Although it has a few episodes that slow the pace and failed to maintain an audience before getting cancelled by ABC, Last Resort is an entertaining thrill ride of a series that will keep you hooked on the series thanks to a great ensemble cast and a plot that feels somewhat grounded in realism.
Created by Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek, the series featured a huge cast that included Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Daisy Betts, Camille De Pazzis, Dichen Lachman, Daniel Lissing, Sahr Ngaujah, Autumn Reeser, Jessy Schram, and Robert Patrick.
While trying to stay as spoiler free as possible, The Complete Series collects all 13 episodes of the show (which ran September 27, 2012 to January 24, 2013, on ABC) and followed a standoff between the U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Colorado and the U.S. government after the Colorado’s Commanding Officer, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Braugher), refused to launch his missiles at Pakistan.
The order comes after the sub picks up a team of U.S. Navy SEALs off the coast of Pakistan, and is received through an old Cold War channel that was meant to only be used if Washington, D.C. was destroyed.
After refusing to launch and confirming the U.S. was under no threat, Chaplin is removed from command by Deputy Secretary of Defense William Curry and Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal (Speedman), the boat’s next in command, is put in charge. Kendal also questions the orders – which leads to the boat being fired upon by Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois. Pakistan is also struck by two nuclear missiles.
With their own country hunting them, the Colorado heads to the fictional island of Sainte Marina (which is also a NATO communications and missile warning location), and quickly take it over. Chaplin adds more fuel to the fire by launching a Trident nuclear missile on D.C. in response to the government sending B-1 bombers to finish the sub.
With tensions continuing to escalate between Chaplin, the Colorado and the U.S., the series divides up its plot with a huge conspiracy tale that involves top members of the U.S. government, weapons designer Kylie Sinclair (Reeser), and more.
The series also focuses on the emotional impact the situation has on the crew of the Colorado as they struggle to maintain discipline and have divided loyalties between Chaplin and the Chief of the Boat Joseph Prosser (Patrick).
In addition to the crisis with the government, Chaplin has to deal with a CIA spy on the boat, a power struggle with Kendal, who is trying to get back to his wife Christine (Schram), and the island’s drug lord/unofficial mayor Julian Serrat (Ngaujah).
For only containing 13 episodes, Last Resort packs a lot of story into its season, and thankfully ties up the plot by the time the series ends – rather than leaving the audience feeling ripped off with no conclusion. The final resolve isn’t as great as the journey made it seem, but it is nice for a “complete series” to actually feel complete after not surviving renewal.
Along with great writing (that provides a ton of tension to keep you hooked on the series), Last Resort benefits from an incredible cast led by Braugher – who seems to always straddle a fine line between noble and slightly crazy. Speedman is also solid in the role as second in command and does a great job of making sure the audience has room to doubt Braugher’s action.
The show does have some weak points (many times Ngaujah comes across more annoying and menacing and Schram’s crying gets old and she is much better in TNT’s Falling Skies), and some of the story’s twist and turns seem a little too far-fetched to be believable. Still, the tension keeps you hooked on seeing how the series will turn out.
Along with a complete story, Last Resort: The Complete Series comes with the great special feature “Last Resort Declassified” – which goes deeper into the series, where it might have gone, and how they brought it to the screen. The feature includes interviews with the cast and crew.
While it is hard to imagine how Last Resort could have continued as a long-term series, it is sad the show got cut before it had a chance to fully flesh out all the story elements and characters.
From start to finish, the series feels epic and the cast and writers are more than up to the challenge. There are some stumbling blocks along the way, but the series is well worth taking the time to watch.
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