Watch The Unit on CBS, Sunday nights at 10:00 P.M. (ET).
This show is based on the book Delta Force by Eric Haney. The Delta Force is the Special Forces of the U.S. Army. They do the impossible jobs, and many die doing them.
Eric Haney is one of the producers of the show, which is written by Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright David Mamet. Eric Haney was actually a member of the Special Forces for many years, so he is an authority. The show is very accurate.
It is the first network drama television show in 40 years to have African American male and female actors in the leading roles (Dennis Haysbert and Regina Taylor).
Regina Taylor, the female lead, was so convinced of the value of this show that she came out of retirement to join the cast. She won an NAACP award last season for her work on the show.
Last spring, the four male actors on the show travelled to Afghanistan and Iraq with the U.S.O and spent two weeks visiting the troops. There are some wonderful pictures of them sitting in Saddam Hussein’s throne! They came back determined to play their roles with more conviction and realism.
Robert Patrick (the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day) plays a lieutenant colonel on The Unit. In several interviews, he says that he is honoring his grandfather, who was a career Army lieutenant colonel. It was Robert Patrick who organized the trip overseas; he has been a long-time member of the U.S.O.
His brother Richard is a member of the rock band, Filter. Apparently his former rock band disbanded because two of the members joined the Army after the Iraq war started! I guess the Patrick family is pretty patriotic!
I have never missed an episode of The Unit. I can testify that it presents a balanced and reverent view of religion. In one episode, one of the young women does some searching into religion, and the pastor that counsels her is excellent. Nothing fluffy or “liberal.”
The show also has a great family ethic. In one episode, the college-aged daughter of Dennis Haysbert’s character decides to join the Army, and her daddy takes her out in the field to show her what life in the Army is really like. It’s a wonderful father-daughter coming-of-age story.
Unlike almost every other show on network TV, The Unit shows sin as it really is–a free choice that humans make that destroys their lives and the lives of others. Sin is not glossed over or glamourized on The Unit. The Lieutenant Colonel is having an affair with the wife of one of his men, and it is soooo repulsive and dirty. When you watch the two of them struggle with their temptations (he tries to walk away but can’t), you tell yourself, “I will NEVER have an affair!”
I think it’s interesting that Robert Patrick, the actor who plays the Lt. Col, calls his actions “adultery” in interviews. He doesn’t say, “My character is messing around.” He comes right out and says, “My character is committing adultery.” Hmmm…it’s so unusual to see Biblical language used. But then, Robert Patrick is a professing Anglican-Episcopal, and often talks about his faith, his covenant marriage, and the Bible study that the attends.
There is another show on TV called Heroes, but IMO, The Unit episodes show TRUE heroes, men who are willing to die to help others. In fact, in one episode last season, one of the unit members was shot and died. It was so sad. They showed the military funeral, and online, people who were actually in the military said that it was completely accurate.
One of the best episodes involves the rookie rescuing a woman. Their helicopter crashes in rough terrain, and she breaks her back and can’t walk. This young rookie doesn’t abandon her, but sticks with her, dragging her along on a makeshift cot, giving her his coat, giving up his share of the food for her. And she wasn’t a wimp, even though she was injured and helpless. She jokes with him, stifles her outcries, refuses to complain. It’s a fantastic episode that brings tears to my eyes even now. I wish every teenaged boy could see it–I like to think that there are men who would make these sacrifices for a woman.
I realize that a lot of people, especially Catholics, are against the war and don’t want to see it on TV. Well, this show does NOT glorify war or present cheap patriotic sentiment about America. It will make you think really hard about why we fight wars.