Throwback Thursday
Party of Five Intervention Episode

Scott Wolf Takes an 'Emotional' Look Back at Party of Five's Intervention

It’s been 20 years since Party of Five staged one of television’s most gut-wrenching, tear-filled interventions, and the memory of shooting that episode still makes star Scott Wolf verklempt.

“I almost get emotional talking about it,” he admits, trying not to get choked up.

The actor — who currently stars in NBC’s The Night Shift — singles out “two really difficult” moments to film during the Season 3 installment, which found the Salinger clan confronting Wolf’s Bailey about his drinking problem. Little sis Claudia’s powerful plea “could seriously make me cry, thinking about it,” Wolf says, “because that was like the exposed heart of our entire show: this family, stripped away to the brother who was the caretaker and the one who tried to hold it all together, and the youngest daughter [for whom] he was holding it all together.”

Party of Five Intervention EpisodeBut even Claudia’s ultimatum — either Bailey gets help, or she never wants to see him again — couldn’t get him to change his ways. “Nothing could have demonstrated the power of addiction [more] than Bailey turning and walking away from Claudia and deciding, ‘I’d rather have a drink than have her wanting to be with me,'” Wolf notes. “It was a devastating moment for all of us. Shooting that scene was heartbreaking. Everyone on set was just a mess.”

Another pivotal exchange, in which Bailey railed against his family and argued for his right to have his own life, stands out for being difficult in a different way.

“I had just begged myself to just stay out of my own way and just let this thing happen, but I knew how important the scene was,” Wolf recalls. “I kind of knew I wasn’t just doing it. I wasn’t really living it out. It was almost too precious to me, what was happening, and I was struggling.” After four takes, director Steven Robman declared, “‘I’ve got to move on. But it’s beautiful, and it’s great.'”

That wasn’t good enough for Wolf. “The thought of moving on without having it really have happened was so devastating to me that I just, literally, burst into tears,” the actor shares. “[Steven] lifted my head up, and he dried my face off with his sleeve and said, ‘Go do one more.’ Something about having just burst through that emotional wall… The last take, which is what appeared in the show, wound up being one of my favorite moments of that character’s. It was a high point for me, working on that show. The writing that they gave us to work with that episode was magnificent.”

And it was Party of Five‘s trademark heart-tugging storytelling that drew Wolf to his next series-regular TV gig: Everwood. “My wife and I were fans of that show,” Wolf says. “It just felt kindred to me because there were emotional elements, and the pathos of it felt familiar. It felt like why I grew to love working on television.”

Grab your tissues and rewatch Party of Five‘s “The Intervention” episode below, then hit the comments with your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mailer says:

    Such a good show. I need to go back and rewatch it. Loved Scott Wolf’s Bailey. He was just so broken.

  2. Kim says:

    That episode is definitely one of my favorites, I cry every time. Scott Wolf is so amazing.

  3. Jay says:

    20 years! Can TVLine please stop reminding me how old I am?

  4. Ally Oop says:

    I remember that episode well. Party of Five was my favourite show as a teenager in the 90s and it remains my third favourite show of all time.

  5. ninergrl6 says:

    Just reading this made me emotional. Po5 had so much heart.

  6. Barbara Pittman says:

    I’m currently binge watching the entire series of Party of Five. I can’t believe I missed this show when it was in syndication!! I’m so in love with this show and such awesome performances from a well picked cast. That Intervention episode, along with so many other episodes, had me just as emotionally tore up as Bailey (Scott).

  7. Dave says:

    That episode really showed how Claudia & Baileys relationship was different then the other siblings. If you remember that Bailey goes off on Julia, Charlie and Sarah and rips them to shreds with anything he could say to push the knife in more. But he looks at Claudia and leaves the room because deep down he couldn’t say anything bad to her.

    I was on and off with the show back in the 90’s as it was tough to keep up with serial dramas in the pre-DVR age, but this show surprisingly holds up. You either loved the show in the 90’s or you thought it was a punchline, but I have to say it maybe underrated after all this time.