“We answer only to the President of the United States. Our missions and our existence are closely guarded secrets. Not even our wives know the truth about our missions.”

It’s good to see that Dennis Haysbert has recovered from his role as the President of the United States on 24 (as well as of being a shill man for insurance). The Unit is a part of CBS’ Action Tuesdays, Haybert’s Jonas Blane leads an elite group of soldiers in missions varying from stopping terrorists on a plane to rescuing Christian missionaries to defusing potentially nuclear bombs. In The Unit there are guns, swagger, action, and not-all-together surprisingly, depth.

From executive producers Pulitzer prize winning dramatist David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner, Glengarry Glen Ross) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) – the show captures our attention by its pedigree alone. Two of my favorite creators team up to create a series? I’m there – which translates to “expectations are high.” Both creators are at their best when they are examining the human condition.

Rather than simply follow around the lives of the men, the show has added an extra dimension by exploring the world of military wives. They aren’t wilting flowers either, having to hold together marriages/families largely in the absence of their men. Sometimes spouting Mamet-ian dialogue throws off the rhythm of the actors, but when that’s the worst criticism I have, well, alright then.

“You used to go, didn’t you?” –Molly Blane (Regina Taylor)

In a lot of ways, the show is a comment on our culture’s worship of self-reliance. These days we are producing “an Army of one,” and the members of The Unit are trained to trust in themselves and each other. There is no room for doubt. They receive orders, they follow orders. The reality is that there are a lot of problems in the world. We have but to turn on the evening news to hear the latest litany of troubles. We can keep questioning the “why?”s of existence, or we can be about being the problem solvers, the solution.

Which is why we have the “ekklesia,” literally, “the called out ones.” A special unit called out for a purpose. This unit has their first loyalty to a higher idea, before friends, before family, and are called upon to sacrifice even their lives for the sake of their mission. What is their mission? Shamar and abad: to take care of and to serve. In other words, their purpose is to protect and serve the greater good

“Was that God’s will? I have no idea. But I’ve been a part of this man’s army many years and what I know is it is our will that keeps the home fires burning, our will that lets our men leave and walk into harms way, our will that allows us to survive if something happens to them and for me that’s a kind of faith? What is it that you’re looking for? It doesn’t have to be my church or any church at all but it’s gotta be something.” –Molly

The church is the unit and it’s not always easy. Like one of Jonas’ soldiers, Bob Brown (Scott Foley) who implores his wife Kim (Audrey Marie Anderson) to “have faith,” Kim responds that “I have faith. I still have fear.” The church isn’t perfect. It can’t be because it is made up of imperfect people. However, it is a place to find connection, to find community, to be there and support one another. To find ways to pray and struggle through life together, so that hopefully, like Kim, we can conclude that “if that’s prayer, it’s got to be a kind of faith?”

The Unit has upped the testosterone ante in my television line up, but it’s not all empty bravado and strutting around. It’s not a meditative work, which isn’t what we want from “Action Tuesday,”but between the flourishes, we have heart and intelligence, exploring these characters and what it means to live and sacrifice for duty.

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