‘Strike Back’ Season 3 Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton in Strike Back Season 3 4.1 Strike Back Season 3 Premiere Review

Strike Back is essentially the most exhilarating, white-knuckle workplace drama on TV right now. Sure, it helps that the offices of Scott & Stonebridge operate globally out of any location known for housing the more unsavory types in the world – i.e., international terrorists, nuclear-arms dealing businessmen and, as we see in the season 3 premiere, South American drug lords.

But while all the running, jumping, shooting and lobbing of grenades operates effectively as the series’ draw, what makes it work is the sense of camaraderie and support between the two main players and the rest of Section 20.

On television, we’re used to seeing how people function within the parameters of their unique work environments, and, in terms of distinctive workplaces, Strike Back pretty much takes the cake. As globe spanning as any James Bond film, the series manages to make dangerous locales and the inevitable skirmishes that arise within them feel like edgy business meetings headed up by two travel-weary warriors who don’t just skip the interminable wait at baggage claim, they don’t even wait for the plane to land before deboarding.

But as in any workplace, a solid staff of associates backs those in the field up by performing all the seemingly small but integral duties that would, without them, bring the whole thing crumbling down. In this case, it’s the crew behind the ultra-elite military unit known as Section 20.

Rhona Mitra in Strke Back Season 3 41. Strike Back Season 3 Premiere Review

Season 3 kicks off in familiar fashion with a bifurcated storyline that quickly finds a way to converge the seemingly disparate elements, so that a lengthy firefight can eventually ensue and leave our heroes in a bit of a pickle before the next episode. It all begins with Major Dalton (Rhona Mitra) witnessing the murder of one of Section 20′s own, Sgt. Baxter. His killer, a man named Kamali (Zubin Varla), who has very close ties to al-Zuhari (the newest object of Section 20′s special brand of affection), soon leaves Lebanon for South America. And while Dalton remains in Beirut to gather intel on who betrayed the team – partly by manhandling a morbidly obese man with a penchant for working up a good sweat and breaking the neck of anyone foolish enough to fall for the old fully-dressed-with-a-handgun-in-the-shower trick – Section 20 sends out a crew to locate Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Stonebridge (Philip Winchester).

As it turns out, the once quarrelsome duo is enjoying a brief respite or “holiday” traveling through California by motorcycle. But rather than engaging in some Rex Pickett-inspired winery tours or bemoaning the ubiquity of Merlot, Stonebridge has taken to teaching some rough looking customers about the game of snooker – and hustling all their money – while Scott is in the bar’s storeroom with the proprietor’s daughter.

The bromantic road trip is certainly a far cry from last season less jovial character introduction scenes, and though it’s meant to be lighter and the tonal shift is appreciated without doubt – considering where the episode is headed – the time spent cavorting with bartenders and impressing beer-swilling ladies in RVs could have been better spent coloring Scott and Stonebridge’s thoughts on staying with Section 20. Instead, we have to settle for a short pre-game conversation that leaves most of the deliberation on the table.

Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester in Strike Back Season 3 4.1 Strike Back Season 3 Premiere Review

And for the most part, that’s okay; Strike Back typically does a better job crafting some development of its characters than a cursory glance of the series’ action-oriented conceit would suggest, so it remains likely that the discussion will pick up again soon enough. Besides, despite the subtraction of Baxter, season 3 introduces two new players to the game with the new head of Section 20 (and Stonebridge’s military crush), Lt. Colonel Philip Locke (Robson Green – Wire in the Blood), as well as Kim Martinez (Milauna Jackson), the DEA agent assigned with helping Scott and Stonebridge retrieve Kamali from the compound of a drug lord who likes to be called “The Jaguar” (Raoul Trujillo).

As expected, the extrication of Kamali goes from bad to worse in a few short seconds, but it also reunites Scott with the dangerous Mossad agent, Rebecca (Lyne Renee), while saving the last minutes of the program for an explosive and exciting firefight and river boat sequence that ends tantalizingly in a cliffhanger.

For as fun as it is, Strike Back hasn’t garnered as much attention as the other expensive-looking prestige dramas on cable, but through the series’ steadfast dedication to making things consistently go boom and shrugging anytime it’s asked whether it knows what a brake pedal is, this international entertainment package has earned it fans in all corners of the globe.


Strike Back continues next Friday @10pm on Cinemax. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Never watched this show. Should give it a shot

  2. It’s a great show, but I thought this was season 4.

    You have now three seasons with Scott and Stonebridge. But before that there was a season that had John Porter (played by Richard Armitage) as main character.

    That season was produced by the Britisch channel Sky 1. The seasons with Scott and Stonebridge are produced by Cinemax and Sky1.

    ( According to wikipedia, this season is indeed season 3, but in Britain it is called Strike Back: Shadow Warfare, one of the 4 series of Strike Back)

    • IMDb sees this season as season 4

    • Technically Season 1 by BBC was: Chris Ryan’s Strike Back

      The current show is: Cinemax’s Strike Back.

      I still consider it season 4… Loved season 1 with Armitage. But Cinemax calls it season 3.

      Fantastic show nonetheless… Really love it. More people need to tune in.

  3. I have a feeling this season will be a whole lot better than last.

  4. I loved the British version. I tried to get into the US version for 4′ish episodes, but I felt they added a bunch of random sex scenes, really bad action hero scenes, and replaced the entire cast with stereotypical jarheads. I didn’t like that ‘Americanizing’ the show meant dumbing it down. Anyone else feel this way? Did the show get better than the UK version later on?

    • What do you mean? The same episodes are broadcast in both countries.

    • Yeah I loved the first season but lost interest shortly after. The characters are awful imho, not to mention the casting. Sullivan Stapleton is a horrible actor.

    • I loved both versions. But it’s indeed a big adjustment. I watched more than 4 episodes, and the things you dislike, I started to appriciate them. There is a lot more humour in the co-produced seasons. The British produced season was awesome, but you could see that budget wasn’t high. The co-produced seasons look more polished.

      The action hero scenes where also bad in the UK-produced season. But I think the bad action hero scenes do have their charm.

  5. I just randomly picked out and watched the first two seasons on Netflix, and it was pretty good…not great, but pretty good and worth watching. Theme song was really good, sticks in your head after series is over. Lots of shooting, lots of anti-terrorists versus terrorist, but hey, that’s what they do, lots of full nudity scenes (seems like one of the two heroes, especially the American guy, gets laid more times than an egg under a chicken! The British guy manages to get his tea-n-crumpets under the sheets as well, tho). And the American hero probably sets the record in the first two seasons for the most times using the expression “F*ck Me!” has been used ever in a TV series or movie. But you will enjoy this. I do recommend watching the first couple seasons on DVD through Netflix or some other outlet first, tho, so you sort of know what is going on. I did not know there was another season coming, so i am sure that will be getting watched in my house as well!

  6. I saw season 1 with Richard Armitage and loved it but didn’t bother after a few episodes of the jointly produced seasons.

    Might play catch up though since I think season 4 starts in September here.

  7. I was going to also say this is season four. It is the third season with Stonebridge and Scott yes. But it seems america has just forgotten this all started with a british 6 part strike back starring Richard Armitage who was then killed at the start of season 2 which america calls season 1. It is kind of sad that the first season seems to be forgotten in america. For anyone who never got to see season 1 it was by far the best season.

  8. Can anyone point me to where I can watch the ” season 1 strike back BBC version by Chris Ryans” ? I would like to see where the show originated from before cinemax took over. Please help

    Than You in Advance

  9. Oops sorry Thanks You in Advance