Commander Thomas “Tom” Chandler is a fictional character and the protagonist of the cable network TNT post-apocalyptic drama TV series The Last Ship. He is portrayed by Eric Dane.
The son of United States Army veteran Jed Chandler (Bill Smitrovich), Tom Chandler was raised in Virginia along with a brother and a sister. As a young man, Tom joined the United States Navy to piss off his father.
At an unknown point in time, he married a woman named Darien (Tracy Middendorf). They have a daughter, Ashley, and a son, Sam, and reside in Norfolk, Virginia, where his ship is homeported.
He speaks and reads fluent Russian, and has a book written by Admiral Konstantin Nikolajewitsch Ruskov (Ravil Isyanov) in his personal collection.
By 2014, Chandler held the rank of Commander in the United States Navy and was the Captain of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Nathan James (DDG-151). That year, he and his crew took on paleomicrobiologists Dr. Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra) and Dr. Quincy Tophet (Sam Spruell) as the Nathan James conducted operations at the Arctic. However, their mission, unknown to even them, was just a cover for Drs. Scott and Tophet, who were actually collecting samples of a deadly virus that has infected 80 percent of the human population while they have been at sea.
The first season revolves around finding and creating a cure for the virus (called the Red Flu by those on land) while staying ahead of the RFS Vyerni, a Russian Navy Kirov-class battlecruiser commanded by Admiral Ruskov, who were looking for the cure for themselves so they could become the new “owners” of the world. During a rescue operation undertaken near Jamaica, CDR Chandler and Tex Nolan (John Pyper-Ferguson), the private security/military contractor who joined the Nathan James at Guantanamo Bay, were lost at sea and then taken captive by Admiral Ruskov. The two of them were rescued by the Nathan James, and upon their escape, detonated a set of explosives left by the boarding party that ultimately sunk the Vyerni with all hands (save for Niels Sørensen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a Norwegian scientist held prisoner by Ruskov).
With the Russians defeated and a cure synthesized, the Nathan James makes port in Baltimore, Maryland, where they meet up with Amy Granderson (Alfre Woodard), the Vice Chair of the President’s Defense Policy Board and mother of one of Chandler’s officers, who claims to be the leader of what’s left of the United States government. As Chandler frantically searches for his family (who have traveled to Baltimore from Virginia to meet him), he learns that Granderson and her rogue Maryland State Troopers are killing the people infected with the virus and burning their bodies to power the city, intent that only the “proper” people survive to aid humanity. CDR Chandler finds his dad and his children and is able to cure them, but is too late to save his wife, who had succumbed to the virus just before he arrived.
With the Nathan James under siege by Granderson’s people, CDR Chandler and his few landlocked crewmembers take the fight to Granderson, teaming up with the underground resistance against Granderson led by Andrew Thorwald (Titus Welliver), a former Baltimore Police Department officer. Together, they were able to stop her, but Thorwald was killed in the attempt, and Granderson chose to commit suicide rather than be arrested by Chandler.
After liberating Baltimore, the ship returns home to Norfolk, where they cure the town and reunite with several teams of Navy pilots and SEALs and scattered remnants of other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and civilian medical and scientific experts. Although CDR Chandler planned to retire in order to take care of his family, his father convinced him that his place was on the Nathan James.
CDR Chandler and the Nathan James’s next opponents are a group of natural Immunes led by former Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Sean Ramsey (Brían F. O’Byrne), who have taken command of the Astute-class submarine HMS Achilles. The Immunes have also brainwashed the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jeffrey Michener (Mark Moses), who is the sole surviving member of the Cabinet of the United States & Presidential Line of Succession.
After the defeat of the Immunes and the successful creation of the “contagious cure” by Dr. Scott, the Nathan James is put into drydock in St. Louis, Missouri, where Michener is sworn in as President of the United States by a surviving judge. One of Michener’s first inaugural acts as President is to promote CDR Chandler to the position of Chief of Naval Operations.
As a Commander in the United States Navy, CDR Chandler carries a Beretta M9 in 9×19 as his personal sidearm; he also frequently uses the M4A1 carbine in 5.56×45mm. Over the course of the series, CDR Chandler has killed numerous times in the line of duty.
Awards and decorations Edit
The following are the medals and service awards fictionally worn by CDR Chandler.
- Surface Warfare insignia
- Command-at-Sea insignia
Medals & Ribbons Edit
- Legion of Merit
- Meritorious Service Medal, with one gold award star (2 awards)
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, with two gold award stars (3 awards)
- Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with two gold award stars (3 awards)
- Navy Unit Commendation, with two bronze service stars (3 awards)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation, with one bronze service star (2 awards)
- Navy “E” Ribbon, with three “E” devices (3 awards)
- Navy Expeditionary Medal
- National Defense Service Medal, with one bronze service star (2 awards)
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, with four bronze service stars (5 awards)
- Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
- Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal
The Last Ship (novel) Edit
CDR Chandler is loosely based on the captain, “Thomas” (whose full name is never revealed), of the United States Navy guided missile destroyer USS Nathan James (DDG-80) in the 1988 post-apocalyptic fiction novel, The Last Ship, written by William Brinkley.