Special Unit 2
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Special Unit 2 is an American sci-fi/comedy television series that aired on UPN for two seasons from April 11, 2001 through February 13, 2002. The series focused upon the exploits of a top-secret Chicago police division known as Special Unit 2, charged with policing the city's large population of mythological beings, known as "Links". It was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.
|Special Unit 2|
|Created by||Evan Katz|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||19 (1 unaired pilot) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||45 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||April 11, 2001 –|
February 13, 2002
"Links" are the common monsters from folklore and mythology (except vampires, whose existence is specifically identified as preposterous), and are described as being the missing link between apes and humans (although other human-like species have evolved, for instance gargoyles, who are identified as humanoid descendants of dinosaurs). They live in hiding and/or disguise among the human population. On occasions when Links are seen by humans, they are usually dismissed as hallucinations or optical illusions, except by those who are especially perceptive. Special Unit 2 is the top-secret division of the Chicago police specifically designated to handle Link-related cases. Other units of the police department are specifically ordered to stay out of Special Unit 2's way, which provides a great deal of leeway and access for cases.
Detective Nick O'Malley (Michael Landes) and his newly assigned partner, Detective Kate Benson (Alexondra Lee), are the two central characters. Nick is a maverick veteran in Special Unit 2. His initially callous, jaded and at times cruel demeanor is revealed to be a result of guilt over the loss of his previous partner; Julie. A criminal called The Chameleon cut her up into "600 inch-sized cubes". (It would later be revealed that Nick and Julie were having a secret affair.) Kate is one of the rare individuals who acknowledge the existence of Links instead of finding a more acceptable (albeit incorrect) explanation for the traditionally unexplained phenomena that they cause. Her refusal to deny her observations jeopardizes her career as a police officer and estranges her from her fellow officers. Kate's tenacity and conviction leads to her recruitment by Special Unit 2.
Supporting characters include Captain Richard Page (Richard Gant), SU2's commanding officer with a prosthetic metal hand that serves as the focus of running gags. The unit's liaison with the Link community is Carl (Danny Woodburn), a verbally aggressive gnome known for kleptomania and armed robbery, who is mutually antagonistic towards Nick. Nick and Carl's love-hate relationship contributes some of the humor within the fantasy universe of the show. Carl is completely invincible to everything but a diamond-coated saw and dragon fire/teeth.
Other members of the unit are the technical experts, who provide background, research and technology on various Links. Initially the primary technician is the acerbic Link biologist Sean Radmon (Sean Whalen), succeeded in Season 2 by Jonathan (Jonathan Togo), SU2's obsessively enthusiastic technician who analyzes Link evidence and produces a seemingly endless stream of Link-related inventions with positive glee. Another recurring character introduced in Season 2, is Alice Cramer (Pauley Perrette), who is the Unit's public relations person and acts to convince the press and witnesses that the crimes and strange events committed by Links are merely toxic spills, mass hallucinations, drugged out street gangers, etc. Another recurring character is Jerry (Mike Rad), someone who drifts from job to job and occasionally encounters Links. (For example, in the first episode, Carl attempted to stick him up at the store where he was working.)
The unit further maintains secrecy by hiding the physical location of the unit's headquarters behind the facade of a Chinese laundry. The detectives drive unmarked cars and utilize sophisticated weaponry and technology to deal with Link threats.
A partial list of Links encountered by SU2 in the course of the episodes include a trash-talking Gargoyle, the scheming Pied Piper posing as a children's television host, the homicidal Sandman, Jack The Ripper and deadly snake-haired Medusa, all revealed to be criminals in these particular cases. Most of the monsters are portrayed as behaving rather human-like, forming urban communities.
Season 1 (2001)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Brothers"||John Kretchmer||Evan Katz||April 11, 2001|
|2||2||"The Pack"||Oscar Costo||James Krieg||April 18, 2001|
|3||3||"The Wraps"||Terry Windell||Joel Surnow||April 25, 2001|
|4||4||"The Web"||John Kretchmer||Sara Israel||May 2, 2001|
|5||5||"The Waste"||Oscar Costo||Joel Surnow||May 9, 2001|
|6||6||"The Depths"||John Kretchmer||Joel Surnow & James Krieg||May 16, 2001|
Season 2 (2001–2002)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"The Grain"||David Straiton||Jack Bernstein||October 3, 2001|
|A sleeping Kate is taken over by a Sandman, a 'Link' that enters his victims' dreams and has them act out their wildest subconscious fantasies.|
|8||2||"The Skin"||Oscar Costo||William Schmidt||October 10, 2001|
|Kate and Nick are forced to release the original Chameleon, previously imprisoned by the SU2 team, so he'll help them catch a new Chameleon now terrorizing Chicago.|
|9||3||"The Years"||John Kretchmer||Evan Katz||October 17, 2001|
|O'Malley is attracted by an enigmatic fashion designer, their primary suspect, as they track a "Year Witch" that kills its victims by sucking their youth out of them.|
|10||4||"The Invisible"||John Kretchmer||Scott Nimerfro||October 24, 2001|
|A bogeyman, that can only be seen by kids, gnomes and banshees, kills a babysitter. The team attempt to save an innocent man blamed for his previous crimes before he's executed.|
|11||5||"The Eve"||Oscar Costo||Josh Lobis & Darin Moiselle||October 31, 2001|
|On All Hallow's Eve, a mysterious evil Link, with the power to raise the dead, resurrects four notorious criminals and takes hostages at a Halloween party, in exchange for a powerful artifact.|
|12||6||"The Rocks"||James Ward Byrkit||Martin Weiss||November 7, 2001|
|The team investigate a series of murders where the victims, all male, have been turned into stone statues by beautiful snake-haired women, the Gorgons of legend.|
|13||7||"The Drag"||John Kretchmer||Harry Victor & Dan E. Fesman||November 14, 2001|
|When stories surface of attacks by a winged dragon, the team's investigation of a mystical jewelled necklace theft leads to the grave of a native American princess.|
|14||8||"The Beast"||Paul Abascal||Paul Bernbaum||November 21, 2001|
|Whilst investigating undercover, Kate is put in mortal peril as she's captured by an ancient 300-year-old ogre that preys on strippers and 'ladies of the night', devouring their flesh.|
|15||9||"The Wall"||David Straiton||Jack Bernstein||November 28, 2001|
|Kate reluctantly attends her school reunion, and when skeletal-like creatures with sharp claws that live in the walls begin taking lives, the scene is all too familiar.|
|16||10||"The Straw"||Rod Hardy||Martin Weiss & Scott Nimerfro||January 16, 2002|
|A vicious creature made of straw, a scarecrow, is unearthed from the sewers and stalks the streets, literally scaring its victims to death by their greatest fear.|
|17||11||"The Love"||Oscar Costo||Paul Bernbaum||January 30, 2002|
|The team get caught up in a feud between an Amorphian (a true Cupid) and a lovelorn Zaybar (an amphibious humanoid), who's mad at him for causing his girlfriend to fall in love with someone else by emitting a gaseous love potion that affects everyone near him.|
|18||12||"The Piper"||John Kretchmer||Dan E. Fesman & Harry Victor||February 6, 2002|
|Carl goes undercover to investigate a children's TV star suspected of being a Pied Piper, a creature able to use his mind control power to manipulate children to commit crimes on his behalf.|
|19||13||"The Wish"||Michael Lange||Jeff Braunstein||February 13, 2002|
|The team must stop a djinn (genie-like creature) who is approaching her quota needed to become a free-willed being. When she does, she will be able to cause destruction and chaos wherever and however she wishes.|
On September 14, 2017, it was announced that Visual Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released Special Unit 2 - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on October 6, 2017.
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