Medium: The Perfect Balance.

Sure, the typical working mom doesn't get calls in the middle of the night from a district attorney or a police detective summoning her to a crime scene so that she can use her psychic powers to try to discern what really happened. The average working mom doesn't communicate with dead people. Or see the future in her dreams.

But one thing you can say that Patricia Arquette's character Allison Dubois on "Medium" ( does that many working mothers do each day is awkwardly balance the demands of career with caring for three young children while constantly arguing with one's spouse over household duties and fretting over what meal to make that the kids will actually eat.

In fact, if you take the crime-fighting/psychic/medium story line out of the equation, you're still left with a compelling drama that offers a glimpse of life with an average American family, with a messy kitchen, piles of stuff everywhere, cereal for dinner and endlessly bickering children seeking out Mom or Dad to referee over who gets the TV remote control. And that's exactly the way show creator Glen Gordon Caron wanted it. "Clearly, the home is the focus," he told USA Today when the show was in its second season. ". . . For me that was the meat of the thing. Family is a big part of who [Allison] is."

And the family angle is precisely why many viewers embrace "Medium," though the psychic crime fighting story lines can be riveting as well. "Paranormal mumbo-jumbo aside, this is just about the most realistic depiction of a working woman on TV," critic MaryAnn Johnson wrote on "Allison juggles work, home, family and her own strange visions with just the right combination of exhaustion and exhilaration."

But first, the back story: Allison Dubois -- a character that won Arquette an Emmy and is based on the story of a real-life medium by the same name - is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from a preschooler to a middle schooler. Though she initially wanted to be an attorney, Allison was able to combine her psychic abilities with her interest in law by creating a part-time gig for herself with the Phoenix district attorney's office, consulting on jury selection, helping out with cases and trying to drum up clues by visiting crime scenes. With an oftentimes erratic work schedule, Allison is occasionally shown picking her girls up from school, grocery shopping, bathing the kids and tucking them in, while in other scenes she's up all night following down a lead with the police or doing research on the computer at 2 a.m.