Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / SEAL Team

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sealteams2.png
Out of the water and into the fray.
Advertisement:

SEAL Team is a CBS drama series starring David Boreanaz that began airing in 2017. The production crew has gotten help from serving SEAL operators in making sure that operational procedures are accurately portrayed.

The show follows a group of US Navy Special Warfare Operators within DEVGRUnote , led by Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Hayes, as they're deployed all over the world to ensure the safety of the United States while also trying to cope with the loss of the one of their own during a mission. In addition to the stress of going into life-threatening situations for a living, they must also deal with family drama at home, frequently finding that it can be easier facing down an armed enemy than it is trying to keep wives and children happy.

Running parallel to these stories are the trials of Clay Spenser, already an experienced SEAL, as he tries to find his place within DEVGRU. Making things difficult for him, however, is that his reputation is pre-tarnished due to his father, a SEAL veteran, writing a tell-all book about his time in the teams.

Advertisement:

The show is currently airing its second season. It has been renewed for a third season.


This show provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Cerberus is occasionally referred to as the "Hair Missile" in reference to her portrayer's name: Dita the Hair Missile Dog.
  • African Terrorists: Boko Haram is mentioned in "Tip of the Spear", but they're not confronted. Instead, General Yomie Percival's militia is encountered by the SEALs during the rescue op.
    • "Fracture" has the Delta Resistance Army.
    • "Medicate and Isolate" has the Islamic Fighters of Mali.
  • Artistic License: The SEALs are shown conducting HAHO jumps without the protective clothing needed to counteract the sub-zero temperatures that are experienced. Especially egregious with Jason, who cuts the sleeves off of his combat shirts.
  • Bland-Name Product: In this case, the trope applies to a real-world terrorist organization. The "Halani network" in the Echo Team story arc is a very thinly disguised version of the actual Haqqani network.
  • Advertisement:
  • Blinded by the Light: When they find that Alpha Group is blocking their way to cross the Afghan border, Jason realizes they'd be just as well-equipped as his team and so likely wearing night vision and thermal goggles to see someone trying to sneak across. The team fires off all their flares and pyro to temporarily blind the Russians and sprint the 100 meters to the border while they can't see.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Several examples in the episode taking place in Tallinn, Estonia.
    • Trucks have signs on the back stating that "The vehicle stops tight"
    • The Estonian part of restroom signs is translated as "resting room" instead of toilette.
    • Other texts and phrases, while grammatically sound, have an uncanny ring to them.note 
  • Bottle Episode: "Pattern of Life" takes place on mostly two sets (one existing) and has very little in the way of expensive stunts or gunplay.
    • "Time to Shine" has Bravo Team waiting to leave North Korean territorial waters via sub until Sonny gets stuck in a torpedo tube due to a malfunction. The entire episode is devoid of action, focusing on characterization of the team and takes place on again mostly two sets, and one of them being a submarine makes this almost a literal bottle episode.
  • Call-Back:
    • In "Fracture", Jason draws attention to Sonny's magnetic shark repellent bracelet from "Boarding Party."
    • When helping arrange things in "The Worst of Circumstances", Clay tells Stella to get American beer, not "millenial microbrew crap", the first order Jason gave him.
    • In "Say Again Your Last", Clay muses to Ray on how Adam reamed him out for Jumping on a Grenade while he was in Green Team, ironic given Adam died tackling a suicide bomber.
  • Career-Ending Injury
    • SEALs have to be in top physical shape so injured team members will be taken out of rotation and could be permanently removed from the unit if they injury is deemed serious enough. It implied that some of them would rather die in the line of duty than be invalided out of the unit. Many will try to hide injuries rather than be left out of a mission.
    • Danny was severely injured by an IED and had to retire from the military. Chronic pain from the injury and depression from having to leave his SEAL family, resulted in him turning to drugs and overdosing.
    • Ray hides his shoulder injury and subsequently accidentally kills a kid. After returning to the US, he is transferred to a training role, ostensibly to have time to heal but he fears that he is going to be permanently benched.
    • Jason hides the extent of his concussion so he is not taken off the Halani mission. Fortunately, he does not suffer permament brain injury and recovers fully between seasons.
    • When Clay is seriously injured in the Philippines, he falls into depression thinking he will never recover enough to rejoin the team.
  • Dented Iron:
    • Ray hurts his shoulder during "Pattern of Life"; the injury stays with him the rest of the season and throughout the deployment to Jalalabad and tragically leads to him accidentally killing a 10-year old boy.
    • Jason suffers a concussion from a helo crash in "The Graveyard of Empires" which persists for the rest of the episode and throughout the finale.
    • In a conversation with Ray in "Never Say Die", Sonny notes that everyone in the teams fights injured.
  • Dirty Communists: The terrorists responsible for bombing Manila in "Paradise Lost" turn out to be a communist group. "Rock Bottom" also begins with Bravo wiping out another communist terror group in Thailand. Hammered in by Sonny.
    Sonny: "Can you friggin' believe there's still commies in this world? Don't these idiots read history books?"
  • Disney Villain Death: During an assault on a hotel in Mumbai, one of the terrorists Bravo engages falls screaming down a stairwell, disappearing without any sign of impact.
  • Downer Ending: "Pattern of Life" ends with the SEALs learning that the teenage girl Clay shot, who Trent treated and was so determined to keep alive, is the terrorist recruiter they were sent to find. None of them are happy about renditioning a teenage girl.
    • "You Only Die Once" ends with total mission failure, the first of the series. Because of Ray's personal issues, he fails to make a killing shot on the Hezbollah agent, who lives to see another day. In addition, because a U.S. Marine battalion had to be mobilized to rescue Bravo Team, the United States has no Plausible Deniability in the assassination and the mission was exposed to the Iranian government.
    • "Medicate and Isolate" ends with Clay finding Brett Swann having committed suicide in his truck after the VA denied any treatment plans for his traumatic brain injury.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Basically the show's theme, centering on the Navy SEALs. In various instance, they also work with foreign special forces units in joint operations.
    • Even among SEALs DEVGRU is a step above, with experienced operators putting themselves through hell just for a chance at being selected. And once they're selected they're told they can have pretty much any weapon or equipment that their heart desires. All they have to do is ask.
    • "Ghost of Christmas Future" has the team dealing with a fellow ex-JW GROM commando named Jakub Kowal.
    • "Borderlines" has the Paraguayan Army's Tropas Especiales del Ejército (Special Troops of Army). They, however, mess things up when they took casualties against Hezbollah fighters. In Brazil, it has the Comando de Operações Terrestres (Terrestrial Operations Command) under the Brazilian Army working with the SEALs to find a CIA agent in the Brazilian side of the Tri-Border area. They are ever bit as competent as the SEALs.
    • In "Rolling Dark", the team goes up against FSB Alpha Group. Lisa explains that Spetsnaz is a general term for Russian elite forces, and the Alpha group is the best of the best, similar to how DEVGRU is the best of the SEALs.
    • The Afghanistan arc has the SEALs team up with Afghan Special Forces with one Afghan Commando operator, the latter being a double agent for Gen. Hakan. It's later revealed that it's not the case and he's the victim of being stabbed by a ASF operator who is really the mole.
    • In "Never Say Die", the Saudi Army's Special Forces Brigade works with the SEALs in tackling Asbat Al-Allah.
    • In "The Worst of Circumstances", the SEALs work with the Mumbai Police's Force One. However, one of their elements is taken out during a raid at a museum due to a suicide bomber playing possum. By "Say Again Your Last", they were ordered to stand down and let the SEALs lead the raid on the university.
    • Beginning with "Hold What You Got", Bravo works with Mexican Marines, hunting down cartel leader Andreas Doza.
    • In "Backwards in High Heels", Bravo works alongside the British SAS in Qatar. Though they have some differences with some operational methods at first.
    • The Philippines arc has Bravo team training together with the Naval Special Operations Group in combat techniques such as taking over platforms at sea.
  • Enemy Civil War: When trying to capture a terrorist leader in the first season finale, the team finds itself in the middle of a pitched battle between two insurgent factions. In the end they decide to wait things out, let their enemies kill each other off, and then mop up any survivors in the morning.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: "Ghost of Christmas Future" has the SEALs appeal to Kowal's GROM past in trying to tell him that he shouldn't protect Luka Baljic, wanted for the Travnik massacre.note  This works when Kowal walks away, allowing Baljic to be apprehended. Although one can make the case that he decided to walk away since he could be easily killed if he fought back.
  • False Flag Operation: In "Parallax", Bravo and their Mexican partners stage an attack on one of Andreas Doza's meth labs while pretending to be affiliated with the Merida cartel to lure Doza's 2nd-in-command to immediately return to Mexico City.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: Hizbul Mujahideen raids the Sephora Grand Hotel in Mumbai in "The Worst of Conditions" after infiltrating Mumbai from Pakistan.
    • The New Resistance Force plants IEDs in Manila in "Paradise Lost," sparking a retaliatory operation from Bravo Team in the next episode.
    • The Asia Liberation Army in Phuket in "Rock Bottom".
  • Fourth Date Marriage: After his harrowing experience in Al-Qaim, Clay asks Stella to marry him after he returns stateside. They've known each other for less than three months.
    • And then subverted, the next episode makes it clear this was a reaction born from fear and Clay acknowledges neither one of them is ready for marriage.
  • Freudian Excuse: Discussed and played with in "The Spinning Wheel" in regards to Beau Fuller at his attitude. Both Lisa and Ray comment that he is an actual Jerkass, but he has also faced racism throughout his life and continues to even in the military. Ray at one point even tells Jason that Beau sees Jason (stubble, "shirt flapping as much as his mouth", etc.) having the things he wishes he could.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • The Echo Team storyline in Season 1 is an utter clusterfuck of various parties' competing interests intersecting:
      • Steve Porter, Echo Team's leader, had grown suspicious of Xeon Tactical Security's and Selim Hakan's interests in Afghanistan, and had begun investigating them and compiling evidence to take them down, leading to Echo being targeted for assassination.
      • General Selim Hakan, Afghan National Police commander for Nangahar Province. In addition to playing all sides (US, Afghan government, Halani Network) for his own benefit, he's buying up burnt poppy fields so that he'd control any lanthanum deposits that might be there. He also framed business competitor Tariq Jamallah as a Halani Network terrorist, and blackmailed him into leading Echo Team into the booby-trapped house that killed them.
      • Abad Halani, No.2 man in the Halani Network, fingers his brother Nouri Halani for the Echo Team hit and offers him up to the US, so that the US will take out Nouri and weaken his forces, allowing Abad to seize control of the Halani Network.
      • Alan Cutter, CEO of Xeon Tactical Security, is also playing both sides; taking US and Afghan government contracts to burn poppy fields, while also spending years and millions of dollars exploring Afghanistan for lanthanum deposits. Cutter works with Hakan and Abad Halani to hit Echo Team to suppress knowledge of lanthanum deposits, then has Hakan assassinated so he can seize Hakan's burnt poppy fields and their lanthanum deposits.
  • Guile Hero: DEVGRU operators are selected for their intelligence as well as their combat abilities, as seen in episodes where Jason achieves his objectives by reading the situation or outsmarting his opponents and withdrawing without firing his weapon.
  • Gunship Rescue: Marine Cobras and Hueys cover Bravo Team's exfil in "You Only Die Once."
  • Hazmat Suit: "Other Lives" has the SEALs wear them when they're deployed in Syria.
  • He Knows Too Much: As the team investigates the deaths of Echo Team, they quickly start to suspect that it was not an act of terrorism or revenge. Echo Team seems to have discovered some nasty secret and someone went to a lot of trouble to make sure that they were killed before they had the chance to pass the information on to their superiors.
  • It's Personal: "Getaway Day" deals with another DEVGRU team being killed in an ambush, and Jason's team trying to comfort the families while waiting to be sent after those who did it. The arc for the rest of the season is them trying to find and kill the ones responsible.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Averted, the SEALs and the CIA analysts they work with all clearly have great respect for each other.
  • Institutional Allegiance Concealment: Bravo Team disguises as Mexican Marines by using their camos in anti-cartel ops to avoid being easily identified as American special forces.
  • Jumping on a Grenade:
    • Clay does this in "Boarding Party" and gets reamed out for doing so by Adam.
    • Adam tackles a terrorist wearing a suicide vest in "Say Again Your Last" to keep him from killing everyone in Bravo Team.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: A staple of the series. The SEALs get into problems (most of the time) with their foreign special operations forces partners or from their domestic counterparts.
    • "Borderlines" has the SEALs clashing with the Paraguayan army over who will lead the operation to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent. The Paraguayans refuse to allow the Americans to operate on their soil and do the operation themselves. Unfortunately, as the Paraguayan army isn't the most battle-hardened force on the planet, their tactics end up with almost a dozen casualties on their side and the Hezbollah operatives managing to escape with the hostage.
    • "The Upside Down" has an Air Force general overseeing the DEVGRU operation and taking control of the operation when Clay is separated from the group, much to everyone's displeasure.
    • In "Never Get Out of the Boat", Bravo is initially prevented from snatching the Afghan drug lord they believe is responsible for Echo's assassination because he's the DEA's biggest snitch.
    • In "Never Say Die" the Saudi military officers are constantly trying to micromanage the joint SEAL-Saudi operation despite the Americans having operational control. The Saudi spec-op soldiers themselves have no problems working with the Americans. The real problem arises because the Saudi's maintain strategic and political control of the operation and thus order in an airstrike when it looks like the terrorists are winning.
    • Averted in "The Worst of Circumstances," mostly because Mumbai Police and Bravo Team work on different missions in different locations. When a Force One element is taken out by a suicide bomber, the Indians realize they are outmatched by the terrorists and defer to Bravo to secure the final location under attack.
    • In "Hold What You Got" there is some major tension between Bravo and the Mexican Marine detachment they are supposed to be cooperating with. The Mexicans are dismissive of the Americans who "have been here for five minutes and already have all the answers."
    • In "Backwards in High Heels", Bravo works alongside the British SAS in Qatar. The British have operational control of the situation and Jason gets quite testy about his team being subordinate to them. However, they all quickly recognize each other as Consummate Professionals and join together to form a rescue plan. When the initial plan has to be abandoned the SAS leader has no hesitation giving up operational control to Jason and the teams flawlessly switch responsibilities.
    • "Time to Shine" has the SEALs (primarily Jason) objecting the submarine commander's decision to not cut open the torpedo tube hatch that has one of the SEALs trapped. Jason is worried about his friend's well being while the commander is trying to find a solution that will not permanently disable one of his torpedo tubes and thus reduce the sub's combat capabilities by a significant amount.
    • In "What Appears To Be," Bravo and General Trask butt heads with Congolese General Sunda of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), who is extremely eager to call in an airstrike on a densely populated district to possibly kill a notorious warlord in spite of the Americans not able to confirm if the target is even in the building.
  • Just Plane Wrong: In "My Life For Yours" the team gets evacuated out of Kashmir by an Indian Air Force helicopter. The only problem is that it is a UH-60 Black Hawk: the IAF helicopters are mostly comprised of either Russian or domestic designs. American-designed helicopters only began to get ordered by the IAF in the 2010s, and these consist of the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the CH-47 Chinook heavy transport, which both enter service in 2019.
  • Kill the Lights: In the episode "Say Again Your Last", Bravo Team infiltrates a university in Mumbai that's under siege by Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists. To rescue the students and extract them safely, they inform Mumbai Police to switch off the lights from the outside. With this and the use of night vision goggles, they were able to take out the terrorists since they can't see and the team was also using suppressed rifles.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Kowal's decision to allow the team to snatch his war-criminal client is made easier by the fact he's trapped in a corridor with no cover and nowhere to go, surrounded, outnumbered four to one by heavily-armed operators, only carrying a pistol, and he'd likely be killed before getting a shot off and his client taken anyway.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": In "My Life For Yours," Trent is the victim of such as they unwittingly enter a small minefield. Bravo has to waste precious time jury-rigging a substitute weight with a rock while avoiding terrorist detection.
  • The Load: Whenever the word "strap" is used, they're talking about this — anyone who is not a Tier-1 Operator like the main cast. This normally refers to noncombat specialists who need to share their expertise, but even Clay Spenser is considered a strap in the first episode despite being a Navy SEAL himself, just not Tier-1.
  • Mêlée à Trois: In the first season finale, the team goes on their last mission in Afghanistan to capture Abad Halani, but by the time they land, the remnants of his brother Nouri Halani's men are already assaulting the compound. DEVGRU infiltrates the bunker and finds it's rigged to blow, so they decide to hang back and let the two Halani factions kill each other.
  • Middle Eastern Terrorists:
    • "Tip of the Spear" involves snatching an ISIS commander in Liberia. Bravo Team tangles with them again in "Things Not Seen".
    • "The Spinning Wheel" is about the SEALs prepping for an operation to snatch an al-Qaida commander in Yemen.
    • "Borderlines" has Hezbollah involved.
    • "Pattern of Life" doesn't specify any groups, but the team is in Yemen looking for a phone whose signal has been traced as belonging to a terrorist operative.
    • "The Upside Down" has the team go into Al-Qaim, Iraq to recover a crashed Air Force UAV from ISIS.
    • "Never Say Die" has Asbat Al-Allah trying to poison the Saudi water system with anthrax.
    • "Backwards in High Heels" involves terrorists from the Brotherhood of Islamic Jihad. The episode implies that they're Tunisian Islamists.
    • "You Only Die Once" is a sniping mission to assassinate a high-level Hezbollah operative in Afghanistan before he crosses the border into Iran.
    • "Rock Bottom" reveals that a series of seemingly unrelated terrorist attacks throughout Southeast Asia, committed by a mixture of Islamic and communist terrorist groups, are actually all being orchestrated by a Saudi-born ISI operative who is using his own agents to push these groups into committing attacks to destabilize the region.
  • Mildly Military: Demonstrating the blurred line between officers and enlisted in DEVGRU, Bravo addresses Blackburn by name rather than by rank. Part of Blackburn's job is to be the intermediary between the team and regular Navy officers. In one instance he has to give Jason a What the Hell, Hero? speech and remind him that on board a US Navy submarine, the captain's orders are law and a Master Chief Petty Officer does not have the right to rush onto the bridge uninvited and argue with the captain.
  • Nitro Express: The team intercepts a convoy supposedly carrying radioactive materials. What they actually discover is three Soviet-era nuclear artillery shells. The shells have been stored in a bunker for the last two decades and the conventional explosives in them have become unstable. While the chances of a nuclear explosion are slim, a conventional explosion will still kill anyone near the shells and contaminate a large area with radioactive material. The team must transport the shells to a nearby airfield where specialists can defuse the explosives and remove the nuclear material. However, the roads in the area are unpaved and the only bridge across a river needs serious repair. To complicate matters further, the criminals who stole the shells want them back and send a dozen men to attack the SEALs.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: "Ghost of Christmas Future" starts in 1994 in Travnik, Bosnia when Bosnian Serb forces execute Bosniak civilians.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The acting ambassador in South Sudan in "Collapse". He needed to be persuaded and intimidated to make the decision to leave Juba.
    • The Pentagon liaison official in "Rolling Dark" due to his insistence that the SEALs move quickly as possible due to possible PLA intervention while rescuing defectors.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the SEALs learn that in Syria, the military is supposedly conducting WMD tests in an abandoned hospital and they're suppose to go there in "Other Lives".
    • In "Ghost of Christmas Future", the SEALs are nearly forced to abort a black op mission in Estonia when a war criminal's close protection officer turns out be someone they trained with back at JW GROM.
    • "Rolling Dark" has the SEALs going up against the FSB Alpha Group.
    • "Parallax" when the SEALs are under attack in Mexico City.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted in "Pattern of Life". A teenager is accidentally shot in the shoulder. The rest of the episode has the team trying to keep her from bleeding out, eventually giving her a blood transfusion, and has several characters say she needs to be taken to an actual hospital.
  • Product Placement: Done for GMC Sierra pickup trucks, with Jason taking a moment to lower his truck's tailgate to show off its fold-out step and that it can take the weight of two full-grown men.
    • Hyperstealth's LBX Caiman camouflage is used to take the place of actual Mexican Naval Infantry camo since they're not allowed to sell it/have it used by non-Mexicans.
    • Emerson's AOR-2 is heavily advertised in their social media pages.
  • Reality Ensues: They may be members of a celebrated elite military unit and considered heroes armed with all the latest and greatest toys, but the members of DEVGRU are still members of the US Navy and the US Navy does not pay its members exorbitant salaries. Ray finds out his family is in financial difficulty when he realizes his wife, who handles the family finances, is struggling to pay their bills.
  • Retool:
    • The first half of the first season has the show as mostly an episodic series as the DEVGRU team gets sent to various different countries and eliminates some enemy group. After the show was picked up for a full 22-episode season, it ditches the episodic structure and changes to a long-running Story Arc covering Episodes 13-22 about the destruction of a fellow SEAL unit Echo Team in Afghanistan and trying to figure out who killed them.
    • Season 2 moves away from the episodic setup to somewhat longer story arcs. Episodes 1-2 deal with Bravo trying to regain its equilibrium; Episodes 3-5 cover Bravo sent to stop a major terrorist attack in India as Jason remains at home due to his family life spiraling into disaster; Episodes 6-10 see Bravo on task in Mexico hunting down drug cartel leaders, and Episodes 16-18 shift to Bravo's deployment to the Philippines.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • "Other Lives" is based off of allegations that the Syrian military is illegally retaining chemical weapons and using them on civilians.
    • "The Exchange" is based on the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange controversy; the episode even compares the similarity of the scenarios by outright namedropping Bergdahl.
    • In "The Graveyard of Empires," Ray, Sonny, and their half of DEVGRU are racing to get to the helicopter crash site when they come across two Afghan boys. The situation and debate over whether to kill them or let them go is outright stated by Sonny to be just like Operation Redwings.
    • The scenario in "The Worst of Conditions" where Pakistani terrorists launch a coordinated attack in Mumbai against multiple targets, including a major hotel, is completely based off of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks.
    • "Things Not Seen" has the team look into Jenna Robertson and dubbing her "Jihadi Jenna," a reminder of the real-life "Jihadi John" and how people like this (middle to upper-class white liberals) are hated by the West for joining up with ISIS of their own free will.
    • "Dirt, Dirt, Gucci" has Bravo's first mission in the Philippines be to investigate the wreckage of a crashed aircraft that was the source of several major naval collisions in the South China Sea. Throughout 2017 and 2018, there were a series of high-profile collisions in the South China Sea involving U.S. Navy ships and civilian merchant vessels for unclear reasons: one major theory floated was that Chinese military exercises involving electronic warfare tests were indiscriminately scrambling navigational systems in the area.
    • "Medicate and Isolate" has a Mali arc that resembles the event of the Tongo, Tongo attacks in Niger.
  • Running Gag: In Season 2, Sonny starts trying out new nicknames for Clay every episode, trying to find one that will stick.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: "Boarding Party" has Filipino pirates as the antagonists after they take a Stanford University research team as hostages.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In "Other Lives" the team encounters Syrian civilians who have been exposed to VX gas. After his superiors are unwilling to extract them, Jason immediately begins looking for ways to force the military to come save them.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In episode 6, "The Spinning Wheel," the DEVGRU team is tasked with assaulting a Yemeni compound to capture a senior al-Qaida leader. The entire episode consists of training for the mission on a mock-up of the bunker with another SEAL team, whose commander has serious personality clashes with Jason, and leads to both teams failing the training over and over again. However, Jason manages to think outside the box and comes up with an unorthodox method of breaching the bunker that fulfills the mission requirements, earning the other commander's respect. But just as DEVGRU is getting on the plane to carry out the mission, they receive word that the Pentagon has cancelled the mission as the al-Qaida commander has left Yemen and disappeared.
  • Shirtless Scene: Clay gets a few while Jason does one as early as the fourth episode, which is pretty much expected since he's played by David Boreanaz.
  • Short-Lived Aerial Escape: The end of "Enemy of My Enemy" has the team securing Nouri Halani for capture, but the helicopter carrying him, Jason, Clay, and half the SEAL task force gets shot down with a surface-to-air missile less than two minutes after takeoff.
  • Shout-Out: Crossing over with Theme Naming. Bravo Team likes to use pop culture references when naming their mission checkpoints, such as naming them after famous TV detectives or the characters from The Goonies.
    • Clay gets berated for thinking that a long distance shot is equal to doing a quick scope in the Call of Duty game series.
  • Shower of Angst: Bravo Team goes through one at the end of "Say Again Your Last", trying to deal with Adam's death.
  • Shown Their Work: Being that the show is about the SEALs, actual SEALs helped the production crew by ensuring that operational methods are accurately done.
    • "Boarding Party" has the analyst explain that piracy is not that bad in Southeast Asia because of stable governments in the region. The Filipino pirates also use M3 Grease Guns; if they were anyone else, it would be ridiculous to see an ancient relic of an American submachine gun from World War II being used in the modern day, but as it stands, the Philippines is actually one of the very few countries that still uses the M3 as a standard-issue service weapon in the 21st century. Heck, some of these M3s are still the same guns that were used in WWII!
    • "Borderlines" centers around Hezbollah activities in the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina border region. Most people would be surprised to find out that Middle Eastern Terrorists are so active in southern South America, as it is almost completely ignored by all other media.
    • In "Rolling Dark", Lisa explains that the Spetsnaz is a general term for all Russian elite units. This is used hilariously by a Pentagon liaison officer when he explains it to his superior.
    • The Mexico arc is a pretty accurate picture of how powerful drug cartels control entire cities in the country, down to having bribed local/state police forces (and keeping federal law enforcement away) while simultaneously performing goodwill projects for the local population to win their loyalty. The Doza cartel is so powerful it can perform an assassination in the middle of the day in public and not suffer any repercussions from anyone.
    • In "Backwards in High Heels", multiple characters note that an airliner hostage rescue mission would usually go to Delta Force, and Blackburn refers to "CAG"note , a common alternate name for Delta.
    • "You Only Die Once" has Mandy mention Hezbollah's supposed involvement in a bus bombing in Bulgaria in 2012.
    • In "Payback" the terrorists responsible for the bombings in Manila turn out to be a communist group called the New Resistance Force. While most people would associate Filipino terrorism as always Islamic-related, the Philippines has a long and unfortunate history with communist terrorism dating back to the 1950s after the end of the Pacific War, with groups still active to this day.
    • In "Rock Bottom" the Batman Cold Open begins with Bravo in Thailand in a pitched battle with the Asian Liberation Army. This is actually a reference to a long-destroyed Thai communist terrorist group known as the People's Liberation Army of Thailand, which was essentially the militant wing of the Communist Party of Thailand. The CPT, which had a running insurgency ongoing for decades, began to lose much of its power in the 1980s due to severe government crackdowns and was basically defunct by the early 1990s, taking the PLAT with it. Much of this history is unknown to the world outside of Southeast Asia.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "Medicate and Isolate" multiple SEAL teams are sent into enemy held territory to retrieve the body of a US soldier killed by insurgents. When enemy reinforcements arrive, air support is called in and thousands of dollars worth of ordnance are used up. In the parallel plotline, a retired SEAL tries to get help for a debilitating medical condition and has to navigate the Veterans Administration bureaucracy. In the end, the military uses Loophole Abuse to deny him treatment deeming it an unwarranted expense.
  • Spiritual Successor: The show is essentially this to The Unit, albeit from a different branch of the U.S. military (Navy rather than Army).
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Subverted. After the team ends up in a helicopter crash, Jason appears to be dazed but coherent. However, as the other survivors start to regain their faculties, his mental state deteriorates and it becomes clear that the head injury he received in the crash is not Just a Flesh Wound. His situational awareness is highly compromised, he repeats himself and has short term memory problems. While the other team members are fighting for their lives, he is made to sit things out since in his current state he is too much of a liability. The end of the episode reveals that he is suffering from serious hallucinations. He recovers by the next episode but the doctor and his teammates are worried. When he returns to the United States, he has a bad Shell-Shocked Veteran episode in a burrito shop.
    • Brett Swann survived multiple nearby bomb blasts during his career as a SEAL but years later his mental faculties start to deteriorate and he realizes that one or more of these blasts must have caused a Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • The Dreaded: The mention of the "Scorpions" in "Ghost of Christmas Future."
    • The Alpha Group in "Rolling Dark".
  • The Siege: Bravo is forced to take cover in a church in "Santa Muerte" during a gunfight.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Generally, the team is weapons free when up against clearly identified terrorists, mercenaries, and other non-state hostile forces. Other times, however, discretion turns out to be the better part of valor, and knowing when not to engage is far more productive than opening fire:
    • In "Collapse," the DEVGRU unit manages to make it out of South Sudan without fighting any of the rioters, as American troops shooting South Sudanese civilians (even if it was a justified self-defense situation) would have been a political disaster.
    • In "The Exchange," despite the intense hostile atmosphere, they manage to bluff their way past a Pakistani army checkpoint, and end up concluding the prisoner swap with the Taliban representatives without any shots fired.
    • In "Rolling Dark," this is an Enforced Trope as the Pentagon liaison gives the DEVGRU team extremely strict orders to give the Russian special forces a wide berth and avoid contact with Chinese military forces, for the simple fact that the United States cannot risk triggering World War III with either country for the sake of a single defector. The SEAL team manages to complete their mission without harming anyone.
  • Training from Hell: Clay Spenser's plot thread in "Borderlines" is about enduring SERE training, arguably the most brutal training regimen in the entire United States military.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The show is split between the DEVGRU team's lives and missions abroad, and Clay Spenser's training to qualify for a Tier-1 special forces unit. The two plot threads merge at the end of episode 8, when Clay formally joins DEVGRU.
    • The middle of the 1st season follows DEVGRU operating in Afghanistan to continue where Echo Team's work has left off with the CIA checking on whether corrupt officials are using the drug trade to funnel money into their pockets.
    • Three Lines, Some Waiting: Starting from "Dirt, Dirt Gucci" in the 2nd season, Bravo Team is in the Philippines to participate in joint exercises with the Naval Special Operations Group. Meanwhile Lisa undergoes training at Officer Candidate School and Jason is approached by someone he knows from his Navy days, who currently runs a private security company, and persuades him to be recruited in order to pay for Emma's college tuition. Then it escalates to Four Lines, All Waiting after Clay's IED injury and follows his rehabilitation process back home, until Lisa successfully graduates OCS and her plotline ends.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: One major reason why Andreas Doza is untouchable by the Mexican government is due to him funding schools and hospitals in various towns, giving him a very loyal following among the population. Of course, said publicity is also backed up by the threat of force: one church that has posters of Doza hanging on its walls is said to keep them up because anyone who dares to tear down the posters will be promptly murdered.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In "Ghost of Christmas Future", the ending suggests that the woman in the photo Jason is looking at is the Afghan interpreter who worked with the SEALs back in 2016.
    • In "Collapse", Jason secures the mysterious woman's passports with her photo on. Also, Brian, another SEAL training with Clay, dies during the freefall parachute qualification test.
    • In "Credible Threat", Mandy tells Jason that the assassin who took shots at American officials was actually going for Gen. Hakan of the Afghan National Police and was told to make it look like an accident.
    • In "Takedown", Mandy receives a call from Abad Halani and informs her that he's willing to turn traitor and turn over Nouri to the American-led RSM forces.
    • In "Never Say Die", Stella's father asks Clay if he has a plan on what would happen to Stella in case he's killed while in the SEALs. Also, Alana gets into an accident and a Sheriff's deputy stops by her house to inform Jason about it. Meanwhile, Jason and Ray's feud about the latter being made a training instructor is made public to the other SEALs.
    • In "Say Again Your Last", the CIA finds out that HM is backed by a Pakistani MP. Adam is also killed when he tackles a suicide bomber to keep him from killing Bravo Team.
    • In "Parallax", most of Bravo Team is trapped in an ambush laid by the Doza Cartel leading to speculations that someone gave them info on their presence.
    • "Santa Muerte" has Rita outed as the mole for Doza, although someone in CISEN gave her personal info to the cartel.
    • "Things Not Seen" reveals that Jenna Robertson aka Jihad Jenna, who was an ISIL bride, was deemed expendable by the rest of ISIL for running away from her husband, Abu Rakim, after she realizes that he was extremely brutal towards her.
    • In "Paradise Lost," Clay is severely wounded by a terrorist IED and is reported to be in critical condition. Blackburn reveals in the end that he has been immediately airlifted back to the U.S. for medical treatment.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I am a warrior of Allah." Said by the teenaged girl who Clay shot in "Pattern of Life", as she proudly comes clean on being an ISIS recruiter.
    • The ending of "Rock Bottom": "Havoc, we have lost Bravo Two. I say again, we have lost Bravo Two."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Danny, Sonny's old friend and Lisa's boyfriend, was last seen in the first season finale in a hospital ICU after overdosing on drugs. Neither of them even so much as mention him in the second season. It takes until episode 7 for him to get brought up when Clay of all people asks Lisa about him, and the way they talk about him heavily implies that he passed away from the overdose.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • In "Say Again Your Last" after Adam dies tackling a suicide bomber, with Clay the 2nd in command concussed and shellshocked, Ray steps up and takes over as Bravo Team's leader.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: General Selim Hakan is assassinated in "Credible Threat"; his usefulness to Alan Cutter and Abad Halani having ended after he provided Tariq Jamallah as a patsy for the Halani Network's hit, and bought up the burnt poppy fields with lanthanum deposits, which Xeon Tactical Security can now acquire and control.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • The Echo Team story arc in Season 1 is full of this, to the point that it practically becomes a Running Gag. Every time the DEVGRU unit thinks they've got the guy who killed Echo, it turns out he was just another patsy in a long chain of men in the employ of some Mysterious Backer. Also Truth in Television, given the clusterfuck of competing interests that is Afghanistan. See Gambit Pileup above.
    • In "The Worst of Circumstances," Bravo Team heads into the Sephora Grand Hotel to extract an American Foreign Service Officer, only to arrive at his hotel suite and find it empty, and are forced to search the hotel for him.
Top

Example of:

/

Feedback