Shooter returns Thursday, June 21, and -- whether you faithfully watched the first two seasons week over week, or you’re coming in cold -- we have the perfect primer for you!
Here are the things you should know to best appreciate the premiere. And if you have time, the first two seasons are currently streaming on Netflix!
[Warning: Spoilers for Shooter Seasons 1 & 2 Ahead!]
Pictured: Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger
Where we are and how we got there
Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) has had a rough year. The former top Marine sniper was living a quiet life in Washington state, until he was framed for killing the Ukrainian president by Russians and some in his own government. Then he spent an entire season on the run from the top Chechen sniper, T. Solotov (Josh Stewart). In between, he’s been betrayed by -- and then teamed up with -- his old Marine commander Isaac Johnson (Omar Epps), all while trying to keep his family safe. As season two wrapped up, Swagger was lying shot and stapled back together in the back of an SUV driven by the man who was trying to kill him -- who now needs his help to steal from his former employer Atlas, a shadowy organization which reaches high up in the government.
Pictured above: Omar Epps as Isaac Johnson and Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger
Isaac Johnson is not looking for redemption
While trying to turn the tables on Solotov and get to the bottom of Atlas, Swagger and Johnson ended up in a Mexican prison. Johnson told Swagger he’s given up caring about anything since his wife was murdered, presumably by Solotov. They escaped separately, with Johnson swimming across the Rio Grande and into Texas, where he ended up in a US prison. His calls to his boss, National Security Advisor Patricia Gregson (Beverly D’Angelo), went unreturned. Instead, he was told he’s being extradited to Mexico for killing a man, and it’s all on video. This makes him a prime recruit for Atlas, “the invisible hand that maintains order in a chaotic world.” Once he’s in, there’s no getting out -- and his first order is to kill Solotov, which Johnson is only too happy to do.
Pictured: Shantel VanSanten as Julie Swagger
Julie Swagger is struggling, but fighting
Julie (Shantel VanSanten) was having a hard time coping with the trauma of everything that has happened to her family. After Bob Lee was framed, she was captured by people working for the Russians, then they grabbed her daughter Mary (Lexy Kolker), and Julie finally killed to protect herself. With Solotov hunting her family, she’s jumpy and spoiling for a fight. When a local man named Bo Winnick started harassing her, she dealt with him by shooting her gun near his ear –- getting herself in trouble with local law enforcement when her attempts to smooth things over backfire. Her vulnerability made her an easy target for “Travis,” a traveling salesman who lent a friendly ear. But her new friend is really Solotov and he used his access to stay one step ahead of Bob Lee.
Pictured: Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger and Omar Epps as Isaac Johnson
Marines of Unit 8113
Solotov has been working his way through the marines of Swagger’s unit 8113, because one of them, Kirk Zehnder (Jerry Ferrara) was talking about an Atlas operation while they were in Afghanistan. The CIA was selling heroin in Afghanistan and Atlas sent Solotov -- posing as a UN doctor -- to clean things up. It turns out that Angela Tio (Jaina Lee Ortiz) took money from Atlas to help with their cover-up, which included trying to discredit Zehnder after he talked to a reporter named Jeffrey Denning (Troy Garity). FBI Agent Nadine Memphis (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), finally convinced Tio to talk to her, only to have Tio killed when she briefly slipped her custody.
Pictured: Jesse Bradford as Harris Downey and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Agent Nadine
‘Hayes is Atlas’, but what is Atlas?
Tio’s dying words to Memphis are “Hayes is Atlas.” Addison Hayes (Harry Hamlin) is the well-dressed man who personally recruited Solotov on the battlefield of the Chechen-Russian conflict in 2005, after everyone Solotov loved had been killed. Hayes also goes way back with Gregson, even if they aren’t particularly friendly. Memphis begins connecting the dots and we learn that her ex -- Harris Downey (Jesse Bradford), works for Hayes -– who turns out to be a United States Senator.
Pictured: Josh Stewart as Solotov
Swagger takes a bullet for Solotov to save his family
As the season wrapped up, Swagger raced to Mary’s First Communion after he realized “Travis” was Solotov. When Swagger reached the church and sat down next to Solotov, the Chechen revealed he had a bomb strapped to his chest and another was hidden in the church on a dead man switch, set to go off if he dropped. He wanted Swagger’s help getting all of Atlas’ money. Swagger gave Solotov his gun and offered to leave with him so he wouldn’t detonate the bombs. But once they got outside, Johnson arrived on his mission to finish Solotov. He fired before Swagger could stop him. To save Mary and Julie and everyone in the church, Swagger dove in front of Johnson’s bullet. Solotov helped the wounded Swagger into his SUV and stapled him up, announcing that they are bound together. “When I have what I need, Swagger, then you can die,” Solotov said. Meanwhile, Johnson got Julie and they armed up, preparing to go after Bob Lee, before it’s too late!