The L Word is a drama tv series that portrays the lives of a group of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and men and their friends, family and lovers in the trendy Los Angeles-area city of
The pilot episode premiered on
The episodes focused on the relationships between the principal characters, their family members, their friends, and their "outside" lovers. Jennifer Beals played the role as Bette Porter, an art museum director and unabashed control freak, who in the first season lived with her longtime partner Tina Kennard (Laurel Holloman), who chose to stay at home and assume the "housewife" role. And after being artificially inseminated, were both wife and mother in the relationship. Ultimately, Bette and Tina broke up over Bette's infidelity. The series' "audience-identification" character was Jenny Schecter, a talented writer who had moved next door to Bette and Tina to live with her fiancé, and later husband, Tim Haspel (Eric Mabius).
Unavoidably drawn into her neighbors' circle of lesbian friends, Jenny gradually came out of the closet herself, having a torrid affair with sexy coffee shop owner Marina Ferrer (Karina Lombard), breaking up with Tim, and entering into a series of not-altogether-satisfying affairs, and all the while trying to emerge from the shadow of a spectacularly miserable childhood. The "comedian" of the bunch was Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey), a glib-tongued bisexual journalist who had a habit of speaking first and thinking second. Also in the cast were Katherine Moening as Shane McCutcheon, a troubled promiscuous hairdresser. Erin Daniels as Dana Fairbanks, a professional tennis player who struggled with whether to stay in the closet professionally and whose insecurities made it hard for her to find a girlfriend; and Pam Grier as the only certified "straight" member of the group, Bette's older half sister and formerly successful singer, Kit Porter.
The cast in the second season included sexy deejay Carmen de la Pica Morales (Sarah Shahi), who at one point carried on simultaneous affairs with Jenny and Shane; wealthy Helena Peabody (Rachel Shelley), daughter of an influential female art collector; and documentary and adult filmmaker Mark Wayland (Eric Lively), who became Shane and Jenny's housemate.