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'The Unit' Delves Inside Life of Commandos

Dennis Haysbert, center, stars in 'The Unit,' along with Scott Foley, left, and Robert Patrick.
Dennis Haysbert, center, stars in 'The Unit,' along with Scott Foley, left, and Robert Patrick.
Eric Haney, whose book, 'Inside Delta Force,' inspired David Mamet to create the show.
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Eric Haney, whose book, 'Inside Delta Force,' inspired David Mamet to create the show.

CBS's new drama, The Unit, has been described as part Mission Impossible, and part Desperate Housewives.

Dennis Haysbert stars in the series, and he's not new to the genre, having played the president in 24. In The Unit, he plays Jonas Blane, the commander of an elite anti-terrorist strike force.

The appeal, Haysbert says, is that there's "finally a show that offers the audience an explanation for what goes on and what is going on presently in the world. It makes the public feel safer, and it also helps the American people understand what the wives, sons and daughters, and girlfriends go through when their men are in combat. It makes you think about how they are deployed."

The show, created by playwright and film director David Mamet, was inspired by the book, Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counter-terrorist Unit, written by retired Command Sgt. Maj. Eric L. Haney.

Haney serves as producer and technical advisor on The Unit. The characters on the show, especially the wives, struggle with what about the profession they must keep secret. Haney says he isn't giving away Delta Force's secrets, either. "It's the fictional representation of a counter-terrorist organization. It's a great deal real," says Haney, "but no one knows better how to hide the things that need to remain hidden than those of us who have practiced this life and grown up in it."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.