June 10, 2013



Even though nothing particularly thrilling happened on this seventh season of ARMY WIVES, it was a crucial season for Lifetime’s veteran drama.  The show completed the reboot it had begun in Season 6, and assuming an 8th stanza on the way–which seems fairly likely–the only original Army Wife from the show that debuted in 2007 will be Catherine Bell’s Denise Sherwood (on the soldier side, Brian McNamara remains as General Holden, a widower now that original lead Kim Delaney’s Claudia Jean has gone to that base in the sky).  Despite all the tumult, the ratings have remained relatively steady, dipping around 0.1-0.2 from last year, and if Wives can hold there, it should be able to continue with its new regime of stars.

Wives began its recasting process last season by introducing Jackie Clarks (Kelli Williams), wife of a general (Robert John Burke) who barely appeared this season, and Gloria Cruz (Alyssa Diaz), who now runs the Hump Bar that had belonged to former regular Roxy (Sally Pressman).  This year they were joined by former soldier Maggie Hall (Torrey DeVito, once of The Vampire Diaries), Latasha Montclair (former singing star Ashanti), and fresh-faced Holly Truman (Elle McLemore), each of them equipped with soldier spouses and/or love interests.

Tonight’s Season 7 finale, written by Co-Executive Producer Linda Gase and directed by John T. Kretchmer, provided resolution for several building storylines.  In one, Holly’s husband Tim (Jesse McCartney) returned from Afghanistan with PTSD; although he physically attacked Holly in his sleep, this being Army Wives, he was safely being treated by the end of the episode.  With similar neatness, worries that Latasha’s husband Quincy (Joshua Henry) might have been so injured that he’d be let go from the Army proved to be unfounded, a necessity since once a character is off the base, they’re off the show.  The other big development was the nearly season-long hostility-turned-flirtation between General Holden and Air Force Colonel Kat Young (big-ticket guest star Brooke Shields) finally making its way to romance, presumably setting the stage for Shields to continue as a guest star or become a regular–probably up to her–next season.  The show also seemed ready to resolve the triangle between Gloria, her ex-husband Hector (Joseph Julian Soria) and Jackie’s son (and Hector’s Lieutenant) Patrick (Brant Daughterty) by introducing the latter to Kat’s nubile daughter.  The episode’s conclusion bid farewell to original cast members Wendy Davis (always a tough fit for the show as the only female regular playing a soldier) and Sterling K. Brown (already reduced to recurring this season), sending Colonel Burton and her family to retirement in Baltimore.

Whatever the opposite of “cutting edge” is (child-proof?), that’s always been the style of Army Wives, a show that, despite its occasional foray into social issues (a lesbian couple last season, the Burtons’ adopted son being HIV-positive) is for the most part proudly old-fashoined.  Its pace is so relaxed that this must be the year’s only season finale that had to be padded with not one but two musical montages, as well as a cameo for Tanya Biank, author of the book on which the show was originally based, complete with a plug for her newest book.  It’s a comfortable show, the definition of heartland entertainment, and none of the new characters were intended to challenge that in any way.  Diaz is the strongest of the new leads, and McLemore, whose character was originally a one-joke part about how young and naive she was, became a bit more interesting when her husband went dark.  Ashanti and DeVitto, though, have largely been wasted, especially DeVitto, whose only big storyline was about her reaching out to a bratty teen stepdaughter.

Army Wives hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel in reinventing itself; like the soap version of a Law & Order procedural, it’s merely shuffled around familiar characters.  That seems to do the job for its fans, and with its new (presumably cheaper) cast locked up for the next few seasons, one can see it holding onto its commission for a while.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."