Ultimate Force indeed, ladies and gentlemen...
Ultimate Force, a shining example of how a decent show can become horribly derailed. Originally starring Jamie Draven, Ross Kemp, and Miles Anderson as members of the British Special Air Service Regiment, more specifically the fictional 'Red Troop'. Created by Rob Heyland and Chris Ryan, the show's first two series presented a stark and brutal demonstration of what the operators of the SAS go through, from hostage rescue to preventing an assassination, and the repercussions of their actions both with the world at large as well as with their families and friends. People die
. But then it went pear-shaped with the beginning of the third series. The entire cast, excluding Ross Kemp, Miles Anderson, and Christopher Fox were given the boot and replaced with a more politically correct
cast. Many fans could even tell when the series Jumped the Shark
in the first episode of the third series.
The show has aired in over a few countries now, including recently the USA (via BBC's American channel) aside from most of Europe, Oceania and Japan (as SAS: British Special Forces in Japanese). It's also available only in DVD currently with a collector's edition that collects all of the DVDs from all four seasons.
This show features examples of:
- Affably Evil: Louis, who combines a bit of Sociopathic Hero and Deadpan Snarker to create one of the more interesting characters later in the show.
- If only because he's one of only three original cast members by Season 3.
- Anyone Can Die: Slightly jarring at times, particularly during the first series. Season 3 has this too.
- Bad Ass: Pretty much the entire cast.
- Bad Ass Crew: Well, they're the SAS...
- Black Comedy: Most of the original cast frequently indulges in it.
- Black Dude Dies First: Averted, Ricky Mann dies off-screen.
- Creator Cameo: Chris Ryan shows up as the commander of Blue Troop.
- Catch Phrase: Ricky Mann's "They love it" and variations thereof.
- Colonel Badass: Colonel Dempsey. One man army.
- Cool Guns: Plenty.
- Crazy-Prepared: The UK-based Al-Qaeda cell in "Class of 1980". They were so prepared that they expected to face SAS CRW commandos when they gunned down SO19 officers before the SAS went to engage them, armed with LAW rocket launchers and a FN MAG GPMG to stall the CRW units before Red Team was able to defeat them.
- Double Agent: A PIRA officer was also working with the RUC in quelling the revolts in Northern Ireland.
- Doubling For London: Often (and sometimes quite obviously if you live in the area you can see this tropers old house in a series 1 episode although it's set in Northern Ireland) locations that are supposed to be an area of London (or in one case Northern Ireland) are locales in the sunny town of Slough. Also the backlot (and some of the offices) of Pinewood studios stand in for Hereford.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Done with nearly the entire cast at the beginning of Series 3. Only Dempsey, Henno, and Louis made it through unscathed.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: The British SAS after all, even when they get on the action with little/no involvement from SO19. There's (possibly) the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, although they get into a firefight with SAS units in civilian clothing.
- Father to His Men: Colonel Dempsey, very much so.
- Five-Token Band: Between the working-class northerner (Jamie), the big black man (Ricky), the ginger Scot (Pete), the middle-class British-Asian (Alex) and the public-schoolboy Captain (Dotsy), the original cast ticked virtually every British socio-ethnic box going. Keeping it PC.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Numerous.
- Instant Marksman Just Squeeze Trigger: Henno gives a pistol to an ambassador he is protecting with these instructions. However, he then reveals he was actually suggesting a suicide method.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Corporal Louis Hoffman embodies this.
- Just One Little Mistake: Henno reminds the newcomers in the 1st episode not to call an officer "Sir".
- Large Ham: Ross Kemp as Staff Sergeant Henno Garvey, also Miles Anderson as Colonel Aidan Dempsey.
- "Boss" from the very first episode also comes to mind.
- Model Planning: The SAS team under Henno practices with a semi-turned thief on how to break into a high-security vault.
- The Neidermeyer: Captain Macalwain showed many tendencies toward this.
- Russians with Rusting Rockets: The Russian Army's Spetsnaz. The SAS teams up with them to take down a pro-Chechen independence guerrilla group after they foreigners hostages, including a few Chechnya-based British oil workers.
- Shout-Out: Henno saying a familiar line by John McClane after he knifes a PIRA/RUC double agent to death.
- The Squadette: Becca Gallagher, one of the contributing reasons to the vault over the shark.
- The Troubles: Touched on as one of the episodes takes place in Northern Ireland.
- The War on Terror
- What the Hell, Hero?: Alex guns down a Russian-British scientist named Sergei after he was holding a flask in a top-secret disease research center. Jamie uses this on Alex that the two slugged it out against each other. Granted that Sergei was not armed and was under heavy stress when one of his relatives was with a pro-Chechen extremist group that attacked the center that it initially raised a lot of suspicion, but he was cleared of not being a terrorist. Still you wonder if his relatives would press charges against the British military for wounding/killing Sergei?
- Henno guns down Captain Macalwain at close range in Georgia during a rescue mission, covering it up by disguising it as a shootout between Georgian government-sponsored militants and Red Troop. The others didn't bother to figure it out (possibly since the captain's personality was disliked by most of them) and Colonel Dempsey treated him as a "hero", not bothering to ask any questions.