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Series / Shooter

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Shooter is a 2016 television series directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Mark Wahlberg, based on the 2007 movie of the same name and on the 1993 novel ''Point of Impact''. It stars Ryan Philippe, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Omar Epps, Eddie McClintock, Shantel VanSanten and David Marciano. The first season was originally intended to air on USA Network on July 19, 2016, but was postponed due to shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, forcing the network to air it on November 25, 2016 instead. It received solid ratings and was renewed for a second season after only five episodes.

Bob Lee Swagger is a retired Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time with Force Recon and the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. He now lives in Seattle, Washington alongside his wife Julie and his young daughter, Mary. When his former commanding officer approaches him with an offer to help the Secret Service investigate a potential assassination threat against the President of the United States, Swagger reluctantly agrees, only to realize too late that he has stumbled into an international conspiracy intent to frame him for murder. With few people he can turn to for help — and even fewer that he's certain he can trust — Swagger sets out to clear his name and discover just how deep the conspiracy goes before the people behind it can clean up all their loose ends... including him.

The 2nd season is airing, where Swagger and his wife is under attack by hostile forces who are connected with Solotov during a party for US Marine forces stationed in Germany, which has something to do from their days when Swagger was deployed in Afghanistan with Johnson. The storyline continues in the 3rd season, where Swagger and his allies continue to take down Atlas and investigate his father's death after Solotov mentions that his murder was not from a shootout with a murder suspect, the latter based on Black Light.

The show has ended after the third season, but Paramount is actively looking for cable/streaming video providers willing to air another season.

Head here for the series character page.

The show contain examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Flashbacks set in Afghanistan feature the characters using weapons and equipment that have never been issued at the same time or were never part of the US military inventory in the first place.
  • BFG: Well duh, Swagger's a sniper.
    • Swagger uses a Knight's Armament SR-25 for the Afghanistan flashbacks, and also uses it as his personal hunting weapon in the first episode.
    • The weapon used for the assassination is a modified Saber-Forstt, with custom optics.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Swagger in 'Overwatch', twice. The first time is when he saves Johnson's life during the flashback and the second time is when he shows up in the present just in time to stop Jack Payne from killing Agent Memphis. The last one is slightly subverted in that he ends up getting his ass kicked in the process, but he still manages to stop the man from accomplishing his goal.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The way "Franz Heinrichs" gives his name might sound fine to most viewers and to the American Agent Memphis, but anyone familiar with German will immediately note that he's pronouncing his own name wrong.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: How Swagger escapes from prison in "Exfil". That guard didn't need his thumb anymore anyways.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sniper rifle provided by Washington in "Point of Impact", including the plans and documentation made by Swagger on Solotov. The bad guys use it to frame Swagger as the assassin who killed the Ukrainian president.
    • Bob Lee telling his daughter, Mary, bedtime stories about his military career in the first episode is a cute scene, but it winds up becomes a plot point after he goes on the run. Before faking his death, he's able to send a message to Mary through his wife telling her to remember what happened in Musa Qala, which reassures her that he's not really dead, he's just faking.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Bob Lee crosses himself before taking on the FSB hit squad "Primer Contact".
    • They attend a Catholic church in season two and Mary participates in her first communion service near the end of the season.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The CIA is portrayed by the shady sociopath Meachum, and the FBI by the nice, clean Nadine Memphis. Even Nadine's boss, who is encouraging Nadine to get close to Mary Swagger to betray her, is only doing it to capture (what he thinks is) a dangerous criminal.
  • Clear My Name: The main theme of the first season, similar to the 2007 film.
  • Cliffhanger: Season two ended on one unintentionally, after Ryan Phillippe's broken leg made it impossible to finish the season as planned. "That'll Be The Day" ends with Bob Lee shot and in Solotov's hands, and Isaac and Julie deciding to team up and rescue him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Swagger does everything necessary to come out on top in a fight against a much larger inmate and one of the prison guards. At one point, the guard has him pinned to the ground so Swagger responds by biting his face.
    • Jack Payne, possibly even more so. His fight with Swagger in 'Overwatch' is dirty.
    • O'Brien sets up numerous traps near his holdout.
  • The Conspiracy: Appears to have members from the Secret Service, at least one man from the CIA and another from the FSB.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rathford O'Brien, Swagger's former instructor, has a series of booby traps set up across his property to discourage trespassers, and a friend in the nearby town who will give him a heads up if he's about to have some unwanted company. Swagger is able to navigate the booby traps with no trouble — the hitmen who come after them weren't so lucky.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Swagger can dish it out when he wants to.
    Johnson: "You know, I always thought I'd die in a gunfight."
    Swagger: [shrugs] "You were half right."
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The second season looks like it's setting up a Big Bad Duumvirate, Waheed and Solotov, but in actual fact one of them is double-crossed by the other, being left as a trap for Swagger in the form of being incapacitated and outfitted with a suicide vest.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: With Swagger being made the scapegoat of a terrorist attack, it leans toward the Who Shot JFK? question.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: A FSB Spetsnaz team (with diplomatic immunity) hunts down Swagger in "Primer Contact".
  • Face Death with Dignity: Mrs. Fenn tells her killer that she's been expecting someone to come for her and refuses to run when given the chance.
  • Faking the Dead: Swagger fakes his death in the third episode with a little help from some explosives, hair, and a titanium hip with his serial number on it.
  • First-Episode Twist: The first season hinges on Swagger being framed for the attempted assassination of the President, which occurs in the final minutes of the first episode.
  • Flashback: 'Point of Impact' and 'Overwatch' in season one both feature flashbacks to Swagger's time in Afghanistan and focus on his relationship with Donny and Johnson. Season two continue the trend, with more flashbacks to his time in Afghanistan and expands more on the relationships within Swagger's unit.
  • Full-Name Basis: Bob Lee Swagger is most frequently called by his full name, which is is fitting, considering his status as a Gunman with Three Names.
  • Frame-Up: When Bob Lee enters an empty room with a sniper rifle set up, he realizes too late how he's been set up via some flashes: Meeting Isaac and "Secret Service agents" who are not in the detail; a room of his house packed with maps of the area and how to plan the proper shoot; buying the ammo being used; and caught on various cameras buying the ammo and scoping the area out.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see the sniper bullet take out the target in the first episode but judging by the blood spray that we do see, this is a very good thing.
    • Horrifyingly averted with Lon Scott's death by exploding bullet in "Ballistic Advantage", which occurs onscreen, and the audience is treated to a lingering shot of what remains of his face in the aftermath. It is really not pretty.
  • Hand Signals: Swagger and O'Brien use hand signals to coordinate their attacks while fighting off a squad of ex-military hitmen that are trying to hunt them down.
  • Happily Married: Bob Lee and Julie have a completely trusting relationship, a healthy sex life, and she's never once shown doubting his innocence. 'Recon By Fire' even opens with a scene of Bob Lee and Julie having sex in one of his safe houses. It's likely their first time since he went on the run and they are both clearly enjoying it.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason for the conspirators' continued attempts to kill Swagger even after he agreed to confess to the crime that they framed him for.
  • Hero Insurance: Swagger and company break any number of laws and are involved in several shootouts while tracking the person hunting and killing members of their old unit. They seem to get away with it because no one can prove they did it and the people they're hunting (and sometimes killing) are criminals.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: While being questioned, Julie insists that the United States president being alive is evidence of Swagger's innocence because Bob Lee Swagger doesn't miss, and had he been trying to assassinate anyone he wouldn't have botched the shot and killed the Ukrainian president instead.
  • Imagine Spot: In the first episode, the audience sees each potential assassination play out onscreen as Swagger describes them to Johnson and Payne. Fuqua used the same visual technique for similar moments in the 2007 film.
  • Improvised Weapon: Payne stabs Swagger with a pencil during their brawl in 'Overwatch'.
  • In Medias Res: 'Killing Zone' opens with Swagger waking up disoriented on the ground and killing two mercenaries in a quick and dirty fight, before taking aim at a third mercenary with an unusual rifle. After cutting to the title screen, the episode flashes back to twenty hours earlier and shows the day that lead up to those events.
  • It's Personal: Swagger agrees to help investigate the assassination threat because he believes the person behind it is Solotov, the Chechen sniper responsible for the death of his friend and spotter, Donny Fenn.
  • I Have Your Wife: Swagger's six year old daughter saw Isaac Johnson the day he came by their house to offer him the job, and after realizing he's been set up he becomes understandably terrified that the people behind it all will kill her to avoid any loose ends. He offers to confess to the crime and serve out his prison sentence in obscurity on the condition that she and his wife remain unharmed. She eventually gets kidnapped at the end of "Red on Red" by Jack Payne.
  • Karma Houdini: Isaac Johnson by the conclusion of Season One. Granted, he does help Swagger survive in the end, but Swagger wouldn't have been in such a bad situation in the first place if not for his involvement. Also, he did murder Donny Fenn's mother, a civilian whose only "fault" is that she invited Swagger into her house.
  • MacGuffin: Annex B. It consists of files on war crimes committed in Eastern Europe and data that shows that the West, especially the US, know about this and covered it up.
  • The Mafiya: One of their bosses meets Swagger in prison and protects him out of gratitude for killing the Ukrainian president, whom the Russians had hated.
  • Mama Bear: Let's just say that Bob Lee isn't the only badass parent in the Swagger family, as Julie Swagger's brother-in-law found out the hard way.
  • Mercy Lead: The friend Bob Lee goes to for help at the veterans hospital believes he's guilty and tells him to leave, but promises to give him a five minute head start before calling the cops out of respect for the soldier he used to be.
  • My Greatest Failure: The first episode makes it clear that Swagger sees Donny Fenn's death as this; they were on a mission and Swagger chose to head north when Donny wanted to head south, only to realize too late that he'd led Donny straight into Solotov's cross-hairs.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Swagger retiring to live in Washington State away from civilization.
    • When asked about what he wants to do with $10 million, he says that he wants to buy a ranch for his family.
    • During a meeting with NSA advisor Gregson, Swagger is shown the sniper rifle supposedly used to assassinate the Ukrainian president, which eventually clears his name.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Memphis' boss was ready to write off her conspiracy theories about the assassination as hogwash until Jack Payne turned himself in for questioning. After listening to Payne's interrogation, meeting Meachum face to face, and Payne being removed from FBI custody by the Army with no explanation, he admits that he believes Memphis and gives her the green light to pursue her investigation.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Solotov feels that he and Swagger want to destroy Atlas and share the same ideas in the 3rd season.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In 'Musa Qala', Swagger ditches his Paper-Thin Disguise and allows himself to be ID'd at a rural filling station. Johnson knows he's up to something, but he's unable to stop the FBI from investigating. Turns out he's letting them find his hideout so that he can fake his death.
  • Only in It for the Money: The reason why Tio stayed quiet and didn't help Swagger and company investigate the conspiracy aside from being scared to shit about the alliance between rogue CIA agents and Atlas.
  • Orgy of Evidence: Swagger points this out to his lawyer as proof he didn't commit the assassination, as he'd never have left that much evidence behind. The man agrees that he has a point.
  • Painting the Medium: Shows off calculations that a sniper needs to do in order to get off a shot.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Deconstructed. Swagger gets by with a baseball cap and some sunglasses when he's in public, but he still gets recognized more often than not so he mostly just tries to avoid public places as much as possible.
    • Really driven home when he sneaks into the Seattle Police vehicle maintenance shop in a mechanic uniform, plus a hat, glasses, and with grease smeared on his face and covering his tattoos; he's still recognized by the mechanic in charge, despite the man barely getting a clear look at his face for more than a few seconds. His suspicious behavior probably didn't help.
  • Posthumous Character: Donny Fenn died several years before the events of the show, but he makes a couple appearances in flashbacks.
  • Potty Emergency: In a flashback in "The Hunting Party", one of Swagger's Marine buddies needs to use a toilet by pooping in a hut, but Swagger says no due to uncertainty if the Taliban are using it for an ambush. Sure enough, he's forced to fight with his pants down.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Swagger is portrayed as a veteran in Iraq/Afghanistan after 9/11 instead of the Vietnam War.
  • Previously on…: But of course. The one for "Ballistic Advantage" is two minutes long.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Swagger does not think to tell Agent Memphis that the warehouse he raided (on her information) was empty. Had he done so, both of them would almost immediately have realized the only way it could have been vacated that fast is if "Franz Heinrichs" was a fake. This results in him being led into a trap at another location.
  • Properly Paranoid: Swagger appears to develops into this quickly after realizing that he's been set up, but the finale reveals that he's actually been this all along. He immediately switched the firing pin on his rifle after discovering an out of place picture on the floor of his shed in the Pilot, which he later uses to prove his innocence.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Swagger seeks out and (briefly) takes refuge with one of these groups in 'Recon By Fire', as a means of getting information about the bullet used in the assassination. While there, he finds a van filled with barrels of Ammonium Nitrate and calls in an anonymous tip to the ATF, which leads to an investigation and shootout at the climax of the episode.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Casper is a woman, which initially confuses Swagger.
  • Shout-Out: An FBI agent in the second episode responds to Swagger's request for a lawyer by snarking that he wants Hamilton tickets for Christmas.
    • In episode three, Swagger and another vet discuss the number of veterans who commit suicide daily, likely a reference to, an organization that raises awareness about veteran suicide and mental health issues.
    • One of the episodes has Swagger's daughter Mary play with an American Girl doll—a BeForever Julie doll to be exact.
  • The Show of the Books: Based also on Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Everyone except Memphis knew exactly what Payne was doing with that cup of coffee.
  • Smug Snake: Johnson aside, the American members of the conspiracy are ridiculously arrogant, treating everyone outside them with zero respect and absolute contempt. Naturally, Johnson aside, all of them are dead by the conclusion of Season One.
  • Spanner in the Works: Swagger and Memphis are both this for the conspirators. The latter because she won't stop asking questions, and the former because he will just. not. die.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I did not kill the president" is a rare truthful version and only becomes oddly specific when it comes out that the president was not in fact killed. The Ukrainian president was.
  • Title Drop: Bob Lee is called 'Shooter' several times following his arrest in the second episode.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In "Ballistic Advantage" Swagger allows himself to be taken prisoner by Scott's guards so he can infiltrate his house and plant the bullet that kills Scott later in the episode.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The early portion of season 1 runs on this, showing Memphis and Swagger's separately investigating different sides of the assassination. She is trying to uncover the source of the conspiracy, while he's trying to track down the gunman who made the shot.
  • Wall of Weapons: The shed where Bob Lee stores his weapon cache near his house.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Point of Impact": Swagger sees a rigged sniper rifle in an empty apartment. And then Jack Payne shows up to shoot him, while masquerading as a uniformed police officer.
    • "Red on Red": Swagger calls on his family, only for the camera to show the empty safehouse with the smartphone inside still ringing.
    • "Ballistic Advantage": Nadine finds out that Mary was secretly sent to Russian embassy, courtesy of Krukov.
    • "The Hunting Party": The attack on a US Marine function in downtown Frankfurt was merely a distraction for Solotov to take out Swagger's buddies.
    • "Red Meat: The gunshot report Bob Lee and the Sheriff heard after Earl shoots Jimmy suggest that another man was present in the scene.
    • "Sins of the Father": Swagger discovers that a possible member of Atlas may be Secretary Bama of the Department of Agriculture.
      • Harris and Swagger agree on the theory that assets from the Phoenix Program could have been used to form Atlas. And Earl Swagger is one of the first generation members.
    • "A Call to Arms": Patricia is shot dead by an Atlas assassin and the decryption card is back in their hands.
    • "The Red Badge": Atlas was the conspiracy responsible for framing Bob Lee and recruiting Isaac back in the first season.
  • Wham Line:
    • The report comes almost a full second late. Jimmy Poole and my dad were 20 feet apart. They would've come together. Just what are you saying? I'm saying that Jimmy Poole didn't kill my dad. There was a second shooter.
  • You Have Failed Me: After failing to eliminate Swagger multiple times, Meechum gets summarily disposed of by the Russians.