This article contains a summary of the fourth season of the American dramedy television series Desperate Housewives. The first episode aired on ABC on September 30 2007, and one special "Secrets and Lies", which aired September 23.
This season was affected by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which halted production after the tenth episode of the season. Initial plans called for a hiatus to begin in December 2007 following the ninth episode of the season ("Something's Coming") and to hold the tenth episode ("Welcome to Kanagawa") until further episodes were produced. Instead, that episode debuted on January 6, 2008, with encores of fourth season episodes shown during the hiatus.
The season's eleventh episode, entitled "Sunday", aired in the United States and Canada on April 13, 2008, more than three months since the previous original episode. A total of seventeen episodes — fifteen regular episodes, plus a two-hour season finale ("The Gun Song" and "Free") on May 18 — comprise the fourth season, the shortest season to date.
Episodes have been broadcast in Canada on CTV concurrently with the U.S. broadcasts. Outside the U.S. and Canada, episodes began airing internationally in Poland in October; in Turkey and Italy in December; and in Ireland, South Africa, and the Arab World throughout January. The season debuted in central Europe and Latin America by mid-February 2008. The season then premiered in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2008 on Channel 4, and in Greece in April on channels of Filmnet on NOVA.
"A lot of storyline got dropped because of [the strike-shortened season], so we're going to consolidate it [into seven episodes]," the actress said, adding that viewers can expect to see some nonstop drama in the upcoming installments. "It will definitely be worth watching because a lot of the juicy stuff will be jam-packed into every episode. You don't want to miss it." Strong also said that the new episodes will "tie up Season 4 in a nice bow," so that the show can present fresh storylines in its recently acquired fifth season. The main mystery this season is about a family returning to Wisteria Lane, after 12 years away. Katherine Mayfair comes to Wisteria Lane from Chicago with her (new) husband, Adam, and her daughter, Dylan. Dylan used to be Julie's best friend, although Dylan now does not remember anything about Julie, or living in Wisteria Lane at all. Katherine is happily reunited with her old friend Susan, although she does not get along at all with Bree. Katherine claims that she returned to Wisteria Lane to take care of her ill aunt Lillian but private conversations between Katherine and her husband suggest otherwise.
Bree Hodge is pretending to be pregnant with Danielle's baby so she can adopt and raise it without anyone knowing it's Danielle's. She faces some obstacles along the way, with an elderly woman wanting to touch her belly and a BBQ fork being stabbed into her false belly. Orson tells her that he thinks they should throw in the towel, but Bree refuses to do that. Bree's ex-mother-in-law finds out about Bree's faux pregnancy but promises to keep her secret. Danielle goes into labor at Bob and Lee's Halloween party while she's dressed as Bree, and Adam Mayfair, who promises to not tell anyone, delivers little Benjamin Hodge. Danielle decides to let Bree raise her baby and leaves Fairview, probably to go to college. Bree then gets Benjamin circumcised against Orson's wishes. Following the circumcision, Bree attempts to raise Benjamin in what is known as a family bed, where she has Benjamin sleep in bed with Orson and herself. After a confrontation at the dinner table, Orson begins sleeping on the couch while Andrew moves out having been labeled a "mistake". Shortly after, Bree goes to visit Andrew only to finally realize that her son has become a man and matured greatly.
Gabrielle Lang is in an unhappy marriage with Victor. She wants to get back with Carlos, but, although he wants her as well, he feels responsible for Edie, who faked a suicide attempt to win Carlos back. She discovers his hidden assets in an offshore bank account and uses this to blackmail him into continuing their relationship. Edie gets crabs from a tanning bed that she transmits to Carlos, which he gives to Gabrielle, who eventually gives them to Victor. Edie puts the pieces together and realizes what's going on. She hires a private investigator who finds Carlos with Gabrielle in a liplock. Edie shows these pictures to Victor in hopes of him doing something awful to Carlos. On a boat trip out to sea Victor confronts Gabrielle about the affair and pulls a black bag out of a cabinet. Fearing the bag contained a gun, Gabrielle hit him over the head with an oar, knocking him overboard. She meets up with Carlos back on shore and the two realize there was no weapon in the bag - only a sweater. They go back into the water and find Victor and pull him back onto the boat. Victor and Carlos then get into a fist fight. Just as Victor is about to kill Carlos with a knife, Gabrielle, once again, knocks him overboard with an oar. This time, Victor is nowhere to be found. Gabrielle and Carlos assume Victor is dead and return to shore and send the boat back into the ocean by itself, attempting to make Victor's death appear as accidental - and not involving them. Two detectives appear at Gabrielle's home questioning her about Victor's whereabouts and following a conversation with Carlos, and an "anonymous" phone call by Edie, Victor is found alive but unconscious on shore and brought to the hospital. Leaving Carlos drugged at her home, Gabrielle arrives at the hospital with the two detectives only for Victor to reveal he remembers nothing. However, after leading the detectives out, Victor reveals he does remember everything, but does not reveal what he will do with the information. He is eventually killed by a fence picket shoved through his stomach during the tornado which had hit Wisteria Lane. Gabrielle finds out at Victor's funeral that she will not be getting a cent from his will because he knew about the affair. Having gone blind and losing all his offshore money, Carlos did not tell Gabrielle about his blindness until she heard it from Edie.
The season 4 finale fast-forwards five years, where we see Susan come home from poker with the girls to a new unnamed man (portrayed by Gale Harold), whom she kisses, and apparently, lives with. It is unknown what has happened to Mike and Maynard.
Lynette comes home to Tom to find a police car outside her house. A policewoman is talking to Tom about one of her kids stealing a car for a joyride. While Lynette says she's talked to Porter about it, because he went to juvie one time because of the same accusation, Tom states that this time, it was Preston who did it.
Bree comes home after playing poker and Andrew welcomes her, telling her that he's with a woman from the New York Times on the phone who wants to have an interview with her (since she is now a famous cookbook author), Orson Hodge calls her from upstairs and Bree tells Andrew to tell the woman that she'll do the interview in the morning because she wants to have a nice bubble bath with her husband.
Gabrielle, with little make up on, goes upstairs she finds her twin daughters, Juanita and Celia Solis, playing with her make-up and dresses.
Edie is not seen at all, though by this time, she will be married again, and getting ready to return to Wisteria Lane, leading to the events that will take place in Season Five.
Katherine, who is now the sixth lead, goes home after poker to find a message on her answering machine. The message is from Dylan, who has just returned from Paris, who excitedly informs her mother that her boyfriend has proposed to her under the Eiffel Tower.
| Episode number|
|Title||Original airing||Rating||Share||Total viewers (in U.S.)||Rank per week|
|Now You Know||September 30 2007||12.2||18||19.317m||#4|
|Smiles of a Summer Night||October 7 2007||11.7||17||17.817m||#5|
|The Game||October 14 2007||11.8||18||18.892m||#4|
|If There's Anything I Can't Stand||October 21 2007||11.5||17||18.214m||#4|
|Art Isn't Easy||October 28 2007||11.8||17||18.280m||#3|
|Now I Know, Don't Be Scared||November 4 2007||11.8||18||18.579m||#6|
|You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover||November 11 2007||11.9||18||18.632m||#5|
|Distant Past||November 25 2007||11.6||17||18.638m||#4|
|Something's Coming||December 2 2007||12.7||18||20.650m||#4|
|Welcome to Kanagawa||January 6 2008||12.1||18||19.782m||#5|
|Sunday||April 13 2008||10.1||15||16.371m||#8|
|In Buddy's Eyes||April 20 2008||10.0||15||15.746m||#2|
|Hello, Little Girl||April 27 2008||10.2||16||16.346m||#5|
|Opening Doors||May 4 2008||10.8||17||16.757m||#4|
|Mother Said||May 11 2008||9.7||15||15.427m||#5|
|The Gun Song||May 18 2008||10.7||17||16.837m||#6|
|Free||May 18 2008||10.7||17||17.445m||#6|
|Episode number||Title||Original airing on Channel 4||Time of Airing on Channel 4||Original airing on E4||Time of airing on E4||Position in Channel 4 and Channel 4+1's ratings||Position in E4 and E4+1's ratings||Total viewers|
|71||Now You Know||26 March 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||30 March 2008||9.00pm-10.00pm||3.4m||533,000||3.933m|
|72||Smiles of a Summer Night||2 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||30 March 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.8m||510,000||3.31m|
|73||The Game||9 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||6 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.8m||551,500||3.351m|
|74||If There's Anything I Can't Stand||16 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||13 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.8m||455,000||3.255m|
|75||Art Isn't Easy||23 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||20 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.5m||358,000||2.858m|
|76||Now I Know, Don't Be Scared||30 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||27 April 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.5m||378,900||2.879m|
|77||You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover||7 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||4 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.6m||566,900||3.167m|
|78||Distant Past||14 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||11 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.2m||491,000||2.691m|
|79||Something's Coming||21 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||18 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||1.8m||727,000||2.6m|
|80||Welcome to Kanagawa||28 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||25 May 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.4m||826,000||3.226m|
|81||Sunday||September 3 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||September 7 2008||9.00pm-10.00pm||2.5m||305,000||2.7m|
|82||In Buddy's Eyes||September 10 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||September 7 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.4m||423,300||2.8m|
|83||Hello Little Girl||September 17 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||September 14 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.3m||406,200||2.7m|
|84||Opening Doors||September 24 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||September 21 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||2.2m||370,000||2.5m|
|85||Mother Said||October 1 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||September 28 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||Unknown||391,800||TBC|
|86||The Gun Song||October 8 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||October 5 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||Unknown||416,700||TBC|
|87||Free||October 15 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm||October 12 2008||10.00pm-11.00pm|
* Note 1: All episodes after "Welcome to Kanagawa" will not be shown until autumn on Channel 4, as there is no room on the schedule for them. This is because Channel 4 assumed that there would be no more episodes needing screened as late as June, and as the schedules are made months in advance, the earliest that the rest of the series can be shown is sometime in autumn.
* Note 2: After "Free" season five's debut will take place only a week after "Free" is broadcasted in the UK on 8th October.
* Note 3: "Sunday" will not be shown on E4, due to it being the first episode shown in the UK since May. For the first time in Channel 4history, due to the early arrival of Season five in October, The two part season four finale will air exactly one week before the start of season five. This means that E4 will digitally screen them before they will both be sreened on Channel 4 on October 8. Previous seasons, Channel 4 has not done this and they are expected to resume this pattern from Season five onwards
* Note 4: Due to the late finish of this season, a Region 2 release of season 4, has been removed from Mid- October 2008, and is now expected on November 3 2008. This means that there will be a 4 week gap between the season finishing on television and being released on DVD
| Episode number|
|Now You Know||358,000||480,000||193,000||109,000||131,000||1,271,000||19|
|Smiles of a Summer Night||373,000||414,000||185,000||119,000||146,000||1,237,000||20|
|If There's Anything I Can't Stand||375,000||432,000||198,000||125,000||172,000||1,302,000||13|
|Art Isn't Easy||357,000||402,000||185,000||121,000||181,000||1,241,000||14|
|Now I Know, Don't Be Scared||382,000||497,000||249,000||160,000||165,000||1,452,000||13|
|Welcome to Kanagawa||380,000||428,000||229,000||111,000||164,000||1,312,000|
|30 September 2007||USA||ABC||9.00pm/8.00pmc|
|30 September 2007||Canada||CTV||9.00pm/8.00pmc|
|15 October 2007||Poland||n (Poland)||Video On Demand|
|4 December 2007||Turkey||CNBC-e (cable TV)||Tuesdays 9:00pm|
|5 December 2007||Italy||FOXlife (Sky Italia - SAT TV)||9.00pm|
|7 January 2008||Arab World||Showtime Arabia||9.00pm|
|8 January 2008||Ireland||RTÉ Two||9.50pm|
|31 January 2008||South Africa||M-Net||8:30pm|
|4 February 2008||New Zealand||TV 2||8.30pm|
|11 February 2008||Switzerland||SF2||8.00pm|
|11 February 2008||Austria||ORF1||9.00pm|
|11 February 2008||Australia||Seven||Mondays 8.30pm|
|13 February 2008||Germany||Pro7||8.15pm|
|13 February 2008||Latin America||Sony Entertainment Television- Since the strike took place, the channel decided to reair some episodes after "Sunday", this is to have time for subtitling, legal movements and to cover the expected time of the season (24 weeks)||Thursday 10.00pm|
|25 March 2008||Malaysia||8TV||10:30pm|
|14 February 2008||Poland||FOXlife||9:00pm|
|08 January 2008||Portugal||Fox Life||Tuesday's 9:00pm (local time)|
|19 February 2008||Norway||TV 2||9.45pm|
|10 March 2008||Finland||Nelonen||Mondays 9.00pm|
| 26 March 2008- 28 May 2008 |
August 27 2008- October 1 2008
|United Kingdom||Channel 4||10.00pm- initial terrestrial airing. Reason for split slot is due to scheduling issues and the WGA Strike which meant that for the duration of the summer schedule (mainly due to Big Brother 9) Desperate Housewives took it's first ever UK summer break. Repeats of Season 4 lasted just 1 week (18 August-22 August from 1.50pm-3.30pm everyday). Episodes returned on Wednesday August 27 at the earlier time of 9:30pm between 2 episodes of the Big Brother 9 Day 90 Highlights show/eviction. Episodes resumed in their normal 10:00pm timeslot from September 2. Season Five will commence exactly 1 week after the season 4 finale, and may even be seen first on E4 as a result. Season Five's expected arrival date on Channel 4 will now be October 22.|
| 30 March 2008- 1 June 2008 |
August 31 2008 - October 5 2008
|United Kingdom||E4||9.00pm (repeat) Channel 4's next episode follows at 10.00pm (This is a sneak peek for UK viewers who have digital television. They can view the next episode a week before its initial airing on C4). Sunday aired 4 days after it's initial airing on Channel 4 hence the later start and finish because E4 never usually shows season premieres.|
|27 March||Wales||S4C||2.20am Airs later on S4C in Wales due to Welsh programming airing in prime time. Episodes will initially have a late-night "first-run" and will be dubbed into Welsh. Episodes will be repeated the next night at 10.30pm-11.30pm.|
|25 April 2008||Hungary||TV2||Wednesdays 10.15 pm|
|20 May 2008||Mexico||TvAzteca||10.00 pm|
|16 September 2008||Asia||Star World||11.00pm (HK/SIN) / 10.00pm (THAI/WIB)|
|Fall 2008||Poland||Polsat (free-TV premiere)||TBA|
|Fall 2008||F.Y.R.O.M.||A1 Televizija||Sundays 9.00pm|
|January 2009||Serbia||RTS||Monday to Friday 9.00pm|
|Fall 2008||France||Canal +||8.50pm|
NOTE * The reason as to why the UK has four starting dates is because that due to the WGA strike of 2007-2008, the show was unable to air on terrestrial television until March 2008 when Channel 4, had originally intended on beginning in January. As E4 is one episode ahead of Channel 4, but does not air the season premiere before the host channel, E4 did not begin airing the new season until 4 days later on March 30. Due to the arrival of Big Brother, and the schedules being written out months in advance, it was originally anticipated that the season would have finished by June as it has done in the past three seasons. However, as there were still 7 episodes left to air, the launch date for the rest of Season four, as of episode 411 Sunday, was September 2008.