The Brave has broken the mold on what a military show should look like. With its star studded cast, amazing technical advisors and phenomenal writing crew, this show was destined to be great. But what truly makes it a success is its devoted and enthusiastic creator and executive producer, Dean Georgaris.
I had the honor of speaking with Georgaris about how this show came to fruition, what inspired him to create these phenomenal characters, and what he hoped the audience would take away from the story. As a lifelong fan of military shows and documentaries, Georgaris spent many a years researching and viewing the real life stories of the men and women in our armed forces.
“I realized it’s because I was really interested in the quality of resiliency. I was interested in it because we, as a society, it seems like we’ve moved far away from focusing on or celebrating the qualities we have as human beings that can really make us extraordinary.”
Georgaris’ main goal when creating The Brave was to try and capture the spirit and the feeling of what it’s truly like for the members of the armed forces who are in these actual situations and on these teams. As a fan of this show, I can say he most definitely succeeded in this.
The show comes across more like the documentaries that Georgaris fought so hard to do justice by. But it wasn’t just viewing these films that brought an authenticity to this series, it was the countless of hours spent researching, including speaking with past members of the service on their personal experiences.
Another goal was to keep the “home drama” separate from the current story-lines and situations. Georgaris wanted the audience to learn small snippets of these eight people when the time was right because he felt this resonated with viewers better. “I like shows that can turn based on the smallest of choices,” Georgaris said. By showing small glimpses of their past, it showed why they did the decisions they made. It revealed their mindset and their values.
Speaking of the team’s mindsets and decisions, mental health was another important issue, not only to Georgaris but to Mike Vogel (Dalton) and Mikal Vega (technical advisor), to be highlighted. It was important to explore the toll it takes and to display how some people get the help they need and how some, unfortunately, do not; to shine a light on a stigma that plagues not only our military but our society.
“Help is kind of treated like a 4-letter word.”
It was significant to show that the team wasn’t afraid to talk about their problems in a real and genuine way where the audience could understand these characters. As seen in other dramas, series start with someone struggling with PTSD or a life altering experience and it can be hard for a viewer to immediately and truly empathize with a character they just met. With The Brave, by learning and getting to know these people and what they’ve gone through, Georgaris hoped that the audience would not only feel what the team felt, but could almost get what it was like to be them.
It was also easy for the audience to fall in love with this amazing team and characters because of the sensational cast that were found. “When I went to put the team together,” Georgaris said, “in some ways, there were 2 or 3 characters that I absolutely knew that I wanted and that almost popped into my head immediately and they were Jaz, Preach and Amir.”
He wanted these three especially because he had never seen characters like these on a TV series and wanted to connect the audience with something new and unique. He wanted Jaz to be this strong female character but did not just want to focus on the fact that she was a female because that’s not all there is to her. She was someone that overcame a rough start and found a new way forward and a family in this team.
For Preach, it was imperative to tell his story in a way that showed his faith and beliefs as a source of positivity and peace. Georgaris met a portion of great church-going military members and had so much respect for their spirituality and how it was a source of goodness in their lives. In regards to Preach’s faith, Georgaris said, “he’s not going to be questioning his faith in the first season. I don’t want to have him in there just to have him go dark because that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes faith is a source of peace.”
McGuire, Campbell, Noah and Hannah were all important to this team as well. For example, McGuire served almost as the voice of the audience and Campbell was someone who had to face the world as is, but has Noah there to remind her that when in doubt to err on the side of winning over hearts and mind.
In regards to Dalton, Georgaris wanted him to “basically exemplify what the spirit of service is all about.”
“Mike Vogel is a true believer. I mean that in the best sense of the word. He believes in our country. He believes in the goodness of people. He believes that the world is worth fighting for. And those were the things that I wanted in Dalton. But I didn’t want him to always have been that way.”
Georgaris wanted him to get there by going through darkness. He wanted him to be someone who really did get caught up in the killing and the injustice of it all. To have almost an “avenging angel” quality but then worked through it to discover real peace, goodness, and humanity.
Like many fans, it’s hard for Georgaris to imagine what these characters were like before these actors portrayed them. But for Anne Heche (Campbell) and Vogel, playing two strong, supportive leaders wasn’t a stretch as they both are wonderful leaders in their real lives. The inspiration behind their leadership traits are composites of several real people and the services they represent. They were designed to show people, almost in human form, the most important qualities to being a great leader.
Georgaris looked at the actual jobs in real life, including reading about and talking to the people who fill these positions. He sought to know what the hardest things to do as a leader were and what were some things that they had wished they’d been better at. He also wanted to know what other shows or movies had gotten wrong or right. In doing this, he found something even more meaningful within himself as well as the cast and crew.
“There’s something I noticed, which was when I was writing the pilot in a room by myself and reading about these men and women, and what they did and really thinking about the notion that the world really is a good place and worth fighting for, it became important to me to try to get the spirit of the show right. What was interesting was, it then became important to the actors we hired and it became important to the crew. What I think actually happened is the qualities that are important and the values that are important; they kind of bled through from the fictional team to us…It sort of comes full circle because I was interested in writing about these qualities because, in a way, I hoped I could find more of them in myself and that seems to have happened.”
With the season finale airing tonight, Georgaris, like the entire show’s fan base, is hopeful for another season because he wants to continue to tell not only these character’s story, but the story of so many that have come before us and those who continue to fight today for our freedom. It was a true honor to speak with a man who cares so deeply for our military and fights to ensure our voices are heard and in the best way possible. When he started writing this show, he hoped to capture the spirit of service and in my opinion, he truly has.
“I’m really proud of the show.”
And you should be, Mr. Georgaris. You most definitely should be.
The Brave season finale airs tonight at 10/9c on NBC.