The L Word final season is upon us, and it's a killer.

Showtime's groundbreaking drama about a group of lesbian and bisexual women in Los Angeles as they struggle in their day-to-day lives surprised when it premiered in January 2004 by appealing to both gay and straight audiences.

The show arrived hot on the heels of Showtime's hit gay series Queer As Folk.

L Word was the first episodic drama to feature an all-lesbian cast. Additionally, over the years the show has addressed many difficult subjects affecting GLBT people, including gay civil rights, closeted celebrities, depression, and transgender issues.

For its final curtain call, creator Ilene Chaiken has turned to murder. In the first two minutes of the sixth season, the show's most conflicted character, Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner), is killed. But fans will need to watch the final eight episodes to find out the murderer's identity.

Speaking to The Futon Critic, Chaiken said the murder mystery sub-plot will “frame” the final season, but not overpower it.

“We tease every show with another motive,” she said. “There's one character at the beginning of each show who comes forward with the motive of the moment. This would be my reason for killing Jenny.”

But an upcoming L Word spinoff where Alice Pieszecki (played by Leisha Hailey) lands in prison for murder has left longtime fans scratching their heads. The new series, reportedly called The Farm, is set in a women's prison and includes both lesbian and straight characters.

“If the new show goes on the air, it will be connected to the Who-Killed-Jenny storyline,” Chaiken told Entertainment Weekly, “and I would say that that's what Alice is in prison for. I don't know that she actually killed Jenny.”

Another surprise is the return of five former characters – Tim (Eric Mabius), Peggy Peabody (Holland Taylor), Marina (Karina Lombard), Ivan (Kelly Lynch) and lovable Carmen (Sarah Shahi) – in the final episode.

Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) and Cybill Shepherd (The Last Picture Show, Moonlighting) star in L Word. Its final season premieres Sunday, January 18 at 9PM.

Gay Entertainment Report is a feature of On Top Magazine and can be reached at