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Women roar on new fall TV shows

| Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

“The Good Wife,” “Homeland,” “Scandal,” “Nurse Jackie” and, well, “Girls” are just a few current shows that put women front and center.

And this fall, even more women are stepping up.

As if TV programmers were in a classroom cribbing off each other's exams, themes emerge. A prevalent one: the fantasy world of comic books and sci-fi, courtesy of “The Flash” (CW), “Gotham” (Fox), “Constantine” (NBC) and “Forever” (ABC). Spies and anti-terrorism also remain big, with “Scorpion” (CBS) and a couple of the shows below.

But strong females are the dominant trend in new shows.

“Madam Secretary” (CBS, Sept. 21): Elizabeth McCord is a loving wife and mother and a brilliant former CIA analyst who is drawn back into public life as U.S. secretary of state after the incumbent's suspicious death. Tea Leoni plays a woman who has it all — including growing concerns that she, too, may be on the endangered list.

“The Mysteries of Laura” (NBC; Sept. 24): Detective Laura Diamond (Debra Messing) doesn't flinch, whether it's flouting regulations to nab a bad guy or cooking up a scheme to get her twin boys into a private school. She's always in a frenzy, creating waves and mostly getting what she wants through sheer force of will.

“How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC; Sept. 25): Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) teaches law students how to spring their clients, whatever it takes. And in her law practice, she is a Machiavellian figure leading a team of top-flight students to help her tackle tough cases.

“Bad Judge” (NBC; Oct. 2): Kate Walsh plays a woman who, in the courtroom, makes Judge Judy look like a pushover, then, after-hours, makes Snooki look like a wallflower.

“Cristela” (ABC, Oct. 10): This sitcom's young heroine is working multiple jobs to fund her dream of becoming a lawyer. And when she gets slammed by her family for taking so long in law school, or for drinking the last beer in the fridge, she can return their salvos with gusto.

“Jane the Virgin” (CW, Oct. 13): Jane Villanueva is a radiant and ambitious young woman whose future is abruptly complicated when she learns that, despite her decision to wait, her virgin status has been compromised through an accidental sperm insemination. Now, she faces yet another, very unexpected challenge — pregnancy.

“State of Affairs” (NBC, Nov. 17): CIA analyst Charleston Tucker (Katherine Heigl) compiles and delivers to the Oval Office the president's Daily Briefing every morning. But Charlie's bond with the chief executive is even tighter than this, because she used to be engaged to the president's son — that is, until he was killed by a terrorist attack.

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