-08) TBA


On January 27, 2014, it was confirmed that ABC Family green-lighted a spin-off digital series of The Fosters, named The Fosters: Girls United. The five-part web series follows the residents of the Girls United group home. Maia Mitchell, Daffany Clark, Cherinda Kincherlow, Annamarie Kenoyer, Alicia Sixtos, Hayley Kiyoko, and Angela Gibbs star in the series.[36]


Critical reception[edit]

The Fosters received a Metacritic score of 70 out of 100 in its first season, based on reviews by eleven critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[37] While acknowledging its network was somewhat beholden to the "soapy" format its target demographic had become accustomed to, critics praised the series for its ability to appeal to adults and younger viewers alike, with Boston Herald critic Mark A. Perigard writing, "The show cannily plays to teen hopes and dreams [...] but there's story for the adults as well."[38] And St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Gail Pennington echoed the sentiment, writing "Intelligent enough for adults, accessible enough for younger viewers and entertaining enough for both."[39]

Series stars Sherri Saum and Teri Polo

The series has garnered critical acclaim for its innovative portrayal of LGBT characters and themes. Entertainment Weekly critic, Sarah Caldwell wrote that "[s]eeing a lesbian, biracial couple on a family TV show is a big deal. [I]f you look at the demographics of most TV shows, it's easy to realize how important, and deliberate, this choice was."[40] Philadelphia Daily News critic Ellen Gray wrote, "Stef and Lena [are] the kind of parents I've met more in real life than on television. I hope they'll be as welcome there as they seem to be welcoming."[41] And TV Guide critic Matt Rousch felt similarly, writing, "there's something refreshing about its unforced approach to redefining what a family looks like."[42] In addition to its adult characters, the series garnered praise for its handling of 13-year-old Jude's questioning of his sexual orientation, with citing Byerly's "heartwarming" portrayal when naming Jude to its list of "Favorite LGBTQ Characters on TV" in 2014.[12] The LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD and gay-interest media outlet also commended the show's decision to introduce the character of transgender teenager Cole, portrayed by transgender actor Tom Phelan, in the second half of its first season.[15][43]

In his review of the pilot episode, Variety's Brian Lowry criticized what he felt were formulaic elements, writing that what was distinctive about the series appeared to have been "extracted during the pitch meeting, indicating a show either built by committee or incorporating too many notes." Although acknowledging that Polo and Saum were competent actresses and that the show "had its heart in the right place", Lowry described the series as an "utterly by-the-numbers affair."[44] PopMatters critic Maysa Hattab detected some of the same problems, writing "[T]he Fosters feel less like a family than a careful assembly of machine-tooled parts, as if the show were engineered for a focus group approved 'family drama' category.", while conceding that the lead characters, Stef and Lena were "a likeable pair."[45]


On October 8, 2012, more than seven months prior to the series debut, the socially conservative One Million Moms organization, a division of the American Family Association, which has been classified as a hate and extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,[46] condemned Lopez and the show, encouraging audiences to boycott it.[47][48] The group, which has routinely advocated against the depiction of same-sex couples in the media, stated: "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."[49][50] 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".[48][51][52]

In response, ABC defended the television show, with ABC Family President Michael Riley countering that 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".[53] 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".[22]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Recipient(s) Result Reference
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Breakout Show The Fosters Won [54]
Choice Summer TV Show The Fosters Nominated [55]
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Jake T. Austin Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Maia Mitchell Nominated
2014 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series Millicent Shelton
(Episode: "Clean")
Nominated [56]
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series The Fosters Won [57]
GLAAD Vanguard Award Jennifer Lopez
(Executive producer)
Awarded [17]
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming The Fosters Won
Teen Choice Awards Drama Show The Fosters Nominated [58]
Drama: Actor Jake T. Austin Nominated
Drama: Actress Maia Mitchell Nominated
Choice summer TV Star: Male David Lambert Nominated
Choice summer TV Star: Female Cierra Ramirez Nominated
2015 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series The Fosters Nominated [59]
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming The Fosters Won [60]
Teen Choice Awards Drama Show The Fosters Nominated
Drama: Actress Maia Mitchell Nominated
Drama: Actor Jake T. Austin Nominated
Choice summer TV Star: Male David Lambert Nominated
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Drama The Fosters Nominated


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