In the latest iteration of Cinemax’s Strike Back series (called Retribution abroad and Season Five in the U.S.), a crack team of international Special Forces types go after a terrorist and his wife. While longtime fans of the show will enjoy seeing Sullivan Stapleton (Blindspot) and Philip Winchester (Chicago Justice, Law & Order: SVU) return, fans old and new will dig the firepower these “not good guys” bring to every battle.
Like previous seasons or shows like Sleeper Cell, there’s plenty of intrigue as the team, usually revolving around McAlister and Wyatt, bust into different situations overtly or infiltrate surreptitiously different subgroups on the track of the Idrises. They must ‘rescue’ an arms dealer, who proves to be problematic for his complete disregard for human life; the two men go undercover through a MMA ring to get inside a white supremacist group in Germany where Lowry ends up hiding out. Some of the plot holes are sizable, but the editing is slick, the accents are cool, and the action is fierce. Having seen previous seasons, it’s worth noting that women are given more to do – and given more credit – than they were in previous seasons.
Much of the humor and growth can be found in the witty banter between McAlister and Wyatt. It’s worth noting that McPherson was solid in the film Generational Sins and Brown was a welcome part of Idris Elba’s Luther. They come across as more established than the previous main guys were at the time of their Strike Back debuts. And it helps for some gravitas to the show. (Also of note is that it seems to be more about the plot and the people than about gory head shots and skin, but there’s still some of that, too.)