Archive for Military

The Unit

Directed by: David Mamet, Vahan Moosekian

Written by: David Mamet, Daniel Voll, Frank Military, Todd Ellis Kessler, Sharon Lee Watson, Lynn Mamet

Produced by: David Mamet, Shawn Ryan, Vahan Moosekian, Daniel Voll, Frank Military, Todd Ellis Kessler

Starring: Dennis Haysbert, Regina Taylor, Scott Foley, Audrey Marie Anderson, Max Martini, Abby Brammell, Michael Irby, Bre Blair, Joss Grey, Robert Patrick, Nicole Steinwedell, Wes Chatham

Running Time: 4 seasons

When I first heard about The Unit I thought to myself, “great another piece of military propaganda being broadcast into my living room.”  I watched the first few episodes, with honestly a closed mind, looking for a reason, any reason, not to enjoy the show and the chance to indulge in an angry rant at the person who had introduced me to show.  As I made my way through the episodes a strange thing happened; I began to enjoy the show.

The Unit is a military action/drama show revolving around a secret Special Forces squad (modeled after Delta Force) with the same name as the show.  Covert missions, as one would expect, are a large part of the series but what surprised me most is how important that lives of the wives and children of the deployed soldiers were which gave the story depth and made the series much more realistic.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of The Unit was to see a story that wasn’t about how glorious the military is and instead focused on how difficult that kind of lifestyle can be on the soldiers and families involved.  The families are faced with knowing that their husbands and fathers are deployed on extremely dangerous missions with the fear that they won’t make it back home.  If not knowing when their loved ones will be safe; the families also have to deal with the low salaries that the soldiers get for risking their lives for their country, spousal abuse and affairs (which are common in the military lifestyle),  combined with having to keep their jobs a secret from everybody outside of the Unit.

Given the difficult lifestyle that the characters of the story have chosen to live; every character has to have a strong mental will and inner strength that one wouldn’t doesn’t see on regular television shows.  The characters, especially the wives, struggle to keep their family together while at the same time dealing with situations that are common in our normal lives.  The strength of the characters is shown most in the Blane family, where Jonas Blane, played by Dennis Haysbert, is charged with being the leader of the Unit and at the same time still manages to a powerful father figure and a positive role model which is hardly ever seen in the mainstream media; especially involving characters of color.

In the end what we’re left with is an outstanding T.V. show filled with action, drama and a high level of realism which enables the viewer to suspend their disbelief.  The show isn’t perfect and personally I’d have liked to see more of the shadier and darker sides of the missions that our military routinely engages in on a regular basis.  While this show isn’t for everyone; if you’re a fan of stories about the military, this show is as perfect as it gets on network television.

(4/5)