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Last Resort (ABC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on February 21, 2013

Created by Shawn Ryan (‘The Shield’), ABC’s ‘Last Resort’ is arguably Fall 2012’s most anticipated TV show. Among the other competitors for this title NBC’s ‘Revolution’. The show airs on Thursdays in the 8/7c timeslot, premiering on September 27th. However like other networks (OK, like NBC) the alphabet network has released the pilot episode of ‘Last Resort’ online two weeks ahead of the premiere. Of course I have watched it for you, and here’s what it’s about and what my thoughts on the show are.

‘Last Resort’s stage is a U.S. nuclear submarine, the fictional USS Colorado. For those interested, it is a Ohio-class submarine with the, again fictional, identification SSBN-753. While in Washington generals are resigning because they think the President is acting irresponsible, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher, ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’) and his executive officer Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman, ‘Felicity’) are drinking to being many miles away from all the politics. Kendal thinks about transferring to a desk job and starting a family with his wife, whom he just married.

All of a sudden, the sub receives the order to fire a nuclear weapon at Pakistan. Captain Chaplin doesn’t trust this however, because the order hasn’t come through the proper channel. When requesting confirmation, Chaplin gets released from command. Now Acting Captain Kendal requests proper confirmation of the order as well. This development is not particularly liked in Washington, seeing as a Tomahawk missile is now being fired at the USS Colorado, which is declared an enemy of the state.

While most crew members get why Chaplin and Kendal didn’t follow the fire order blindly, twelve men are now dead and they have become enemies of the United States. Their concerns are voiced by Chief of the Boat Prosser (Robert Patrick, ‘The Unit’), who thinks the nuclear missile should have been fired at Pakistan, making their life a whole lot easier.

The news channels back in the U.S. are reporting that a Pakistani missile has sunk the USS Colorado, and that one of the crew members, Lieutenant Grace Shepard (Daisy Betts, ‘Persons Unknown’), is the daughter of a two star Navy Rear Admiral (Bruce Davison, ‘X-Men’).

While the crew of the USS Colorado is still contemplating what to do, another submarine fires the nuclear missiles at Pakistan. Chaplin decides it’s time to go to the surface, and along with his crew, he takes over a small island with a NATO outpost on it. Two bombers are sent toward the position of the USS Colorado by the White House, and Chaplin reacts by firing a nuclear missile at Washington. This initiates a game of chicken between the United States and the USS Colorado.


‘Last Resort’ almost has the look and feel of a multi-million dollar Hollywood movie with its special effects, action and political intrigue with extremely high stakes. Given that it is (arguably) the most anticipated show of this Fall, it certainly delivers. It is captivating and the performances by the actors are really good, with Braugher bringing us a really intense and commanding Captain and Speedman and Betts providing the likable characters.

If there’s one thing that I could change it would be showing more of the Washington aspect of the show. However, since the premise had to be established in the pilot, this aspect can easily be enlarged in the next episodes.

The way the pilot ended, the show has a lot of potential directions to go, ensuring that it could easily last multiple seasons. If the viewers keep tuning in, this is possibly the next big hit for ABC. ‘Last Resort’ premieres on September 27th.

What did you think of ‘Last Resort’? Do you agree with me or was it not really your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments section!

What did you think of 'Last Resort'?

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