'Army Wives' not 'Desperate' but does harbor secret

The new Lifetime series "Army Wives," filmed in the Lowcountry, stars (clockwise from left, front) Catherine Bell, Sterling K. Brown, Wendy Davis, Drew Fuller, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Brian McNamara and Kim Delaney.

"We all have our secrets."

So declares an actress from "Army Wives," a statement that strikes at the show's core. All the main characters seem to bear crosses, as viewers discover during the premiere (10 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime).

Set and filmed in Charleston, the ambitious new series introduces four women and a man who share a common bond: They're married to soldiers.

Executive producer Harry Bring has joked that some have called the program "Desperate Housewives" on an Army post. Actually, the plot lines don't run that salacious — no teenage gardeners or mysterious suicides (not yet, at least).

Still, "Army Wives" presents a compelling cast brought together — by yep, you guessed it — a secret. Hence, the opening episode's title, "A Tribe is Born."

Here's a look at the characters, and the actors playing them:

Kim Delaney and Brian McNamara

Delaney, an Emmy winner, stars as Claudia Joy Holden, much admired by the other women on post and perfectly complemented by stalwart husband Col. Michael Holden (McNamara).

Only he was passed over for a promotion, likely because of a rumor started by the new brigadier general's wife.

Claudia Joy confronts the villainess, putting her family (and their secrets, natch) at risk.

Catherine Bell

Bell, best known for her role on "JAG," plays homemaker Denise Sherwood.

It's just that her son, Jeremy (Richard Bryant), has some serious daddy issues. Frustrated with the pressures of being a major's son, he lashes out physically against his mom.

Sally Pressman and Drew Fuller

Pressman deserves praise as the sassy Roxy LeBlanc.

She breathes a little hiss and vinegar into the proverbial "lady-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks" role.

Roxy married soldier Trevor (Fuller) after knowing him for only a few days and moved with him and her two children (from two different fathers) onto the post.

She's given some of the premiere's best lines, including this gem: "Well, if I didn't just serve up toe jam on an idiot cracker."

Surprisingly, she struggles to fit in.

Brigid Brannagh

Brannagh stars as Pamela Moran, former cop, surrogate mother and frequent gossip target.

Is she selling drugs and having sex with the chaplain? Not quite, though they make tasty rumors.

But the surrogate bit? Too true. Pamela's husband is a bit of a spendthrift, so she's trying to help pay the bills.

Her only hope: That no one else discovers.

Sterling K. Brown and Wendy Davis

The "wives" also include Brown, who plays psychiatrist Roland Burton. His wife, Joan (Davis), just returned after a two-year stint in Afghanistan.

Though she's back, her mind isn't. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, spelling discord for the pair.