It is fall TV season and I have been sampling some of the new drama shows. And as part of the sampling, I am noticing which fictional TV characters have backstories of being veterans.
The first episode of the new TV series LETHAL WEAPON mentions in passing that one of the two leads — Martin Riggs — is a former Navy Seal. In addition, one murder victim in the episode is identified as a Navy Seal.
Yet neither of these passing identifications does anything to acquaint Americans with what it means to be a veteran of our government’s military branches.
A recent TV Guide issue featured a photo-and-text spread about entertainment stars and the philanthropic causes they support. One such person featured is Dean Norris (THE BIG BANG THEORY and GIRL BOSS), who supports the Wounded Warrior Project.
Although I know that currently there are some questions about the Wounded Warrior Project, what I am interested in is Norris’ commitment to our veterans. Here is a quote from the last paragraph of the one-page article on him (last sentence boldfaced by me):
Many who have served our country now have psychological issues. Suicide is a big problem. What I’d really love is for more people to be aware of veterans on a daily basis.
And that quote about more people being aware of veterans on a daily basis is what stood out for me. Such a small percentage of Americans today serve in the military that the military life is often foreign to those who have no personal military knowledge.
This is where fictional TV shows can fill in the gaps, displaying veterans and active duty military personnel in settings that illuminate their lives.
(I have emailed Dean Norris’ agents at CAA in the hope that they will put me in touch with Norris so that I can discuss with him my two proposed veteran TV projects.)
Here is a scene from my short story SOLOMON’S JUSTICE, which is adapted from my pilot script for a TV drama of the same name:
Spencer Beaumont sat on the ground under a Los Angeles freeway underpass. He was sharing some grub out of a mess kit with a younger man dressed the same as Spencer — wearing a filthy Army jacket over a dirty t-shirt and ragged jeans.
“Gotta get cleaned up — have to go to court tomorrow,” Spencer said.
“You in trouble again?” the young man asked. “I thought you served your time.”
Spencer nodded as he shoveled food into his mouth. “I’m gonna see my buddy being called up in front of a veterans court. Something new. Gives vets who commit felonies a chance to get rehabilitated.”
“Could you have done that?”
“Don’t know. Didn’t have the chance.”
Yes, there is now a real-life Los Angeles County Veterans Court, and it is an incredible legal institution for helping our veterans. The fictional portrayal of such a real-life institution could inspire other jurisdictions to set up their own veterans courts.
Fictional TV shows displaying veterans in everyday life, including going to veterans court, could make more people “aware of veterans on a daily basis.”
Contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in discussing the proposed TV drama SOLOMON’S JUSTICE or the proposed reality show HEALING OUR HEROES. (See more info on both at www.SolomonsJustice.com)
© 2016 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Phyllis is available by skype for book group discussions and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Her Kindle fiction ebooks may be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller — and her Kindle nonfiction ebooks may also be read for free with a Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription — see www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller