Tom Ryan
Portrayed by Robert Patrick
Rpatrick photo
Biographical information


Brigadier General Thomas R. Ryan




U.S. Army Colonel

Behind the scenes

First appearance

First Responders

Brigadier General Tom Ryan has the highest rank in The Unit.

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.

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"

During Season 1, Colonel Ryan is having an affair with Tiffy Gerhadt, but breaks that off before Season 2 and marries 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 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 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.

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 last episode Ryan accepts that he must leave The Unit having lost the trust of his men due to his affair with Tiffy and subterfuge with Sam McBride. Instead he accepts promotion to become a Brigadier-General.

In the course of the series he kills 8 people.

5th season storylineEdit

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.

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