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October 25, 2014

The Unit: First Responders (Pilot)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Mar 8th 2006 10:06AM

Scott Foley in "The Unit"Well no sense in sugar-coating it. I'm gonna have a hard time recommending this show, but I'm still willing to give it a few more episodes before I completely give up on it. The Unit just wasn't that good. On paper it reminded me a lot of E-Ring: spectacular cast with some great minds behind it (in this case David Mamet and Shawn Ryan).

But it turns out that, thus far, The Unit is going to suffer the same fate as E-Ring because last night's pilot episode had an unbelievably boring storyline.

I'd like to be clear that I hate the fact that I need to write this next sentence:

The Unit centers around an elite Army special ops team called... The Unit. Got that? Led by team leader Jonas Blane (Dennis Haysbert) and commanding officer Col. Tom Ryan (Robert Patrick... I prefer "T-1000" and would have paid money to hear him say "Have you seen this boy?"), the Unit travels the world stopping terrorist activity and still makes it home in time for dinner.

Bob Brown (Scott Foley, who I just didn't buy as an elite killer) is the latest addition to the team which we found out has had dozens of men die in its name... well, sort of. See, The Unit doesn't actually exist. Jonas' wife Molly put it best: "You're not in the Army. You're in the Unit." Come to think of it, next week I'm going to have a few friends over with a bottle of cheap whiskey and every time someone on the show says "unit," take a drink.

Jonas took Bob to visit with an old friend (I think he used to be in The Unit... that'd be a drink right there) out in Idaho. Fortunately, some terrorists hijacked a plane 10 minutes away. Who hijacks planes in Idaho? Plus the entire time Dennis Haysbert's authoritative stance, mannerisms, and his voice kept taking away from his character if you ask me. This guy can't just play "one of the men." He needs to be behind a desk somewhere barking orders and slamming down telephones.

On top of all this, we need to deal with the delegation of concerned Unit wives. They were like a cult. They all live on the same street and go out to lunch with each other and play bridge... and on and on. But they never say anything to anyone about where their husbands are. Makes sense but being so secretive makes them whiny and unlikable. Plus we found out Bob's wife is pregnant and one of the other wives is sleeping with the Colonel while her husband kills people in another time-zone.

So yeah, I wasn't impressed but I will stick with it to see if it gets better because you never know. David Mamet has written some great plays and films in the past so hopefully he can get his act together and give us some good television.

 

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Viewer

Does anyone know where to get the ringtone that matches the ringing sound on the phones on The Unit?

May 13 2006 at 6:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Viewer

Does anyone know where to get the ringtone for the ring on their phones on The Unit?

May 13 2006 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sally Taylor

I didn't watch The Unit but my husband did. All I want to know is what song were they playing right at the end of the show - It sounded familiar and I would like to know who sang and who was the original artist?

March 14 2006 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
knarf

I can't believe you didn't like this show. Is it because it made you think or because it didn't have any big breasted women in it.

March 10 2006 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ben b.

I thought the pilot was so-so. I'm giving it a few more episodes to see if it's worth watching. One thing they need to do is show more action in the next episodes. They should also reveal more about the characters. The pilot was lax on this, so I couldn't empathize with the characters. I guess they could have some episodes that focuses on one of the major characters.

One final thing.... the unit's quasi "command center." It looked crappy compared to other similar shows. Just look at Alias and 24. Also, it looks like it's understaffed, but that's just me.

March 09 2006 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
asuwur

It was decent for a pilot...I've read some things on IMDB from an assistant producer who says that the show is much better in the next episodes.

As a military spouse, I hate that they have to have the sterotypical wife sleeping with the CO type thing. I also wanted to slap the "new" wife who seems really clueless for someone who's been doing this for a while. Everyone knows that "Unit" (drink) (IE Delta) families pretty much have everything taken care of for them because their IDs must be protected at all times. Unless he joined "The Unit" (drink)and negelected to mention it to his wife, there's no excuse for her acting like such a nitwit about it..and the phone call to her sister? Unforgivable!

Regina Taylor really gives off some sort of creepy vibe that I'm hoping goes away...It's like she's channeling Betty Applewhite from Desperate Housewives.....I totally think her character knows what's going on with the COL and the cheating wife, though. At least that's how it seemed when she was talking to President Palmer at the end of the episode...

I'm going to be patient. NCIS rocks and it took a few episodes to really gel...there's a lot to work with on "The Unit" (drink)...give it time, it might be worth it....

March 08 2006 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mar y

Just to further balance this thing out...It's just a TV show! Thought it was good and will get better in future eps.

March 08 2006 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

Just to balance out the opinions I have to say that I enjoyed it. Granted,.. I was fliping between this & House while my DVR was recording Scrubs (Damn you single tuner DVR!)

Anyways, yeah it had some weak points, but it is just a pilot episode. I can't say that I would sacrifice my 24 fix for this show, but I'll keep watching it to see how it evolves.

One thing I have to say is that after watching shows like 24, I really have a distaste for action scenes that are slow-motion or are blured to the point that you can't tell what's going on. I think they incorporated too much of both in the final action scenes.

Overall I give it a B-

March 08 2006 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

Just to balance out the opinions I have to say that I enjoyed it. Granted,.. I was fliping between this & House while my DVR was recording Scrubs (Damn you single tuner DVR!)

Anyways, yeah it had some weak points, but it is just a pilot episode. I can't say that I would sacrifice my 24 fix for this show, but I'll keep watching it to see how it evolves.

One thing I have to say is that after watching shows like 24, I really have a distaste for action scenes that are slow-motion or are blured to the point that you can't tell what's going on. I think they incorporated too much of both in the final action scenes.

Overall I give it a B-

March 08 2006 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aaron

If it's based on Eric Haney's book, it's a very loose interpretation of the book.

Of course Haney's book has been criticized as well still...

I guess it's supposed to be Delta Force, but based upon my experience in the Army any similarity between truth and reality is fairly accidental.

One man storms a plane, by himself? What ever happened to the spec-opps motto, "two are one and one is none?"

"To hell with SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) I'm not going to wait for the rest of the squadron to turn up, I'm going to take down an unknown number of terrorists with a 45 pistol." (or for that matter a ballistic vest, or for that matter a re-hearsed plan of any type)

This first sergeant walks over to a hanger of National Guard guys and based upon whoever has a Ranger Tab, he recruits a team to storm an airplane, something that to my knowledge has never been done on U.S. soil before?

Given that about 1% of the regular Army is Ranger qualified, it was pretty fortunate that he managed to find six of them just sitting around on their hands waiting for a hostage rescue, instead of at least securing the perimeter of the airfield.

Did I mention that these guys were in the National Guard...storming an airplane...

Must have been a really tough piece of wood they used to stop the hydraulics on the ramp to the rear of the aircraft...

If you opened the door of a Learjet at 35,000 feet, you might be able to make a jump, but you wouldn't be able to stand in the door for very long. Many of my parachute jumps were made out of a C141 and when you get about two feet from the doorway to the rear of the aircraft, it simply sucks you out the door. A prop plane, like the C130 is going slow enough that you will be able to physically stand in the door, but most jets won't be able to get down to that slow an airspeed, including I would think a Lear Jet.

I think the point about Idaho is valid too, I'm glad I'm not the only one who found problems with that idea.

Things that I thought interesting or at least somewhat realistic again based upon my limited experience with the military.

1)Delta was notorious for having a very good family support system, although these women remind me more of the Steppford wives.

2)Using the rifle held between two soldiers to get a step up to the airplane door. I never did it with an aircraft, but we used that particular method all the time in MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) city to climb through windows and get to the second floor of buildings.

3)Sterile uniforms, no name tags no patches on their military uniforms, combined with the "relaxed grooming," or long hair and beards many SF guys sport. At least these guys look the part.

4)They are always armed. Again Delta was notorious for this and unlike regular military, they could carry issued weapons in their own personal vehicles, something that none of us were allowed to do.

5)Drop-holsters, carrying side-arms slung low on the thigh. Again Im not sure why they did it but most guys at least in Special Forces seemed to favor that particular setup for pistols, maybe to keep them out of the way of the rest of the gear that they wore.

6)At least they mentioned the "posse-commitatus act." I tend to think the FBI, who incidentally has a world class hostage rescue team (HRT), might have actually had a little more jurisdictional power, but then again it's just a TV series.

Really though, it isn't as though there isn't enough information out there and publicly available to make the series slightly more realistic an even a little interesting.

Charles Beckwith who formed Delta wrote his own book about the group years ago and there would be enough info in that book alone to make a fairly good series from.

Probably one of the most brutally realistic movies ever made about counter-terrorist opperations was a movie called The Final Option, produced in 1982 and starring Richard Widark and Lewis Collins. If nothing else it is worth checking out just for the great "girl fight" between Judy Davis and Ingrid Pitt. Beckwiths book is still around too I think, but Mark Bowden's Black Hawk down is another good book that features Delta force in it. Finally, for a good read check out a book called "Cold Zero," a biography by Chris Whitcomb, a man who worked on the FBI hostage rescue team as a sniper for a number of years.

March 08 2006 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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