Nora Holden Walker (Sally Field), a character on the show "Brothers and Sisters, " is the matriarch of the Walker family. She first appears in the Season 1 pilot episode. Nora has a very large family, including five children: Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), Kitty (Calista Flockhart), Tommy (Balthazar Getty), Kevin (Matthew Rhys), and Justin (Dave Annable). Additionally, she has a brother named Saul (Ron Rifkin) and a number of grandchildren. Further, she has two sons-in-law named Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) and Robert (Rob Lowe). She is Jewish although she is not very observant and is more likely to refer to herself as secular. Her children continue to play significant roles in her life, and she is often put in the role of trying to mitigate their problems and help them when they fall on hard times.
The first episode is critical to the development of Nora's character. Her husband William (Tom Skerritt) dies of a heart attack, setting off a series of events. She learns about the extensive affair that he had with his mistress over the course of their marriage. Nora further learns, or comes to believe, that this affair yielded an illegitimate daughter named Rebecca Harper (Emily VanCamp). This is a real shock for a stable person such as Nora, who makes adjustments and comes to terms with her new situation throughout the course of the first season. Nora is both strong and spirited, yet she must endure a number of difficult family dramas. During the first season, she has a relationship with a handyman named David Morton (Treat Williams), but breaks it off when she realizes she doesn't want to become involved in a serious relationship so soon after the death of her husband.
Nora is open-minded and wishes the best for all of her children. She is accepting of her gay son, Kevin, who has relationship problems for which Nora often offers encouragement or advice. Nora eventually moves on from her husband's death, and begins dating again. Over the course of the series, Nora continues to face many challenges. She eventually learns that she is wrong about her husband having an illegitimate daughter. Instead, he has an illegitimate son named Ryan Lafferty (Ryan Devlin).
Later in the show, Nora learns that her daughter Kitty has cancer. They come to terms with their political differences, and Nora raises money from the community to begin a cancer charity to help patients like her daughter. While helping Kitty battle cancer, she meets an oncologist named Simon Craig (Jon Tenney) but later learns he is a con artist. Nora wisely discovers this and is able to call the police to arrest him. Additionally, she deals with a visit from her mother (Marion Ross), who radically differs from her in character and beliefs. Nora, who is more liberal, clashes with her conservative mother. However, Nora continues to hold the family together despite a never-ending series of issues.
"Life is so much sweeter with a baby. Why did you guys have to go and grow up?"
"Oh, honey, don't feel bad. You can't compete against the world's greatest grandma, and I have a coffee mug that proves it."