Generation Kill (miniseries)

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Generation Kill (miniseries)
Generation kill hbo.png
Genre War miniseries
Written by David Simon
Ed Burns
Evan Wright
Directed by Susanna White
Simon Cellan Jones
Starring Alexander Skarsgård
James Ransone
Lee Tergesen
Jon Huertas
Stark Sands
Billy Lush
and others
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 7
Producer(s) Andrea Calderwood
Location(s) Mozambique
Cinematography Ivan Strasburg
Running time 470 minutes
Production company(s) Company Pictures
Blown Deadline Productions
Original network HBO
Original release July 13 – August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)
External links

Generation Kill is an American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO, based on the 2004 book of the same name by Evan Wright about his experience as an embedded reporter with the United States Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was adapted for television by David Simon, Ed Burns and Evan Wright.[1] The miniseries was directed by Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones, and produced by Andrea Calderwood. It aired from July 13 to August 24, 2008. The ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert, James Ransone as Corporal Josh Ray Person, and Lee Tergesen as reporter Evan Wright.


The cable channel HBO gave the go-ahead to a seven-part miniseries, based on Evan Wright's book about his experiences as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the Iraq War's first phase. The series is set during the invasion of Iraq, from late March 2003, to early April 2003. The mini-series was shot over a six-month shoot from mid-to-late 2007 in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.[2] The primary production value aspired to was authenticity.[3][4]


David Simon and Ed Burns co-wrote and executive produced the miniseries alongside Company Pictures' George Faber and Charles Pattinson and HBO's Anne Thomopoulos. Andrea Calderwood was the producer; Nina Noble served as co-executive producer. Author Evan Wright was credited as a consulting producer. A former U.S. Marine, Eric Kocher, served as the production's military advisor, and also starred in the series. Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones directed the episodes of the series.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]

There are 28 starring cast members with a large supporting cast. The majority of the characters were drawn from the Second Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion's Bravo Company. Lee Tergesen played embedded reporter Evan Wright. Wright was assigned to the lead vehicle of Bravo Company, which he shared with Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert, played by Alexander Skarsgård, Corporal Josh Ray Person, played by James Ransone and Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley, played by Billy Lush.

Other starring characters, from 2nd platoon include:

The First Reconnaissance Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen 'Godfather' Ferrando, played by Chance Kelly. Bravo Company as a whole falls under the command of Captain Craig 'Encino Man' Schwetje played by Brian Patrick Wade. Bravo Company's third platoon is commanded by the erratic Captain Dave 'Captain America' McGraw played by Eric Nenninger.

The battalion's Sergeant Major, John Sixta, is played by Neal Jones. Alpha company is commanded by Captain Bryan Patterson, played by Michael Kelly. David Barrera plays Gunnery Sergeant Ray 'Casey Kasem' Griego, Bravo Company's operations chief. Benjamin Busch portrays Major Todd Eckloff, the executive officer of the battalion.

Other starring cast members include Owain Yeoman as Sergeant Eric Kocher, a long-suffering team leader under the command of 'Captain America', J. Salome Martinez Jr. as Corporal Jeffrey 'Dirty Earl' Carazales, Nabil Elouahabi as the battalion translator Meesh, and Robert John Burke as Major General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who is Ferrando's superior. The real-life Eric Kocher portrays another Marine (Gunnery Sergeant Rich Barrott) who drives Captain Patterson's command Humvee in Alpha.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "Get Some" Susanna White David Simon & Ed Burns July 13, 2008 (2008-07-13)
Marines prepare to invade Iraq at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; while the Marines wait to receive their orders at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait, they learn that a Rolling Stone columnist, Evan Wright, will be embedded with them.
2 "The Cradle of Civilization" Susanna White Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: Ed Burns & Evan Wright
July 20, 2008 (2008-07-20)
With the invasion of Iraq now in full swing, Sgt. Colbert tries to keep his unit focused. First Recon Marines adjust to shifting attack plans while anticipating their first contact with the enemy in Nasiriyah and Al Gharraf.
3 "Screwby" Susanna White Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: Ed Burns
July 27, 2008 (2008-07-27)
Bravo Company await for their next orders for a recon mission, having survived its first trial by fire; Encino Man requests an artillery strike on a phantom RPG team; Fick tries to take control of a dangerous situation; Lt. Col. Ferrando issues a new, more urgent order shortly after Alpha Company shells Ar Rifa.
4 "Combat Jack" Simon Cellan Jones Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: David Simon
August 3, 2008 (2008-08-03)
Grumbling in the ranks about the abandoned supply truck occupies time to kill at the captured airfield, but Bravo is soon on the move again, heading north, clearing villages and setting up a roadblock outside Al Hayy. Meanwhile, Alpha is ordered to find the body of a Marine in Al-Shatrah, but their mission is delayed by a CIA operation.
5 "A Burning Dog" Simon Cellan Jones Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: Evan Wright
August 10, 2008 (2008-08-10)
Despite an armored division's punishing response to First Recon's intelligence-gathering about an ambush-in-waiting at a strategic bridge, Bravo still meets stiff resistance while making several attempts to cross it; a survey of the battlefield prompts more questions than answers about the enemy; a roadblock in Al Muwaffiqiyah tests the Marines' ever-changing rules of engagement.
6 "Stay Frosty" Simon Cellan Jones Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: Ed Burns
August 17, 2008 (2008-08-17)
After First Recon is assigned the unfamiliar mission of escorting hundreds of civilians fleeing Baghdad, they begin to wonder if their part in the war may be ending. Lt. Col. Ferrando has other plans to get his men back into the battle.
7 "Bomb in the Garden" Susanna White Story: David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay: David Simon
August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)
Having reached Baghdad, Bravo Company is shocked at the size of the city; while First Recon begin doing their daily patrols in Baghdad, they find out the obstacles that they and the Iraqis face are much greater than they could have imagined.


Although there is no score for the series, it still features a large collection of music. Much of it represents music that was popular among the American populace in late 2002 and early 2003. The newer music (in the show's context) serves to illustrate pop-culture during the time of the invasion. All of the songs are sung a cappella by cast members, with the exception of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around", and Josh Ray Person's "Re-Up Time".

Episode 1: "Get Some"[edit]

"Merry Christmas from the Family", by Robert Earl Keen
"Sk8er Boi", by Avril Lavigne
"Lovin' You", by Minnie Riperton
"Use Me", by Bill Withers

Episode 2: "The Cradle of Civilization"[edit]

"Beyoğlu", by D.J. Kambo
"The Marines' Hymn", Traditional
"Smoke Signals", by Dada Flair
"Complicated", by Avril Lavigne
"Bodies", by Drowning Pool
"Boyz-n-the-Hood", by Dynamite Hack
"Hot in Herre", by Nelly

Episode 3: "Screwby"[edit]

"Hot in Herre", by Nelly
"It Was a Good Day", by Ice Cube
"Tainted Love", by Ed Cobb

Episode 4: "Combat Jack"[edit]

"The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", by Country Joe and the Fish
"Attahaddiat", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Entaha Almeshwar", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Copenhagen Song", by Josh Ray Person
"Teenage Dirtbag", by Wheatus

Episode 5: "A Burning Dog"[edit]

"On the Road Again", by Willie Nelson
"Sundown", by Gordon Lightfoot
"My Cherie Amour", by Stevie Wonder
"Gangsta Gangsta", by N.W.A

Episode 6: "Stay Frosty"[edit]

"It Ain't Easy", by Tupac Shakur
"Let Me Ride", by Dr. Dre
"Fuck tha Police", by N.W.A
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", by Ed Bruce
"Can I Kick It?", by A Tribe Called Quest
"So Fresh, So Clean", by Outkast

Episode 7: "Bomb in the Garden"[edit]

"9 to 5 (Morning Train)", by Sheena Easton
"Come Sail Away", by Styx
"King of the Road", by Roger Miller
"Re-Up Time", by Josh Ray Person
"The Man Comes Around", by Johnny Cash

Critical reception[edit]

Generation Kill was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning three in 2009 in the miniseries categories. Nominations included Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing (Susanna White for "Bomb in the Garden"), and Outstanding Writing (David Simon and Ed Burns for "Bomb in the Garden"). It won for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Sound Mixing.[6]

The miniseries received very positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it received a score of 80 out of 100 based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] Entertainment Weekly gave the series an "A-" rating, with critic Ken Tucker remarking favorably on its avoidance of cliché, self-consciousness and agenda-driven storytelling; and praising its execution, nuance, and verisimilitude.[8] Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote that "the seven-part Generation Kill is what you'd hope for from the people behind The Wire: an honest, barely adorned, sometimes painfully vivid representation of life as we live it now. It's journalism converted to art, with both benefiting".[9] Adam Buckman of the New York Post, however, was not as impressed, describing the series "as dull and throbbing as a severe headache".[10]

A red carpet screening of Generation Kill was held for U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, where the series was favorably received.[3]


  1. ^ Smith, Lynn (July 15, 2008). "Ensuring a Series is Combat Ready". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Finer, Jonathon (July 12, 2008). "Generation Kill Captures War's Lulls and Horrors". Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Billen, Andrew (January 15, 2009). "Generation Kill: the new Wire". The Times (London). Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ Generation Kill: "Eric Ladin's Video Diaries" featurette (Blu-ray/DVD). HBO. December 16, 2008. 
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2007). "HBO drafts cast for 'Kill' mini". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 20, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Generation Kill". Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Generation Kill". Metacritic. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ Tucker, Ken (July 14, 2008). "Generation Kill". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Bianco, Robert (July 11, 2008). "HBO scores a direct hit with Generation Kill". USA Today. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Buckman, Adam (July 9, 2008). "War Bonding". New York Post. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 

External links[edit]