You know, I started out the evening fairly confident that I wouldn't see anybody shoot a mule, and along comes The Unit to prove me wrong. Note to self: When bearing a load in Afghanistan, do as Dennis Haysbert says. That's pretty much the gist of this new CBS show: Haysbert is Jonas, leader of the country's deadliest covert-ops team, rookie Bob (Scott Foley) and some other guys do as he says, and you and I sleep tight at night. Throw in some home-front scenes as the wives deal with the military lifestyle, the pen of David Mamet (god of theater) and the pull of Shawn Ryan (god of The Shield), and we should have a pretty good hour of TV on our hands, right? Well, kinda.
Last night's premiere was just OK it delivered a couple of thrills and chills but also some spills. For starters, we're told that the Unit is a top-secret, highest-level thing if so, how did Jonas' wife Molly played by the intense Regina Taylor know her husband and Bob went to Idaho, where terrorists hijacked a plane on the tarmac? And terrorists? In Idaho? What, was Iowa busy? The rescue of the passengers also left a little to be desired, since Jonas basically barged into the plane with guns blazing even though the main terrorist had his thumb on the detonator. I guess "cool gunfight" trumps "tactical training" every time. There was good stuff, too, though: Occasionally someone would utter a line only Mamet could have written, and I would giggle like a little girl. Oh, and how could I forget: Portraying Jonas' boss was Robert Patrick, the T-1000 himself. If he doesn't already have "Badass" tattooed across his knuckles, he should seriously consider it. Next week: Who knows? They just showed a pretty vague montage of scenes, nothing too specific in case CBS pulls the plug between now and then. You never know, the way the 2005-2006 season's been going.