Tom Ryan (The Unit)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2007)|
|Thomas R. Ryan|
|The Unit character|
then-Colonel Tom Ryan
|First appearance||First Responders|
|Last appearance||Unknown soldier|
|Portrayed by||Robert Patrick|
Blue IguanaDog Patch 06 (while in the TOC)
|Title||Brigadier General Thomas R. Ryan|
|Spouse(s)||Charlotte Canning Ryan (divorced)|
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2009)|
Tom Ryan is a long-time Unit operator, serving as a team, troop and squadron commander within the 1st Special Actions Group (official cover as the "303rd Logistical Studies Group") before assuming the position of commanding officer. He has a long-time standing friendship with both retired Sergeant Major Ron Cheals and current Alpha Team leader Sergeant Major Jonas Blane. However his relationship with Blane later suffers due to his affair with Tiffy Gerhardt and his ruthless ploy with Sam McBride. He uses a Colt 45 as a sidearm and a Walther P38K pistol as an off-duty gun.
In the pilot episode, it is revealed that Ryan is having an affair with Tiffany Gerhardt, wife of a senior Unit NCO, Master Sergeant MacDonald Gerhardt. This is a focal point of much of the first season, with the affair almost exposed at several points. While it seems that Tiffany is truly falling for Ryan while her husband is steadily growing more distant from her, the feeling is not returned. As Unit wife Kim Brown put it, Ryan's in it for the thrill.
At the end of Season 1, Ryan breaks off his ties with Tiffy, and marries a woman named Charlotte Canning, a Washington insider. The newly wed Charlotte was shot twice in the back when a Serbian war criminal discovered the Unit's headquarters and attacked Alpha Team at Ryan's post-wedding celebration.
In Season 2, Ryan is concerned with checking base security in the wake of the attack. In addition, his wife was on the brink of legal trouble when she ran another driver off the road while under the influence of drugs, a crime that Tiffy Gerhardt took the heat for.
The other major concern on Ryan's plate in Season 2 comes after the 303rd is ordered to assassinate the oil minister of Venezuela, and Ryan calls off the mission because it's a purely political mission for oil. This comes back to haunt Ryan when White House official Neil Krinsman refuses to help Ryan rescue Jonas Blane from Georgian rebels. Ryan not only arranges Blane's rescue, but also saves Krinsman from an assassination attempt by Georgian rebels (actually set up by one of Ryan's support staff's "accidentally" leaking his location, to facilitate the would-be assassin's capture).
In early Season 3, Ryan finds out that his wife, Charlotte, has been selling secret information about his unit and rogue CIA agents use it against him and his unit. After successfully breaking out the CIA's conspiracy, he decides to end his marriage. He later attempts to resume his relationship with Tiffy Ryan but she rejects him. In a later episode he appears to have an affair with his ex-wife but is still pining for Tiffy. We also find out that he joined the army after being beaten by his stepfather, just as Bob Brown did, many Special Forces soldiers having overcome adversity at a young age.
On his dress uniform, his patches include the U.S. Army Forces Command, 1st Infantry Division and Ranger Tab. Among his medals and decorations are the Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Jump Wings, Distinguished Service Medal, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Joint Meritorious Unit Award. While on base, Ryan usually wears a "sanitized" uniform, stripped of any name, designation or rank. In the initial episodes of the series, Ryan wore the Army BDU, by the sixth episode of the season, however, he had been appropriately upgraded to the ACU, which is roughly around the time that the ACU was implemented in reality.
Ryan was promoted from the rank of Colonel, which he had previously held since the beginning of the show, in Season 4 episode 22, "Unknown Soldier".
His middle name is listed as starting with an R, indicated by the initial both on the Unit's sign and when Colonel Ryan was attempting to mail orders to discreet locations, but a police detective gave Ryan's full name as "Thomas Culver Ryan." This discrepancy has not been explained.
In the course of the series he kills 8 people. According to the writers had the series continued into a fifth season the now Brigadier General Ryan would realise that his promotion had actually sidelined him into a meaningless staff post. He would eventually resume his relationship with his ex-wife Charlotte and at the end of the series call in the numerous favours owed to him in order to resume control of The Unit.