Sergeant Major Jonas Blane (United States Army, callsign: Snake Doctor) is a fictional character on the CBS television series The Unit. He is portrayed by Dennis Haysbert, and in most cases, he is the main protagonist in the series. He is presumed to be in his 40's and has a daughter named Betsy Blane and a wife named Molly Blane.
Blane is a former Ranger and Green Beret, leading Alpha Team of the 1st Special Actions Group (official cover as the "303rd Logistical Studies Group"). He and his wife, Molly, have one daughter. He is competent in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, and Persian.
Jonas is Alpha Team's Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. He is frequently referred to as Top by his team, and many members of his team try to do what he would do in any given situation.
During the series pilot of The Unit, Blane takes down a private jet with five terrorists on board, incurring the wrath of the FBI for violating the Posse Comitatus Act. However, Blane and his team are let off the hook. At the end of the 1st episode, when a mechanical speaking toy repeats an Arabic phrase, he pivots around and fires 2 rounds from his pistol into a bedroom mirror, a reaction presumably caused by stress. When the incident is uncovered, his wife states that she fired the rounds in an attempt to eliminate a rat.
In other episodes, Blane and his team recover a radioactive component of a Chinese satellite, rescue American missionaries in Indonesia, rescue the drug minister of Mexico, assassinate a terrorist financier in Spain, bug an Iranian official's car at their embassy in Beirut, recover seven Stinger missiles from Brazilian arms dealers, and the apprehend a Serbian war criminal in the Balkans.
Blane's wife, Molly, becomes the victim of con artists and loses the money of several other Army wives. She recovers some of the money and pays back the victims. She is unable to recover her own money though, and this causes tension between herself and Jonas. Molly urges Jonas to join a private military company in order to help their financial situation, but he states that he is not interested in a job as a mercenary.
While in the Balkans, the war criminal that Blane's team apprehends gets a good look at Blane. When the criminal escapes from UN custody, he tracks Blane back to Fort Griffith, the 303rd's headquarters. When Alpha Team leaves post to celebrate the marriage of unit commander Colonel Tom Ryan, the war criminal kills a few workers and injures Mrs. Ryan and Blane.
A few months later (during the second season), after being assigned to active duty once again, while in Pakistan, Blane and his team prevent the spread of weaponized smallpox by members of al-Qaeda. His team is also responsible for the downfall of the world's foremost illegal weapons dealer.
In the Season 4 episode "Sex Trade", in the midst of an operation to recover weapons-grade plutonium and a Russian arms dealer in Kosovo, Jonas encounters a prostitute named Dava to whom he promises to deliver from her owner if she'll aid him and the team in gathering intel on Petrov the arms dealer. After one unsuccesful attempt to conduct the transaction, they're given another opportunity which results in the teams procurement of the plutonium and the elmination of Petrov, but the prostitute was offered to Petrov in order to complete the transaction and she was taken over the Kosovo border before Jonas could intercept her. Leaving him with a heavy conscience after failing to keep his end of the bargain.
At the end of Season 4, Molly decides to live away from Jonas after he refuses to retire for her.
Temporary Dismantling of The UnitEdit
At the end of season 2, Blane is targeted by the Central Intelligence Agency due to unnamed crimes that he may have committed. These are mentioned to Bob Brown by a CIA handler who wishes to recruit Brown to the Agency. After returning from a mission in Cyprus, Blane and his team find that the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating Alpha Team, and has shut down the 303rd completely. After finding that the CIA is behind the investigation, Blane fakes his abduction and disappears to Panama City. His official duty status is "Missing" though in reality he is AWOL.
The Season 3 premier has him changing his appearance by shaving his head and growing a goatee (similar to Dennis Haysbert's famous character in the Major League series, Pedro Cerrano). Blane is found out by Brown who has him in sight through the scope of a sniper rifle. Brown is then surprised by a gun to his head by Charles Grey, who himself had gone AWOL upon the Unit being shut down. Grey brought Brown to Blane's boat where Brown insisted he was not trying to kill Blane, despite being caught by Grey in the compromising position he was in. Blane tests Brown by asking him to put a spoonful of rice cereal into his mouth and spit it out if he was not trying to kill him. Brown did this successfully and Jonas believed him, citing that when humans lie, saliva is not produced in enough quantity to spit out rice.
Blane, through his networked contacts, learned about how the Oil Minister of Venezuela was assassinated. Earlier in Season 2, Blane was ordered to kill the oil minister until Colonel Ryan had a change of heart after talking to a Congressman of another political party and realized it was a conspiracy by the big oil lobby to get rid of an actor in the oil market they could not control. Blane and his local CIA contact (whom he actually slept with to preserve his cover) were eventually found out and Blane barely got out of there alive. It was this contact that Blane sought to find out to figure out what happened to the Oil Minister, whom a Congressional Review panel believed was killed by Blane after watching some doctored security footage.
Shortly after Blane found the contact in her apartment, they were visited by a CIA assassin. They barely escaped and decided to link up with a CIA agent who was her contact. On the drive over to the agent's house, she revealed to Blane that there was a thermal imaging map she was supposed to obtain for the CIA. She told Blane that she informed the CIA that he was the one with the map so that they wouldn't kill her for knowing about it. She explained that she used him as the scapegoat because she felt the Unit was secure enough to not have the government go after it and told him that the location of the map was in a secure safe deposit box in Dallas. When they reached the agent's house, the CIA agent shot her and was then subsequently killed by Blane. Blane, assuming the agent's identity, doctored his passport and returned to the United States with the coffins of both bodies.
After returning Stateside, Blane knew he had to use a woman to pose as the girl to retrieve the map. He correctly deduced that Bob Brown's wife Kim was going to be in Texas staying with her parents and contacted her. As Kim went to retrieve the document while Blane waited outside, he was approached by a local police officer who suspected him of being a jewel thief. Blane gave the officer the doctored passport of the CIA agent he had killed as Kim was returning with the documents. When the officer found out the passport was a fake, he tried to take Blane into custody. Blane eventually struggled free before taking the document from Kim and driving off in Kim's car, making it look like he and Kim didn't know each other.
Blane later met up with Grey and Brown and figured out the map was of a location in the ocean off the coast of South America. When the three got there, Blane uncovered a CIA dump site of human bodies.
The Unit later found out that the bodies were of prisoners at the terrorist detention camp at Guantánamo Bay. A rogue group of CIA agents who had ties to the military-industrial complex had been illegally killing the terrorist prisoners and dumping them at this location. The Oil Minister had found out about the grave and thus the rogue group had put in motion the orders that eventually instructed The Unit to do its dirty work by assassinating the Oil Minister originally.
After rescuing Hector Williams and linking up with Colonel Tom Ryan, Blane and the rest of the Unit (without Mack Gerhardt, who was being tortured by the rogue CIA officers) devised a plan to get Mack returned safely. Ryan's wife, Charlotte Ryan, had links to important people in the military industrial complex who wanted to give Tom Ryan a good job and they used the opportunity to meet the man in person at a public dinner where he and the Unit ambushed the man. The two parties struck a deal, allowing the Unit to be reinstated and Mack Gerhardt returned safely in return for the Unit's silence about the grave.
In season 4 Jonas' daughter Betsy Blaine is captured in Iraq whilst serving as an army officer there. He leads a private mission to rescue her and succeeds in doing so. In the last few eps of the season Jonas foils a nuclear attack on Washington.
Jonas is Alpha Team's Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. He is frequently referred to as Top by his team, and the members of his team try to do what he would do in any given situation. However he is far from infallible and makes several mistakes during the course of the series. His sidearm of choice is a customized Colt 45 automatic but as an off-duty gun he uses a Smith&Wesson .380 pocket pistol. In tropical climates he wears a distinctive Australian slouch hat which he considers a lucky charm. He is a confidant of 2 different US Presidents who both use him for personal secret missions outside the normal chain of command. His hobbies seem to be collecting antique militaria and fishing. Outside of his teamates his best friend is Ron Cheals, a former member of the Unit who was crippled during a mission and forced into retirement. He is also a friend of Colonel Tom Ryan but this is stretched by Ryan's behaviour in the later seasons. His radio callsign is Snake Doctor which is Southern US slang for a dragonfly (based on the myth that they follow snakes around and heal their injuries). Years of continual combat have left Jonas with numerous injuries including 3 pieces of shrapnel close to the spine that would enable him to retire on full disability benefits should he wish to do so. He refuses to retire however or take up lucrative private security work contrary to his wife's wishes. Jonas' personality is of a hard taskmaster. He effortlessly commands the respect of his men and is extremely patriotic, pushing himself hardest of all. However this self centeredness sometimes alienates people outside The Unit in a detrimental manner. He is also very ruthless, never hesitating to kill in cold blood and nearly always putting the mission first. On three occasions he has tortured enemies for information by shooting them in the kneecap and slashing them in the face with a knife. In the course of the series Jonas kills at least 58 people. His medal ribbons include a Bronze Star and Purple Heart although there were presumably awarded before he joined The Unit who do not seem to receive decorations for their heroism. He also wears the Kuwait Liberation medal meaning that he began his military career as early at the late 1980s.
Season 5 storylineEdit
In the provisional storyline outlined by the writers for season 5 Jonas would begin an affair with fellow Unit member Bridget Sullivan. When she is killed on a mission mid-season the combat stress that affected him in the first episode resurfaces. Leaving Mack Gerhardt in charge of the team Jonas works through his feelings with the help of his daughter and father, both of whom also experience post traumatic stess disorder (his father also a soldier who earned the Silver Star during the Korean War), the storyline allowing the series to address the issue of the treatment of traumatised soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The series would end with Jonas reuniting with Molly and retiring from the army to help her in her real estate business. According to an interview executive producer Shawn Ryan gave to The Futon Critic "[David] Mamet and I and our writers, we came up with a lot of great stuff," Ryan said about his pitch to CBS executives for a potential fifth season. "It was going to be a whole new show in the sense that we were going to be training some young people, Bob was going to be training some people for a whole new organization. Jonas was finally going to be seeing his run end. The final season was going to be, I figured the fifth season was going to be the last... It was going to be a long, sort of final mission for Jonas. He's not medically cleared, Mac has to go in and sort of change the medical records so that Jonas can keep on [going on missions]. We had a whole thing planned, it was going to be good."