Desperate Housewives is an American comedy-drama television series created by Marc Cherry which follows the lives of a group of women, seen through the eyes of their dead neighbour, as they work through domestic struggles and family life, while facing the secrets, crimes and mysteries hidden behind the doors of their – at the surface – beautiful suburban neighbourhood.
Wisteria Lane seems to be the ideal place to raise children. White picket fences, manicured lawns and well respected neighbours... or are they really?
There's Susan Mayer, who's a single mom to daughter Julie.
Susan's very attracted to her plumber neighbour, Mike Delfino, and the two later start a relationship. She's not very trusting though and hires a detective to check up on his past after she finds a large sum of cash and a gun in his kitchen cupboards.
Susan's a general busy-body and has been known to snoop around people's houses - she even burnt down (accidentally) Edie Britt's house.
Edie's been her rival for a long time and also has her eye on Mike. She is an vampy estate agent who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Then we have Bree van de Kamp.
Bree is an obsessive compulsive neatness freak. Mother to 2 rebellious teenagers and wife to Rex, she cooks, cleans and lives for them. Her marriage to Rex was on the rocks but after a brief separation, they got back together.
In between their break-up and make-up, Bree dated pharmacist, George Williams who became obsessed with Bree. Even when she broke it off he stalked her and eventually when Rex became ill, he gave him the wrong medication, which eventually led to his death.
Lynette Scavo is the mother of four hyperactive toddlers - three boys and one girl.
She gave up her career to raise her family but when motherhood is not all it's cracked up to be she wants back into the working world.
Because her own mother used to hit her, Lynette refuses to spank her kids which leads to huge disciplinary problems. She became a frazzled bundle of nerves and even starts taking the kids Ritalin medication so that she could get some extra energy.
Her husband Tom is away quite often and Lynette feels that her life is falling apart. Unbeknownst to Tom, she approaches his boss and because of this Tom loses a big promotion but is able to be at home more often.
Gabrielle Solis is a former model and married to a very wealthy Carlos.
Money does not seem to keep Gabrielle happy though and she goes looking for it in the arms of John Rowland, who happens to be 18 years old and their gardener.
She manages to hide her relationship with John until Carlo's interfering mother arrives. Juanita actually manages to catch Gabrielle and John in the act just minutes before she is run over by a car, driven by Andrew van de Kamp, Bree's son.
First Juanita is in a coma and just when it seems she is going to be able to spill the beans, she falls to her death from a flight of stairs in the hospital, taking her secret with her.
John's mother does eventually find out about the affair and threatens Gabrielle with a law suit. Gabrielle breaks it off and then finds out she's pregnant.
It turns out that Carlos has been secretly tampering with her birth control pills and when she finds out, Gabrielle is livid.
To make matters worse, Carlos is in trouble with the law and Gabrielle is forced to join the working world.
Finally, there is Mary Alice Young.
The series started with the suicide of Mary Alice and she has been telling us the story from beyond the grave.
There was a big mystery surrounding her suicide and the four friends did their utmost to find out what was the story behind her death.
It turns out that Mary Alice and Paul bought their son Zach, from a drug addict called Deidre.
They moved out to Wisteria Lane and even changed their names but somehow, 4 years later Deidre found them and demanded they give back her son. In desperation, Mary Alice killed Deidre and forced Paul to cut up her body, stuff it in a trunk and bury it in the garden, on top of which they built a pool.
Martha Huber, an elderly neighbour, finds out Mary Alice's secret and blackmails her, which is the reason for her suicide.
After Mary Alice's suicide, Paul dug up the trunk and tried to get rid of it but it was eventually found. He also finds out Mrs. Huber is responsible for Mary Alice's suicide and he kills her.
Enter plumber Mike Delfino. He's doing investigation work himself and it's not up until the end we find out what he is looking for.
He used to date Deidre and was hired by her family to see if he could find her. He finally gets the truth out of Paul which is when he realizes that Zach is actually his son.
Marc Cherry created the series. Cherry is executive producer, along with George W. Perkins, Bob Daily, Sabrina Wind, Matt Berry, David Grossman, Jeff Greenstein and Marco Pennette. Desperate Housewives is produced by ABC Studios.
The series aired in the USA on ABC from 3 October, 2004 to 13 May, 2012. There are 180 hour-long episodes in eight seasons.
Desperate Housewives originally aired in South Africa on M-Net from 7 April, 2005 to 2 August, 2012. It later aired on DStv's M-Net Series, M-Net Holiday and M-Net HD channels, on SABC3 and on StarSat's Star One channel.
M-Net HD only became available in late 2008, making Season 5 the first to be simulcast in high definition.
Season 3 also aired on a special pop-up channel called M-Net Holiday, with new episodes broadcasting daily at 21h00, from 10-31 December, 2007.
There are 17 episodes in the fourth season, which was shortened due to the 2007/8 WGA strike.