We're only a few episodes into Season 3 of Army Wives, but the drama is already at an all-time high in the Sherwood family. TVGuide.com caught up with Terry Serpico, who plays the stringent Frank Sherwood, to find out what he thinks drove Denise to have an extramarital tryst, why her best gal pals are giving her the cold shoulder and what's next for the troubled couple.
TVGuide.com: So where do we pick up this week with the Frank-and-Denise saga?
Terry Serpico: This week, Frank is on his way home [from his mission]. He's on his way to deal with his domestic situation under the guise of being reassigned. But the unspoken assignment is to deal with his wife. And in his return, there is the obvious confrontation where he wants to hear from her about the affair. All he knows is she's been terminated from her job and the rest is all rumors.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think Denise, who was once such a doting wife, ended up having an affair?
Serpico: Denise was kind of denied a young adulthood. She married Frank when she was 19 years old; he was her only lover and her life. She got to a point where she realized there was more and she wanted to experience those things she's been denied before. She wanted to sow these wild oats, and it's a little late to be sowing those oats — not late in terms of her age, but late in that she's married.
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TVGuide.com: Could Frank have driven her to commit adultery?
Serpico: I have a hard time with that because I see Frank as rigid and difficult, but you have to read between the lines with him. Denise started making changes with her appearance and Frank was somewhat taken aback, but went along with it. She started initiating sex, and while Frank was taken aback, he went along with it. Denise wanted to go back to work, and while he's a very traditional man, he went along with it. If you go back and look, Frank has been remarkably flexible with her for a man supposedly so inflexible. I suppose a case could be made that because Frank is such a black-and-white person, Denise felt somewhat stifled. But I think what's led Denise to have the affair is within Denise.
TVGuide.com: Why would Denise's closest friends give her the cold shoulder at a time she needs them most?
Serpico: I think there's an unspoken code in the military that if your husband is away putting his life on the line for the country, that's just a place you don't go. And I think her friends have turned their back on her simply because they don't know what to say or how to handle the situation. You haven't really seen Denise really coming from a point of remorse. She's looking at it as, "My friends have turned their back on me, and I am such the victim." And the fact of the matter is she dug this hole for herself. If she finds herself adrift, then that's just the consequences for her actions. But over time we can expect these bonds will be rebuilt because we don't have a show without it. [Laughs]
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TVGuide.com: Do you think Frank is concerned about the rumors?
Serpico: It is true that if an officer cannot maintain the proper function of his marriage, then it's assumed that he can not maintain the proper function of his battalion. So as the marriage goes, so does the career. What she's done is not only jeopardize the marriage, but his career as well. She's knocked the supports out of the two major tenets of his life. How he's perceived as an officer and soldier in his peer group are very important to him.
TVGuide.com: You seem to know a lot about the unspoken military code. Did you do a lot of research for this role?
Serpico: I was raised in the military. My father was a 26-year military veteran who retired a colonel in the Army. And he was a hard-ass Army officer. In fact, his name is Frank. The irony is very thick. [Laughs] From the first day I put my character on, I knew him inside out. I'm absolutely channeling my father. He recognizes himself, as does the rest of my family and anyone who knows him. And he's very supportive of the show.