The Unit

Common Sense Media says

Weak military action-drama best for teens and up.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are good guys, fighting for justice with good intentions. One main character is rough and has a history of domestic violence. Gender stereotypes are inherent to the storyline. Terrorists, so far, are exclusively Muslim. One recurring character is in wheelchair.


Gunplay, exposions, minor blood, mild torture, hints of domestic violence.


Passionate kissing, couples in bed together, adultery, some sexual language.


Some adult language. "Sorry's what you tell your girlfriend when you finish too quick."


Corona and Budweiser beer and Jack Daniels bottles appear briefly.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

All of the main characters drink alcohol. Drinking is portrayed as a method for being oneself or relieving stress.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in addition to the violence inherent in its military action sequences, this unexciting series deals with adult themes of adultery, domestic violence, drinking, and miscarriage. Women and men hold stereotypical roles, and children are mostly seen but not heard. Terrorists, at least early in the first season, are Muslim only.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

In THE UNIT, an elite military special forces team fights terrorism at home and abroad while, back at the base, their wives hold down the home front while worrying about their husbands' safety. Dennis Haysbert leads the team as Jonas Blane, backed by his crew, which includes newbie Bob Brown (Scott Foley from Felicity). Back at the base, Molly Blane (Regina Taylor) serves as the matriarch, helping to acclimate Kim Brown (Audrey Marie Anderson) to the secretive life of a special forces wife while keeping an eye on the emotional and spiritual lives of the rest of the women. Playwright and filmmaker David Mamet writes and directs some episodes and shares executive producing credits with Shawn Ryan, creator of the Emmy-winning The Shield.

Is it any good?


The show's male-female dichotomy, while potentially realistic in some military homes, isn't portrayed with any critical distance. The idea that the woman's role is to care for the home and family while providing an emotional safe haven for her stoic, hard-working husband is only reinforced by the dialogue ("If he's anything like mine, he's gonna need a little space.") and the action (when the new guy looks at photos of his wife and daughter before beginning a dangerous mission, Blane tells him the best way to get home to them is to put the photos away and concentrate on the mission).

Violence plays a big part in the show, though it doesn't reach the graphic heights of 24. Guns are big and plentiful, and in the first episode, Brown slits a terrorist's throat rather gruesomely and Blane shoots a mule point-blank as a distraction device. The violence doesn't end back at home, either, with hints of domestic violence complicated by adultery. Despite the mostly strong actors and the talent behind the camera, The Unit rehashes familiar territory, adding only the female aspect to the mix, and doing it without panache.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about traditional male and female roles and how they've changed in the last several decades. Why don't we see women in more combat roles? And what about killing and torture? Under what circumstances are these acts acceptable? How different do you think the real-life military is from the fictionalized military portrayed in television and movies?

TV details

Cast:Audrey Marie Anderson, Regina Taylor, Scott Foley
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Unit was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byElleEmanuelle April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Great Show

The Unit is a thought-provoking, intelligent show that portrays the army and military families with respect, admiration, evenhandedness, and civility. The characters are compelling, the action plot-lines fast-paced and exciting, and the tales from the home-front told with sensitivity. The Unit occasionally suffers from David Mamet’s quirky, but, sometimes unrealistic dialogue, however, the shows uniqueness in a sea of CSI/Law & Order copycats is refreshing. Unlike the previously mentioned paragon’s of today’s prime-time entertainment, The Unit, is delectably original and equally unpredictable, the episodes deal with subject matter that is seldom touched on prime-time TV and it is a nice change from reality television melodramas, and formulaic crime shows. From a family discussion perspective, this show is an excellent conversation starter dealing with family-values/dynamics/politics, gender-equality, relationships, war/military, international conflict, diplomacy, politics, infidelity, marriage, trust, stereotyping, spousal-abuse, parenting etc. Best for ages thirteen and up (mostly because children younger than thirteen would find it boring, however, there is moderate violence, language and sexuality).
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A pretty good first season, but nowhere near 24-like quality

Teen, 13 years old Written byDman April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Fantastic action/drama...After seeing the season premier for the third season, I am more psyched than ever about this series...CSM really missed the mark with their review...


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