Pearl Foxton (Candice Bergen) is a self-possessed, opinionated force of nature. Charming and charismatic, she is the most sophisticated woman in her suburban New Jersey town. Widowed in her forties, Pearl is married to her second husband, Len, a kind, enthusiastic, frequently oblivious ? man, whom she grades a B+. Pearl has two grown children from her first marriage; Billy the overachieving "good son," and his older sister Olivia, the rebellious "bad" daughter. She plays obvious favorites with her children as well as her grandchildren. This powerful matriarch has just received grim news: she has cancer, and the doctors tell her she probably has less than a year left. Pearl has always done exactly what she wants to do, and she has nothing left on her bucket list. Her only bit of unfinished business is to sort out her family's lives to her liking... whether they like it or not. She tells Billy that his wife Sara, who wants a trial separation, must be having an affair. He denies it and storms out of their dinner - the first time that this tough literary agent has ever stood up to his mother. But Pearl decides to investigate her theory on her own. Pearl has strong opinions about her daughter's love life, too. Olivia lives with her unassuming fiancé Kurt out in the middle of nowhere on a farm. Her lifestyle rebels against everything Pearl values, and that may be what Olivia likes best about it. Pearl believes that Kurt is the wrong man for her, and wants to get Olivia back with her successful and handsome ex, Travis. She takes it upon herself to find out what his marital status currently is. Len is in such denial he's planning to take Pearl on a trip to the Galapagos in six months. But all Pearl wants to talk to him about is who he should marry after she's gone. She's worried that, left to his own devices, he will marry her arch-enemy Janet Gottshalk, who will redecorate the house in a manner that would be deeply offensive to Pearl. She's picked out a member of her Breast Cancer Survivors' Group who she feels is a more suitable mate for her husband. Pearl has a lot of work to do to get her family in shape with whatever time she has left. After all, she knows what's best for them way better than they know themselves, and good luck convincing her otherwise.