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Counterterrorism Stars in NBC's 'The Brave'
September 25, 2017  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

NBC’s new terrorism drama The Brave edges back toward the traditional macho message of “Don’t mess with America, punk.”

The Brave, which premieres Monday at 10 p.m. ET, follows two branches of an elite counter-terrorism team as they carry out dangerous rescue and intelligence missions in the Middle East.

Each episode involves the command team in Washington, headed by Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche, middle, right), and small the in-country operatives team headed by Commander Michael Dalton (Mike Vogel).

As that suggests, The Brave draws a bit on the Law & Order model, a similarity further evident in the way the story is framed as a rapid-fire series of short, clipped, direct scenes. 

We do start to pick up some personal information about the characters along the way. We learn early, for instance, that Campbell just returned to work after losing a loved one on a team mission. 

The initial focus, however, falls on the story rather than the players. In the first episode, an American surgeon working for Doctors Without Borders (Alix Wilton-Regan, top) is kidnapped by radicals and the team sets out to rescue her before she can be publicly executed.

The team doesn’t make all the right suppositions along the way. But any viewer who might be thinking of trying to get away with a terrorist act will get the clear message that both ends of this team know exactly what they’re doing and understand how to find information that might seem hopelessly hidden. 

In contrast to, say, Homeland, The Brave seems less inclined to ruminate on larger issues of morality and more inclined to declare there are bad people out there and the world would be better off without them.

Thankfully, that doesn’t make the show two-dimensional.

Dalton’s team prominently includes Anthony “Preach” Carter (Demetrius Grosse), a crack shot who does seem inclined to ask the big questions while he lines up his crosshairs.

It also includes medic Joseph McGuire (Noah Mills), sniper Jaz Khan (Natacha Karam) and Amir Al-Raisani (Hadi Tabbal). Jaz and Amir do a lot of undercover infiltration and yes, that’s as dangerous as it sounds.

While we don’t know their full stories yet, we know each is totally committed to their mission and the ideal it represents: keeping the world safe for freedom.

They’re exactly the kind of people the rest of us want to think are out there on our side, and that’s really the message that The Brave is sending. In a troubling world, they offer reassurance.

The Brave does not, however, pretend that every story has a happy ending, that the world of the Middle East is simple or that operations of this nature can be executed without consequences or loose ends.

The final scene of the first episode makes that point clear, and while it’s not a pleasant scene, it reminds us that international politics isn’t a game where one team loses, everyone shakes hands and it’s over.

The question in coming weeks will be how The Brave balances its reassuring message about America’s counterterrorism skills with an acknowledgement that the world sometimes looks different from the other side.

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Here's hoping that they don't rely on the 'damsel in distress' and worse still, the endless violence against women that now substitutes for Plot....
Sep 27, 2017   |  Reply
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