Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Executive produced by Steven Bochco and Chris Gerolmo (who also wrote the theme music), the weekly, 60-minute Over There was the first TV war series to air while the war it was dramatizing was still being waged. Set in Iraq (with California and Mexico serving as location-filming substitutes), the series followed a platoon of the Third Infantry Division, most of whose personnel were serving their first tour of duty as part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." The platoon was led by veteran soldier Sgt. Chris "Scream" Silas (Erik Palladino), who despite his profane gruffness cared deeply about his charges. Among the boots on the ground were Private Bo Ryder (Josh Henderson), a college football star who early in the campaign lost a leg in a roadside bombing; Pvt. Frank "Dim" Dumphy (Luke MacFarlane), a college boy born into privilege who had a lot of trouble adjusting to the horror and bloodshed all around him; Pvt. Maurice "Smoke" Williams (Kirk Jones, aka Sticky Fingaz), an abrasive, street-smart tough guy who held any form of idealism in the highest disdain; Pvt. Avery "Angel" King (Keith Robinson), a devout Christian who enlisted on an impulse and lived to regret it; PFC Tariq Nassiri (Omid Abtahi), a Detroit-born Arab-American, in many ways the most fervently patriotic member of the platoon; and two female soldiers, PFC Esmerelda "Doublewide" Del Rio (Lizette Carrion), a rambunctious Puerto Rican wife and mother, and Pvt. Brenda Mitchell (Nicki Lynn Aycox), who'd signed up just for the military benefits and whose constant whining and complaining earned her the nickname "Mrs. B" (and it didn't stand for "Beautiful"). The graphic depiction of the carnage in Iraq alternated with scenes back at home, where we met Bo's wife, Terry (Sprague Grayden), who bravely dedicated herself to helping her amputee husband adjust to the new restrictions in his life; Dim's spouse, Vanessa (Brigid Brannagh), an alcoholic and serial philanderer; Frank's troubled stepson, Eddy (Jimmy "Jax" Pinchak); and Sergio Del Rio (Lombardo Boyar), Esmerelda's long-suffering husband. Although the producers insisted that the tone of Over There was apolitical, a certain amount of criticism aimed toward the Bush administration inevitably crept in. But what sustained interest were the various moral crises encountered by the platoon members, as they picked and scraped their way through a war like none other in recent American history. Prepared for the UPN network but ultimately picked up by the FX cable service (mainly because of the series' excess of violence and bad language), Over There launched its 13-week run on July 27, 2005.