Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Life or Death - 98

[A somewhat dark episode. The actor playing Caleb Farmer will, in later episodes, play Tom, Mattie's father] Corporal Caleb Farmer received the death sentence for pre-meditatedly shooting a marine squad doing calisthenics, killing 3 and wounding three. Mac (M) voiced personal agreement with capital punishment and Chegwidden (C) assigned her the defense. Brumby (Brum) got the prosecution and was still "on the make" for M. H was trying to avoid Renee Peterson who was trying to snare him into "doing looping" for her recruiting commercial. Gunny (G) was a friend of Sgt Kryler, now a quadriplegic, and told M he hoped she lost her appeal. Farmer told M he had no excuses but said the squad had made his life hell, he'd asked for help but was turned down, was driven to drink and lost his mind. M told Bud (B) farmer was like a broken down one eyed cat, a bird killer- you loathed him but felt sorry for him at the same time. She found that Farmers previous attorney, then commander AJ Chegwidden, had not given adequate defense. Discouraged, M asked H to dinner but he told her he couldn't; so, Brum asked her. They saw Renee come in and M called her "Cecilia B DeMille" the "bitch director from hell." She cattily denigrated anyone who would date with her as a "whipped momma's boy who loves being dominated." Brum let her continue as he saw that it was H who walked in. She continued, "or a pot bellied sugar daddy financing her movie." When she said "or a mindless toy boy," Brum said "you're getting close." M looked then seemed a bit pissed at Brum. Renee had H overdub saying "pleasure" over the "privilege to serve" that he had originally said.

Farmer was given a new sentencing trial. Brum was recalled back to Australia, to help with peacekeeping in East Timor, and H was given the prosecution job. M tried to get him to agree to life in prison but he said they should let the jury decide. She asked to be taken off the case but C faced her down saying that she "wasn't at JAG to protect his (Cs) reputation." M showed that Farmer had 0.14% blood ETOH, that his platoon wanted him out of the service and harassed him, that he had sought help but the sociologist who saw him told him to "pretend he was a duck and let it roll off him," refusing to refer to a psychiatrist. Later, after arrest, a psychiatrist diagnosed a "marked personality disorder with paranoid tendencies." Farmer attempted suicide during the trial and M tried to get him to keep fighting. He couldn't give M even one witness for his defense. He asked M to be there for his execution and she agreed. Farmer asked to speak to the jury and promised that he would spend rest of life seeking redemption and hoping that "a man is more than just the worst thing he's ever done." C gave advice for closing arguments: to M- don't look at the widow, and to H- don't look at the defendant. Brum kept fishing for M to tell him she wanted him to come back to her, then kissed her. He told her that he kept after her because she didn't tell him to stop. The jury upheld the death sentence and Farmer called out for M to "remember her promise to him."

At Brums farewell party in McMurray's bar, Brum told H that he thought "he'd see him again." Singer offered H a drink and H told her to call him Harm, out of uniform. M kissed Brum goodbye and as he walked out B started the group singing "waltzing mathilda." [The closing scene was later used again as a memorial tribute to Trevor Goddard after his death.]

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Into the Breech - 97

[Renee Peterson was introduced to produce a recruiting commercial] Renee Peterson was hired to produce a recruiting commercial and was frustrated by being stuck with the "legal" aspect instead of something interesting. She ran around arrogantly abusing everyone at JAG, even Singer (S). Chegwidden (C) tried to give Harm (H) acting advice from his experience on the film "field of gold." He assigned H and Mac (M) to assist in a mock trial by cadets at Iron Force Naval academy where his friend Cmd Haglan worked. They were trying gunners mate Gregory Riordan, posthumously, for 29 counts of 1st degree murder when he blew up a gun turret to get even with his shipmates for hazing him. Original investigation believed he had filled his boda bag with accelerant and placed it in the turret. Billy played the part of Riordan and Luisa (and M) his defense council. Steve (and H) were prosecution. They found a real witness that would testify so Haglan said "lets have the trial that the Navy never had." Terence Connor testified that he had filled Riordan's boda bag with grease and saw him throw it overboard. H and M asked C to re-open the case. C said no and to just finish the case and get back to work. The kids said no, however, cause they didn't work for C. Steve, who was trying to hit on Louisa, chastised her for hanging out with "losers" like Billy. While chatting, H told M that he "missed out on being a kid, trying to be the man of the house, shoulda gone to a disco." M said "I know what you mean, I've seen you dance." M counseled Louisa to be "better than the men but don’t rub their noses in it. Think like a woman but act like a man."

Shepard Carmine testified that he saw a man come out of the turret with a bloody nose 15 minutes before the explosion. He sort of turned out to be a nut but Bud (B) checked sick bay records and found PO Michael Saunders had lied about how he got his bloody nose. Gunny (G) helped B find Saunders through his ex-wife, Kathy. H went to the tavern Saunders worked at and got him to admit he had thrown Riordan a blanket party and held him upside down by the ankles over the rail above the screw until he cried. Happy about the findings, Louisa hugged Billy and Steve beat up Billy in the restroom. Louisa advised Billy to report it and he declined saying he'd beat him in court. Billy remembered a letter written to Riordan by Kathy "with love," so M and H went to talk to Saunders "ex" again. This time she admitted that the two had been fighting over her and she had chosen Riordan. When he had died she was four months pregnant with her son, now named Greg Riordan after his father. H went back to Saunders and shamed him into testifying to prevent Greg from being embarrassed when he found out. C attended the final day of trial to correct any possible miscarriages. Saunders said he had gone into Riordan's turret and picket a fight over Kathy. While Riordan's back was turned he saw someone load an extra bag of propellant but didn't say anything about it. Riordan was acquitted in the mock trial and C said he would take care of the real case.

C had tried to help Renee with her commercial and, when she maligned most of the navy who were "were not exciting," gave a masterfully powerful speech about being "trained in the art of war, but the profession of peace." Paused and told him that he had "great presence, but it was too hokey and would never sell." She called B the Pillsbury Dough Boy then said that H almost works "if only he'd done something beside being a lawyer." When the case was over, C told H to report to the Washington Monument during "magic hour" to help Renee.