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Allies on the home front

May 24, 2007|Amy Kaufman | Times Staff Writer

AN eclectic group of women will look to give new meaning to the slogan "Army Strong" next month, when Lifetime premieres "Army Wives," a drama centered on four women -- and one man -- who begin friendships while living on an Army post.

The show strives to take a nonpolitical look at the lives of those who bond through their shared struggle of loving one who resides overseas.

"It's the perfect show for right now, whatever way you feel about the war," said Catherine Bell, who plays Denise Sherwood, a loving wife and mother to a teenage son who physically abuses her while her husband is away. "Most people are against the idea of our guys dying over there [in Iraq and Afghanistan], and the show shows the stories of the families faced with that fear on a daily basis."

The friends all harbor secrets that isolate them. Former-cop-turned-surrogate-mother Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) fears the community will learn she's giving birth for money, while scantily clad bartender Roxy LeBlanc (Sally Pressman) struggles to overcome a sordid background. Emmy winner Kim Delaney ("NYPD Blue") anchors the group as Claudia Joy Holden, the assertive wife who commands respect around the post. And Roland Burton (Sterling K. Brown) sticks out as the male counterpart, dealing with his wife's post-traumatic stress disorder.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday May 25, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
'Army Wives': An article in Thursday's Calendar Weekend about the TV series "Army Wives" identified Susanne Daniels as programming director at the Lifetime channel. Daniels is president of entertainment for Lifetime Entertainment Services.

As for Bell, her role is quite the departure from her work as determined Marine Corps attorney Lt. Col. Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie, whom she portrayed in the action drama series "JAG" for nine seasons.

"Denise is so different from anyone I've ever played. She's lived her whole life for other people," she said. "The show is about these women actually discovering themselves, and I was used to, you know, heroes fighting bad guys and aircraft carriers and action and drama!"

The one-hour drama is the brainchild of Katherine Fugate ("The Prince & Me") and has "Grey's Anatomy's" Mark Gordon as an executive producer.

Lifetime programming director Susanne Daniels called the show a "blue-collar 'Desperate Housewives,' " a label Bell says she objects to.

"Oh God, you won't see everyone just sleeping with each other," she said. "It's about a group of friends who become close in the most unlikely of ways."

"Army Wives" premieres at 10 p.m. June 3 on Lifetime.

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