Orson Hodge is a fictional character on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. The character is played by Kyle MacLachlan. Orson is introduced in the final episodes of the second season of the series, and becomes the main mystery of the third season. MacLachlan left the main cast in season six, but made guest appearances until the eighth and final season.
Kyle MacLachlan as Orson Hodge
|Portrayed by||Kyle MacLachlan|
|First appearance||"Don't Look at Me"|
2x19, April 16, 2006
|Last appearance||"She Needs Me"|
8x15, March 4, 2012
|Created by||Marc Cherry|
Part Owner of Mrs. Van de Kamps Catering
|Residence||Lakeview Drive in Fairview, Eagle State - pre series until very beginning of season 3 |
4354 Wisteria Lane in Fairview, Eagle State - season 3 - 6 with the exception of three years in prison inside 5 years time leap
Prison - three years in the five-year time jump
Apartment in Fairview, Eagle State - very beginning of season 7 to second half of season 8
Development and casting
The character of Orson Hodge was originally planned as a romantic interest for Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher), according to executive producer Tom Spezialy, until Cherry decided to pair Orson with Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross). For the third season's mystery, series creator Marc Cherry wanted to incorporate more of the series' regular characters rather than bringing in various new ones, like they had done in the second season with Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) and her family. They developed the Orson plot line around the "idea that one of our women marries a guy who has dark secrets and possibly a violent streak." Cherry opined: "I thought there was something exciting about that, but real and relatable." Greenstein commented that the writers worked backwards from the second season's cliffhangers to develop the Orson storyline, forsaking the original material that had been developed earlier. The cast responded positively to the new material for the season.
When Orson was introduced toward the end of the second season, he was originally to be a con artist. A character portrayed by Julie White appeared in the second season finale and would have been Orson's accomplice, but the entire storyline was discarded in favor of the mysterious disappearance of Orson's wife and White's character was not seen or mentioned again. MacLachlan commented that his character is "desperate to make this relationship with Bree work. Anything that tries to knock that apart becomes a threat." Cherry called Orson Bree's perfect match, but added that their similarities "will ultimately prove to be the downfall of the relationship."
Orson Hodge, born on June 28, 1964 (as seen on hospital records in "The Miracle Song"), grew up in a very religious household.
When he was sixteen, his father Edwin had an affair. When the truth came out, it caused a scandal at their church and he became an alcoholic. One day his mother, Gloria, asked Orson to stay with him, saying she had to visit a sick friend, but Orson later left because he had plans to go out with his friends. When he returned, his father had apparently committed suicide. Orson would later spend time in a mental hospital for depression, as Gloria blamed him for his father's death. He later became a dentist.
Orson married his girlfriend, Alma, when she got pregnant. Unfortunately Alma miscarried and Orson never came to love her, having an affair with French flight attendant Monique Pollier instead. When Alma found out, she left and punished Orson by faking her own death. However, as there was no body and no evidence, no charges were brought. Alma's friend, Carolyn Bigsby, however, was constantly accusing him of killing her. Free, he tried beginning a new life with Monique but found her dead. Orson's mother said it was an accident, but she had murdered Monique to punish Orson for cheating on Alma. He had to hide the body when Mike Delfino, whom Monique had called, came to do some plumbing. Gloria convinced a reluctant Orson to aid her in covering up the murder. Gloria and Orson buried Monique at the country club after Gloria removed Monique's teeth to prevent identification. All of this would come back to haunt him.
Orson met Susan in Season 02, Episode 19. They met at the movies, where Orson helped Susan to make Mike jealous. He then met Bree at the mental hospital. When Bree saw Orson visiting an old friend, the two were attracted to each other. Their relationship was furthered when Orson helped Bree escape from the hospital to be with her daughter, Danielle. However, when Mike saw Orson for a dental exam and recognized him, Orson ran Mike over in an attempt to cover his tracks. He then visited Bree, bringing her flowers and she invited him into her house.
After six months of dating and of being in a serious relationship, Orson proposed to Bree, who accepted. Mike, though alive, no longer worried Orson as he had retrograde amnesia. Unfortunately for them, Carolyn returned. They married after Bree asked him if he had killed his first wife.
They were about to go on their honeymoon but Bree cancelled at the last minute when she saw her son, Andrew, on TV and went after him. He rejected her but Orson persuaded him to come back, making him realize Bree would hurt herself just as much as his mother otherwise.
Bree tried reuniting Orson with his family by finding his mother. Orson claimed she was senile but this wasn't true and backfired when Gloria tried driving Bree away by revealing his affair with Monique but Mike Delfino's arrest stopped her suspicion that Orson murdered Monique. Susan, however, did suspect Orson. Gloria then brought Alma back, proving she wasn't dead. She wanted Orson back and even tried getting pregnant after drugging and raping him and faked suicide so he would visit. Bree sided with her husband, leading Gloria to sabotage her ladder, putting her in hospital. Andrew, thinking Orson was responsible, threatened him with meeting "bad Andrew" and Mike, now out of jail, began remembering the night Monique died. He confronted Orson on the hospital roof and accidentally pushed him from the roof.
Bree and Susan reconciled after her accident and Orson used Alma's well-timed death, her suicide letter and his mother's stroke to implicate them in Monique Pollier's murder, clearing Mike's name. Orson visited his mother and banished her from his life, and he and Bree went on honeymoon, dropping Danielle off at a convent to avoid scandal as she was pregnant. When they returned, it was revealed that Bree was faking her pregnancy and planned to raise Danielle's child as their own.
Faking a pregnancy proved difficult as people kept touching Bree's belly and even had to invent a story to explain why Bree had not noticed a fork enter her belly. They also had to deal with genuinely pregnant Susan who wanted the name of Bree's ob-gyn and Danielle's troubles, even endangering the baby's life by rollerblading. Orson wanted to tell people the truth but continued pretending Bree was pregnant when she told him that this baby was her second chance at parenting. They appeared to be successful as only Phyllis Van de Kamp and Adam Mayfair found out and both agreed to keep the secret. Phyllis, however, plotted to get back at Bree by taking Danielle to stay and raise the child with her, using Danielle's craving for fun.
Danielle gave birth to a baby boy on Halloween. After a tearful goodbye, Danielle gave her baby to her mother. Bree and Orson named him Benjamin. When Bree wanted to get Benjamin circumcised, Orson opposed it, due to bad memories of his own circumcision. However, Bree did it behind Orson's back. Orson was angry when he found out but forgave Bree and let it go, though it was clear that he was unhappy.
After a tornado, Orson, Bree and Benjamin moved in with Susan and Orson began sleepwalking. When Julie came in late one night, she found Orson and he said "I'm sorry I ran you over, Mike". Julie later told Mike and he forgave Orson but Susan and Bree couldn't, leading Bree to kick him out. He stayed briefly with Edie Britt before moving into the Fairview Towers apartment complex. Orson attempted to get Bree to forgive him but she refused, telling Orson that the only way their marriage can be saved is if he turns himself in to the police, which Orson was unwilling to do.
At the conclusion of the fourth season, the series progresses five years into the future. Bree returns home from a poker game and is revealed to now be a businesswoman after the success of a cookbook she created. Her son, a much more mature Andrew, is shown to be his mother's assistant. Orson is heard upstairs revealing that he and Bree seemingly worked out their issues and remain married. Benjamin, however, is nowhere to be seen.
Orson goes off to prison where he is constantly visited by Edie Britt. After Edie tells Bree off, Bree finally visits Orson in prison. A little while after, Danielle and her new husband Leo Katz come by and take Benjamin back. When Orson returns from prison, he is furious to find that Bree let Benjamin be taken away so easily.
The season begins following the five-year jump that concluded the previous season. Bree's success as a businesswoman and repaired marriage to Orson is explained by flashbacks showing that two years after the conclusion of the fourth season, Bree's daughter, Danielle, married a lawyer named Leo Katz. Knowing she would win any custody case as Orson was in prison for running over Mike, Danielle reclaims Benjamin, her biological son, leaving Bree devastated. It is learned that Bree's success is the result of her putting the energy she had used to raise Benjamin into her work. She views her business as her "baby" and makes it her first priority. Bree's success leaves Orson feeling unappreciated and ignored, making him become somewhat cold and changes his relationship with his wife dramatically. Orson is angry with Bree for using "Van de Kamp" in the title of her cookbook. Bree tries mollifying him by promising him a pot roast and Orson forces Bree not to, despite her returning home after midnight. Orson's criminal record makes it almost impossible to find a job so he asks Bree for one but she refuses because her business partner, Katherine Mayfair, threatens to quit if Orson is given a job. Orson becomes upset and goes to sleep in the guest bedroom. Bree eventually relents and gives Orson a job.
Orson joins Tom Scavo's band and plays the keyboards until a fire breaks out at the White Horse Club and ends up with a broken nose. He develops a habit of stealing from his neighbours, telling Bree that it gives him a thrill. He later tells a therapist that it makes him happy because it is something Bree cannot control. While trying to steal from a neighbour, he is caught and hit around the head with a baseball bat. He runs out into the street, causing Edie to crash her car and die. Horrified, Bree decides to divorce Orson and robs the house, attempting to hide assets but Orson finds out. He threatens her with sending her to prison for insurance fraud if she goes ahead with the divorce. Later, Orson is assaulted and threatened by a man hired by Karl Mayer, upsetting Bree as she did not want him harmed. Bree confronts Karl and accuses him of turning her into a different person but Karl admits that he likes what Bree is becoming, so she fires him and they begin an affair. Bree is initially reluctant, but a passionate kiss reveals that, like Karl, Bree is enjoying the person she has become, too.
The season concludes at Mike Delfino's wedding two months later. Bree is seen sitting in the congregation with Orson, but turns and smiles seductively at Karl, insinuating that the two are secretly having an affair.
Having blackmailed Bree by threatening to report her insurance fraud, Orson tries to repair their marriage by suggesting marriage counselling. Bree insists that she wants a divorce and begins an affair with Karl. Orson, however, is clueless. When Orson and Bree attend the Harvest dance together, they bump into Karl Mayer and his date, Orson is convinced that Bree still loves him when she spills oil on the dance floor, so Candice and Orson, (who are dancing), fall over. Whilst Orson believes this is jealousy of him dancing with Candice, Bree is, in fact, jealous of Karl sleeping with Candice. Relations seem to have thawed slightly between Orson and Bree when he serves her a meal at home and she tells him that someone in the service industry was rude to her, claiming it was a waitress in a cafe when it was actually a maid in a motel she visited with Karl. When Bree meets the maid again, the maid tries convincing her to end the affair as Orson seems like a good man, doing the shopping for Bree. It is clear Bree feels guilty and is upset when she sees Orson's hopeful expression at home wanting him to snap out of it and wants to tell him that she's not worth it anymore. Orson's suspicions are aroused of Bree's affair when he goes to replace a brooch Bree had received as a gift from her lover, Karl, claiming she had gotten it at an antique store, Orson went to the store only to find out they only sell furniture. Bree later assures him she got the stores mixed up, proving what trust Orson has for his wife. When Angie Bolen tells Bree what a perfect marriage she has Bree tells her that she and Orson barely speak any more and they haven't slept in the same bed for three months. Bree neglects to mention her affair with Karl, however.
Over time, Orson begins to drink and becomes increasingly depressed. He then begins to suspect that Bree is having an affair and asks Angie Bolen, to spy on her while he is on a golf weekend with some old friends. She initially refuses, believing that Bree would never do such a thing. However, Angie soon discovers Bree and Karl's affair and when Orson arrives home early and almost catches them, Angie manages to get a hold of Bree and tell her to hide Karl. Afterward when Bree thanks Angie, who coldly tells Bree that she did not do it for her but for Orson, because she fears that he may be suicidal. Angie then asks Bree who she truly loves and though Bree continues to tell herself that she now only loves Karl, she still seems to have lingering love for Orson. Bree finally brings to Orson photos she'd set up of him and a former cellmate, telling him to grant her a divorce or she'll have his parole revoked. To her surprise, Orson reveals he was bluffing the entire time and all Bree had to do was ask for a divorce and promises to move out. He tells Bree to wait until he's gone to tell everyone about the divorce. During a neighborhood Christmas party, Karl tells Orson about having an affair with Bree and the two get into a fistfight inside a gingerbread house. Bree arrives to break it up and all three are inside when a crashing airplane smashes into the house.
Orson's injuries leave him paralyzed (though he may walk again), but he is unwilling to live with Bree, who still wants a divorce. He moves in with Mrs. McCluskey and Roy before returning to Bree. After settling in with Bree, Orson begins to take revenge on Bree by forcing her to do unreasonable things such as cooking a dish that takes one hour to make. When Bree confronts him as she feels she's being harassed, Orson refuses to take a bath for days and acts rude to her. Having had enough, Bree forcibly bathes him on their frontyard and Orson breaks down, saying that it's hard to do the simplest things and he has lost his independence. Bree then apologizes to him. Orson then begins to plan on killing himself. However, his plans are halted when Bree discovers his drafted suicide note and goes above and beyond to stop him. He reveals that he wants to kill himself because he feels he has no purpose in life as no one loves him, claiming Bree only stays out of obligation and guilt. When he asks Bree if she loves him, she cannot bring herself to say the words, which seemingly proves Orson right. This leads to a final confrontation at a friend's anniversary party, Bree leaves Orson alone near a pool as she goes to hear the toast. When she sees how happy the elderly couple are as they dance, she looks over to see Orson heading for the pool to drown himself. Bree then rushes to stop him and tells him she wants to fall in love with him again. They then share a passionate kiss and finally reconcile. Bree then has trouble reconnecting with Orson not only mentally but sexually, so she asks former stripper Robin Gallagher for help. Robin suggests Bree restart their sex life, prompting Bree to later try giving Orson a lap-dance. The dance proves awkward, especially when Bree falls over and Orson runs over her foot with the wheelchair. Bree explains she wants to become intimate with her husband again, and the two share a romantic moment.
When Sam Allen enters the lives of the Hodges, Orson is quick to side with Andrew and feels that Sam has a hidden agenda. When he finds out that Bree is being blackmailed by Sam, who is threatening to tell the Solises about how Andrew ran over Carlos's mother (unless Bree signs over her company to him) he is shocked to know what Andrew did. Orson and Andrew didn't think it would be fair for Bree to give up everything she has worked for, and both think she should let Sam tell the Solises, even though Andrew would get sent to jail, Andrew says that he thinks that it's time for him to pay for what he did. Still, Bree signs over the company to Sam, resulting in Orson leaving her because he is angry at Bree's hypocrisy that she had earlier made Orson confess to the police over his crimes when she covered up Andrew's.
Orson makes a brief return in the season seven premiere "Remember Paul?" where he and Bree sign the divorce papers officially ending their marriage. They appear to be on relatively good terms as Bree asks Orson if he would still attend family dinners and events. Orson suggests to Bree she needs a project to keep her occupied. At first she ignores his advice but eventually she takes it and in turn meets her future boyfriend Keith Watson. Later Bree only mentioned to Richard Watson, father of Keith, that she's finally a divorcée. In "Assassins", Orson returns, claiming that Judy dumped him and Bree lets him stay with her and Keith. Over dinner, Orson makes it clear he doesn't think Keith is right for Bree as they have nothing in common and the two men have a food fight. Going to see Judy, Bree learns that Orson broke up with her as he's still in love with Bree. Confronted, Orson confesses that's true and is convinced Bree can't be happy with a man so different from her. Bree allows Orson to stay with them but insists she's changed and is fine with Keith now. As Orson does not appear in subsequent episodes, it is implied that he has left Bree's house and his current whereabouts are left unknown.
Orson unexpectedly returns to Fairview, claiming that the girls of Wisteria Lane had called him out of concern about Bree's drinking and bed-hopping. He arrives at the parking lot of a bar just as Bree is being assaulted by a man she had turned down. Despite still being in a wheelchair, Orson uses a taser to knock the man out and tells a grateful Bree that the two were always good at cleaning each other's messes.
When Bree's friends try to see her, Orson says he happened to be passing by and saw Bree in trouble. He lies to Bree about the meeting, claiming her friends bad-mouthed her, which convinces her not to go to them to reconcile. He convinces Bree to go away with him for the weekend and claims that he has changed ever since he learned to drive again after regaining some use of his legs.
The viewer sees that Orson has been stalking Bree for months. He saw the girls bury Alejandro's body and left the first mysterious note in Bree's mailbox, perhaps as part of a scheme to win her back. He convinces her to go away with him on a trip but Bree insists they stop at his apartment first. Despite Orson's attempts to clean up, Bree sees a photo he took of the girls taking away Alejandro's body and realizes Orson has been watching her all this time. He also confirms he is the one who killed Chuck Vance, the detective coming close to them, insisting it was all for Bree. She says she wants nothing to do with him and better off without him. Orson calls her later to say their love requires a sacrifice and Bree assumes he's going to kill himself. Instead, Orson mails a folder filled with evidence to the Fairview Police to implicate Bree in Alejandro's murder as his final revenge against her, and then leaves town for parts unknown.
The mystery storyline of Orson in the third season received mixed reviews. Dave Anderson of TV Guide called the season premiere first-rate, while praising the comedic Bree storyline and declaring the set-up for the Orson mystery storyline ingenious. Andy Dehnart of MSNBC cited Orson's storyline as a welcomed change from the slow-moving Applewhite mystery arc. On negative reviews, TV Guide writer Matt Roush unfavorably compared the Orson character to Bree's former love interest, George Williams (Roger Bart), while Lindsay Soll of Entertainment Weekly simply labelled Orson's storyline as "confusing".
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- Season 4 episode 14
- Season 8 episode 14
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