Why you'll watch Last Resort for more than whether those nukes go boom

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

What would you do if your government tried to kill you? And then what if you had the most powerful sub on Earth and a stack of nukes at your disposal? That's the premise of ABC's military thriller Last Resort.

However, while there may have a conspiracy at the center of the series, that's only a small part of what's ahead for the show, said creators and executive producers Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek in an exclusive interview with Blastr.

"What happens to characters in the midst of war? How do characters get torn apart? How are they brought together? How do extreme situations create extreme feelings for each other? And so we're going to get into that character stuff," said Ryan. "Issues of love and betrayal and honesty and loyalty and big ideas like that are tough sometimes for smaller shows to investigate in big ways. But in a show like this, where the stakes are so high, you can also investigate really high emotions."

Last Resort, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET, follows the crew of the USS Colorado, the most powerful nuclear submarine ever built, which appears to be on a normal mission to pick up a SEAL team that's been on a mission in Pakistan. However, when they receive orders through irregular channels to nuke Pakistan, captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) asks for confirmation. What happens next leads the captain and his crew to go rogue and take refuge on an exotic island, where they set up a base and declare a no-fly zone. From their new home they attempt to clear their names with hopes they will one day get home. Last Resort also stars Scott Speedman, Robert Patrick, Daisy Betts, Dichen Lachman and Autum Reeser.

"This is a show about an ongoing situation," said Ryan. "Active problems as opposed to passive mysteries. And so one of the things that we're concentrating on is what would really happen in these situations. After the events of the pilot, what would the United States really do? What would our crew members do? What would the people on the island really do? And we found, at least so far, we've found that there seem to be a lot of stories there that propel the plot forward."

"The Washington D.C. side of our story is a mystery, and the characters that live in that arena will be the stars of a political thriller. But we do like to say that if that mystery was spelled out 100 percent clear, and it will not be, but if it was, we think our show would go roaring on. Because the circumstance they're in is much more profound than even the depths of the mystery," said Gajdusek.

"We're less interested in telling a war story than we are in telling what happens to characters in a war story. Meaning that we're not telling Saving Private Ryan's beach scene at the beginning with all the fighting as much as we're trying to be a little bit more about Casablanca and Gone With the Wind," said Ryan.

"One advantage of a big concept like this is we never have to worry that we have too little story. We have plenty of story. It's about refining it and making sure it serves our characters. But we always know there's a thousand things that can happen, and there's always a pressure on them," said Gajdusek.

"We've got a lot of plots, a lot of twists. It's hard to say too much without giving away some of the events of the pilot, but captain Marcus Chaplin, he and his crew are going to have to find ways to survive and try to clear their name. There are going to be threats coming from the external world. There are going to be threats coming from the native people on the island," said Ryan. There will also be threats coming from inside the crew, some of who don't agree with the captain's decisions.

"There's an aspect to the show that is about, 'Okay, if you were to build the world again, what would you do?' While the heartbeat of our show is perhaps in the Tom Clancy universe of threat and reaction, there's also a side of our show about making big choices and the ethical choices you have to make when all of a sudden you're cut off from everything you think you knew," said Gajdusek.

"We have conflict in our show. We have a bit of a war. It is the effect on the people on either side of that who all of a sudden can't get back together, and the story of the most unlikely people who are thrust together and can't get apart. That's the heart of the show for us," he said.

Here's a look:

Last Resort airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Will you give the show a chance?

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