Last Resort

2013-02-14_2327Let’s not beat around the bush.

Check your brain at the door and you’ll have a rollicking time with Last Resort.

It’s an unabashed, testosterone, red white & blue ra-ra series that could have easily been an obscure DVD rental. It’s even got Robert Patrick and Bruce Davison.

This is created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Chicago Code, The Unit) and it centres on a US submarine that receives orders to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan from deep in the Indian Ocean.

Only problem is the orders are received on a secondary communications system which is only supposed to be used when Washington has been wiped out. And as a quick check of their satellite shows them, Hannah Montana is still playing on domestic TV screens (I kid you not).

So despite his better judgement, or possibly because of, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) hesitates from firing the missiles and obliterating millions of innocent Pakistanis.

And with that simple action Last Resort is underway.

If you’ve ever watched movies like Crimson Tide then you pretty much know what to expect in this genre: power games, alpha-males, a captain risking his all for his men, potential mutiny, poker faces and action.

In the case of Last Resort the sub becomes a renegade vessel after disobeying orders and seeks refuge on the fictional Indian Ocean island of Sainte Marina (it’s a bit unfortunate the topography looks like a dead ringer for Hawaii’s Lost).

There are no less than three Aussies in this ABC series and all of them feature prominently.

Daisy Betts plays navigator Lieutenant Grace Shepard, daughter of Rear Admiral Arthur Shepard (Davison) who is forced to make a life or death decision. Dichen Lachman runs a bar on Sainte Marina, even keeping her Aussie accent.

Daniel Lissing plays U.S. Navy SEAL as Petty Officer James King, looking like a love interest for Lachman. Lissing comes up trumps here, showing great potential as sexy leading man material.

Robert Patrick appears to be doing his best Martin Sheen act, as a veteran throwing his authority around, either whispering his dialogue or shouting it.

The script by Karl Gajdusek & Shawn Ryan works better in its plotting than in its characterisation. The dialogue is sometimes clunky and resorts to metaphors that work well on the football field.

None of this diminishes from the enjoyment factor of Last Resort. You have to admire a drama that puts such high stakes up front. Given the series didn’t survive beyond 13 episodes, I can’t speak to whether this sustains beyond the first episode or not. Word is the show got a finale of sorts.

If you enjoyed 24 and tolerated the constant patriotism of Commander in Chief, then check out Last Resort.

Last Resort premieres 8:30pm Wednesday on Seven.


  1. With only 13 Epps the best way to treat this was always going to be a fast dump and I notice how Seven are all of a sudden referring to it as a mini-series?
    Truth is any American show that doesn’t project a “Rah Rah” we are always the good guy image was always going to be doomed.
    Shame some good acting and a pretty fair romp,Andre Braugher should get an Emmy for his role.

  2. Seven have switched to double episodes this week, cashing in while the going is good.

    I enjoyed the pilot. A silly premise but they had a lot of fun with it.

    I guess it was an expensive blockbuster show that didn’t deliver blockbuster ratings.

  3. This is one i won’t even be looking at!…..seriously where did they think it was going to go after they took the submarine to the island?

    I am surprised it was made at all?

  4. The pilot was really good.

    The final episode which is a final episode that ends it all as they knew it was not coming back before they made it, is a decent enough ending.

    It’s worth sticking through if you ask me.

  5. Secret Squirrel

    @DK – sorry if I was unclear but I wasn’t having a dig. It’s just that Aussies working in bars/pubs overseas is a bit of a cliché (because it’s so prevalent).

  6. @HieroHero – “It just shows how little respect they have for the intelligence of their viewers, that they don’t think we know what new TV shows get axed in america”. 99% of Australian TV viewers don’t know and have no interest in USA TV happenings.
    @Secret Squirrel – “An Aussie running a bar in another country? Really?”. Like the hundreds of bars in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, etc., run by Aussies.

  7. Great to see Aussie, Daniel Lissing in a feature role on a major US production. He does a great job. Not bad for a guy who was in the top 100 of Australian Idol in 2008. Sadly, while the production values of the show are very high, it’s let down consistently by bad writing and terrible plots. The Pilot episode is pretty good, but it’s downhill from there, and very fast. My other major gripe with this show is their re-use of many of the locations used on iconic series, Lost. It’s made by the same US Network (ABC) and I couldn’t help but think this was intentional to somehow link the shows and attract some of Lost’s fan-base. Not only is this heresy, it’s a tactic that fails miserably, as proven by the premature cancellation of the show after just 13 episodes.

  8. Secret Squirrel

    An Aussie running a bar in another country? Really? Is it an Irish pub?

    I enjoyed The Shield altho’ eventually got sick of chasing it ever later around the schedule so I’ll give this a go. I’ll try to remember to put my brain in neutral beforehand.

  9. Last Resort was a good show, that once again american’s failed to watch so it was axed. There is simply no reason to watch it, it is an axed TV show, Why channel 7 is promoting this as a “mini-series” I have no idea.. It just shows how little respect they have for the intelligence of their viewers, that they don’t think we know what new TV shows get axed in america. Why invest time in a show that was cut short.

  10. It is escapist enough although don’t get too invested. Cancelled after its first season in the States. They knew before production wrapped up though and were able tofinish up things somewhat

  11. When the show was previewed before the 2012-13 season, it looked really promising. The first few episodes were actually quite compelling.

    Sadly it began to fall apart very quickly, and its cancellation was a blessing. It didn’t get the antagonist/protagonist relationship working well, several characters were just flat, and ultimately it didn’t seem to have any idea where (story wise) it was going and how quickly. It was an idea which could have been executed better (ala Battlestar Galactica, in terms of more drama and battle), but should be been a cable program rather than on the the networks over there.

    The show was given an ending, but it was quite obviously rushed.

    I loved Shawn Ryan’s previous work with The Unit and Andre Braugher in everything I’ve seen him in, but Last Resort was sadly a misfire.

  12. jezza the first original one

    Sounds great. If I was in charge of the sub and received orders to nuke Pakistan, I wouldn’t hesitate, even if Hannah Montana was still on TV. Then again, I might just keep one nuke back….just in case

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