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Series / E-Ring

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Executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, E-Ring was a military drama set in the E-Ring, or the outer ring, of the Pentagon. Major James "JT" Tisnewski (Benjamin Bratt), a veteran Special Forces operator, is plucked from the field and given a desk job as part of the Special Operations Division of the E-Ring, responsible for the planning and deployment of covert US special operations worldwide. With his superior Colonel Eli McNulty (Dennis Hopper) he struggles to navigate the bureaucracy of the Pentagon in order to gain approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for numerous controversial missions around the globe, from rescuing American agents in China to battling insurgencies in Southeast Asia (and at home).

The show struggled from the onset, due to being pitted up against hit shows such as American Idol, Criminal Minds and Lost. It was eventually canceled after 22 episodes were filmed.


  • Badass Bureaucrat: There are a few. Samantha "Sonny" Liston comes to mind.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: JT and his Special Forces team were rescued by a friendly Afghan village during the invasion. The plot of Christmas Story is JT and his team trying to get supplies and arms to the villagers, so they can defend themselves from the Taliban during the winter months.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat
  • Big Damn Heroes: Escape and Evade. JT is sent to Iraq to investigate a Special Forces team accused of carrying out illegal operations on Iranian soil. JT is ambushed, captured and finds himself lost on Iranian soil. The special forces team save his life at the end of the episode.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Weekend Pass: the US Marines are exonerated and the Surinamese throw off their corrupt leader. But one of the Marines is dead and it's left open to interpretation whether it'll be a Full-Circle Revolution.
  • Cigar Chomper: Colonel McNulty
  • Clear My Name: Weekend Pass.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel McNulty, who survived four years in captivity during The Vietnam War and is unafraid to speak his mind. JT becomes one when he is promoted halfway through Season One.
  • During the War: The War on Terror.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: It's a show about Special Operations. This should clue you in quickly.
  • Fictional Country: Averted.
  • The Fundamentalist: A given in a show about The War on Terror. But not just radical Islamists. See the entry for Western Terrorists.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: In Weekend Pass, the two US Marines accused of raping a Surinamese girl were actually trying to save her from the real assailant.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: JT and Colonel McNulty, all the time.
    • "Escape and Evade". A US Special Forces team are accused of illegally treading on Iranian soil, because of exasperation with the terrorists they are hunting simply being able to hide in Iran without consequence. They also save JT's life.
    • In "Weekend Pass", General Kuwendi uses this trope to justify framing the accused Marines, so he can launch a coup against the corrupt, economy-destroying President.
  • In Harm's Way: Captain Bobby Wilkinson, JT's old Special Forces buddy, has difficulty adjusting to the idea of a life outside the army.
  • Invisible President
  • It's Personal: "The Forgotten", when evidence arises that a Navy SEAL presumed KIA after his chopper crashed is actually being held by the Abu Sayyaf separatists. Algazi feels guilt because he called off the search and rescue, and McNulty takes it personally because he himself was held captive by the North Vietnamese During the War.
    • Exaggerated in the two-parter "Cemetery Wind". JT's girlfriend Angela is killed by Colombian drug traffickers as payback for an operation years earlier. JT goes off the grid to finish the job and take revenge of Angela's boss, CIA Director Raymond Metcalf, who leaked the information that got her killed.
  • Military Coup: In "Weekend Pass", the Surinamese military attache, General Kuwendi, frames the Marines accused of rape in order to launch a coup against the corrupt President.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Numerous episodes, which cause conflict between the more pragmatic civilian suits, such as Aaron Gerrity, and the combat veterans (JT, Colonel McNulty and Steven Algazi), who take it very seriously.
    • JT finds himself in the middle of this situation when he is captured in Iraq and finds himself on the loose in Iran.
    • This is also the premise of The Forgotten, where intel suggests that a Navy SEAL presumed killed may actually be alive and held by the Abu Sayyaf separatists.
  • No Party Given: Which party is in power is never named.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: A major problem for the SOD in planning missions, especially in regards to the civilian consultants.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: JT is this to a T.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Assistant Secretary of Defence Steven Algazi and Head Council Samantha "Sonny" Liston, as well as the Joint Chiefs.
  • Semper Fi: Marine Master Sergeant Pierce, who serves as an assistant to Colonel McNulty. Weekend Pass has two US Marines ( falsely) accused of raping a young girl in Suriname. Algazi is a 20-year veteran of the Marines.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Colonel McNulty and JT's father. Bobby Wilkerson has signs of this when not in combat.
  • Smug Snake: Aaron Gerrity and CIA Director Raymond Metcalf.
  • Straight Woman: Sergeant Pierce.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The Pentagon.
  • Western Terrorists: "Delta Does Detroit" has a Christian Fundamentalist group of the Racial Supremacists/Right Wing Militia Fanatics/Western Religious Terrorists type taking Muslims hostage in a mosque.