Stars: Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Daisy Betts, Robert Patrick, Dichen Lachman, Daniel Lissing, Sahr Ngaujah, Autumn Reeser, Jessy Schram, Omid Abtahi, Darri Ingolfsson
Karl Gajdusek & Shawn Ryan, series created by Shawn Ryan & Karl Gajdusek
Martin Campbell
ABC, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate:
September 27, 2012

In its opening episode “Captain,” LAST RESORT blends the best of several worlds – and not just the interior of a submarine, a lush tropical island (played by Hawaii) and the political trenches of Washington, D.C., although those are its primary settings. LAST RESORT’s basic premise is that the captain of a U.S. nuclear submarine, armed with eighteen warheads, breaks from the chain of command and, by episode’s end, declares himself and his boat a separate nuclear world power. By itself, this would be a solid premise for a movie thriller, but because of running time constraints, a film would have to confine itself to either one or two of the intriguing plot threads put forth by LAST RESORT, or else give some or all short shrift. With (we hope) at least thirteen episodes, if not many more, to explore all of what series creators/pilot scripters Shawn Ryan & Karl Gajdusek set in motion, the series has the potential to play with both huge themes and the intricacies of character detail. It’s as if CRIMSON TIDE and 24 had a TV baby together.

Shortly after the U.S.S. Colorado, sailing the Indian Ocean, comes to the rescue of a Navy SEAL team with an injured man, the sub receives orders through a secondary channel to fire upon Pakistan. When Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) tries to confirm the order through regular channels, he can’t get through. However, the sub can receive enough electronic transmissions from see that life appears to be going on as normal, without any hint of attack. When Chaplin persists in questioning the order, the Colorado is fired upon by a sister submarine, the U.S.S. Illinois. Sustaining casualties, the Colorado makes its way to the island of San Loreno, which contains a NATO nuclear early warning tracking station.

The U.S.declares that the Colorado was destroyed by a Pakistani missile and strikes out with a nuclear warhead against the nation, killing over four million people. Chaplin and Co. are able to use the NATO station to contact both military officials and loved ones, demonstrating that the Colorado wasn’t destroyed after all. When the Colorado’s crew and the island are both threatened if Chaplin doesn’t stand down, the submarine captain warns the back off and detonates a nuke two hundred miles off the coast of Washington, D.C. to show that he’s serious – and reminding everyone that the Colorado still has seventeen more missiles where that one came from.

Chaplin’s loyal executive officer Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) is at first relieved that they’re all still alive and now have the chance to clear their names and find out what the hell is going on, so he’s a little unnerved when the captain starts talking about “starting over” on San Loreno and that “maybe this is home now.”

There are an almost infinite number of questions posed by the LAST RESORT pilot, starting with who gave the order to fire on Pakistan (a nation that cannot directly strike at the U.S. due to geography) and how they were able to do so. Other questions include exactly how sane Chaplin is or isn’t, whether some of the crew will mutiny, how the Navy SEALs happened to be in the vicinity of the Colorado, how the sailors will get along with the San Loreno locals and much more.

Braugher has enormous gravity and authority – he is entirely convincing as a man comfortable with command, able to make others obey him and yet haunted by his own thoughts. Speedman is immediately likable and engaging, while Robert Patrick, as the submarine “chief of the boat” who is appalled that Chaplin disobeyed orders, is suitably flinty and formidable. The rest of the cast seems likewise well-chosen.

LAST RESORT co-creator Ryan has brought forth THE SHIELD, THE UNIT, TERRIERS and THE CHICAGO CODE, all strongly arced series with troubled men, who are (with the exception of the TERRIERS heroes) embroiled in complicated organizations. Based on his track record and the great what-will-happen-next feel of the premiere, there is every reason to hope and expect that LAST RESORT will sustain its opening levels of viewing pleasure and suspense.


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Article:TV Review: LAST RESORT – Season 1 – “Captain” – Series Premiere


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