“Last Resort” is the biggest, boldest and best new show of the fall, and could turn out to be something network television sorely lacked — a captivating serialized drama. With Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “Terriers”) co-creating and helming the ship, “Last Resort” should keep the story of a rogue nuclear submarine taking control of an island very interesting.
What comes later is hard to pin down, so the biggest reason for high hopes is a very strong pilot. A lot happens in the first hour, but the concentrated action keeps you riveted while setting up future story threads. When Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) is told to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan through questionable orders, he and his XO Sam Kendel (Scott Speedman) hesitate. Both know this will have serious consequences, but neither expected their own country to attack them.
The submarine, its crew and the Navy SEALs they rescued, head to a small island and hunker down for a showdown with whoever is pulling the war-hawking strings within the government. A battle between an honorable captain and a corrupt government is the obvious conflict, but there are shades of gray blurring the battle lines.
“Last Resort” also does good character work. Both Braugher’s Marcus and Speedman’s Sam get strong debuts, and supporting characters Lieutenant Grace Shepard (Daisy Betts) and Master Chief Joseph Prosser (Robert Patrick) round out a solid cast.