Friday, December 12, 2003

A Merry Little Christmas - 193

[Again, so many fragments it's difficult to summarize, and all of them "soapbox" rather than action; but, an interesting episode, none-the-less, as long as it doesn't become their regular method. Harm and Mac, Turner and his dad, Harriet and Bud, Harm and Mattie, Chegwidden and Meredith, Coates and… well everyone. It is their Christmas show, after all.] Harm and Mattie were rebuilding a carburetor at Grace Aviation, and discussing what she needed to do at their upcoming custody hearing, when Harry Clark burst in the door and became abusive to Mattie. H bristled and grabbed him only to be told that he now owned the hanger and she had better be out in two days. Mattie had a birthday without telling H, and was now 15, and said she "did things my way." She applied for extension on bank loan but they refused when they found out she was running the business, and sold it at auction. The house is still hers, with a bank note. The guardian ad litem, Donna LeMoyne, came on as a shrew and caught H without a lot of specifics to his plans. She said he'd better be ready by the home inspection and needed someone to vouch for his suitability as a parent. H asked M to vouch for him. She reminded him of their 5-year deal; but, when she found out about Mattie, she bristled about him not telling her. He said he didn't think she was interested and she told him "that's the dumbest thing you've ever told me." He said he didn't want to argue "about us" and she shot back "there is no us!" He said "you made sure of that," and she: "you didn't fight me on it… I'm tired of you cutting me out of your life until you need something." He just got up and walked out saying "forget it. This is too important for you to screw up." Morgan Wattley, the home visit, found only beer and tofu in the fridge, no separate bedroom and alcohol bottles. H admitted he had firearms in the house (but locked up), was an F14 pilot (and intended to keep flying), had crashed (4 times), and was reading books about adolescent pathology (preparing for the worst to avoid surprises). Wattley called him "refreshingly candid." Mattie drove herself to Hs apartment saying that her dad, Tom Johnson, had showed up at the house and said he would fight H in court. Johnson told a sob story, had left Mattie with relatives, and got weepy in court but didn't convince the judge. Mattie got angry and said her name was "grace" not "Johnson like him." She said he was a drunk, had killed her mother and she would never live with him. H said that he had given his word to Mattie "that she would never be alone in this world again." M made a surprise visit to the court to testify and elucidated that H had previously: risked his life to protect the son of a fellow aviator (Josh, Kim Douglas), taken personal interest in child cases, taken a child witness into his home (Josh Pendry), and pulled strings to get medical attention for a traumatized girl (Dar-Lin Lewis) while he found her sisters killer. He is "the kind of man I'd want to be the father of my children, and without reservation he is up to the job." The judge didn't think either of them were the answer so ordered Mattie put in a foster home for 6 months while she made up her mind.

Harriett, still producing the Christmas USO show in Baghdad, had Varese Chestnut, a blues singer, snowbound in Reno and not able to get out. She told Bud that "next to raising the kids, this is the most important thing that I've ever done and I want your support." M suggested marine "extraction" from a nearby base. She made it out by snowcat and bumped into Sturgis Turner coming out of the elevator. T knew of her (very well) and told her of his favorite songs. She seemed interested in T as well and said she'd leave his name at the door of where she was performing the next night. He asked if is dad could come. Chaplain Matthew Turner, had been asked by Chegwidden to perform the Christmas Eve service. C also asked him to officiate at his upcoming wedding, May 14th in the Annapolis chapel. Chaplain asked about T and C told him that "he needs to stop expecting perfection" and the old Zito saying: "demand perfection of yourself and be dissatisfied, of others and always disappointed." His dad took a cab home, his idea, and T talked with Verese about both being raised by preachers and needing to be perfect. She said that her dad had waited for the right time then told her of the times he had "fallen from grace." She told him that he should ask his father the same thing and he shot back: "he never did" and quoted 'Soldier, scholar, horseman, he and all he did done perfectly as though he had but that one trait alone." "Yates," he said, "was thinking about my dad when he wrote that." She quoted Bessie Smith's song about all men eventually becoming like "an old worn out ford," and said "no man is perfect." She likes jazz because it starts out with set notes then goes wherever you want, always different, never perfect or meant to be and always in the process of becoming." He said he had been looking for someone like her for a long time.

Coates informed C of a parcel service accident in Italy which burned Meredith's present to a crisp. It was a personalized PDA, which Co said wasn't very personal and offered to help. She bought a Hermes scarf, channel #5, Portolano gloves, and louis Vitton wallet (things she had stolen in her youth). He told her to take them back and get another PDA on his credit card. When she did, and he looked at the PDA he told her to "go to plan C… and let me know the results." She told him how grateful she was to be at JAG and he said "you've got to quit being so damn grateful all the time… it gets rather tiresome. You're earning your keep, that's what matters. Stop thanking everyone." She gave him what she had come up with for a present: a poem about his various presents, their problems and how much he missed her. She had arranged for a member of the cast of Romeo and Juliet in Bolognia, where Meredith would be attending that night, to read it to her personally after the show. Stunned, all C could say was "damn." She asked if he was happy and he replied "for the first time in years."

All were in the chaplains church service, even Co who said she wasn't going to come. He advised that "there are many reasons to turn to God" (and the camera showed close-up's of the various people he was referring to as he said them). "Consolation, healing the brokenhearted, deliverance, liberating the bruised (showing Co, H & M) and guidance (showing T, and Mattie who took H's hand). "God has answers," he said, "if we are willing to listen; but often are lacking the ability to hear what he's saying… too busy in our lives, lost in our own misery, deaf to the sweet music there is. He give us forgiveness for ourselves and others (showing T, H & M again). After the service they all talked on the steps. Mattie asked H, "you won't forget me?" H said "are you kidding?" She went toward her dad in the truck who was going to take her to her foster home. M followed her to the truck and asked to speak to Johnson "one alcoholic to another." When Mikey wondered how the USO show was going, Co said "lets go find out."

All in Cs office, watching a live feed of the show, Ht said that it was the nicest present she'd ever gotten. They watched Verese sing her song and T watched lovingly. The chaplain said "don't miss your chance" and T replied "I don't intend to." Co told C that she had requested a live feed from the armed forces television and she was "afraid she used your name. And may have committed you to a few things, among them a Saturday morning call in show," then stepped back a few paces from him. H was at the Vietnam Wall later looking at his dad's name and Mattie appeared. M had brought her, after convincing Johnson to step aside. She said he had agreed to a full course of treatment and if he pulls it together, and if Mattie wants, they would see. "Until then I'm yours," Mattie said, then added, "you can hug me you know." H asked M to come with them but M said she had a date with Webb.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Pulse Rate - 192

[It looks as though they feel having several intertwined plots something that they need to do this year. There are at least four in this episode. It does have a "stinger" ending.] Seaman Duncan was electrocuted when the radar rig he was attempting to repair on the USS Gillcrist as turned on by PO Ferrier when she didn't see the "work order tag" on her console. Lt Jourgensen, information division officer, told Mac that any repair required three signatures: his, the lead interior comm tech and a "second man." He saw the tag on the console 10 minutes earlier. PO Demato, Duncan's partner, told Harm that there was no way they could tell if the power was off, they just had to trust that no one wanted them dead. When M asked PO Atwood, the "second man," why he just stood there and let Ferrier turn on the console if he knew they were making repairs, Atwood said he didn't know what she intended. Everyone, she said, had several things going on at once but no one had the job of watching the tagged console! PO Miles Yates, whose job it was to be at the console, gave many excuses of repair to other damaged equipment, and that the test wasn't supposed to have been started until 10:10 (not 8:30). H bent down and found the red tag inside the vent grate to the console (about 4 inches from the floor). They decided to call it accidental and were leaving when Atwood asked them to reconsider and tattled on Yates having done the same thing before 2 weeks prior. They decided to stay and interview people again. Demato said Yates wasn't popular and that Atwood was mouthy, and a blow hard. She had seen Atwood and Yates at each other's throats a few times. Atwood accusing Yates of being a slacker. Ferrier confessed she knew of the previous incident. Yates had left his console during a repair and Atwood found the tag on the floor. Not believing the too obvious coincidence M asked who would want to sabotage Yates. Ferrier said that no one would have to make him "look" like a slacker - he always left his station to go have smokes. A pack a day habit, 10 minutes per cigarette, you do the math. "He's absent more than he's there, and the enlisted are tired of covering for him." They caught Yates outside smoking. He said he "couldn't help it." M said they were reversing their decision; then, added that they were adding involuntary manslaughter to it. H wrinkled his nose with incredulity.

On board ship H told M that being there was "like old times," and "we should do it more often." He told M that he bet Clay didn't bring his work home with him. She said she thought they were going to travel light, leaving baggage behind. He said that he "left his baggage in Paraguay," and when she said she would respect his privacy about his "deep dark secret that he left stateside," he replied, not quite under his breath, well "there's a first." M tried to convince Bud of her heavy handed decision. "He's weak, and his lack of self discipline resulted in a fatality," she said. Chegwidden asked Coates if she would help plan his wedding. She agreed and demanded to do it gratis, as an honor. She talked to Meredith (who was on the phone to Italian professore Selvaggio) about the dress. Meredith called it a "parade float," and was stunned that there would need to be at least 12 groomsmen to be formal military at Annapolis. C said it looked like a cantaloupe blown up by a land mine; but, "if Meredith likes it." Co overwhelmed him with her checklist: best man, coed bridal shower, prenuptial agreements and honeymoon insurance. Then she tagged Meredith with menus and French food. Co told M that "they both were becoming uncooperative," and M advised her it was her job to "drag the admiral kicking and screaming if necessary into the connubial bliss that Meredith wants but is too afraid to ask for." "Married men live longer," she said. Asked for the same advice, H told her that someday she'd get married and "spend the equivalent of a house down payment on a party which her friends would attend out of obligation and she would awaken the next day in a champagne hangover and realize that she was stuck with this man for life." He said she would get the same advice from M and was surprised to hear that M had been "Nostalgic" like she "may have found who changed her mind." Eventually Meredith came to tell C that she didn't want to have a big wedding. C said neither did he and Co confessed that she "may have gotten carried away." Meredith also dropped the bombshell that she wanted Cs blessing to go away to Italy over Christmas. She had been invited to the University of Bolognia for Shakespearian drama.

Dupree, Mikey's room-mate, complained about not being able to escort his sister to the Thanksgiving ball because of his honor remediation. Mk offered to take her and he reluctantly agreed. He met Cassie over coffee and found she was pre-law and liked him as much as he liked her. Mk visited B who told him that he "wasn't always the most mature" and needed to focus on his studies. "No matter how much you want it, you can't have it all," B told him. Mk responded that he was 21 and to stop calling him "Mikey." Harriet, who was still planning the USO show, told him that she and B had to "bend the rules a bit" for their relationship and to "not let B convince you not to see her," besides, she told him, "that's not what B wants." When Dupree found them dating he flew off the handle and said "she's 18, if you were my friend, you wouldn't have gotten involved with her in the first place." Cassie came to find out what the problem with her brother was and Mk met her first. They kissed and were interrupted by an angry Dupree. She told him "if you don't lighten up on this big brother crap you can find yourself another sister." Dupree requested room reassignment but Mk told him that he had already broken up with his sister. "Now she's mad at both of us." Eventually Dupree brought his sister in her formal so they could go to the dance… as friends… taking it slow.

Mattie tried to contact H several time but didn't get through. Finally H called her. She asked if she would "slow his fast life down." He said "if we're going to be a family, you're going to have to stop doubting me, have a little faith." B and Ht had difficulties finding time for their family with their busy career's. Finally, someone in Baghdad told Ht that the tickets for the concert she was preparing should sell for $700 and asked that she call his wife and tell her he only wanted to be home for Christmas. They both left work for home.

H told C that M was going after Yates with a vengeance and he asked what problem she might have with a "nicotine addict." In Yates defense, H recounted that the CDC called nicotine more addictive than heroine or cocaine. M compared nicotine with chocolate or alcohol and said that it was possible to deny one's addictions for the greater good. She was pontificating grandiosely in court and H argued with her. When the judge called them on it, H commented that there was nothing more annoying than a reformed addict. They were at the bench when Yates collapsed to the floor, sweating. H found several nicotine patches on his chest. M told H that "your addict just OD'd," and "if he wants to impress me he'd quit cold turkey." H sniped, "like you did… twice!" Yates testified that Atwood had been "on his case since the fraternization." He said he had broken it off with Ferrier rapidly and stayed friends. M did follow-up on Ferrier and found she not only started the test early but wasn't even supposed to be on duty. "A woman scorned is a force of nature," and told H "you ought to know." H commented that you could "work side by side with someone and not know what they're thinking," then apologized and asked for a "truce." H pressured Ferrier on the stand that she was the only one with a motive and she admitted that Yates "was everything to me." She was there because she just wanted to see him; but, it was Atwood who had admitted to her that he had removed the tag so he could write Yates up and get him out of the way. He had threatened to hurt her if she told. Atwood confessed to M and she charged him. H told her that she proved her point: "how badly things turn out when co-workers cross lines." She said "it wouldn't have happened if they stayed good friends." So H asked her to get a bite to eat and she declined saying she had a date with Webb.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The Boast - 191

The SECNAV asked Chegwidden to get to the bottom of an accidental "confession" to a reporter of an Iraqi prisoner. Lance Corporal Pete Kelly told Ginny Serrano about shooting a prisoner in the head when she asked him the "million dollar question" (have you killed anybody) in a bar. Unfortunately, she didn't accept his retraction after he found she was a reporter; and she dug up an identical incident which happened in the compound to Omar Billah. Also, unfortunately, in Serrano's "yellow journalism" the only thing she needed to run the story is no-one telling her it couldn't have happened. Kelly didn't have an alibi for when the incident occurred, and of course she didn't either ask or believe anyone in the military because they would just "lie." Kelly told both Bud and Mac that he just made up the story because he was sick of people asking "the question." Captain Rappaport confirmed there was an incident in the compound which held 200 - 400 EPWs. He also said that although Kelly's whereabouts couldn't be confirmed, the security was in chaos with all the influx of surrendering prisoners. One prisoner had been found to still have a gun, and Billah had to be handcuffed because he was trying to incite a riot two hours before he was killed. The SECNAV then came to say he'd talked it over with the joint chiefs and they now no longer considered it a priority. He wanted no prosecution unless absolutely certain of the case, because they didn't want to provide propaganda the enemy could use. B said "yes" to prosecution, M said "not sure" but prosecution went forward and C assigned B to prosecute and M to defend. Coates helped get information on Serrano but Billah was a complete blank. Rappaport said that Billah had "spit in Kelly's face" before the incident; but, told M she would have to go "a lot higher up than me" if she wanted any info on Billah. She went to the SECNAV and asked what he was not telling her. He eventually agreed to "talk to the joint chiefs" about it. She told him to tell them that they would keep all the testimony secret, but that she "was not going to go away." Rappaport testified that Billah was NOT a prisoner, but rather an Iraqi exile planted as in informant by the CIA and Marine Corps intelligence. M said "then there were 400 men in the compound with good reason to kill Billah if they found out who he was."

Chegwidden took Harm to Los Angeles for the international military law conference; but, the SECNAV opinioned that C was just going to go to the Navy-Marine Corps all-star baseball game. During the game, the MC coaches son, Lt. Dave Phelps, was hit in the head unconscious by a "brush back pitch." The father, pressed charges against PO Crawford, the pitcher who, he claimed, deliberately threw at the back of Phelps' head, so he would back into it. C took it personally and went to talk to the father; but, couldn't convince him that it could have been an accident. C arranged to hold the hearing in his conference room and said that he would defend the pitcher. He left M in charge to decide who the opposing counsel would be. She was going to "dump it on Turner," but H said he would do it because "the boss set it up so everyone else was busy and she would have to choose me." She told him that "you just want to nail the admiral for keeping you out of the Navy for 3 months," but told him he could. The Navy coach said that Crawford had been recruited by the Yankees and red sox and had a 95 mph fast ball with good control. He denied telling him to hit the batter because doing so might have put the winning run on base. Crawford said the ball just got away from him and he would "never throw a fast ball at another man's head, even if he was a marine." Seaman Johnson, the catcher, told C that he "didn't know" and "didn't recall" when asked about the sign he gave. C threatened him with videotapes and Johnson said that their manager had given a direct order for a brush back pitch. When finding that out, the MC coach/father wanted to charge the navy coach and manager too. Phelps said "dad, you're kidding!"

In the trials: Rappaport said that Kelly's whereabouts were unaccounted for but he was first on the scene and had said "guess he won't be killing any more American's." Serrano said his "confession" had to be true because it was "too disgusting to make up" and that she hadn't talked to anyone in the military about it. She had also just been hired by the Times but denied that she would ever "print a story just to advance my career." Coates discovered that the incident where a prisoner was found to have a gun was only 2 weeks after the Billah killing and was Khaled Fadani, who had been in Billah's compound at the time. In spite of the fact witnesses saw the gun to be a 9mm Beretta and Billah was killed with a 9mm, the judge wouldn't allow further discovery (?!!). M asked Kelly, on the stand, if he'd killed anyone. He initially refused to answer then told about his run through "ambush alley" where his buddies were killed. The question, he said, makes you "feel creepy" and sometimes when asked, he just made things up to make "them feel creepy too." He denied killing Billah because it would show disrespect to the memory of his fellow marines. The jury found him NOT guilty.

Phelps said that his first time at bat he had gotten a single to left field. Then, when the next batter hit a slow line drive to second, he had charged and cleated the shortstop in order to disable him for the double play. He saw Crawford stare at him and point for a long time so he "knew he would try something." C asked him if he thought that he should be court-martialed for spiking the shortstop. The coach said Crawford hadn't given up a single walk, which H opined was "perfect control." The coach blurted that "you can't prove it," and "anyway it's part of baseball." Crawford said he aimed in front of Phelps' chest, as a brush-back, to set up the next pitch, a curve ball low and away. He didn't hit Phelps on purpose. The previous game the manager had asked him to throw at the hitter, but he didn't do it. Afterwards, he had been told to follow orders and that in order to be in the big leagues he had to be "tougher." H closed with: "we can't allow this kind of thuggery to go unpunished just because it's done in the name of sports. C said: "It's different in baseball (from hockey and racing). You wear a helmet and even little leaguers know they might be hit, which is implied consent. Famous pitchers all used inside pitches. Don't let lawyers kill baseball." The judge concluded: "the line between criminal assault and unfortunate, though predictable, sports accidents, is too thin to be resolved in court martial. No further action."

H took three pizzas to Mattie, because he didn't know what kind she liked. She told him to bring Pepperoni next time. He had set up a hearing in juvenile court, in three weeks, to try and make her his ward. He used the Batman and Robin analogy to explain the definition of ward. She asked him: "what do you get out of this?" He replied, "you." — Phelps had to tell his dad that "enough was enough" and there would be no further appeals. — Bud told M that, based on her actions in court, she was probably asked the "million dollar question" a lot too. She replied: "yes, and I never tell the truth!"

Friday, November 14, 2003

Posse Comitatus - 190

[A bit of an unrealistic premise and plot line. Not as strong an episode as customary JAG standards.] Sheriff Brad Driskell and deputy's, of Yuma Arizona, were pinned down behind their squad cars, adjacent to a barn where bachelor farmer Barclay Cale was shooting at them with an automatic rifle and armor piercing ammunition. A deputy was mortally wounded on the ground and another was tied up as hostage in the loft with Cale. Driskell had called for "backup" but was still hunkering behind the cars when a "super cobra" appeared and hovered just outside the barn. Cale fired again and Maj Tuney "took him out" causing beams to collapse crushing Linda Foyo, the deputy. Driskell flew into a tantrum and Tuney was eventually charged with violating the "Posse Comitatus" act which precludes military from participating in civilian law enforcement (except in very specific cases). Harm and Mac went to investigate. Lt. Col Pittman said Tuney had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was their best trainer. He said that Tuney had noticed the sheriff's action, a wounded officer on the ground and thought he could "medivac" the wounded. He called for permission to engage but was told to "hold his position" for further orders. When Cale "fired on him" he thought a shell might bring him down on the people below so he "shot back." To Ms incredulity, he responded that he "would never order a pilot to 'hold his fire' when he was being fired upon." Cale was being arrested for property tax evasion, having lost his farm to the bank. Tuney said he had seen Cale training his gun on the deputy and another on the ground bleeding; so, when he was shot at with armor piercing rounds, and with his co-pilots agreement, he shot "a microburst at a steep angle, so as not to hit the deputy." He had tried to contact the sheriff, but was told by the dispatcher that she had been ordered "not to put me through." The sheriff was a pissy know-it-all with a chip on his shoulder who claimed that he "didn't need or want help," he was "still negotiating," and "didn't need another trigger happy yahoo to deal with." M found that Tuney had a similar incident two years previously at another command. He "helped" the San Diego police who were chasing a felon up the wrong lane of a freeway. Tuney had brought his helicopter down in front of the criminal, but instead of stopping he drove off the freeway and into someone's back yard. "I took actions to save lives," Tuney told them, "if that's illegal, lock me up."

Harriet was asked to help produce the Christmas USO show in Bagdad with Garth Brooks. Bud was appointed Hearing Officer for Lt. Cdr Justin Bentley, a doctor whose training had been paid for by the Navy and who now, that his unit was being called up to Iraq, wanted out on "contentious objector" status. Bud saw a whole wall full of military photos on the wall of Bentley's private practice office full of the latest technology. Bentley claimed that he had "been overwhelmed with guilt" all during the last 6 years (the navy had been paying for) but joined the Quakers when he married this last year. He told B the photos were "for his patients" (who were mostly military and dependents) so B asked if he would take down the photos after he was discharged and he replied "yes." Turner, assigned to defend, went to Bentley's church meeting then asked C for reassignment. C's disbelief was met with "when I look at my father (50 year navy chaplain) I see his faith, but I don't see that in Bentley." C asked if Ts father knew he was turning his back on religion and T said he would defend Bentley but didn't respect him, then left. T called and asked his father for help. C stopped in to "say hello" and asked the chaplain if he had any "words of wisdom for me." The Chaplain said "Absolutely. Treat my son well and you'll be rewarded in heaven." He asked C if he needed help to straighten T out. C said "I think he is straight enough." T jokingly asked if he should leave "so you can talk about me," and C pondered and said down his nose "if you don't mind." T called his father as a witness at the hearing and the chaplain said that he was convinced of Bentley's sincerity. T asked about "finding God," and his fathers answer was subtly directed at T. Bud, as hearing officer, asked about the chaplains 50 year service despite disagreement with war. The chaplain said that he "found honor in providing solace to those who fought and comfort to the wounded and dying." B told Bentley that he was not impressed that he'd done anything to convince anyone that he was a pacifist and asked why he couldn't serve in a non-combat situation. Bentley said he didn't want to be connected in any way with the military and "wanted to serve God, nothing else matters." At a restaurant, T told his dad that "people have a way of letting you down." His dad asked if it was about congresswoman Latham and T said that was ancient history. He claimed that it "was in my nature to do my best… but my friends, coworkers…" then told him of his pending charges. He said that even though he had joined the navy when "we were called colored" and tolerated bigotry, he was accused of racial bias against Koreans. His dad asked "is it true?" and T answered "I don't know." "Then it's about you not your friends. T said that "I am so far away from what I wanted to be in my life that I don't even recognize myself." His dad told him that he needed to recognize he was imperfect and "move on. You’ve got to learn how to bend before you break."

H and M were hotly discussing the posse comitatus act, when M said "you love this. I know why you came back. You need JAG as much as JAG needs you." H asked, "what about you? Are you glad to have me back?" The phone rang before M had to answer. The Tuney case went to hearing and the sheriff acted his arrogant self claiming that he didn't ask or want help. He had been a marine for four years. No mention about what part his arrogance or stonewalling had played in the incident was made. The deputy claimed that she knew Cale from childhood and once the helicopter had shown up had been able to talk him into dropping his weapon. H got her to admit that no one else knew about it and Tuney had reason to believe otherwise.

The conclusions: Bud decided that he "wasn't sure he was right but couldn't prove that Bentley was wrong." So he said he was recommending to let him out; but added that "since you want complete separation" he would take away his "participating provider" status from navy medicine. Bentley then started arguing that it would bankrupt him, he would loose his practice etc. T saw the benefit of Bs decision and told Bentley "it seems consistent with your beliefs." B offered that "sometimes faith carries a high price." After Bentley left, B told T that "for awhile there I thought he might be for real." T replied, "never put your faith in people, you will always be disappointed." The judge told Tuney that it was "becoming difficult to distinguish between an act of terrorism worthy of military response and a criminal act better suited for police jurisdiction." He was recommending no action. But, when Tuney was telling H thanks, his CO informed him that the wing commander had transferred him out of the squad pending a FENAB to evaluate his flying status. M asked him if it was worth it. Tuney replied "yes, I'd do it again."

Friday, November 7, 2003

Close Quarters - 189

[A odd little episode where Chegwidden acts like a pompous ass, Turner an uncertain patsy and the plot is barely believable. A lot of 'parallel play' fragments the storyline making the synopsis difficult] In the sea of Japan Cdr Joyner's sub, USS Cathedral City, rescued North Korean sailors when they were spying on South Korea and their minisub sunk on a reef. Chegwidden sent Turner to "see what's up" and decide if the spies are "combatants or survivors." C also told him to "come back with a new attitude." Unfortunately an arrogant intel officer, Lt. Ye, was also dispatched to conduct intelligence interviews and interpret. Without provocation, he immediately bristled and tried to put T "in his place" during the plane ride over to the sub. Ye said something to the prisoners and they all began yelling. T tried to interview the Korean captain but he refused to leave his men. T decided to ask questions right there and Ye tried to back him down, saying, "that's not the way it's done." Carefully considering their options, T calmly replied, "it is now." Ye began embellishing the questions, provoking an angry outburst. When T calmly challenged it, Ye said that he had asked about surveillance equipment and advised they would salvage the ship when the Korean yelled that the Americans had run them aground. T told them they might not be allowed back to their country, and Six sailors were happy because they wanted to defect. They had to split the group (neither of who would talk), so the crew had to give up even more of their birthing space. Ye became more openly smart mouthed to T, so T asked "do I annoy you?" The arrogant creep, turned it back on T as having offended him! T said whatever it was, wasn't intentional - but the toe-rag snotted back: "I think it was." T attempted to know him better and found that he had grown up in Los Angeles, and his father had become reclusive after being shot in a liquor store robbery. Just then Joyner announced that the Koreans were to be picked and taken to Japan. However, before they were one Korean was found unconscious in a head. T reprimanded the crew who were bad-mouthing the man. The ships corpsman used his "cookbooks" and came up with the diagnosis of SARS (?!) The entire ship had to wear "gas masks" and scrub down the entire surfaces of the boat, along with surfacing and exchanging air. Joyner Pontificated that "every molecule on the boat was suspect" but that they couldn't wear the masks for long, or it would "give them a headache and their brain would cease to function properly" [good grief, Dana. Where did you come up with this?] Then the Korean captain refused to remove his mask, saying it still wasn't safe (even though none of the Americans were still wearing them), and T asked the chief to remove the mans mask because "there brain would be affected, and they wouldn’t be able to question him." The chief tricked the man and took it off, and Ye belittled him for wanting to "feel superior." T said he didn't see that in the chief and Ye stormed off. With the SARS diagnosis, Japan wouldn't let them land so they were being diverted to Dutch Harbor, 7 days away.

Harm returned to JAG and was given the "cold shoulder" by everyone. He got T's old office with a dead rat in the wall and a stench. He met Terrance Minnerly, a one-armed, black seaman from 1942 - 45, in a pharmacy buying blood pressure pills. H befriended him and opened the pill bottle which he said he had been out of for 4 days. Police came and arrested Minnerly because the receptionist for the HMO across the street said she had been robbed. H told Mac that he was helping Minnerly, who had tried for four days to get his HMO to correct a mistake they were making but had been given the run-around. He'd been evicted for not being able to pay his rent and was sleeping at the shelter. When he went personally to the HMO offices the receptionist became obstructionistic and refused to let him see anyone. When she threatened him with security, he stuck his finger in his coat and demanded her purse. He only took enough for his pills but she called security. M advised H that he better not take the case because he had too much work to do reviewing 27 Imes cases, two times as many as the others. Coates came and gave him 6 more "singer" cases from C. H had already let Minnerly stay in his apartment. The public defender came to JAG and dumped the case back to H because Minnerly's disability was $137 above the poverty line. Bud refused to help H, first claiming that he had too many cases to review; then, when he had to tell H he had two, he let slip that he would "If I was allowed to." He said that "no one else could either." H asked if he was being "punished," and B said "consider it a hazing." He went with hat in hand to M, but she just mocked him for poor time management, until H just started to walk out saying "I'm sorry to have wasted your time." She relented and said she would meet with Minnerly "just to see" and H brought him into the room, introducing her as his new lawyer. She told H she had changed her mind because "if you were me you would have said 'yes' and I'm overwhelmed." M talked to Minnerly and C had to interrupt her because she was late for a sentencing hearing. She just left Minnerly in her office. When H returned, Minnerly was with C.

Back on the sub, T thought Japan's refusal was "overkill" for just a corpsman's diagnosis out of a book. The corpsman he had a microscope but no "virus matching software" (huh?). T offered to be "point man" on making the slides and transmitting them to the mainland via the internet connection the ship had. The Korean captain continued to be upset and Ye accused the chief of "assaulting" the man. Another crewman was "unconscious" and the chief had thought he was just sleeping. The Korean began screaming and smashed some electronic equipment with a fire extinguisher (they were being kept in the torpedo room!!) and had to be subdues. So now, even more birthing was taken up by the Koreans and the captain asked T if he could put the four (non-defectors) into a raft and set them adrift after notifying the Koreans where they were. T said no and the Capt. retorted "who is going to protect my crew, and don't tell me God." T asked "you were under the impression that I would?" and the Capt. said "you look like a pious man." T replied "less and less." The captain said there was no more room and he would have to secure the saboteur to his rack. Ye then got in the Captains face over "inhumane" treatment. T agreed with the Capt. and said it was "strange talk from an intel officer." Ye smart-mouthed back, "keep working those cliché's." T asked "who are you representing here" and Ye claimed "his country" and that he could "do it without penalizing these men for being who they are." Finally T responded that he "resented the implication," but Ye snapped "doesn't surprise me." Trying to help the Capt. T asked "what about sedation" and Ye snapped back "great, treat him like an animal." The Capt. stood them down saying "no need to make this personal." The Capt. decided on sedation; but the lab came back that there was no SARS - it was "just a nasty flu" (right, that rendered two victims unconscious!) Ye told T "good for you, sir" and T calmly replied that it "was too bad they couldn't have gotten along better." True to his arrogant, chip on his shoulder, character, Ye responded "do you know how that could have been avoided?" T said he didn't and, instead of an intelligent conversation, Ye just smirked his adolescent snarl and said "that's too bad." T merely said "I won't argue the point" and dismissed him, after asking "was the man who robbed and shot your father black?" Ye said yes.

H called Mattie to see if Mrs. Del-Mucci was stopping by to check on her. Mattie whined that she had been given two dresses, a grammar text and a bean casserole. H responded that she was a good neighbor to have but Mattie just bellyached that she "couldn't get past the hairs on her cheek." H said that her father still being alive complicated guardianship and he would see her when "I can see over my desk." He told her that he wasn't going to abandon her. Playing the jerk, C asked H and M into his office and whined "why wasn't I informed" about Minnerly. He grandiosely pontificated about the navy's "Great Lakes Experiment" where president Roosevelt had recruited thousands of black men and placed them in supportive roles. Minnerly said that "at the time it was an honor" and many barriers were broken. He was stationed in the band at Treasure Island in San Francisco. He had played the piano - until he lost his arm in an accident two weeks after his discharge. C said that he had contacted the commonwealth attorney, who he knew in law school, and got him to agree to drop the charges for an anger management class. After Minnerly left, he chastised H for not being on "top of this… I thought better of you… aren't you the man who does what it takes to get the job done?" More calmly and respectfully than most would have been, H merely said he had the "impression that man was unwelcome in this office." C responded: "not entirely." H asked "what is expected of me? Am I to prove myself, or be myself." C looked down his nose and said "do what you do." H said it was difficult under the work load, and C smirked as he told him to give Singer's cases to M. Turner came back with the "flu" (why wasn't he unconscious too?) C told him to go home so he didn't spread it around, then informed him that Ye had filed a complaint against him through the chief of naval intelligence. He asked T if it was true and T said no. "Then that's good enough for me," C said but asked T if he "ever got angry?" T wanted to know why and C said "if you think you've been falsely accused why don't you get pissed off?" T wrung his hands and simpered he had been doing "introspection" and he "might have handled it better." C shook his head that T seemed to be buying into the accusations, then tried to introduce T to Minnerly. T declined because he was sick and said "when I'm more worthy, sir." (?!)

Friday, October 31, 2003

Back in the Saddle - 188

[Another 'life changing episode,' removing a character, adding another and nobody seems too happy.] Commander Carolyn Imes was prosecuting Petty Officer Lawson for neglecting his assigned gun mount maintenance and causing injury to three sailors when MPs stormed the court room, ostensibly under Chegwidden's orders, and arrested her. In line for a new security clearance a background check revealed that she had changed her name to a recently deceased member of the Michigan bar, requested a duplicate certificate, and claimed she had passed the bar on her JAG application - instead of having missed it by one point. C ordered all her defended cases to be reversed - needing re-evaluation for re-trial. Mac pointed out that Harm had been the prosecutor in 27 of the cases so he could be helpful. C said "expedite all you want, get it done by end of the week." Turner said he "almost missed Rabb" when he was assigned to prosecute Imes; because he "used to take most of the heat." Imes told M, her defense, that she "didn't think it would matter." The UCMJ just said "graduate OR member of state bar" and she was accepted in '88, three years before JAG reg's clarified that the bar was mandatory. She tried to beat M at her sad "I've fought up from nothing" life; but, M won. Imes said she had 14 years of outstanding fitness reports and wanted a trial so she wouldn't have a record for civilian life. M went to Harm's apartment to ask for help because she had "left 17 messages in 5 months." He told her "I thought we'd done our talking, you made that clear." She didn't engage his combativeness and he was surprised that her boyfriend Webb hadn't told her that he'd been fired from the CIA because of the press coverage in the previous episode. Even though he had flown 37 missions in 6 months, the TV cost him his job and he said he "was done with government work"! H said he'd "beat Imes 6 times running" and M left the records for him to review.

Catherine Gayle came for "advice," she was pregnant. She claimed that M had given her a "get away from my man" look, probably because H had hinted that they had gone through a "marriage ceremony" at the bedside of her dying mother. Her mother rallied and was now in a care center, but she hadn't been told about either the "marriage" or the pregnancy. H went to visit Gayle's mother and was surprised to be told "It's too bad you're not in love with my daughter." She had known about the charade all along but didn't want to prevent Catherine's chance for a kindness. She also recognized the pregnancy and H told her that "he was told" he didn't have anything to do with it. H proposed that they "give it a shot, and see what happens," to Gayle. She told him that he was "too high risk" and to call her when he really knew what he wanted. H went to Blacksburg to take a flight in "Sara," his Stearman, and found that "Pop's Grahowsky" had sold out to "Grace Aviation" run by Mathilda (Mattie) Grace a 14-year-old. Mattie latched on to H, helped him change spark plugs, told him they had something in common by being given "goofy names," and offered him a job crop dusting for $300 per day. She followed him to the field in her truck, with an arrangement with the local sheriff, and told him that he was a good flyer for avoiding a tree.

T told M she was "crazy" for wanting to go to trial and that he would "expect that from Rabb but not you," because she usually took the conservative, safe route. Stunned, she asked him to "list my other faults" and he called her "sanctimonious and a bit of a prig." She asked, "where did that come from," and he responded "It's been building for awhile now," and walked out. She asked Bud if he thought she took the narrow view? He said, "no." Find me sanctimonious? - no maam; priggish? - no maam; would you tell me if you did? - no maam. She told B that she was "failing to communicate" with C; he told her they were doing great, "the admiral yells at me and I say I'm sorry." H came to JAG to go over cases and coolly deflected Ts offer of a beer. Coates offered to inform C, but H said "don’t bother I've nothing to say to the admiral" then saw C, who was behind him, just walk away. He told M and B that he was busy, this was a favor, and let's "get on with it." Coates tried to take H's part with C, and the admiral told her to mind her own business. Then, when she told him she was still trying to "define her job" he asked "did you just try to 'handle' me?" And told her she was "parsing the truth like a lawyer." M also tried to take Hs part with C and was told she was "so pathetic and transparent. He's done here. Don't sing his praises cause they fall on deaf ears." On Ms exit, Coates told her "when someone's that angry, you know they're hurting inside"; and, of course, C was standing behind her. When Coates, yet again, told him to "go talk to him," C read her the riot act and said he wasn't interested in her opinion or what she had to say. "Don't say it," he yelled, "even if you wanted to call me 'unreasonable,' or 'pig headed,' or 'unfair'." She said "I don't need to, because you already know it." In her face he told her "people don’t like to be 'handled,' so if you do it you better be damn sure you are right… as you are this time," and he left to go see H.

"Mr. Rabb" was called to testify to Imes' character. T was hateful in the trial and even tried to make H look foolish. He even claimed her "so help me God" oath meant that she had lied to her god; but, H resisted, until asked if he considered breaking the oath "conduct unbecoming." H had to reply "yes." C appeared at Grace Aviation to talk to H, which made Mattie unhappy. "Is this bald guy the jerk who fired you?" she asked. Going "Dutch treat" to a bar, C said "apparently there's more to say"; then, when H was being flippant, called him "annoying." H said "yes and 'not a team player' and 'controlled by my emotions' as well," (using C own words when he fired him). C said he would ask the SECNAV to reinstate his commission "under the right circumstances." H said he was listening and C continued: "Stop acting like Peter Pan who wants to fly and never grow up. You'll not have the life you want until you take responsibility for your actions - at work, with women, or any facet." Seeing H shake his head, C just got up and said "let me know. Come back, we'll start fresh" and walked out. Imes was found guilty of conduct unbecoming but only given a discharge, not brig time. Mattie was upset at hearing H was going to go back to JAG. When he wanted to comfort her, she said "I don't know you well enough to let you see me cry." She then said she had lied about her dad, that he had really been drunk the night her mother died in their car crash, and that he had abandoned her. She was living in the house bequeathed to her by her mother, and was making payments by running the business. H advised that she would eventually be found out, and said that he would: call her every day, see her every week, find a neighbor to check in on her, talk to the court about becoming her guardian and get her into school. He took her flying to seal the deal. [closing credits were to 'soaring' music instead of the JAG theme]

Friday, October 24, 2003

Touchdown - 187

[Very interesting follow-up to previous episode showing the degradation of the Sturgis Turner character. Harm and Mac still were in parallel stories requiring "flip-flops" which made the plot complicated. Harms story was based upon an actual landing of a C-130 on the USS Forestall by Lt James H Flatley and Lcdr W. W. "Smokey" Stovall on October 30th 1963] Still flying for the CIA, Harm and Cdr Beth O'Neil were assigned by Blaisdell to "extract" Saed Labdouni, the highest level "asset" in Libya. He had information of government involvement in the Lockerbie plane crash. The only plane available was a C-130 transport and there was no backup or contingency plan. H was told he was the "lead" this time, and had to fly down at 200 feet to avoid Russian tracking. He had to turn off his radar to avoid detection and fly "visually" in the dark. At rendezvous one of the nav satellites went out making his GPS inaccurate so he had to turn and make another run before he found the signal. On landing he found that Labdouni had brought his wife, Aziza, mother-in-law, Ismitta and cousin Fadil with his family. Telling him that extra passengers weren't authorized, they were fired on by machine-gun wielding jeeps so had to board fast. Unfortunately they were shot at during take off and engine #1 began to flame. Instead of "blowing it," O'Neil insisted on shutting it down, in case they needed it later; H complied and told her that she was "lucky this time." Just then, they were attacked by a Russian MIG. Not being able to out run it, H had to drop flares to avoid a missile. They didn't avoid his gun fire however; so, at the last minute, he positioned next to a mountain, and mass fired all his flares at once just at the time of "pull up." The MIG pilot, using night vision enhancement, was unexpectedly blinded, and crashed into the mountain. Now engine #2 was loosing oil so needed to be shut down or "freeze up." They then restarted #1 and luckily it didn't start fire. H had to "fight" the plane knowing that they couldn't abandon because of all the extra passengers, including children, who didn't have parachutes. H asked Blaisdell the coordinates of the Seahawk, and to get help with the captain, from Washington.

Sturgis Turner was assigned the capital prosecution of seaman Weston for treason after trying to kill his fellow soldiers as a secret member of an al Qaeda cell. He flailed at Bud for not noticing that the Xerox machine had missed page three of a document. B offered to withdraw, saying he knew the only reason he was second, was because of Chegwidden's insistence. He further pissed off T by observing that the case was a "slam dunk." Mac was assigned the defense but didn't have her heart in it. Weston claimed that he was innocent. He kept a low profile on his religion (wasn't hiding it) for fear of prejudice; the email to his cousin from his base in Bahrain, about it being "easy to kill soldiers in the chow hall" was merely a comment on the laxity of security; and, the "confession" of a prisoner implicating him, was a "complete lie." M reviewed the interrogation tapes where Sabet admitted that he had met with Weston three times and had been asked for Sarin nerve gas to release in the chow hall on Friday where over 100 men would be killed. M noticed a trigger device in the interrogator, Abu Kamel's, hand and demanded to talk to him. Kamel was a haughty, arrogant man, glib about all the equipment the American's had bought him. He gloated in the 50,000 volt stun belt that he used and said that it was "better than the older method." He bragged that "we in the middle east have been dealing with terrorists longer than the US" and that "you will come around to our ways." M seemed to only argue the morality issue, not the "finding the real truth" issue, and T told Bud that his opinions were irrelevant. Chegwidden had to defuse the argument and told them that he was bringing Imes back from Europe to replace H. Before the hearing M argued to suppress Sabet's testimony on moral grounds, T cited previous allowed torture testimony but got flummoxed at the judges questions. B bailed him out with logical responses. The judge said that he did believed Sabet's testimony would be under threat of torture, but it wasn't from the US so he would allow the members (jury) to decide for themselves of its truthfulness. M didn't seem upset with the ruling, said "I thought I had you there," and "now I'm stuck defending him." She complimented B, so did T except with "you had my back, unlike last time."

M, trying to calm Weston down, said she could bring witnesses to show his testimony can't be trusted. Weston replied, "I shouldn't have trusted him either." Then he whined that "they'll kill me," and M said "I guess since you just confessed to me, you can't complain." He pontificated that his only complaint would be that he "couldn't do anything useful before I got caught." He went into a diatribe about "his peoples" oppression of slavery and "his prophets work." He wanted to cop a plea to guilty to avoid the death penalty because he "didn’t want to die, could do the prophet's work in prison, and be alive when the great American Empire is destroyed." M merely, disgustedly, said "who ever taught you to hate like that should be in prison too." She tried to get T to deal but he refused. She got into it with him in the hall asking him "what's the matter with you? last week you wanted to throw a guy in the brig for refusing to kill a 10 year old boy, now you're being hard nosed to point of absurdity." They were intercepted by C, into his office. M continued - you support torture even though you wouldn't do it, then you want to electrocute him, even though you wouldn't pull the switch." T told her, "I see no contradiction in that." C agreed with T in the presence of M, then excused her to talk to T. He told T that "you've been under stress since your conduct unbecoming case. You may be trying too hard to prove yourself all over again." T said, "I don't see it." C said, "Well I do, you don't have to prove yourself to me." Regarding the plea bargain, he pointed out that, even though he would like to see him executed as well, T should consider the possibility that M would win - and he should "make the best choice." T went immediately to M and accepted the offer, to her puzzlement.

The joint chiefs flash messaged Capt Johnson of the Seahawk to provide all feasible assistance. C-130 doesn't have tail hook, 3 times bigger than any previous landing plane, wings so big all aircraft needed moving in less than 25 minutes. O'Neil guessed at a "lens angle of 4.0, more or less," H presented it with certainty to the Captain. The Seahawk shot off all excess planes, moved all others so their tails were off the deck, reset the lens to 4, removed the landing wires so the nose gear wouldn't get caught, and couldn't put up barriers because the cable might hit the cockpit. O'Neil gave their only three life preservers to the kids. Then they realized there was a hydraulic failure so they had no brakes. They dumped all but 1000# fuel to slow approach and would reverse engines at the threshold. The captain told them that there was only 3 knot's of headwind and the ship could only give them 45 knot's with speed. H told him to give them all they've got and the Captain demanded to know what was going on. H told him their predicament and that they would use "reverse thrust at threshold and a stiff headwind." They dumped more fuel as they got closer then found that their landing gear wouldn't go down. O'Neil had Labdoni manually crank down the wheel. There was no lock on the gear until after they had already gotten so close that they engaged flaps. When throttling back on their only two good engines, one engine flamed out. They hit the deck with screeches taking them to where their nose was off the end of the ship before they stopped. H got out first and helped everyone down, he was carrying a child when the CNN reporter shoved a camera in his face, (not good for a CIA spook)!

Friday, October 17, 2003

The One That Got Away - 186

[An interesting double story, where Harm and Mac do their own thing; but, one story's credibility breaks down at the end.] Force Recon Sergeant Christopher A Ambrose was with his squad in Iraq destroying some fiber optic cable when they were attacked by the Iraqi army. During the battle his life was saved from a close explosion by his ruck sack and radio. He tried to retrieve them but shells prevented him from doing so. His squad was captured by the Iraqi's but he made it across 200 miles of desert into Syria. Two were killed during capture and the remaining three were released after the fall of Bagdad. Maj Gen Kubin pressed an article 32 hearing against Ambrose for dereliction of duty and unrealistically shortened Mac and Turners deadline for investigation and trial. Mac had to remind him that when he was charged with undue command influence for his aggressive pressure and investigation of his daughters death he left no stone unturned for justice; and, he should afford Ambrose the same courtesy. None of the remaining squad were pressing issues in their after action reports; however, Maj Spain "let it slip" to T that Ambrose had disagreed with Spain wanting to call on their radio beacon for an extraction because the Iraqi's would hear it too. Then Ambrose disappeared in the sandstorm when he was calling. The squad remained at their position for 20 minutes waiting for Ambrose to return but the Iraqi's captured them. Ambrose told M that he had gotten separated in the storm and tried to back track but ended up in the desert.

Bud was shown worried about not being able to contact Harm. M said "that's what they do in the CIA - disappear." T coldly told him that "the words 'Harm' and 'everything will be alright' don't usually go together." T said that he couldn't get comfortable in H's old office. M told him that "if H's ghost is going to haunt anyone it will be me." M talked to T about his resentment of B. T told her that "my credibility as an attorney can't just be turned back on… neither can my friendship with B." Then he completely refused to even talk to M about a plea, obviously revealing his own personal revulsion for Ambrose. M caught Chegwidden between his meetings with the caterers for his wedding about Turner's refusal. C refused to intervene but said that "T feels he has more to prove than just winning a case and considering recent events I can't blame him." He advised that if the squad was protecting him it was out of loyalty "or something else."

M [the defense] cross examined Spain and pressured him until he said the squad wouldn't have died if Ambrose had…" then she kept on pressuring until he revealed that they were staged 100 yards from the enemy when Ambrose was told to take out someone who was unknowingly walking closer. Ambrose jumped up to kill the person and found that it was a small boy herding his goats. He didn't kill the child and the boy ran to tell the army. M continued to question and found that Spain routinely disregarded the rules of engagement and had made an agreement with his men for this time too. He claimed that "anyone with two eyes and a mouth was the enemy." Amazingly T added to the charges claiming "willful disobedience and misbehavior before the enemy"! On the stand T began attacking Ambrose personally calling him a coward. M only objected once but T continued relentlessly [unopposed] calling him a coward and claiming that he didn't live up to "semper fi" but only "saepe fi - sometimes faithful." During Ts barrage Ambrose asked him if he could kill a child. Arrogantly T told the judge he wanted to answer and said that "from a distance he could but he probably wouldn't face-to-face" but he wasn't in Force Recon and again called him a "coward." The judge acquitted Ambrose on the original charge but incredibly bound him over to court martial on the willful disobedience charge claiming that killing the child was a valid order. M told Ambrose that the government wouldn't be able to prove the court martial charge; but, he replied "they won't have to because he was going to plead guilty." He said that he felt he did right but basically believed Ts ranting about how he shouldn't have been in Force Recon. Disgusted, M went to T and said "it must be great to be above it all… I wouldn't do it but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done… NOW THAT'S A COWARD"!

In the CIA Harm was assigned to agent Blaisdell to test a new supersonic spy plane with "Pulse Detonation Wave Engines - the Aurora" and given Purdue graduate and civilian test pilot Andy Watson as his co-pilot. During their orientation mission to test their "foliage penetrating" and "ground penetrating" radar they spiked near-insults at each other. Watson knew that H had "abandoned his navy career to undertake a personally financed, unauthorized, undercover mission in a country he didn't speak the language." At mach 6 (4,000 miles per hour) they were at 98,420 feet altitude when Blaisdell reclassified their mission to tactical and sent them to recon over North Korea. There were reports that two divisions (50 thousand men) had entered tunnels that had been dug toward the DMZ. They had been warned about "unstarts" of the engines and when they slowed down to use their radar both of their engines flamed out. During their fall Watson continually complained that they needed to abort and eject. He was told to just get the radar and let H fly. When they got so low that missiles were fired at them H had slowed enough to restart the engines. A missile was shown exploding on their plane (but after the commercial H reported that they had escaped. They turned around and made another pass, this time slowing more slowly and found that the tunnels were actually full of water not men.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Secret Agent Man - 185

Harm is flying for the CIA. Blaisdell assigned him to fly a "drop" into the Philippines then H found that he was "second" to Cdr Beth O'Neil who had been flying for them since H got her cleared of harassment charges. Felix Paraiso was a former colonel in the army who had previously tried two coups against sitting presidents and still had enough support to be elected to the House of Representatives. He "was planning something" and had tortured and killed the CIA's previous agent Greg Ortega. As he did most of his business in his car Blaisdell was going to switch cars with one having implanted GPS, Surveillance and chemical sniffing equipment. H and O'Neil were only to fly a C130 to a remote, lawless area and drop it but their contacts had also been killed so Blaisdell told them to land and make the switch themselves. They almost crashed landing on a short strip. They stole clothes from a farmer for their disguise but H left some money. O'Neil posed as a hooker and enticed Paraiso's driver, Petto Santos, into the woods while H made the switch. She tried to leave and needed to knee him in order to get away but was arrested and charged with attempted murder. They used the homing device to track Santos to a massage parlor and H confronted him there telling him he was working for Santos' wife. Santos thought O'Neil had been hired by his wife and made a deal with H so he wouldn't tell his wife about the massage parlors. Paraiso met with an accomplice military man who had C3 explosives on his clothing and were planning an explosion. Blaisdell talked H & O'Neil into a building by cell phone which faded out leaving them to disarm the bomb and failsafe alone. O'Neil told H that the failsafe wouldn't use the normal black wire for neutral- probably. They disarmed the bomb but were noticed escaping and chased. They barely made it back to the plane and took off amidst a hail of gunfire using JATO jet boosters. Paraiso and accomplice were "neutralized" by the Philippine army. They were offered field agent status- H said he was thinking.

Capt Tally charged Kevin Dupree, Mikey's roommate, with plagiarism on an English assignment. Dupree asked Mikey to go before the honors board with him as a character witness claiming he had only done what everyone else was doing and used books for ideas. Mikey was worried that if he was in Dupree's corner the reputation would rub off on him. He went to the christening of Bud and Harriet's baby and asked Big Bud what to do. BB told him not to testify for Dupree, B told him to make his own decision and BB belittled him for it. The baby was going to be named James Kirk Roberts after the star trek captain and B hadn't told Ht about the connection. BB commended Chegwidden for "dumping that pain in the ass Rabb" and C asked him how he had managed to stay in the military so long. M talked to Mikey then had Coates do some follow-up research. Coates pushed M into going to talk to Tally thinking he was being prejudiced. It turned out that Tally was black as well and told M that Dupree cut corners and was insubordinate. He said that people must have passed him without undue examination because he showed promise. In fact Coates called Dupree's retired English teacher who said that he'd done it before; but, because he was already accepted to the academy, the charge was made to "go away." Mikey promised to appear for Dupree but after M had told him of Dupree's past he told the board that he couldn't go against the honor code even for his best friend. Dupree apologized and Tally recommended 1-year honor remediation.

Friday, October 3, 2003

Shifting Sand - 184

Harm, Mac & Webb came back from So America in time to tell Tiner goodbye to Officer's Candidate School then Naval Justice School. Coates is Chegwidden's new administrative assistant. M told H that the "earth doesn't stop spinning just because you leave the room" and B said "that's not what he tells me." M & H visited W in the hospital with nerve damage and they got "lovey dovey" so H walked out. C asked Turner to start giving him progress reports because "there have been calls" regarding his "inefficient council." Then, over Ts objections, C had to shout to take Hs office and "put up pictures." B dogged T to apologize but T told him to "leave him alone" to work it out. C welcomed M back but when H asked to come back too, C said he had forwarded his resignation immediately and H had been a civilian for 72 hours. He told H that he was "fed up with his lack of dependability; not being a team player; and being ruled by emotions." M argued but H said "he's just finally accepted that I'm unchangeable, as YOU have." T told H that C took it as a personal insult that "your respect for his authority had a ceiling." Dept CIA Director Kershaw called H and offered him a job explaining that Catherine Gale was his sponsor. He declined "because your world is too fluid" and he "needed moral consistent environment." Because the legal department was full, Kershaw asked him "what else do you do?" M overheard H telling W that he was going to be a CIA pilot from outside Ws hospital room. W welcomed H "to the brotherhood" and M left.

PO Allison La Porte, daughter of Rear Admiral Richard La Porte, fell out of a medevac helicopter in Kuwait and spent 12 years w/ the Bedouins. She was captured stealing Doxycycline, an antibiotic, from a military truck. Chegwidden sent Bud as sole investigator because there were "hardly any other senior officers." B whined and C finally had to back him down. He found that she had lain in a ditch with a broken pelvis for three days until the Al Hadi tribe found and cared for her without anyone to translate. Gradually the son of the Sheik, Jamal Ben Fahad, took a liking to her and played backgammon with her. Over the year she fell in love with him, embraced the Muslim faith, took the name "Hiba" and married. When the Sheik turned over the reigns she became the wife of the sheik. During the "black years" 10 years ago when Saddam undertook a wave of oppression against the Bedou he blocked off the rivers to prevent them from getting water. Allison treated her father rudely and he told Mac to "lock her up," it turned out so that she would be forced to stay and not go back to the dessert. He described her as trying to "save the world with love," "apolitical," and "guileless" after her mother had abandoned them. B prosecuted and Mac, back from Paraguay with Webb, defended.

W told M that Allison's tribe was spying for Saddam and that her father knew it. M confronted Adm La Porte for more evidence much to his consternation. She promised him that the info wouldn’t go beyond the room but accidentally gave B the file. He then blew up at her and C called her incompetent and purposefully blowing her case. When she said that it was an accident he said instead of having followed her convictions she was sloppy and stupid. C had to back him down in order to get him to stop ranting. The witnesses were pretty strong against her but M countered them on cross examination until B called Allison's father. He revealed that they knew the tribe had followed the troops with sophisticated listening devices. B made him realize for the first time that the troops were speaking English and Allison was the only one in the tribe who could speak English. He said that he had never even considered because of her nature. Allison said that she had brokered a deal with Saddam to open a river which he did but it had been so contaminated that it was brackish and they all got sick with Leptospirosis which is why she needed the antibiotics she was stealing. She was bound over for court-martial on both desertion and aiding the enemy charges and the admiral told her he would "find her husband and tell him that he was looking out for you."

Friday, September 26, 2003

A Tangled Webb II - (Part 4) - 183

[Season opener - DJEs contract signed - Harm's back. But, somewhere in this season "Chegwidden" decided to leave the series; and, probably "Harm" as well, but he was talked into staying for 'just one more season.' ] Harm was alone and unconscious in the crashed bi-winged airplane that he "rented" from the Mennonite farmer; but, Mac was gone. He had his pistol and found the trail of pregnancy clothing that she had left for him to follow. He was dizzy and couldn't see well so when he got to the road, and was nearly hit by a truck, he fired his gun at a pickup truck who's tire had blown. Mac called out to stop him then they both began their subtle sniping at each other that lasted through the whole episode. She had gone back to Sadik's farm and found everyone dead (except Fadik) so she took the truck. A cow stood in the middle of the road and H told M to "make her move." She delayed, so H took out his gun and said "we can always shoot her," which made M go "talk" to the cow. The cow listened then just walked away and when H asked "what did you say to it" M retorted "I just told her about you, and like every woman you've ever known she went screaming into the night." They went back to Hardy's office and found it abandoned.

Gunny got Webb to the hospital where they were in the same room as a pregnant woman trying to deliver her child. W offered to pay for the woman's expenses and the woman named the baby "Clayton" after him. W and Gunny went back to the hotel and found M and H. By then Hardy had heard of "the explosion" and "various middle eastern men found dead around the Chaco boreal," and came to offer "to help." He had told M and H that his secretary, Maria Elena, had been working for Raoul Garcia and that Sadik would probably contact her for help getting out of the country. M, who Maria Elena had never met, went to a bar to talk to her. She told M that she was going to Rio on forged passports with someone. Sadik, in disguise, saw M with her and killed Maria Elena. Together, at the hotel, H, M, W & G deduced that Sadik was going to leave country the next day with a shipment that Maria Elena had arranged for Hardy - on a train. They saw Sadik on the train as a conductor and chased him but he boarded another train and waved to them as it went down the tracks. They followed him to the next crossing but found that he had just disappeared from the train. H told M that they would most certainly see Sadik again because "he will try to kill us both."

The conversational sub-text of M and Hs sniping's at each other revealed that H was jealous of W. M said that, although W had admitted feelings for her for some time, she had gotten close to him only because they shared such an intense experience. She told H that it was nice to have someone state his intentions clearly and follow through. H told her of his prior "wedding" to Catherine Gayle; but admitted that it hadn't been for real. He told M that he had resigned his commission because of her. Each of them missed several opportunities to communicate and they were interrupted several times by W and others. H sniped that he hoped W fared better than her former fiancés and boyfriends; but, then apologized. M sniped that at least hers hadn't been a "sham" wedding." After Gunny and W left M said that she didn't want to go right back home because she was grateful to be alive and wanted to take it in a little bit longer. She said that "it could never work between them because they both want to be on top." [The closing was a repeat of the "waltzing Mathilda" goodbye scene of a previous episode in memoriam of Trevor Goddard (Mic Brumby) who died of suicide in June of 2003]

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

A Tangled Webb I - Part 3 - 182

[Follow-up to the previous 'cliff-hanger' type episode - itself a true cliff-hanger leaving H and Ms fate (and contracts) in a state of limbo - there was no 'to be continued' tag at the end of the episode!] Chegwidden notified Harm that Mac and Webb were missing in Paraguay. When C didn't approve Hs request to be sent to find M, nor his request for leave, H resigned his commission. C said "after you've given up your career and risked your life to save M what are you willing to risk to keep her?" H said he hadn't thought it through. H obtained contact with the CIA director through Catharine Gale; and although it was he who sent harm to bureau director Edward Hardy, Hardy still wouldn't help. He told H that "life is cheap, trust no one." Gunny had escaped M and Ws "rescue" battle with Sadik and eventually found H in the city. He took him to where W & M were being tortured by Sadik Fahd. W told M that he had asked specifically for her on this mission; because, he wanted her with him, and that he "wished he could die for us both." Sadik put them in the same cell with a captured missionary couple, Warren and Carla Robinson, who he was trying to use to obtain ransom money from their church. Carla then informed Sadik that M was not pregnant hoping to obtain his favor. After their church finally refused to pay ransom, Sadik shot the couple telling them: "there was Jesus and Judas" and that they had "followed the wrong example." H & Gunny arrived just in time to rescue W & M before M was tortured; but, Sadik escaped to go to the Stinger missiles in a semi-truck on a "Mennonite farm next a river." M kissed W in front of H who seemed very "taken back" by their familiarity. M continued to depict a pregnant woman and helped H rent a biplane from a Mennonite farmer under the pretext of being flown to the hospital. They found Sadik's trucks and dropped dynamite on the one with Stinger missiles which destroyed it in a fireball; but, they were shot at and damaged their plane which then crashed into jungle trees. Gunny took W back to obtain medical help.

Back at JAG, Coats was decompensating over worry. Harriet went around giving advice to everyone and even inflicted herself on Chegwidden by offering for her and Bud to be a "listening ear" (and, basically, a shoulder for him to cry on.) Then when C asked her if she'd "spoken about this to Bud" she said that she had not, and he said "well don't" then dismissed her. She exited telling Tiner that "things are just ducky… good if you're a duck" and went around the corner crying with her feelings hurt.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Pas de Deux - Part 2 - 181

When Garcia got the drop on them both and asked why he shouldn't shoot him W said that he could "make him rich" explaining that he had a "line" on Predator B missiles, van and 4 hellfire war heads. Garcia gave him back his gun and said that he and Mac, his wife, had "earned his trust." Garcia sent Gunny with Sadik's men to test the circuit boards then to bring back the drugs. He asked who would be backup and was told there would be none. Sadik's men kept using vague references to him like "he would be dealt with." W stopped the car to let M "relieve herself" and shot Alvaro Camacho, his driver, who he realized was a "mole" when there passed a look of recognition with Sadik's men. Edward Hardy, the CIA section chief in Paraguay, told W that he was no longer the youngest under secretary or rising star. He would give W help only if he could take credit for it- "your ticket out of her is going to have my name on it too." He was then shown going to a night meeting with some "drug lord looking" Spanish men. When it same time to take out Garcia's hacienda Hardy whined and waffled until M backed him down with full blame for letting a known enemy of the US escape. G was still waiting at Sadik's and saw them start to move the missiles so he used his cell phone to call W. Search lights came on and Sadik came on the line to tell W that "what he was looking for wasn't there." He told G that it would be a "long night for him" then took him to the veranda and had drinks with him. Finally he took him to the torture room where they were getting ready to use shocks when H & W showed up. Hardy had refused to help because "he didn't have intel." During the gunfight many of Sadik's men were killed and gunny escaped from the room but was shot as they were getting into the car. A grenade was thrown under the car and it exploded tipping the vehicle on its side.

Harm was inordinately worried about M and called Catherine Gale, CIA attorney, for some info or help finding W. She slammed him for "thinking the CIA is your own personal information kiosk." He wanted her to make a call and get him "into the loop." "There's no way in, that's why it's called the loop," she told him. She was notified of her mothers imminent demise so H drove her to the hospital. He was sucked into a role play as Gales fiancé by her lies to her mother and her brother's "arm twisting." From her death bead her mother manipulated and pressured H into getting married in her room before she died. H had B perform the ceremony who used a same sex ceremony from Denmark that he got off the internet and pronounced them "partners for life" using Harriet's ring. Then Gale's mother rallied and her condition was upgraded. She finally did put a call in to director Harrison Kershaw who said that even he couldn't get a hold of Webb because he was "on his own on this one." He told H that he'd looked at his service record and "if he ever found himself out of uniform to call him for a job."

Bud called H and said he was at home with Harriet and thanks for his criticism. Chegwidden and Meredith went around the office confirming their engagement.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Lawyers Guns and Money - Part 1 - 180

Webb returned from his 8 mo exile in Tierra De Fuego with a request of Chegwidden for use of Mac. His cover has been that he's a diamond dealer with a absent wife due to her pregnancy. Now he is supposed to make a diamond deal and must produce his "wife." M received training in recognizing diamonds and a "pregnancy suit." An al Qaeda terrorist named Sadik Fahd purchased 100 stinger missiles from a drug lord, Raul Garcia, for a large amount of coke. The stinger missiles were without circuit boards that made them fly straight which W was supplying for diamonds. W was out of his CIA territory and the area station chief told him that the operation was going to belong to both of them so he could get out of Paraguay too. W told M that he wanted her along specifically because there was a mole in the agency and he needed someone he could trust who could speak Farsi. He confessed to her that he "didn't trust himself anymore because he was taking too many chances." Garcia led them into the country and double-crossed them by bringing his and Sadik's henchmen. He tried to cheat on the deal but M discovered the cheap diamonds. Alvaro, their bodyguard, turned out to be acquainted with Sadik's men and dropped his gun; but, W noticed his actions. They also saw Gunny who was undercover inside Garcia's operation. After Garcia had the circuit boards he asked W to give him reasons "not to kill them."

Jeremy Duncan's conviction for stealing navy technology for videogames was being appealed by his civilian attorney, Harlan Bradford, claiming deficient defensy by Turner. B was speaking for the government and, again, was portrayed as bumbling and inadequate. Turner had asked H to "oversee" B so he held a "moot court" to help B prepare. Tiner acted as Bradford and came up with some obscure reasoning that H told B to expect. During the hearing B was flummoxed and basically said that he "acknowledged Ts lack of aggressive defense but that the law only entitled the defendant to 'adequate' defense." T stormed out of the room angry at B and then at H for listening to the "brain farts" of a law student. He told H that no matter what happened the panel would think he was "lazy and incompetent."

H got out of jail and was back in his office torn apart by NCIS. He tried to get close to M but she was already going w/ W. He asked her not to go and she asked him why "he only got like this when she had one foot out the door and couldn't respond?" H had bad dreams about M & W getting betrayed and killed and called Ws mother who said "Clayton is very protective of those he loves." Harriet was having pregnancy related discomforts and ended up talking to H because B wasn't listening. When B gave H excuses for botching Ts appeal, claiming to have "lost confidence," harm blew up at him and told him to "stop making excuses and start paying attention."

C tried several times to give an engagement ring to Meredith but first Tiner screwed up his arrangements causing embarrassment, then Meredith did her scatterbrained routine allowing "damit" to eat the cake the diamond was in. She finally caught on and asked him if he was trying to propose so C just gave her the ring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Meltdown - Part 2 - 179

[Complicated sequel, with NCIS cast, written by Bellisario. It is a fast paced, complex, detailed, convoluted dual plot with segways and lots of electronics. It didn't use JAG background music and was difficult to synthesize into summary.] The obsessive compulsive, no people skilled, Lt Cdr. Faith Coleman was assigned as Harm's defense counsel. She tried to steam roll over H until he backed her up. She resented his "job interview" questions and claimed that she had nine homicide defenses, all wins. He essentially told her to "sit down, I hope your legal arguments are as squared away as your briefcase." Gibb met Maj McBurney, the prosecuting attorney, who called it a "slam dunk"; and when Gibb told him that "I only got him because he was protecting his brother," McBurney said not to show "that kind of doubt" on the stand. Gibb said he was in a hurry to get the case over with. McBurney was doing his pistol quals and placed all shots in the head, because "it cuts down on appeals." McBurney was assigned Hs office by Chegwidden, and Coleman, Manetti's office. H told Coleman that he had met with Singer and argued, she left, he followed, argued some more in her car, phoned his brother Sergei using his cell phone so he could see her eyes when she told him it wasn't his baby, because he rarely believed anything S said. By the time the time of death was established, he already looked guilty, so decided to trust navy justice instead of navy cops and didn't cooperate with them. McBurney had the foul-mouthed, hippy, head-banger, forensic technician, Abby Scioto, wear a "professor" costume when testifying in court instead of her usual punk dress. There was a metal sliver in S's head, ferrous metal matching the railing at the overlook; blood of S on the concrete; a plane ticket for 6am Jan 6th in her pocket; also a Benzinger's napkin with Sergei's cell phone number in H's handwriting. Stomach contents was a bar mix within 2 hours of eating. During cross, Scioto had to remove her fake glasses to read and seemed to be discredited. Dr. Mallard (Duckey) said that the body, found Apr 22, had been in winter ice - "say about 3 1/2 months," 20 wks pregnant, severe blunt force injury to posterior skull, numerous fractures from going over the falls, and a tattoo of a "stalking leopard" was tattooed on her left buttock. She had died from drowning not the trauma.

Gibb interviewed H again without counsel. He just talked about finding no phone call to Sergei after being told of S's death. H said "that's what phone booth's are for." He told H that he seemed to have made a lot of effort to eliminate Sergei as a suspect. H retorted "that's how you got your man," Gibb replied "I know." On the stand, Gibb said the body was found 1.3 miles below the falls, car was found in a parking lot next to the falls, 2 sets of prints: S's and H's, H knew S was pregnant, unsure who the father was, denied the request for DNA sample, and was generally uncooperative. On cross, Gibb admitted he'd sent a request for H's DNA profile (illegal) which didn't go through. Asked why, he said "I thought at the time he was the killer." H wrote a note to Coleman to ask Gibb if he still thought so. Gibb answered: that his gut told him "no, he wasn't the killer." McBurney tried to chastise him at the elevator saying that he could handle circumstantial evidence but "screw-up's and flip flops on the stand, I cannot." Gibb's assured demeanor just left anything McBurney said fall flat. Abby called McBurney and had them all come to discover that a cover (military hat) found near the falls was actually H's. Gibb told Abbey that she better never call the attorney's again, to call him.

Gibb and his "director" were shown watching the interrogation of Amad bin Atwa on their "big screen television." bin Atwa had passed money to Hassan Mohammed some time during the past 10 days when they had lost track of him. Gibb was told to "wrap this JAG case up fast" so he could go interrogate bin Atwa personally. Gibb seemed to show Blackadder, who's brother had been killed by terrorists and wanted to be involved in their capture, a bit of antagonism. He had told her to mind her own business or she was fired, then told her she had two days to gather all the information possible on bin Atwa. She came back in a day with a CD of info, but it didn't have anything personal about him so he sent her back to do it right. She finally got the requested information on Atwa so Gibb left for his interrogation. Agent Tony DiNozzo told Blackadder that the case against H just seemed too easy, "it doesn't sit right" that the body floated for so far but the hat was found near the falls. Blackadder said "it seems alright to me."

Bud testified that he saw H grab singer by the elevator to get a dinner appointment with her, after she had originally said no. Coates said she overheard H and S arguing at Benzinger's. S was pregnant, H thought Sergei was the father, S denied it and said she was giving the baby up for adoption. Coates said that she saw the same anger in in H that she had seen in her father when he hit her mother. S left and H followed her. Abbey found quartz, feldspar, and kolimite in Hs hat - river silt, from the spring thaw, but nothing like that on S body. She said that the cover was a "spring thing" and couldn't have been in the river for 4 months, so it must have been a plant. They called Gibb, who was on a ship, and told him that he was right about H. Sergei had same blood type as H, and wasn't the father of the baby. Every Wednesday, beginning in May, S had paid for dinner for two with her credit card, at a different restaurant but at the same time. A canvass with S's photo brought up a "Tiramisu incident" and a waiter who gave a description of a sandy haired man. Also the plane ticket wasn't to San Diego (SAN) as they had thought but to Shannon Ireland (SNN)! Gibb told them to cross reference the description with the JAG security log for the past 4 wks to find someone with a grudge who had access to H. They told H that he was off the hook and H recognized the name of their suspect. He told them to "tell Gibb, I owe him." DiNozzo interrogated Cdr Lindsey about the $5,000.00 check he cashed the day of S's death, and its re-deposit the day after. Also hinted at "latent prints" on the hat. Lindsey claimed that S was blackmailing him about the baby and threatening his family. They had argued and he grabbed her when she fell over the railing. He didn't call for help because the river had already taken her and he was afraid. DiNozzo caught him in the lie because S's blood was on the concrete and she had to be picked up and thrown over the railing. He also told Lindsey that, with his blood type, the baby couldn't have been his either.

Gibb had a gourmet dinner with Atwa and impressed the man with his knowledge of cuisine. "Marines travel," he told Atwa, and asked if the food was what brought him to Nice. No, it was the women, Atwa said, and offered that the best food he'd ever eaten was in Toulon. Gibb argued that he'd eaten there last summer and the "kibbeh was bland, gouzi mushy and gmameh inedible." Atwa countered that the "gmameh he'd had there last week was incredible" so it must be a different cook. So they traced that 10 days ago the Hawala money brokers in Toulon transferred money to the Hawala in Tunis. Gibb's group had no "assets" in Tunis so the "people up the river" would want all the credit. Gibb called Blackadder and DiNozzo to the gulf. They found that 5 million in cash had been signed for, four days ago, by Khalil Sahari, the director of the Institute of oceanography in Tunis. Aboard the ship, also having large screen TV's and lots of computers, they "called up" that the institute had purchased an unmanned submersible for 5 million in Sorrento, that all the attacks had been within 4 days of picking up the money, all the ports with naval facilities within 58 hours sail of Sorrento - both Naples and Cannes were too secure. Gibb wanted a list of all the research vessels leased in the last year over 90 tons (needed to carry the submersible) and the name of the Deep Blue Explorer magically popped up on the screen, leased by Sahari's institute. He wanted the "coastal cops'" records of any "nav plans" filed to the area and found that the "Explorer" it was sailing for "Cadiz," which, when cross referenced in their computers, was found to be close to Rota Spain where a carrier had just pulled in after being in the Gulf. From a van on the dock they did face matching until they found that the captain of the vessel was really Mohammed. Blackadder was staring at the captain and Gibb had to tell her to stop, but it was too late they were spotted. The ensuing gun battle left a bunch dead and Gibb facing off Mohammed who was holding a live hand grenade. Mohammed dropped it and Gibb shot him then was blasted backward down the stairs. He lived and when Blackadder apologized with "I almost blew it," Gibb told her "what do you mean, almost?" Lindsey was said to have "copped a plea" to involuntary manslaughter for eight years in Leavenworth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Ice Queen - Part 1 - 178

[Complicated conjoint show w/ NCIS. Lots of electronics and fast paced legal posturing.] Tommy, A boy scout, missed his target and shot his arrow into the woods, hitting a decomposed body. Agent Gibbs & Blackadder of NCIS investigated. Gibbs told Tommy he could "shut out" any bad dreams, claiming that he had seen something terrible when he was young and done it. He gave Tommy his card and hat and promised a tour of the department. They found a decomposed body with it's face eaten away by crows; but, not its hands or feet. Blackadder, bantering with agent Dinozzo, revealed that her brother had died in the attack on the USS Cole. The Medical Examiner, called Ducky, estimated the death to be about 3 weeks previous. The body was a blond, pregnant, JAG officer. The first of many odd "flashback" type episodes (shown in posturization effect and apparently representing the view of the corpse) seemed to prompt Gibbs that the body hadn't been dropped there but had floated into the trees. They were all shown letting themselves through security into MTAC, where they watched as Amad Ben Atwa was captured. He was the terrorist who had given explosives and money to Hasan Mohammed who had then executed the attack on the Cole. Blackadder demanded that she be allowed "in on the kill" and Gibbs faced her down that the agency wasn't for her personal revenge and she better "get it" or pack up and leave. They had a discussion about obtaining the baby's DNA to "finger" a suspect at JAG - and Blackadder was the only one who worried that it was illegal to use military DNA for anything but ID'ing military personnel. Gibb's intended to use it, if he could. Found a metallic sliver embedded in corpse's skull.

Gibb and Harm bristled at each other from their first meeting. Chegwidden turned down H's request to conduct a concurrent JAGman investigation. C intervened in the argument and took H to calm down. H wouldn't say anything about relation with Singer - who they deduced was missing. Then C realized that Gibb's was "setting them up" allowing them to talk because hearsay wouldn't apply when Gibb's questioned C he would have to tell everything that H had said. H said "he wouldn't be that devious"; C replied that "he reminds me a lot of you." C then called Gibb's on his plan and said that "the only thing H told me was that he didn't kill Singer or know who did." They found blood on a bridge that matched Singers. Manetti revealed that the bartender had told her Singer was seeing a civilian - thereby revealing H's unofficial investigation - which then Mac showed that she didn't know about. Blackadder wanted to go for H's jugular but Gibbs said that H was so good that if they didn't tie up the pieces H "would do an OJ, even without a defense attorney." H called Sergei from a pay phone. He was preparing for his wedding to Galina, had been in country 3 weeks earlier, hadn't seen Singer since H had made her call him, and believed Singer when she said that the baby wasn't his. Abby, a weird nurd-like, path tech said that Singer had died within 2 hours of a snack at a bar, and found Sergei's Moscow cell phone number on a Benzinger's napkin. Ducky surprised them all with findings that Singer had been frozen and therefore killed between the 4th and 6th of Jan. The fetus' blood type showed that H couldn't have been the father.

Gibbs was shown in private conversation with "Director" (Morrow) who asked about their "prime suspect." Gibbs told him it was H. "Director" told him that, as their top interrogator, he needed to wind up his murder investigation quickly because he was needed to extract info from Atwa who intel said was planning another "grey hull attack." Coats told Gibbs of hearing H's heated discussion with Singer at Benzinger's. Marines found a Navy hat near the murder site and H's fingerprints were found in Singer's impounded car. Gibbs interrogated H at his headquarters. He hadn't read him his rights so H postured that he could leave. Gibbs threatened to tattle to C, so H stayed. Gibb's played mind games with H, trying to entrap him. Blackadder emailed Gibbs to "read him his rights" but Gibb's didn't. Dinozzo told her that Gibb's was "setting him up." H banged his hand on their two-way glass, causing feedback in their microphones. Gibb's got harm defending Sergei and bullied him into saying that he had written Sergei's phone number on a napkin from Benzinger's for Singer. While H was making excuses for Sergei, Gibb's began telling him his rights. H said he waved them and forcefully asked Gibb's if, with his experience, he could tell if someone had murdered someone. Gibbs claimed that he could so harm demanded him to look into his eyes and "ask me." While Dinozzo was cuffing H, Gibbs continued his attempts at entrapment by deceitfully asking "would you kill for your brother?" [Continued in next episode]

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Second Acts - 177

[The "conclusion" of one part of the "back story," and setup to another part, which will "cleanse" the show of some worn out bad guys] Petty Officer 3rd class Steven Wilson single handedly stopped a suicide attack on Marine Corps camp Stronghold Freedom saving his platoon, and Stewart Dunston of ZNN, on national television. He refused to talk to Dunston but Jennifer Bruder saw him on television and recognized him as her husbands partner, thought to be killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center. When she confronted him he also refused to talk to her so she reported him as the imposter, Matthew Divine. Harm represented the wife of dead Tom Bruder, identifying with her "need for closure." Turner defended Divine in his hearing before the board. H couldn't compel Divine to talk to Bruder, even though she wanted it, so he called her to testify at the hearing in front of Divine. Her teary-eyed story prompted Divine to finally reveal that he and Tom were basically shyster investment bankers conning "new money" to cover old losses, and were penniless and considering bankruptcy when the planes hit the building. The ceiling collapsed on Tom and with his dying breath requested a "promise never to let his wife find out." Divine wanted to start a new life so joined the MC becoming an exemplary soldier. The board found him guilty of fraudulent enlistment but retained him on active duty.

The SECNAV told Chegwidden he "had to" proceed with action on Lindsey's report. C said that Sheffield had "lost confidence in his ability to lead" and the SECNAV told him to refute the charges. Back at the JAG office, without invitation everyone gravitated into Cs office where he said he was considering resigning & that L had "dredged up every irrelevant smear he could put his hands on." His office was causing too much "bad press" and problems for the poor Chief of Information. To soften people's dismay he slipped that he and Meredith were planning on getting married. Ls report called Mac a "security risk" and H a "loose cannon showing a consistent and reckless disregard for responsibility." They all were puzzled on how L could obtain all these details in just a week without having legal access to confidential personnel files. L was shown deleting all the files on his laptop computer. M presented the dossier of rebuttal they had prepared and challenged Cs offer to resign because he was thinking that L was being personally vindictive and that his staff was just getting caught in the fallout. She told him of Ls threat to H to "split up the group and scatter them to the four winds." So Cs offer to "fall on his sword was no accepted." He dismissed her but, pausing, said "thanks." The SECNAV acknowledged that he probably "picked the wrong person for the investigation because L had a 'history' with C." Then he was shown verbally reaming out L in front of C, telling him his report was highly biased and that now L would be investigated. The SECNAV said "get out of the building ASAP" and "goodbye." He apologized to C, said his "confidence was restored," and that he would be getting an official letter of apology. Sheffield finally admitted that he had forced Traci Manetti, who had just returned from TAD in Pearl Harbor, into JAG as his "eyes and ears." He said that when she read the report she was incensed and "scathingly" called it "a hatchet job." She will only be with JAG for a couple more weeks then he had "another assignment" for her.

Expectedly, it was Harriet who meddled and not only slipped to Meredith Cs engagement intention; but, kept digging in deeper until M was upset that C hadn't "officially" discussed it with her. Meredith's demeanor showed surprise and hesitancy but she basically talked about how it was C who hadn't done things the "right" way. She stormed out, standing him up for dinner, exclaiming "we'll get back to this when you're more prepared and I know more about what's going on."

Sergei had flown in for a visit and introduced H to Galina Boricova, his stewardess fiancé. When H said that they hadn't parted very well, Sergei said that "he had gotten over it. He was lonely then but not any more." He said that he had not heard from Singer and H told him that he had forced her to make her last call to him. He told Sergei that he thought Singer was "lying" to him about who the father was for her baby. Sergei didn't believe H and said that her pregnancy was just a "coincidence" with their "one night stand." Singer, he said, was "a woman who had no trouble with more than one man at a time." H apparently believed Sergei and agreed to go to Russia and be his best man.