Occupation (2009): S01E02


Occupation is a three-part drama serial broadcast by BBC One in June 2009.

Three ex-servicemen return to Basra, each for a different reason.


Episode 2 begins in March 2004, four months after episode 1. Swift, promoted to Staff Sergeant and transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, is looking for Aliya by enquiring at her former hospital, where he meets Dr Sadiq Alasadi, a male doctor and influential local figure, who had been missing presumed dead in prison under Saddam Hussein’s rule. Having saved the American, Lester and Ferguson outfit, Pacific Solutions, has flourished, and they are looking to expand from simple escort protection of contractors, to organising the reconstruction projects as well, starting with Sadiq’s hospital. Reunited, Ferguson informs Swift that he knows where Aliya is, and while as a friend warns him against contacting her, as a businessman he says he will tell him, in exchange for putting a word in with Sadiq. He agrees, but on finding her working in another clinic she again refuses his advances and reveals she had been married all along. Swift, Ferguson and Lester meet Sadiq at the hospital, and once he learns of Swift’s earlier heroics, Paterson and Lester secure the contract. In the process, Swift learns that Sadiq is Aliya’s husband, to the amusement of Lester and Ferguson. On a further visit, Aliya rejects an offer from Swift to take her to England, even though conditions for her are worsening in Iraq.

Moving into August 2004, Yunis, an Iraqi translator working for Pacific solutions, who has befriended Hibbs, leaves the firm to set up his own pizzeria. While at his shop, Yunis is murdered by two Iraqi policeman for collaborating. Hibbs is off guard not expecting danger, as he trained the pair while he was in the Army. Hibbs, angry at the death, seeks revenge, but is persuaded not to act by Ferguson and Lester. Fearing he is having a breakdown, Ferguson arranges for Swift to take Hibbs back to England on his transport a week later, as he finishes his second tour.

A year later, Hibbs and Swift are back home, and it is around the time of the 07 July 2005 London bombings. Hibbs’ view of the Iraqi people has hardened, and he states he endorses the July attackers’ actions, if it makes his sister, who has constantly opposed the war, realise “what they are like”. Meanwhile, in Iraq, Pacific Solutions is expanding, and Ferguson and Lester enter a partnership with Western investors in Dubai, explaining how they cream money off the top of coalition reconstruction grants by inventing cost overruns. Swift’s wife has guessed that he had an affair and demands he leave the marital home. Hibbs, obsessed with Yunis’s death, returns to Iraq at Christmas, visits his wife and family, and gives them all his savings. On leaving their house, he is kidnapped by a militant group led by the two policeman he knows. The episode ends with Hibbs being forced to video a statement stating that he is a private contractor and he and the United States and British forces should not be in Iraq. Meanwhile, against the wishes of Lester, Ferguson and a colleague look for him in the streets of Basra.

Occupation Series

You can find a full index and overview of Occupation here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 17 June 2009.
  • Running Time: 180 minutes (total running time).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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