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.