Alyssa Diaz and J.J. Soria Return As Series Regulars
By Elia Esparza
Lifetime’s hit drama Army Wives premieres its 7th season on March 10th and it will be the most diverse group of Army wives ever! For you diehard fans let me share some secrets that have leaked out.
First, one of the major Army wives will not be returning and the big news is that it’s leading lady Kim Delaney who played Claudia Joy Holden since Lifetime launched the drama six years ago, is gone… and gone forever! She’s the first major casualty… there are others but you’ll have to watch the premiere.
According to Executive Producer Jeff Melvoin, Claudia Joy will be “killed off in the season premiere—a tragedy that will serve as a launching pad for an almost rebooted program.”
For the first time in Army Wives history, a more diverse real-life group of characters have been cast—which consist three new female characters, new blood that includes an African-American mother of three who “runs the kind of house that kids and adults want to hang out in,” a drop-dead gorgeous bad girl named Maggie who is a member of the Airborne Division… guess she’s supposed to be the new Roxy. And, there is a young 18-year-old farm girl from Illinois.
Those of us who are faithful Army Wives fans will find the first two episodes to be very emotional, and “will confirm that Claudia Joy is no longer among the living,” says Melvoin. Writers must have had difficult weeping sessons. “It’s been very wrenching for us to write, and I think it will be very wrenching for the audience to go through.”
Get your hankies ready! How will the show survive without Claudia Joy who has been the bedrock base for the drama. According to the EP: “But we [have to] continue to move forward and keep the show fresh and unpredictable.”
Sticking around is Alyssa Diaz (Gloria), her estranged hubby Joseph Julian “J.J.” Soria (Hector), the estranged couple going through a divorce and all the drama that comes with it. Also returning are: Catherine Bell (Denise), Wendy Davis (Joan), Kelli Williams (Jackie), and Terry Serpico (Frank) are all back as series regulars. Additionally, Claudia Joy’s widower — Michael, played by Brian McNamara — will also remain a full-timer. Beyond that, Melvoin is staying mum, in part to maintain some suspense, considering Season 6 ended with a plane carrying practically half the cast possibly crashing. “Who survives the cliffhanger and who doesn’t is going to provide a lot of the juice of the first two hours.”
So, what about Roxy? Sally Pressman (Roxy) will be back but not as a series regular. “Sally, just like Kim has been a huge part of the show’s success,” notes Melvoin, adding that Pressman’s real-life pregnancy will likely limit her participation to the first couple of episodes. Too bad Roxy won’t be around much, she is such a breath of fresh air with her non-airs attitude.
Army Wives’ Season 7 is new but it continues with the common thread tying the new (and some of the existing) wives together is that their “husbands all serve in the same platoon that’s stationed in an outpost in Afghanistan,” explains Melvoin, who said he drew inspiration for the new setting from the acclaimed 2010 war documentary Restrepo. “The war is winding down, but that doesn’t mean what they’re doing is any less dangerous or risky.”
Change is hard and we’ll see if the show creators can pull it off. “We’re trying to return to the show’s roots,” Melvoin says. “The central conceit of the show is friendship that transcends rank [featuring] women from different walks of life and with very different outlooks. But it’s not going to be like you just flip the page and suddenly you’re looking at a different show… It’s the same show with some fresh new colors.”
Army Wives returns mid 2013 on March 10th on the Lifetime channel.
R.I.P. Claudia Joy. Sniff. Sniff.
Break some Pelotas, Gloria (Alyssa Diaz).
Something You May Not Know:
Joseph Julian “J.J.” Soria who plays Private First Class, Hector Cruz, an all American soldier deeply in love with his wife, Gloria (Alyssa Diaz) is having a blowout year! With the main character (Claudia Joy) being killed off, this leaves room for new characters to have larger story lines, including Hector and Gloria also is in the new indie film Filly Brown which also features international recording artist, Jenni Rivera, who died in December in a tragic plane crash.