Army Wives is an American drama television series that followed the lives of four army wives, one army husband, and their families. The series premiered on Lifetime on June 3, 2007 and ran for seven seasons, ending on June 9, 2013. The show had the largest series premiere in Lifetime's 23-year history, and the largest viewership in the 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm time slot since December 2007 for Lifetime. It received favorable reviews and several award nominations, and won five ASCAP Awards and one Gracie Allen Award.
|Created by||Katherine Fugate|
|Based on||Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank|
|Directed by||John T. Kretchmer|
|Theme music composer||Marc Fantini|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||117 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Mark Gordon|
Harry V. Bring
John E. Pogue
John E. Pogue
|Production location(s)||Charleston, South Carolina|
Susan K. Weiler
Peter B. Ellis
Lauren A. Schaffer
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||ABC Studios|
The Mark Gordon Company
|Distributor||Buena Vista Home Entertainment|
Disney–ABC Domestic Television
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||June 3, 2007 –|
June 9, 2013
On September 21, 2012, the show was picked up for a thirteen-episode seventh season to air in 2013. In November 2012, it was confirmed that season 6 main cast members Catherine Bell, Wendy Davis, Terry Serpico, Brian McNamara, Kelli Williams, Alyssa Diaz, and Joseph Julian Soria would return as regulars. Kim Delaney's character, who did not appear in the final episodes of the sixth season, was written out. Season seven premiered in the United States on March 10, 2013, at 9 pm Eastern on Lifetime, and concluded on June 9, 2013.
Based on the non-fiction book originally titled Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives, by Tanya Biank, the series is set at fictional Fort Marshall, at the old Charleston Naval Base, in North Charleston, South Carolina, home to the also fictional 23rd Airborne Division, a component unit of the XVII Airborne Corps. The show itself is filmed in various locations such as the Charleston Air Force Base (now Charleston Field) and the sound stage off Dorchester Road in the City of North Charleston. Some scenes have been shot in and around the City of Charleston. In Season 5 the 23rd is disbanded and the 32nd Airborne Division becomes the new resident unit, having moved to Fort Marshall from the fictional Fort Hope. The 23rd Airborne Division, XVII Airborne Corps and Fort Marshall are presumably based on the actual 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, home of the airborne divisions and the United States Army Special Operations Command. In Season 7 Fort Marshall was merged with an Air Force base, mirroring the mergers of several Army posts with nearby Air Force bases as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Mercer Army Medical Center is the fictional hospital on post where some of the characters worked.
In the pilot episode of Army Wives, "A Tribe is Born", Roxy (Sally Pressman) accepts the marriage proposal of Private First Class Trevor LeBlanc (Drew Fuller) after dating for less than a week, and moves with her two children to his Army post. Floundering in her new life as an Army wife, she takes a job as a bartender at a local joint known for being a Jody bar (where civilian men go to hit on enlisted men's wives). While on the post, Roxy meets Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney), who believes that her husband Col. Michael Holden (Brian McNamara) recently missed out on a promotion because of base politics. Another Army wife, Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh), is pregnant with twins; she is secretly acting as a surrogate to get her family out of debt. Pamela's husband Chase (Jeremy Davidson) is a non-commissioned officer assigned to the highly secretive and frequently deployed special operations unit Delta Force. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Roland Burton (Sterling K. Brown) is trying to reconnect with his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), who has just returned from Afghanistan. Denise Sherwood (Catherine Bell), a long-time friend of Claudia Joy, is dealing with her son Jeremy's anger issues, and her strict husband, Major Frank Sherwood (Terry Serpico), is about to be deployed. The unlikely group bonds when Pamela unexpectedly goes into labor at Claudia Joy's wives' tea party, and subsequently gives birth on the pool table in the bar where Roxy works. Not wanting everyone to know her family's dire financial situation, Pamela relies on these new friends to keep her surrogacy from being exposed.
As the first season progresses, the four women and Roland all become close friends. Along with their spouses and other characters they face issues such as deployments, abuse, hostage situations, adultery, post-traumatic stress disorder, death and loss of friends and loved ones in combat, homophobia in the military, financial problems, and alcohol and prescription drug addiction.
Though the show is based on the book of the same name, and some of the characters echo their book counterparts, significant differences exist. For example, in the book, Andrea Lynn Cory (the basis of Claudia Joy) loses her husband in a helicopter crash during a mission to find the remains of soldiers in Vietnam.
Cast and characters
Main cast and characters
|Drew Fuller||2nd Lieutenant Trevor LeBlanc||Main||Special Guest|
|Jeremy Davidson||MSG Chase Moran||Main||Special Guest|
|Terry Serpico||Colonel Frank Sherwood||Recurring||Main|
|Brian McNamara||Lt. General Michael James Holden||Main|
|Sterling K. Brown||Dr. Roland Burton||Main||Recurring|
|Catherine Bell||Denise Sherwood||Main|
|Wendy Davis||Colonel Joan Burton||Main|
|Sally Pressman||Roxanne Marie "Roxy" LeBlanc||Main||Special Guest|
|Brigid Brannagh||Officer Pamela Moran||Main||Special Guest|
|Kim Delaney||Claudia Joy Holden||Main|
|Richard Bryant||SPC Jeremy Sherwood||Main|
|Paul Wesley||PFC Logan Atwater||Main|
|Kim Allen||Amanda Joy Holden||Main||Guest|
|Caroline Pires||Emmalin Holden||Main|
|Katelyn Pippy||Recurring||Main||Special Guest|
|Erin Krakow||SPC Tanya Gabriel||Main|
|Kelli Williams||Jackie Clarke||Main|
|Alyssa Diaz||Gloria Cruz||Main|
|Joseph Julian Soria||CPL Hector Cruz||Main|
|Jesse McCartney||Private Tim Truman||Main|
|Brant Daugherty||2nd Lt. Patrick Clarke||Main|
|Burgess Jenkins||Staff Sgt. Eddie Hall||Main|
|Torrey DeVitto||Maggie Hall||Main|
|Elle McLemore||Holly Truman||Main|
|Brooke Shields||Air Force Colonel Katherine "Kat" Young||Main|
Recurring cast and characters
The characters listed have appeared in multiple seasons, or for story arcs lasting at least three episodes:
Production and development
Army Wives was created by Katherine Fugate, based on the book Under the Saber: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank. Fugate told she received the book from The Mark Gordon Company and first thought it was to be adapted as a movie, since she had mostly written movies during her career. She met with Deborah Spera, the president of The Mark Gordon Company, and pitched a film adaptation of the book, which would begin and end with a murder. They presented the series to ABC and then to Lifetime. Fugate commented on the book: "I read that book, and it was very traumatic and very difficult, but it also opened the gates of a military post. We drive by them all the time, but we don't know what goes on inside".
Fugate expressed her desire that the show remain accurate: "It's extremely important that I portray them accurately. I have great admiration for the wives. It's the last untold story, about how they maintain relationships and how they are single mothers much of the time. That story is why I created the series." The cast and crew have visited the army installations at Fort Bragg and Fort Belvoir and talked to army wives. The Department of Defense lent Black Hawk helicopters and humvees used in production.
Principal photography takes place in a sound stage, while some outdoor scenes and shots are taken at the former Charleston Naval Shipyard, parts of Charleston Field and in the city itself. Local landmarks prominently featured include the Unitarian Church in Charleston and parts of the city's waterfront.
Army Wives was produced by The Mark Gordon Company in association with ABC Studios. In December 2006, Samantha Corbin-Miller was named executive producer/showrunner of the show, which was at the time in development. However, by March 2007, it was announced that she had left the then upcoming series and was replaced by Jeff Melvoin. In August 2007, Dee Johnson took over Army Wives for Melvoin, becoming the third showrunner. She departed in March 2008, and Nick Thiel came aboard. In August 2008, the series' creator Katherine Fugate also left, stating: "With the show [being] such an established hit, now seems like a logical time for me to step away and focus on developing new projects." Melvoin returned in 2009 and was the showrunner from then.
Each script was supervised by two advisers from the Army. Additionally Tanya Biank, whose book inspired the series, served as a military consultant on every episode. Lt. Colonel Todd Breassealle was also enlisted to provide insight on the military life. Cast member Brian McNamara (Michael Holden) directed several webisodes and two full episodes: the tenth episode of the fifth season and the eleventh episode of the sixth season.
In September 2009, a survey to see which character should get its own spin-off was posted on Lifetime's Army Wives blog; Pamela Moran (Brigid Brannagh) was one of the most-chosen characters. On June 13, 2010, Deadline Hollywood reported that Lifetime was pursuing a spin-off procedural drama television series for Army Wives featuring Brannagh's character, police officer Pamela Moran. It was reported that an episode of the fourth season would serve as a backdoor pilot for the proposed spin-off. The seventeenth episode of the season, titled "Murder in Charleston", served as the backdoor pilot, airing on August 15, 2010. Written by Bruce Zimmerman and T.D. Mitchell, the episode sees Moran teaming up with detective Gina Holt (Gabrielle Union) on a murder related to a case Holt has been working on for the past three years in Atlanta. At the end of the episode, Holt tells Moran she should take a detective's exam and to look for her if she is in Atlanta. In September 2010, however, Lifetime did not pick up the spin-off series.
Army Wives holds a score of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on fifteen reviews for the first season. Writing for Cinema Blend, Kelly West found the series positively portrays real army wives through its main characters who are "all strong women with a good sense of the importance of friendship, love and appreciating the time they have with their husbands, who are often being deployed overseas for months or longer." She described the series as "engaging", adding: "As a drama about the bonds of friendship and the importance of family, Army Wives works. Is it a total chick show? Yeah, I’d say so. It gets a bit soapy but overall, it’s well written, the premise is original and the acting is good." New York Post's columnist Linda Stasi gave Army Wives three-and-a-half out of four stars, referring to it as a "sexy, smart, compelling series", and also lauded the acting and the writing. The Chicago Tribune praised Lifetime for tackling, through Army Wives, the effects war has on the families "in a surprisingly straightforward manner." Reviewing the premiere, Michelle Hewitson of the New Zealand Herald wrote: "Anything with 'wives' in the title must mean cat fights. Anything with 'Army' in the title must mean some musing on the cost of war." Brian Lowry of Variety was less enthusiastic upon screening the first episodes, describing Army Wives as "a stereotypical sudser that wants to be From Here to Eternity but feels like All My Children: Military Edition." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Rob Owen was negative about the show's storylines as they "leave talented actors in their wake"; he described the storylines as "uninspired" and "unimaginative" and wrote that the show's format evokes the home-front portion of The Unit.
The Chicago Tribune called Catherine Bell who "uses her typical subtlety and grace to give an intriguing interior life to Denise Sherwood," and Kim Delaney who portrays Claudia Joy Holden "the best two things about the show" while the newspaper deemed Roxy (Sally Pressman) "the most problematic character" because she does "preposterous and downright stupid things" in the first episodes. On the contrary, Rob Owen found Denise Sherwood and Claudia Joy Holden "the most passive, least interesting characters" and considered Roxy and Trevor (Drew Fuller) "the liveliest couple", adding the show "sparks to life anytime these two are on screen." Michelle Hewitson of the New Zealand Herald described Roxy as "a slapper with a heart of gold". Linda Stasi called Frank Sherwood, portrayed by Terry Serpico, a "rivetingly wonderful character."
The series opened its third season with 3.5 million viewers and a 2.4 rating among women 18-49, and a 1.0 rating among men 18-49. That made Wives the top-rated drama premiere in Lifetime's key demographic for 2009, though the show declined 22% among total viewers later in the year.
The series opened its fifth season with a total of 4.2 million viewers, up 27% from the fourth-season premiere, and it scored a 1.4 rating among women 18-49. The episode is Lifetime’s second most watched original season premiere among the key demos, including Women 18+ (3.0 rating) and Adults 18+ (4.0 rating), behind only the season two debut of Army Wives.
Awards and accolades
|2008||ASCAP Awards||Top Television Series||Marc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon||Won|
|2008||Gracie Allen Awards||Outstanding Drama||Won|
|2008||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Wendy Davis||Nominated|
|2008||PRISM Awards||Mental Health Depiction Award||Nominated|
|2008||PRISM Awards||Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline||Wendy Davis||Nominated|
|2009||ASCAP Awards||Top Television Series||Marc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon||Won|
|2009||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Wendy Davis||Nominated|
|2010||ASCAP Awards||Top Television Series||Marc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon||Won|
|2011||ASCAP Awards||Top Television Series||Marc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon||Won|
|2011||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Wendy Davis||Nominated|
|2012||ASCAP Awards||Top Television Series||Marc Fantini, Steffan Fantini, Scott Gordon||Won|
|2012||NAMIC Vision Awards||Best Drama||Nominated|
|2013||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress 11-13||Annika Horne||Won|
|2013||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress 11-13||Taylor Blackwell||Nominated|
|2014||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a TV Series - Supporting Young Actor||McCarrie McCausland||Nominated|
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has released the first seven seasons on DVD.
|Army Wives - The Complete Third Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|February 9, 2010||N/A||N/A|
|Army Wives - The Complete Fourth Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|December 14, 2010||N/A||N/A|
|Army Wives - The Complete Sixth Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|September 18, 2012 (part one)
December 18, 2012 (part two)
|Army Wives - The Complete Seventh Season|
|Set details||Special features|
|September 10, 2013||N/A||N/A|
The series began airing in Ireland on Monday, October 15, 2007, on TG4 (in English) and in New Zealand on Thursday, June 19, 2008, on TV2. The series began airing in Australia on December 1, 2008, on Network Ten and currently on pay TV provider Foxtel. South African network M-Net also airs the series; the second season ended on M-Net on Monday, January 5, 2009. Sky Living in the United Kingdom broadcast the first three seasons. However, in February 2012, it was announced that the channel had not purchased the rights for the fourth season.
The series also airs in Israel in the winter of 2008 on Yes stars Drama. In the French-speaking parts of Canada, Historia (TV channel) started airing the first season on January 4, 2010. The series was then brought to an associated channel, Series+, and which started airing from season 1 again on November 4, 2010, on a daily basis. The series began airing in the Netherlands in 2008 on NET 5, while the second season aired starting April 26, 2010. In the French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, the first season began airing on RTL-TVI on August 3, 2008 whereas the second season was shown on cable television network BeTV starting from December 26, 2008. The first season and the first 13 episodes of the second were aired in the Arab World on MBC 4 while the third season began on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, on Fox Series. The series began airing in Russia on FOX Life and in Sweden the series is aired on Sjuan. In France, the show retitled American Wives was first broadcast on Monégasque channel TMC on November 27, 2008. His sister channel TF1 started airing the first season on August 13, 2012. The series aired on RTL Television in Croatia, starting on December 10, 2018.
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