Occupation (2009)



Director:     Nick Murphy.

Starring:     James Nesbitt (Mike Swift),  Stephen Graham (Danny Ferguson),  Warren Brown (Lee Hibbs),  Nonso Anozie (Erik Lester),  Lubna Azabal (Aliya Nabil),  Monica Dolan (Nicky Swift),  Emmanuel Ighodaro (Errol 'Bruno' Lloyd),  Yigal Naor (Dr. Sadiq Alasadi),  Stephen Bent (Mr Hibbs),  Anna Jaskolka (Mrs Hibbs),  Lewis Alsamari (Yunis),  Laura Donnelly (Katy Hibbs),  Adam Beresford (Richard Swift),  Khalid Laith (Abdel Allawi),  Greg Kelly (Spike),  Charlotte Wakefield (Jess Swift),  Omar Berdouni (Ahmed).

BBC TV series   --  three British Iraq War veterans return to Basra for three different reasons; TV series


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.


Part I. 

British soldiers are traveling in an armored personnel carrier. They are hearing different sounds of conflict and trying to guess which weapons made the sounds.

Basra, Southern Iraq, April 2003. The British soldiers are on their way one block south of them where the enemy is firing from a window. 6 Platoon is engaged with them now. There are civilians in the flats. So they are going to evacuate the flats before they engage the "ragheads". The leader says he doesn't want anyone trying to be a hero. He doesn't want to lose anyone on this assignment.

The sergeant talks to Hibbsy and then a black soldier named Bruno making sure they understand their instructions.

The carrier stops and the men come running out of the vehicle. The neighborhood kids come running to see if the troops have anything for them. One of the soldiers throws some candies out into the street, so they can get away from the kids.

One of the guys notices that this isn't the right block. They move along. Now they can see the flat and the fighting.

The guys go through a green door into the flat. With their weapons at the ready they start up the stairs. And now comes the civilians rushing out of the flat. They reach the apartment where the fighting is, but a little girl across the way opens the door and stares at the soldiers. They give her some jelly babies and she comes out to get them. Just then a grenade rolls out into the hallway and explodes. Screams of pain are heard.

The Iraqis have also blown themselves up. The little girl lays on the floor motionless. The sergeant calls for a cas-evac.

A huge American black soldier of the 28 Marine arrives and asks if the guys could use some help? He is Sgt Erik Lester. The fellows move their wounded out to the American personnel carrier. The British sergeant carries the girl down to the local hospital. Unfortunately, there are many wounded and burned people in the halls of the hospital that also need immediate attention. The sergeant puts the girl down on a stretcher. He and another soldier then stop some Iraqis from stealing hospital equipment.

The little girl has a horrible looking wide-open gash in her leg. The woman doctor tells the sergeant that they won't be sewing her leg up. They don't have the supplies or the necessary number of doctors.

Two months later, June 2003. The sergeant and his soldiers are traveling in a bus back in Britain. Sgt. Swift tells Dann that he's never going back to Iraq. The fellow says the sergeant may have to because he has two more years of service in the army.

Sgt. Swift arrives home, but no one is home. The bloke that rode next to the sergeant in the bus, Danny, is in bed with a woman and she says she bets he saw a lot of terrible things in Iraq. He says, yeah. (some nudity) He turns the question into a joke, but when the woman objects he says: "The truth is there isn't a soldier that doesn't want a war. That's what you train for, innit?" She gets up and gets dressed and the fellow pays her for her services.

The sergeant's family arrives: wife, daughter and son. He hugs the family and then says he's got some presents for everyone.

Lee Hibbs arrives home and is hugged by his father and mother. The house is filled with guests who all welcome the soldier back home. Taffy, who lost his right leg in that flat with the grenade, comes in and welcomes his newly arrived pal. With Taffy is Danny. They all three hug each other.

Sgt. Mike Swift gets dressed in his military outfit and goes down to the local hospital. Our sergeant is quite the local hero and has been in the newspapers. In the hospital he says hello to that little girl harmed in the grenade attack. Her name is Maysa. The poor girl lost half her leg below the knee. With Maysa is the female doctor Aliya that was in the emergency room after the grenade attack.

Sgt. Mike is here to give a little talk to members of the hospital community. His handler tells Mike to remember that this is a fund-raiser first and foremost. If Mike gets any tough questions, he is to refer the question to the handler.

A young woman named Katy asks the three soldiers if any of them would ever think of going back to Iraq? They say they would. She is a war skeptic and dad tells her not to start any trouble.

Mike is answering questions now. He says he carried Maysa to the hospital, but it was Dr. Aliya Nabil here who did the "hard stuff".

Danny calls around for jobs. He could get a job in security, but it would be back in Iraq. The huge American black soldier named Lester who helped them in Basra is in Britain running a security business. Danny tells him that he just got back from the war and says: "My head's all over the place." It's going to take some time while he adjusts to his new reality.

While he is talking with Lester on the phone, he sees a pretty clerk working in the office. He also sees Mike on the television.

The handler says that Mike and Aliya want to twin Basra University Hospital with St. Luke's Children's Hospital. When Mike gets back home he asks what his wife thought about his TV appearance?  She says he did great and she's proud of him.

Danny brings some candy and flowers to visit his mother Dorothy in a nursing home. But mom doesn't know her son anymore. Instead, she calls a black orderly named Ben her son. One of the staff says that Dorothy will do anything for Ben. Of course, this is disturbing to Danny.

While the kids are out getting the pizzas, Mike and his wife try to have sex. Mike says it must be the jet lag that's effecting him. He also tells his wife that something has got her goat because he can hear it in her voice.

Danny tries to give Ben some money, but Ben says he can't accept it.  It's against the rules. So Danny asks him if he could hook him up with some drugs? The black man doesn't like Danny assuming that he would have or would even know where to get drugs for personal use.

Danny gets some drugs and now is jumping all around in his room and on his bed. He seems to have quite a bit of hostility in him the way he starts shadow boxing and hitting some things in the room. Danny goes out onto the ledge of his apartment building. He is considering committing suicide. But, instead of killing himself, he calls Lester and says he wants join the security force.

Mike is going to go see Danny. Danny is sitting in a restaurant talking with Lester, who tells him that there is a big gap in the security business in southern Iraq, around Basra. He adds that the Iraqis there love the English and so he needs an Englishmen to help him build up a business. Danny is very willing to be Lester's partner.

Instead of going to see Danny, Mike goes to see Aliya. He mentions to her that at least here there won't be any roadside bombs. Aliya says she wishes that Mike could have seen her hometown of Hasha when she was a girl. She adds her hope that Iraq can be that way again.

Mike walks to a meeting hosted by Lester and Danny. Lester is a good talker and he says that with security work the men can help Iraq get back on its feet. Mike is skeptical. He asks what a man can earn in a day? Lester says up to a $1,000 dollars a day. Ah, the men like that. Mike says that now Lester has really gotten the attention of the men. He leaves the meeting.

At the pub Danny asks Mike why he even came to the meeting if he was just going to make snide comments? Mike says he just wanted to see how they were selling it to the fellows. Danny now criticizes Mike saying they can't all be war heroes, getting their faces in the newspapers and on TV. Mike asks: "Are you saying I was glory hunting?" Danny says they all were basically doing the same thing, except they took Taffy and Mike Mike grabbed the little girl. He goes on to say that Mike is the one that got all the attention: "So don't have a go at me for trying to make something out of the shit we left behind!" Mike says he's not worried about Danny, but the really young guys that might go with them.

Hibbsy asks if they would take him, if he decided to join? Danny says he would take care of the lad and that's what he'll do. Mike tries to discourage Hibbsy. Danny gets so mad that he tells Mike if he wasn't his mate, he would have a go at Mike. Mike tells him don't let that stop him. Danny gets up, thinks better of it and sits back down.

Sgt. Swift is back to work, but in an office now. He seems to be very bored. Danny is back in Iraq.  Hibbsy has become close friends with Katy. All these men seem to be very on-edge. Hibbsy goes for a job interview and one of the first questions the interviewer asks is did Hibbsy ever kill anyone in Iraq?

Danny arrives at the new work place.  Lester is there to welcome him.  They don't have to pay any rent.  It's taken care of by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as a way of keeping the looters away.  Danny now meets Yunis, the Iraqi translator.  They walk around and a bullet whizzes near by them.  Yunis tells Danny that it's only the Fedayeen. 

Mike and Aliya visit a local church and Mike tells her of its history.  Aliya gets a little bit in trouble for smoking in church. 

Danny and Lester visit the CPA.  The man in charge says that the guys' company is not on the official list of security contractors.  Lester doesn't like hearing that and he starts to challenge the bureaucrat.  The guy takes Danny and Lester over to where there is $2 billion dollars in cash all wrapped up in cellophane.  The fellow finally says he can test them out.  Everyday contractors come into Basra.  These contractors need to be transferred from Basra airport to the Tigris hospital north of Al Amarah and back to the airport.  If Danny and Lester can provide this service without any mess-ups, they will get on the approved list of contractors.  If things don't work out for them, "we'll arrange for your remains to be flown home."  Lester and Danny are two happy campers. 

Hibbsy works security at the door of a night club.  He must not like the job much, because he talks to his parents about working for Lester and Danny in Basra. His parents and Katy are going to take some convincing before they agree with Lee that going back to Iraq is a good idea. 

Mike feels distant from his wife.  He watches her as she sleeps.  He gets up and gets dressed.  His wife asks him where he's going and he says to the gym.  He's not going to the gym.  He goes over to see Aliya.  Mike tells her that he can't stop thinking about her.  He hugs her and then they kiss.  Mike picks her up and walks her over to the bedroom.  They stop themselves saying that this is wrong.  Mike wants to know what Aliya whispered to him?  She says "Habibi", which means my love.  But then she says the words for "temporary wife" or "pleasure wife".   Mike says:  "We can be a proper couple."  Aliya says he's married and she wants to go back to Iraq.  Mike asks her if it would be so bad if she stayed in England? 

Hibbsy is now in Basra working with his buddy Danny.  Yunis tells Hibbsy that the area they will be going into is bandit country.  The job guarantees exposure to danger for all of them. 

From a hospital window Aliya watches a woman and her daughter play outside.

Mike's wife tells him to tell his son that he has to buckle down and improve his grades.  Mike says that maybe the boy is going to be more like his father, who was never much good at school.  Mike does, however, tell his son that even if he wants to go into the army, he has to have some qualifications. This starts an argument between husband and wife, because the wife says that the purpose of studying is so their son doesn't have to go in the army.  She says that Mike is miserable when he in that shit hole Basra and he's miserable when he comes back home.  That's not a recipe for a decent life.  Mike takes offense to this.  Their son finally shouts, okay, he'll start buckling down on his studies.  Just stop the arguing. 

Yunis and Danny wait in a second car when Lester and Hibbsy go in to pick up their client.  They come out of a building with a client and get into the first car.  They go traveling down the highway. 

Mike comes to the hospital with flowers, only to be informed that Aliya and Maysa have already gone back to Iraq. 

Danny asks the clients lots of questions and gets scolded by Lester, who tells the client to just ignore Danny.  The client says he intends to do just that.

Mike tells his wife Nicky that he is going back to Iraq.  He says they have a shortage of medics there.  She says that Mike promised her before the kids were born that he was going to get a normal job. 

Lester and Danny take a short cut around some buildings, but they lose Yunis and Hibbsy in doing so.  Then they come up to a roadblock.  Lester starts thinking that something's not right.  All of a sudden men jump out of a car ahead of them and start firing at Lester and Danny.  One of the clients is shot in the head.  Lester gets shot on the right side of his head.  Now everything depends on Danny.   He calls for assistance.  He sees some personnel carriers headed across his line of sight.  He shouts out to one of the carriers and the driver turns the carrier toward Danny.  The problem is that Danny is dressed like an Arab and he has a pistol in his right hand.  He throws the gun down.  Still worried that they can't hear him screaming that he's English, he pulls off his Arab costume.  That exposes what almost looks like the type of vest used by suicide bombers.  So Danny quickly throws that off.  To make even surer that he does not get shot by mistake, he pulls off all his clothes showing that he is extremely white. 


Part II. 

Nicky tells Mike:  "If you get yourself killed out there, I'll come out there and I'll kill you again." 

Mike is with the unit getting ready to move out to Iraq. 

Basra.  Four months later, March 2004.  In Iraq Mike goes around with a photo of Aliya asking Iraqis if they have seen her.  He also shows photos of his three friends, Lester, Danny and Hibbs.  No luck. 

Mike finally finds Lester and Danny.  Danny gets up and gives Mike a hug.  Danny can't believe that Mike came back to Iraq.  Mike asks Danny about getting caught in a shoot-out.  Danny says they did indeed, but he came away without a scratch.  And they saved the life of their big wig client.  Once they had saved his life, the client kept throwing more work their way.  Danny argues with Mike trying to get him to tell why he volunteered to come back out here?  Mike tells him now of his attachment to Dr. Aliya Nabil.   He says it's been a year since he even heard from her. 

Danny tells Mike that the head honcho at Basra general hospital is called Sadiq Alasadi. The man is a doctor, a Shia and he has the Sheikh of the Marsh Arabs on his side.  What Danny wants is for Mike to put in a good word for their company Pacific Solutions with the people at the hospital.  They want him to do this because they want to take over the rebuilding of the hospitals and clinics in Iraq.  Mike says why would he recommend them as builders of hospitals and clinics?  Danny says because we know where your girlfriend is. 

Mike visits still another hospital and finds Aliya.  She tells him that he shouldn't have come.  He says he just wants an explanation of why she left without saying goodbye?  She says:  "It was better that way."  Mike says he can't forget her.  She says she doesn't want to hear this.  He keeps working on her and she finally admits that she has a husband.  Mike sits down.  She says she thought he was dead, but he was just in Saddam's prison.  When she was in England, she learned that he was still alive. 

Mike introduces Lester and Danny to the Iraqi head of the local hospital.  The doctor takes the three men on a tour of his hospital.  The suffering of the Iraqis is tremendous at the hospital.  The family of a dead baby put their baby in a small box.  The doctor tells them that if they had the child-sized canula the baby would have lived, but they don't.   He then tells Lester that it's the small things that he's interested in.  And he doesn't want to hear any big promises from foreign contractors.  He says good-day to the gentlemen and leaves them. 

Danny rushes after the doctor pleading with him to a least hear them out.  Or, at least, hear Mike out for he's a "proper hero".  He's the man who took the Iraqi girl to Manchester to get her fixed up.   Now the doctor remembers Mike.  He shakes his hand and says that if he had known that Mike was here, he would have called Aliya over here.  Mike asks how does the good doctor know Aliya?  He says:  "She's my wife."  Danny and Lester are almost giggling over this.  The doctor asks Mike if he recommends these men as good contractors?  Mike says they are good men and they won't let him down.  The doctor now tells Danny to bring him the paperwork. 

Mike is devastated.  He asks Danny if he knew about this? Danny says certainly not.  But Mike wonders if all this was just a practical joke played on him.

With the help of the doctor, things start popping for Pacific Solutions.  And the money comes rolling in. 

Mike brings in some wounded patients and he has to have Aliya sign some papers for him.  He tells her that he will find her a job in England.  Aliya says she has already told him that she wants to stay in Iraq.  She is getting a little frustrated with him.  He tells her that he met her husband, but he didn't tell him anything about them.  He gives Aliya some cigarettes. 

An Iraqi doctor comes and demands to know from Aliya who is this man?  Aliya tells him to mind his own business, but the doctor says this is his business.  He can't have the hospital turned into a brothel.  He also says that Aliya has no shame and no sense of honor.  Mike demands a translation, but Aliya just tells him that he can't help her and he would know that if he knew what the doctor said.  Mike just walks away from her. 

Mike returns to his tent barracks, sits down on his cot and cries. 

Three months later, August 2004.  At Pacific Solutions they have a little going-away celebration for Yunis who is about to open up his own pizzeria.  At the pizzeria Hibbs samples the pizzas and likes their taste.  Two Iraqi policemen come in.  Hibbs actually trained these two fellows.  Hibbs turns to do something and he hears a series of shots.  By the time he looks around, he sees one of the policemen finish his last shot in a series of shots into Yunis' mid-section. Hibbs pulls out his pistol and fires back at them, but they run out of the pizzeria.  One of Yuni's employees has been killed.  Lester yells to Danny who is calling for help for Yunis:  "Danny, we're set up for an ambush here."  Hibbs and Danny start to move Yunis, but his backside looks much worse than his front side.  Lester tells Danny they have to get going.  It looks like Yunis is dead now.  Hibbs doesn't want to leave Yunis' body.  Lester and Danny come back and grab Hibbs to pull him out of the pizzeria.   

Back at Pacific Solutions Hibbs is still extremely upset at what happened to Yunis.  Danny sets Hibbs straight:  "Wake up!  Yunis got shot for collaboratin' with us!  For trying to do somethin'!  You know, there is no right in this country!  It's just wrong and wronger!"  And now Lester hits below the belt:  Speaking to Hibbs he says:  "You owed him protection when you were too busy eatin' pizza, son!"  Danny grabs Hibbs' face and says something soothing to him.  Hibbs asks, so they are not going to do anything against the killers?  Lester says:  "If we go your way, we're lettin' everybody down, including Yunis."  Hibbs rushes outside.  Lester tells Danny that all this that has happened is a message from God:  "Expand and diversity."

Danny comes to Mike to ask him a favor.  Mike will be getting out of Iraq soon and he wants Mike to take Hibbs home with him.  Danny says he can get him on a flight to Kuwait, but he can't trust Danny to get on the flight to England.  Hibbs' friend Yunis was murdered last night.  Hibbs is out of it now.  He just wants Mike to kind of hold Hibbs' hand and get him home safely.  Mike asks what about Danny?  Danny says with all this madness here in Iraq, he just "gets it".  He loves this atmosphere. 

Hibbs goes with Mike. 

July 2005.  A reporters says:  "The first bomb exploded at 8:51 a.m. on a train 100 yards inside a tunnel deep below the surface near Aldgate East."  Hundreds are injured and seven are dead.  Hibbs is back with his family.  Hibbs says he glad the Muslim bombed London.  The family can't believe what they are hearing!  Hibbs adds:  "Takes that for people like Katy to realize what sort of people they are."  Hibbs had said that he was going back over to Iraq to help the people.  And now he describes the Iraqis as "scum". And now he turns his pent-up rage against Katy.  He screams at her, then runs over to the stairs to sit down on and cry.  His mother is also crying and dad is shocked and upset. 

Mike is also at home, watching TV with his wife.  Nicky tells Mike that she now knows that he was not called up to go to Iraq.  He volunteered.  She asks why a person would volunteer for a second tour?  He does not mention Aliya.  He just says that he knew he could handle a second trip and felt he had to go.  He stands up and kisses Nicky.  She asks him what brought this on and he says:  "Guilty conscience."  They start to have sex in the kitchen. 

Lester and Danny are going to do a business presentation in Dubai.  Lester tells Danny to be very serious during the presentation and they just might be able to live in a palace like the sheikhs. 

Mr. Hibbs comes over to ask Mike to please talk to his son Lee, who has changed so much since he has been back from Iraq.  Nicky encourages Mike to talk to the lad because Mike was the reason why Lee went into the service in the first place.

So Mike and Lee meet at a pub.  Lee says he's going to go back to Iraq:  "I've got things to finish."  Mike tells Lee if he's going, then take this book on Gilgamesh with him. It's a book about  a man who is intently searching for something that he will never find. 

Danny is on a roll with his pitch.  He tells the wealthy fellows that right now if a contractor goes over the estimated cost of the project, the Iraqis and the US government pays the overrun cost.  With this practice, there is no better place to invest your money than Iraq.  After their sales pitch, Lester and Daddy are on cloud 9.  They smoke cigars and have something to drink at the bar.  Danny spots twos gorgeous blondes sitting at a table and just has to go over and talk to them.  He says he doesn't have long, so they better just start talking prices.

It's Christmas and Mike and Nicky exchange presents.  She gets a necklace, but gets upset.  She asks Mike:  "Did she help you choose it?"  She also asks the name of the woman.  Nicky knows that there was something wrong with their relationship because her husband would hardly ever even come near her.  She also tells Mike to please not lie to her.  So Mike starts talking about Aliya.

Lee arrives back in Iraq at Pacific Solutions.  He tells Bruno he will take his guard watch for him.  Bruno thanks him and starts relaxing with his laptop.

Nicky really starts yelling at Mike now.  Their daughter comes in and Mike tells her to leave, but mother tells her to stay.  She wants their daughter to know what a "shit" Mike is.  Daddy's been having an affair.  Daughter Jess calls her father a "fucking loser".  Mike is really mad at Jess, but she tells him he can never reprimand her for anything again, because there's nothing she could do that would be as bad as what her father has done.

Danny is pissed and he comes after Bruno.  There's no guard out there to protect Pacific Solutions.  Bruno says that Hibbsy took his watch.  Danny says Hibbsy isn't even in the country.  Bruno says he is and he told him he would take his watch for him. 

Lee is walking through the streets of Basra.  He goes to the home of the family of Yunis.  He tells them things about Yunis such as that he was a strong man.  Lee learns that the children no longer go to school because they don't have any money.  Lee now takes all his savings out of his back pack and puts them on the table saying he wants to pay for the children's schooling.  Amid his tears Lee haltingly says:  "I loved Yunis.  Yunis was like a brother to me."  Lee tells them Merry Christmas and walks out of the apartment.  Now Lee is captured and thrown into the back of a van.

Mike and Nicky continue their arguments, but in a lower tone of voice.  Mike says he doesn't want to leave the house, but he makes no headway in reassuring his wife that it's she he loves and not Aliya.

Danny and Bruno are going after the kidnappers of Lee. 

Lee is taken to a secret place where the two policemen who killed Yunis reprimand him and the big powers.  Danny and Bruno ride around Basra.  The Iraqis wall Lee up in a little space.  Later they bring Lee out to videotape a confession.  They remove his clothes and put him in an orange jumpsuit.  Lee makes a statement that Britain and America should both get out of Iraq. 


Part III.

Basra 2005. Hibbs tells the terrorists to just kill him if he is to die in this "shit hole". So a fellow grabs a machete and is about to start killing Hibbs, but the phone rings. The executioner answers the phone. Danny is calling. He is using a translator and telling the terrorists that he demands to talk to Hibbs or it's no deal.

The executioner puts the phone to Hibbs' left ear. Danny explains that he is just outside the building with Yunis' oldest son, who happened to see who snatched Hibbs. Danny now tells Hibbs to give the phone back to the bad guy.

The terrorists come out with Hibbs. Danny has the translator tell the terrorists to take the bag off Hibbs' head so he can see him. The fellow takes it off.  He puts a pistol to Hibbs' head and now demands money from Danny. Danny takes most of his clothes off except for his underwear and his pants which are around his ankles. He goes up to the terrorist and Hibbs and puts the money on the ground and steps on it. He gives a sign to Hibbs doe him to start running.  Danny kicks the pack of money to the side and the terrorist goes after it, releasing Hibbs.  Bruno opens up with his machine gun on the terrorists, while Danny and Hibbs run to get into the pick-up truck.  A terrorist with an RPG fires it at the pick-up truck, but misses and hits a parked car instead. 

Back at Pacific Solutuions, Danny has Hibbs thank the fellows, especially Yuni's son Yasin, who told them where Hibbs was being held.  Hibbsy thanks him.  Then Lester comes barreling in and grabs Hibbsy hard and pushes him across the room.  Danny gets Lester to stop, but Lester is blaming Danny for this because Danny kept vouching for Hibbsy, who Lester now considers a mental case.  Danny and Lester go into the other room to shout at each other.  Danny suggests that Hibbsy make the Kuwaiti deliveries, a dangerous job, for them.

Danny, Hibbsy and Yasin grab a regular truck.  Danny explains to Hibbsy that they deliver "stuff" from Kuwait to Baghdad once a week.  The stuff is different things such as dried meals, bottled water, etc.  Hibbsy says that there's nothing in the truck.  Danny tells him it doesn't matter because they get paid anyway. 

Hibbsy gets lots of money for picking up nothing but the truck from Kuwait.  Hibbsy is bothered by what he sees as criminal activity.  He is also bothered with nightmares about his kidnapping by the terrorists.  After awhile, Hibbsy turns the job over to a new man working for Pacific Solutions.

Mike is drinking a beer while his son Peter practices pool shooting.  Mike is divorced now.  He warns his son about coming out to Iraq on duty.  It's no picnic. 

The head of the hospital speaks to the contractors.  He is very suspicious of Lester and Danny by now.  He asks why do things never really change in Iraq?  "It's just you two getting richer and this hospital getting poorer."  And now he refuses to sign the contract.  Lester now blames Danny for his "creative" accounting.  He tells Danny that for $54,000 dollars Danny chased away one of their major contacts in Iraq.  "He's the gatekeeper to work worth millions.  Reputation is everything.  And you're still playing the small time cowboy."

Back at the office, Danny gets Yasin to sign a contract for the head of the hospital.  Lester is worried about someone checking the signature, but Danny tells him all they're doing is "just oiling the wheels". 

The head of the hospital runs into trouble with some Muslim fighters because he is still using women to treat men.  The doctor ask the men to leave.  They go, but the spokesperson looks incredibly mad at the doctor.  At night the doctor goes to his car and is jumped by some men. 

June 2007.  In the British army now, Peter comes out to Iraq.  His father comes back with his son.  Danny says Mike is unbelievable.  Coming back here just to baby-sit his son?. Mike asks what else was he going to do?  He wants to get some money to give to Nicky for all the pain he caused her.  Danny thinks Mike is crazy because he is not even married to Nicky anymore.  Mike counters by saying that he just thought it was the right thing to do.  Danny says the army fellows are not doing anything now.  They are all on lockdown and don't even go out on patrol.

Mike gets after Hibbsy for coming back to Pacific Solutions.  Hibbsy says it's the only place that he feels at home now.  He gives other excuses for being back.  Mike scoffs at his excuses and says:  "That's Danny talk!"  Hibbsy changes the subject by saying that the head of the hospital was kidnapped the other day. He adds:   "See, nobody's safe."

Mike with a translator goes to the hospital.  A doctor explains that they now have no females on their staff.  Mike asks specifically about Aliya.  The doctor tells Mike to meet him in the back of the pharmacy in ten minutes. 

Ten minutes later, the doctor explains that women can work here, as long as they are not seen.  Aliya is here, but Mike must asks his questions through the doctor who will serve as translator for Mike.  Mike and Aliya see each other.  Aliya doesn't really react.  Mike offers to help her find her husband.  Aliya responds that she has no idea where her husband is or who even kidnapped him.  There has been no ransom communication.  Another doctor comes into the room closely watching what is going on.  The doctor translator tells Mike he should leave now because he is attracting too much negative attention.  Mike does, however, get a small photo of Aliya's husband.

Lester comes to get Danny because they have a business presentation in ten minutes.  Danny tells Lester that he's not going.  He's bored of all of it now! Lester is pissed.  He has to do the presentation by himself.  When the meeting is over, Lester finds Danny at the bar drinking.   Lester asks why does Danny seem to be trying to sabotage the firm's forward progress?  Danny says that Lester should run the business side, while Danny runs the operations in Basra. 

Peter notices that his dad's head is elsewhere because he can't get even a discussion going with Mike.  Mike goes over to Yasin and asks him if he recognizes the photo of Aliya's husband?  Yes, he was the doctor who was kidnapped.  But there's been no ransom demand.  Yasin says they don't kidnap a professional man unless they want to ransom for him.  Maybe the doctor got into a dispute with a neighbor or someone else?  Now Mikes asks Hibbsy to do him a favor.

Hibbsy with Yasin brings Aliya undercover to see Mike.  Mike tells her that he doesn't think that Sadiq was taken by a militia.  His contacts think maybe Sadiq was picked up by the Americans or the British.  But Mike does not know for sure.  Mike says he got divorced.  He says it will make no difference to Aliya, but he did want to show her that he wasn't lying about the way he felt about her.  Mike tries to kiss her but she won't let him.  She leaves the room, but then stops and turns around.  She goes into Mike's office and closes the blinds.  She sits on his lap facing him. They start kissing.  When that is finished, they sit down and talk. 

Back at Pacific Solutions Yasin tells Hibbsy that Aliya is an immoral woman and he does not want to be included in doing any more "favors" like that for Mike or any other man. 

Mike goes to Danny for help and they end up in a big argument.  Mike says that the Americans have the doctor.  He also says that Danny is so messed up that he won't even make a call to save the doctor, who has done more good for Iraq than both of them combined.  After Mike leaves, Danny keeps thinking about what Mike said to him.  So he goes over to ask Hibbsy a favor.  He wants him to make a pick-up for him.

Hibbsy and another man hand over ransom money for the doctor.  Hibbsy seems shocked to find that the man he has picked up is the doctor Sadiq. 

Lester is mad at Danny again for having a prospective client kidnapped.  The huge man tells Danny that they didn't get the oilfield contract because:  "You screwed the oilfield contract when you bullied and bribed and forged documents."

Mike goes to see his son, who is very upset.  He starts crying and dad tells him it's alright.

Hibbsy drops the doctor off and hands him money wrapped in cellophane with a cover over it. 

Peter says he can't hack it here in Iraq.  He says he's scared and the fear won't go away.  Mike tells him that all the men battle with fear and being scared.  Just then the translator comes in to tell Mike that something has happened to Aliya and she wants to see him over at the hospital. 

In the back Hibbsy is being driven around by his mate when they come upon an angry mob throwing stones their way.  The driverbacks up, but goes too far and lands his back wheels in a ditch.  They can't get away, so the men get out of the car and run for it.  Their exit, however, is blocked by other Iraqis.   Hibbs calls for help from Danny, who is still talking with Lester.  Lester gets ready to rescue the fellows, but Danny calls the British to rescue Hibbs and his mate.  Peter is one of the fellows going to help save Hibbs and friend. 

Mike talks with Sadiq and Aliya.  Sadiq says he was kidnapped by Pacific Solutions.  Mike is flabbergasted at the news.  For support of his argument, Sadiq says the man who freed him is called Hibbsy.  Now Mike asks Sadiq, who's going to believe you?  Aliya says Mike can tell the British.  Sadig says that he wants Aliya and Mike to talk do the press conference.  After all, he says, he is a suspected terrorist.  He says then Aliya can go with Mike and get work in England.  Aliya asks what about Sadiq?  The husband says:  "Don't think about me, my love  -- I'm finished -- you know that."  Another doctor bursts into the room warning the doctors.  Aliya and Mike now hurry up and leave.  The militias are arriving.

Peter is pinned down by the mobs in the area.  He runs into a building.  The young man is freaking out with fright.  He calls his father, but dad is currently acting as a medic for the wounded from the gun battle in the street involving Hibbsy and his mate.  He hears Iraqis checking each room.  He readies himself to shoot anyone who comes through the door. 

The translator tells Milke that they have to go now or soon it will be too late.  Aliya tells him to go with the translator.  As Mike starts walking away, he runs into Yasin who is with the enemy.  Mike calls him son and says he knows he isn't one of them.  Yasin yells that he's not Mike's son.  Mike leaves.  Later, in front of Mike, Yasin shoots Aliya in the back of the head.  Mike just stands there frozen. 

Mike comes into the building looking for his son.  He finds him laying face down on a bed dead.  Dad sits by him and strokes his hair. 

Three months later at a funeral service for Peter.  Danny is back in England just for the funeral.  Hibbsy is also there.  He  now consuls ex-servicemen.

Hibbsy speaks to the funeral audience.  He reads a passage from the book about Gilgamesh that Mike had given him "to help me to make sense of things".

"Gilgamesh.  What you seek you will never find.  For when the gods created man, they let death be his lot.  Eternal life lay with hell.  Let your every day be full of joy.  Love the child that holds your hand.  Let your wife delight in hour embrace.  For these, alone, are the concerns of humanity."

After the funeral dinner Hibbsy and Danny sit down with Mike.  Mike says to Danny:  "They say, don't they?  The killer often turns up at the funeral."  An argument develops and Mike tells Danny:  "I'll nail you for Sadiq's kidnapping!"  Danny gives a long statement that he is just doing what the system demands. Mike asks him:  "What happened to you?"  Danny replies:  "I went to Iraq.  Why? What happened to you?"  Mike says nothing to Danny.  All three men are very upset.  They all three sit down along the wall saying nothing.



Spoiler warning.  Good story.  Three British soldiers (Mike, Hibbs and Danny) are changed by their service in the Iraq War.  They all come back damaged to some extent.  An extremely on-edge Danny contemplates suicide, but returns to Iraq as a contractor.  Hibbs is extremely angry and feels guilty about what he saw in Iraq.  A restless Mike goes back to help a little Iraqi girl who was terribly injured in a show down with some insurgents.  In fact, they all return to Iraq at different times.  But nothing has been resolved in their heads.  And, especially, in the case of Danny, he seems to have lost his moral compass.  All three are dealing with different degrees of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Mike and Hibbs and their problems also negatively effect their respective families.

So they return to Iraq but things don't get better.  Things get worse for the three men dealing with PTSD with negative consequences for all three. 

The TV series is good because it makes one feel closer to the frustrations experienced by soldiers serving in the Iraq war.  The men not only saw soldiers killed in combat, but also civilians, a lot of them killed by other Iraqis.  It tore the three soldiers up inside and they became mentally healthy.  They all should have been given or sought out psychiatric help. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


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