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Risky business.

Byline: George Dickie Zap2it

Disbanded after Season 4, Section 20 is restored to track a notorious terrorist as the adrenaline-fueled Cinemax actioner "Strike Back" returns with a new cast and a new story arc.

Premiering with the first of 10 episodes on Friday, Feb. 2, the season opener wastes no time introducing the four new members of Section 20, a secretive branch of MI6 charged with executing high-risk missions around the world -- such as the one necessitated when a brutal prison break frees notorious terrorist Omair Idrisi (Don Hany) from Syrian authorities.

The new team consists of Sgt. Thomas "Mac" McAllister (Warren Brown), a member of the U.K.'s Special Air Service; Sgt. Sam Wyatt (Daniel MacPherson), a lone-wolf American soldier who was part of a task force in Europe; Lance Cpl. Gracie Novin (Alin Sumarwata, Hany's wife), a multiskilled engineer with the Australian Army; and Capt. Natalie Reynolds (Roxanne McKee), who excels at psychological profiling and identifying weaknesses in others while being blind to her own faults.

As they embark on a dangerous manhunt across Europe and the Middle East, they uncover a deadly conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm them all and change the face of warfare.

Sumarwata laughs as she explains why she embraced the role of Gracie Novin.

"She's probably the one who's least reluctant to be part of that Section 20 and she's kind of just all for it," Sumarwata says of her character. "But I think what it is, is like everyone, they're always looking for some way to really belong and feel like their services are used, and probably in her role in the Army, she probably felt -- especially being female as well -- there would have been challenges to fit in and kind of shine, I guess.

"And the thing about Section 20," she continues, "is it draws on everyone's specified skills and puts it together, and so I think that's what makes her feel excited to be part of that team, that her skills are actually really valued and honed in on. And of course, they get to do things out of the box, which is a big appeal to her."

And to the actors as well. Talk to just about anyone who has taken on the considerable physical demands of a "Strike Back" role and they'll laugh heartily, telling stories of the crazy stunts they've attempted on the show.

"We put our hands up very early on to do as much as we could ...," explains MacPherson, a former Ironman triathlete. "By the end of it, we were doing speedboat chases in Croatia and jumping off buildings and jumping off exploding boats in the Adriatic Sea. And these stunts are so ridiculous, and this job is so adrenaline-fueled and high-octane, that all you can do is look at each other and burst out laughing, because, hey, we survived."

* * *

"Strike Back"

New season premieres at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, on Cinemax

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Title Annotation:TimeOut
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jan 26, 2018
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