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Oh, No! Now We May Never Get That 'Strike Back' Reunion
October 27, 2015  | By David Hinckley

Time may be running out on the dream of a Strike Back reunion.

Okay, it was never all that likely that Sullivan Stapleton (top, left) and Philip Winchester (top, right) stars of the recently concluded, ultra-macho Cinemax series, would somehow have a crossover reunion under the umbrella of their current NBC shows, Sullivan’s Blindspot and Winchester’s The Player.

But doggone it, it could have been awesome – and Sullivan was 100% on board.

“I’d love to do a crossover episode between Blindspot and The Player,” Stapleton said when the season began. “That would be great fun.

“My show is set in New York, but they could easily write an episode that would take us to Vegas, where The Player is set. It’d be wonderful to work with Philip again.”

Furthermore, Sullivan’s Kurt Weller in Blindspot and Winchester’s Alex Kane in The Player are pretty much the same characters they played in Strike Back as, respectively, Damian Scott and Michael Stonebreaker.

They have different neuroses, but they’re both the same kind of deeply troubled good guys who are constantly clobbered and shot, then get up and resume pursuing the bad guy like a lioness stalking a gazelle.

Strike Back (left) only ended its fifth and final season in July, but fans of testosterone TV miss it already, and a reunion could have eased a lot of that pain.

Not to mention that it could have livened up what has been, to be blunt, not that exciting a fall season on broadcast network TV.

Alas, the reunion odds just got a lot longer, since NBC has cut its series order for The Player from 13 episodes to nine.

That’s TV network body language for “let’s wrap this sucker up and get outta here.”

Blindspot, conversely, is looking like NBC’s biggest new hit this season. But when The Player disappears, that would leave it nothing to cross over with, unless Winchester gets immediately hired for another NBC show.

Maybe Dick Wolf can expand his Chicago franchise into Chicago Paramilitary.

Now it should be acknowledged that the notion of a Winchester/Sullivan episode wouldn’t be any more or less interesting than a hundred other possible TV-actor reunions except that Strike Back” wasn’t just any TV action adventure show.

It featured two guys with access to lots of huge exploding weapons and a sense of real delight in firing them. There were graphic sex scenes, especially involving Sullivan, but mostly the show was an hour of pure testosterone, the closest TV has come to capturing the guilty-pleasure, red-meat fun of all those classic Steven Segal movies from the ‘90s.

Stapleton’s Scott and Winchester’s Stonebridge were a wisecracking pair of operatives whose job description could broadly be described as saving the world.

Who can be against that?

The series was based on a novel of the same name and originated as a British TV show. Best of all, through five seasons it consistently made its ultra-violence just cartoonish enough so it never became violence porn.

Winchester and Sullivan also made a great buddy team, all cut-up and bleeding, and a reunion of their NBC characters wouldn’t have required them to change a thing.

But now that The Player apparently has rolled snake eyes, we may have to wait for another occasion.

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