January 18, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Finale Review: “Shooter”


Aided by a compatible WWE Smackdown lead-in and a red state-friendly storyline, SHOOTER has been a sturdy performer for USA, already renewed for a second summer season.  The series is low-ambition compared to USA’s Mr Robot or even Suits or Colony (or the awful Falling Water, for that matter), but series creator John Hlavin capably expanded the world of the Mark Wahlberg movie to fill 10 hours of screen time.

The season finale, written by Hlavin and directed by Simon Cellan Jones, had a primal storyline, as evil Russkis (an accidentally timely touch there) kidnapped and then pursued the angelic blonde 6-year old daughter of marksman hero Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe, filling Wahlberg’s shoes), who had been framed as in the movie for the assassination of a Ukranian official and the attempted shooting of the US President.  Bob Lee broke his daughter free from the Kremlin’s embassy quickly enough, and since the season had to end with a showcase rifle shot for its lead, he drilled the head Russian from something like half a mile away before the bad guy could harm the girl or Bob Lee’s loyal wife Julie (Shantel Van Santen).

It was an action-packed hour, if devoid of much substance, and the stunt performers exerted themselves more than the actors.  Phillippe, Van Santen, Cynthia Addai-Robinson (as a sympathetic FBI agent) and Omar Epps (as Bob Lee’s duplicitous former friend) mostly looked grim and delivered lines that were variations on “That’s impossible!,” “Damn you!” and “Trust me.”  Only some of the guest performers, like William Fichtner, Tom Sizemore and Desmond Harrington, got to have any fun.

Hlavin tied up most of the loose ends of the immediate story in the finale, with Bob Lee exonerated and reunited with his family, but as a new season is needed, the final scenes dropped in an ambiguous National Security Advisor (Beverly D’Angelo) to provide hints of a larger conspiracy.  Shooter is workmanlike stuff and nothing more–it’s a few “shits” away from being suitable for broadcast air–but it delivers its limited goods.  It stays in its lane and should remain there for some time to come.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."