The Unit, David Mamet (2006-)

I know this show looks like garbage from a distance, but get a little closer and you get this:

A: You son of a bitch, you really are alive.

B: A fault I share with all but the dead.

Now I tell you that B in this little exchange is Ricky Jay, who’s in the midst of giving Dennis Haysbert a lesson on close-up magic in a hotel room in Macao. And then you say, Oh, of course, Mamet! And then I say, Yep.

I’ve tuned into this off and on for a couple years now, and I have to tell you, I think it’s quite solid grade-B Mamet, which means it’s got to be about a hundred times more interesting than any of your other run-of-the-mill secret-government-military-agency dramas out there.

Indeed–and I know this is wickedly pretentious and I’m sorry–part of the delight in watching this is seeing how Mamet balances “his” scenes of clipped opaque dialogue in claustrophobic rooms with “money” scenes of, you know, car chases and big guns and explosions. It’s like a little artistic cooperative where everyone’s expected to paint a few pictures of dogs playing cards every month to pay the bills so that they can spend the majority of their time doing their real work.

Mamet doesn’t write all the episodes, of course, but his voice comes through at least a little in every one, and sometimes a lot. Plus Rebecca Pidgeon has been in a dozen episodes!

The fourth season begins reruns on January 18.


  1. em

    haven’t missed one yet. i love the opening music. and haysbert is such a hunk. 24 was never the same after they blew him away. e

  2. Do you know I’ve actually bought every kind of insurance Allstate sells, just because I want to be in Dennis Haysbert’s good hands? I’m talking even boat insurance and I don’t have a boat.

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