Monday, December 20, 2004

The Four Percent Solution - 206

[A substantial and significant episode- Cdr. McCool's words are in italics.] Christmas eve Mac (M) was driving in the rain, and was distracted by her personal feelings, triggered by a radio program, causing her to toal her car. During the ambulance ride, she had "flashbacks within flashbacks" back to the previous two months. She had gone to see Lt. Cdr. V. McCool for sleeping pills, due to having insomnia. M was flippant and evasive. McCool was judgmental, challenging and held the prescription over Ms head in order to extract information. M finally told her that W (W) had faked his own death, deceived her, had no sense of what he put her through and did it with his mother's help! Dalton had been stalking her, and had been shot by a cop who was also stalking her. She was saved by Harm (H) but not before being captured and held. She revealed that she had been leaving the lights off at night in her apartment. "Not having to look at choices you've made." She said that she discusses things with H "endlessly." She had lived with Brumby, who then left; but, hadn't lived with W. She initially refused to talk about having children; but, then confessed she had had diagnostic surgery - advanced endometriosis - that left her with less than a 5% chance of possible conception. She regretted waiting too long. Right guy didn't appear? "I Wasn't looking." She said she was involved with H, "in ways you can't imagine. We've been dancing around a relationship for 8 yrs" What's keeping you apart? "Me... him. We made a 5 year deal for having baby." A backup plan. A set up for failure? She had told H about her endometriosis because the 5 years are up. H had told her that: "it didn't change things. There is IVF, surrogacy, donor eggs. HOW doesn't matter, only that it happens between US. I'm tired of looking in on your life, I want to be a part of it." M said: "I can't do it" - because she thought he had an agenda - namely: the loss of Mattie.

Why didn't you allow yourself a chance to consider it? "It is too close to Ws death". H hadn't shown emotion at Ws death, but told her: "I've been concentrating on what you were feeling - I'm going to miss the way YOU looked when you talked about him - No pressure, lets just look into possibilities." M said "He gave me space… (not what I wanted)." M went to H during crises in her other relationships. Will he ever abandon you? "No" Isn't He the one you’ve always intended to be with? Why do you always choose to be alone? That made M cry. "I've always wanted to CARRY a child," she said, "raising one is not enough." Harriet had told her that pregnancy felt like "Collaborating with God." "I've never created anything," M said. M had seen H with Alicia Montez (the attorney from a previous episode) the previous night. "H has moved on." "If I could have the conversation with W again I would ask different questions… but, I will never see him again." "My chances of drawing closer to H are less than 5%." Well, McCool said: I'm offering a 4% return on your personal investment, a satisfying conclusion to former relationships, a bright outlook on a future one, a shot at having a family… that’s better odds than a T-Bill! M didn't get the sleeping pills she was requesting.

H came to the ED because M had been repeating his name to the ambulance attendant. He gave up his usual X-mas eve trip to "the wall" (Vietnam memorial for his father) to stay with M instead. She told him "I've been pushing you away… I’m sorry." H said "nothing's changed, I'm still here. Enjoy the miracle, you're alive." M replied "The best thing about that news is that we both are."

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Man On The Bridge - 215

[An interesting, but complicated mystery episode with a unexpected ending, although no military action like we've come to expect.] The car belonging to Cdr. Adam Kohler, a top naval biodefense researcher, was found abandoned on a bridge without a trace of where he went. H (H) and M (M) investigated, along side Rod Benton of the FBI anti-terrorist unit, and all evidence pointed to It having been a suicide. But, there was progressive disclosure of clues such as: H finding a flashlight on the bridge with a partial print on it along with Kohler's blood; sideswipe damage to Kohler's car; files of bioweapons data found erased on his computer's hard drive; and spy-ware found on his computer along with information about his fathers death. His father, Robert Kohler, had also been a top bioweapons researcher; but, he had been accused of selling information to the Russians. Before trial, however, he committed "suicide" by jumping out a several story window. H found that Hank Olin, an ex-CIA agent turned private investigator, was the one who had sloppily investigated Robert Kohler's treason and death.

In an "NCIS-like," rapid-fire, disclosure of sophisticated forensic info, a trail of clues was revealed leading back to Dr. Morris Sperling, Kohler's boss, and Sperling's wife Marta. With Webb's help they found that Marta had been a KGB spy who had been "looking for a scientist to marry." Sperling gave her the secrets, then had "set up" Robert Kohler as the spy When Kohler discovered the truth, Sperling and his wife murdered him using the CIA "assassination manual" technique (used also by the KGB), of drugging with Nembutal, hitting on head and throwing from a great height. After H, M & Benton confronted Sperling with their findings, Sperling denied knowing anything about Adam Kohler's death. The flashlight, belonging to Sperling, had "gone missing" several days before; someone had previously "side-swiped" his car in the parking lot; Adam Kohler had "picked" a fight after a meeting in clear view of video surveillance cameras; Sperling had never seen the bottle of Nembutal, which was found in his desk, and matched the Nembutal found in Adam Kohler's coffee cup etc. Although they had him dead-to-rights, H reviewed the video tape and found that Kohler's car actually had been damaged BEFORE leaving the meeting's parking lot, as Sperling had said. They let the Sperling's go, after the FBI had bugged their car and house. Adam Kohler then called Sperling "from the grave" and arranged for a meeting back at the bridge. Adam had discovered the truth about his father's death, then faked his own death/suicide and masterfully "set up" all the clues to point back to Sperling, believing that whoever investigated his disappearance would also be smart enough to discover the Sperling's guilt. Kohler got Sperling to discuss his fathers innocence and that he and his wife had "assassinated" him. Police surveillance did get it on tape.

Bud (B) was assigned to review a female marine's, Cpl Maria Hoyos, request to box in the men's league which had been turned down by her CO. Cresswell played his tiresome "lets see if you're smart enough to guess what I'm thinking" game warning B that: "I have definite feelings on the matter," but not telling him what they were. Hoyos told B that she didn't want to be just "an exception," and that she wanted any female to be able to box like the men. B "shamed" Cr into using his influence at the pentagon for equality reasons; but was told that "I want to have a little give and take with her in the ring 1st, to test her mettle." Cr told Hoyos "you want to fight with men you might as well start with me" - to try and back her down? Then he continued the charade, ordering her not "to hold back" etc; but then only sparred with her claiming "you didn't think I was going to throw leather did you?" She lied and said "of course not." Cr told B that that he thought she was capable and that he would suggest to her general that he let her compete with the men. When B looked surprised, Cr threatened him with "you thought that I didn't think women should compete with men!?" As Cr took a step toward him, into his face, B stood up to him and said: "yes." Cr backed down and said "you were right" and walked away.

Friday, November 26, 2004

There Goes the Neighborhood - 213

[Again, the plot seems to "stretch" and ignores such obvious responses to accusations from characters, that it seems contrived and unbelievable.] A girl from Coates' (Co) past, Pia Bonfilio, showed up at Co's apartment wanting to stay - "just for awhile." She played on Co's sympathy and honest nature to manipulate her. She barged into Harm's (H) apartment without knocking and made small talk; then, asked if he had a gun. Then she began dressing like Co, braiding her hair like Co, "borrowing" Co's hair comb and trying on Co's uniform! She made plans to spend the night at the apartment with Co; but, then stood her up, so she would be alone and without anyone to corroborate. Vince Dolan, an old boyfriend, broke into Co's apartment looking for Pia, rifled her suitcase and took a manila envelope (containing money). H came the next morning and found Co's door broken. Just after Co told H that Pia was gone, and had stolen her uniform, detective Morris and Jimenez showed up, investigating the killing of Dolan. They found the evidence "set up" by Pia to frame Co for the murder.

Both Co and H were interrogated by the bumbling police and Co finally gave them a DNA sample to compare with a hair they had found on Dolan's body. Then Coates went to find Pia alone. She called H from the train station, where she had followed Pia, but wouldn't tell him were she was. H overheard a train announcement in the background and followed her there. Co found Pia, chased her down, and took a gun away from her; but, eventually Pia got away on a train, and was last seen thumbing a ride from a trucker to California, saying that she was going "to stay with a friend."

Bud (B) tried to join Lt. Harriman's anger management class, but got a flat tire on the way. B defended Lt. Stephanie Wall, a pilot who had given her rich, thrill-seeking, father flying lessons in a F-18 which he had bought over the internet. After lying to B, she finally admitted that she had accidentally found out that her estranged father was dying of a brain tumor, which HE didn't want HER to know about - because SHE might feel "pressured" into reconciling with HIM. Then, SHE didn't want HIM to know that SHE knew, but she also didn't want to say her goodbyes to him at the hospital. So, when she found the ad for the jet on the internet, she suggested that he get one as a shared interest, and she would teach him how to fly it. Her hard nose commander, who thought of himself as Rudi Gulianni, (who "sweated the small stuff") finally relented and put her back on flight status.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Camp Delta - 214

[When a protagonist just sit's and takes abuse, not offering defense arguments which are blatantly obvious, it makes the plot line seem arbitrary and "forced" and the characters weak. I didn't like the arrogant spinoza when he played on Murphy Brown either!] An angry, verbally abusive, history teacher started an argument with Bud (B) and Mikey (Mk) while they were shopping for shoes. Flailing his arms in histrionics, the man appeared to be striking Mk with a shoe so B defended his brother by slugging the man. B was then tried for assault. Creswell (Cr) was pissed that B hadn't told him of the incident and ordered Turner (T) to defend him, saying: "make it go away," then "you'll have to answer to me when it's over." The prosecuting attorney was shown with smug arrogance and the judge was clearly biased against B in nearly every objection T made. Big B "chatted up" the court reporter, then told T that the judge hated the military for getting her son killed. Mk testified that he never felt in danger (so B had over-reacted), and Harriet testified that when B got angry he got "that pouty face." When the prosecutor and judge seemed to be colluding to make B out to be an aggressor, with a history of temper outbursts, T asked for a mistrial. The judge angrily denied the request, threatening T with contempt for insulting her. Then, completely out of character with how she had acted the whole trial, the judge "magically" reversed her antagonistic attitude and judged that B had acted reasonably in defense of his brother when he had seen the shoe raised; but, then she called and tattled to Cr, recommending "anger management courses for B." She told T that her "son had been killed, but her daughter was still serving." Cr ordered B to attend the classes without even talking to him about it.

Harm (H) defended, and Mac (M) prosecuted, three MPs who beat and choked a Guantanamo detention camp prisoner into a coma. Army General Spinoza wanted "exposure to public opinion," so HE requested the court-martial for his own political reasons! H was assigned an army JAG, Captain Tam, as his co council, who then initially bull-dozed over her clients and H. When she justified herself to H by saying that she was only acting as "devils advocate," H told her that "the devil has enough advocates, you start defending your clients." The injured man was actually Corporal Gino Hatanian who had been posing as a detainee in a training exercise about uncooperative prisoners. He finally awoke from his coma, but refused to testify against the MPs. Both M and H tried to get him to tell the truth, so others wouldn't be mistreated; but, he replied, he didn't care if they were mistreated, because "they hate us and deserve it." The mistreatment had been video taped but the tape had been mysteriously "misplaced." Brett Orman, a private contractor for the CIA, denied that he expected MPs to abuse prisoners, but claimed they needed to "fear up" high value detainees. "Pain is not as good of motivator," he said, "as the fear of pain." Tam was the one who finally found the tape in the "recycle" bin, even though Spinoza said they were looking for it. It showed that Orman had lied and had been standing on the sidelines watching the beating. St. Sgt. Lantana, in charge of the detail, and others were found not guilty of two of the charges, but "guilty" of mistreatment.

The condescending and adversarial Gen. Spinoza got in M's face. Being pushed, M told him that in her opinion the "wrong person was on trial here." He smugly told her to "come and serve under me and then your opinion might count for something" and that "If you want to put me on trial you know where to find me." [It's too bad the show ended before we could see this happen]

Friday, November 12, 2004

One Big Boat - 212

[The series has clearly changed direction. Inane, fluffy, "Soapbox drama" issues, with contrived conflict, now outweigh good plot and action in nearly every episode.]Unannounced, Mattie (Mt) had Harm (H) sign her custody relinquishment papers; then, proceeded to whine the whole show that H had done it. She needed to talk to Mac (M) about "why H didn't make a fuss!" M told her that H was "at a place in his life that he didn't need to posses someone to love them." H had to qualify in F-18s and wasn't there for the custody relinquishment hearing. When he returned, he accidentally caught Mt packed and leaving. He gave her a note to open later, but she opened it in the elevator anyway. It contained Hs wings and a note stating "fair winds and following seas."

Creswell (Cr) continually acted condescendingly critical of M (and everyone for that matter). He is curt, short (in every way), arrogant and critical whenever anyone doesn't act precisely like he thinks they should - HIS image of a "good marine." He finally, cryptically, ordered M to have breakfast alone with him. Her feedback to him, about his appearing judgmental, was simply shrugged off claiming "you've been around Navy too much and they have rubbed off on you." (?) He basically "ordered" her to have it "wear off," and told her: "Consider that a vote of confidence- and trust that others trust you." [That must be his way of giving closure.]

M prosecuted Cdr. Lunt, an Annapolis sailing instructor, for dereliction of duty and negligent homicide when Seaman Emma Green was lost overboard in a storm which "they should have gone around," (according to her military disliking parents.) Mikey (Mk) , also on the ship, challenged everyone who seemed against Lunt, including his friend Dupree. Bud (B) had to reign Mk in, forcefully, and accused him of raising Lunt to the level of "father figure." Seaman Huskins, who fell overboard first, also testified against Lunt saying, retrospectively, "it was too hard for me" - despite the fact that she had actually voted to go through the storm with the rest of the team. Turner (T) defended Lunt and deduced that the excuse-ridden Huskins had untethered herself from the safety line in order to check below deck; but, then had negligently left the hatch open. She re-tethered, so that, when she fell overboard, it put the entire crew into rescue mode. During the rescue, Green had seen that the hatch had been left open, and then had to untether in order to go close it. She had slammed her fingers in the hatch door when she closed it, and then was washed overboard before she could reattach to her tether. T quoted G K Chesterton "we are all in the same boat on a stormy sea and we owe each other a terrible loyalty." Lunt was acquitted but claimed he was retiring.

Friday, November 5, 2004

This Just in From Baghdad - 211

[We have a new JAG - those sneaky writers! Unfortunately, they decided to make him a complete ass. Evidently, Harm and Mac are now going to fight more battles inside JAG instead of on ships.] Turner (T) had to move his car because Creswell (Cr) was actually appointed JAG by "a last minute miracle." Cr was arrogantly condescending to Coates' (Co) annoying behavior quirks which Chegwidden had tolerated. He approved Ts request to switch offices back with Harm (H), trying to "mend fences." H prosecuted, and Mac (M) defended, Staff Sgt. Timothy Mallory, who was charged in the death of Dwight Kanin, a civilian chairman of the military affairs policy board and advisor to the president, during a ride along. A reporter claimed that Kanin had been "fragged" by the soldiers because of his poor attitude. The patrol, with whom Kanin was riding, had been blocked by street protesters; but, he bragged that he wanted to see "real" marines in action, and said "lets go forward." He had been protected by the other soldier's flack jackets, but panicked and was shot down when he went running, screaming, through gunfire. The soldier protecting him, who didn't have a flack jacket, was also killed, and another's arm was blown off while removing a grenade.

Amazingly, Mallory was found guilty; but, in the penalty phase, all his chain of command, including the general who had initiated the court-martial, testified for mitigation of the sentence. Col. Atwater said "Kanin acted like a tourist, wanting photo ops more than facts." He said that he had told Capt. Ellis to "get that chicken hawk out of my sight." Ellis said he had been offended by Kanin's "lack of understanding of a war he was known to champion," and that he had told Lt. Howell that "if Kanin ever saw action he'd go home with new shorts." Howell said "Kanin thinks it's a video game over here" and that he had told Mallory to "show him what's it's really like." Even General Watson relinquished being convening authority, so he could testify, stating: "Kanin represents a branch of civilian leadership which has complicated and compromised our expeditionary force. And, he personally had an attitude of disrespect for our men." All witnesses said that there was a "singular failure in the chain of command such that implied orders put Kanin in greater danger than he should have been."

The court-martial sentenced Mallory to 6 months confinement and forfeiture of pay; but, recommended delaying the penalty until further investigation into the failure of the chain of command was performed.

Cr told Co that he gave "extra points" to sailors who "got themselves out of holes" (referring to her previous record.) She told him that her life change had been due to the trust that H had placed in her. Bud felt he had gotten off on the wrong FOOT with Cr - and quipped that "I only have one."

Friday, October 29, 2004

Whole New Ballgame - 209

[Introduction of Chegwidden's replacement. Unfortunately, the "writer's" made a big mistake in what character types the viewers would tolerate.] Marine Col. Gordon Creswell (Cr) saved Gen Bixby from a helicopter crash in Iraq and was then made counsel to the joint chiefs of staff. He became the president's candidate for JAG, now that Chegwidden had gone. The SECNAV claimed that "no one wants to saddle our good JAG lawyers with someone so bereft of people skills that they alienate all of them." [Too bad he didn't tell that to the writers] He then appointed his long time friend, Admiral Tom Kly, as president of the selection board, consisting of 2 marine and 2 navy admirals - despite Kly's warnings of its appearance of impropriety. Bud (B) was appointed clerk of the board by Turner (T) , and was asked stupid questions during the very heated debates. Creswell was finally selected.

Harm (H) was still upset by the appointment of T as interim JAG. T sent H and Mac (M) to investigate the shooting incident, of a Canadian Indians' son, by an ensign, from the US vessel called in to settle a fishing dispute between Wolf Tillicum and long time nemesis George Young. The Ensign claimed that Tillicum's son had threatened their inflatable with a rifle. The son initially denied it, claiming that it had only been a gaffing hook, but then changed his story under Hs questioning. M was very upset at Cr's nomination because he was the Okinawa JAG who had reprimanded John Farrell when she had her affair with him. She felt that Cr will hold it against her and harass her over it. The SECNAV was uneasy over Cr's lack of people skills and emotion. When told of his selection, Cr said "I'll wait until it's in writing," then told the SECNAV "the part of me that you find unsettling (the marine part) won't go away."

Because of the SECNAVs use of Kly as chairman, the SECDEF decided to hold formal senate armed services committee confirmation hearings. Cr was asked about his feelings on homosexuality by Joyce Brothers; the legality of the Iraq war; holding detainees; and then, stupidly, about a specific rape case by a sniveling, snotty southern senator with an apparent axe to grind. All four on the panel seemed to act vigorously against incumbent policies and be very political. When a panelist told Cr that the Iraq war was not legal, Cr responded "tell that to the men being shot at." When pressured, Cr told the sniveling senator not to retrospectively sensationalize the rape case for purposes of the hearing. Additionally, he voiced that both sides of isle had played on the natural fear of people over the security of their homeland for political purposes, and that the "law is blind and doesn't care if you get re-elected next year." Coates & M had "heart to heart's" about boyfriends and fathers. M was not unhappy being told that "Cr imploded before the committee," and the episode ended showing Cr back in his old office after the hearing, believing that he would not be confirmed.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Retrial - 210

[Turner is still acting JAG, Mac is still crusty with Harm and Bellisario is still giving them "soft" (non-action) cases. They also seem to have replaced the "love distraction," which Mac has lost, with one for Harm, preventing them from reconciling their differences.] A legal student, Rachel Hanna, uncovered new DNA evidence which she felt proved that Saul Wainright hadn't committed the murder of a transvestite hooker, Tamaray, for which he had been a prisoner in Leavenworth for 22 years. With her professor, Alicia Montez [the new "interest" for Harm], she convinced Harm (H) to review the case and intervene. But, H felt that Tamaray's blood on Wainright's knife, the knife cut on his face and his prints on the knife, all proved that Wainright was guilty. Wainright claimed, however, that when he was in the alley, and had realized that Tamaray was a transvestite, he wouldn't pay, so Tamaray pulled his knife and cut Wainright on the face. He said that defending himself, he had wrestled with Tamaray, and the knife accidentally stabbed Tamaray once. He then ran and threw the knife away. Unexplainedly, however, Tamaray had been stabbed 12 times. Hanna found that there had been another murder of a prostitute the following day, by someone named Waldo Sapphire; and, although Sapphire had died in prison, she subpoenaed his shirt and found Tamaray's DNA on it. H realized that, after this length of time, only the president could order another retrial; but, Turner (T) said he wouldn't go to the line for H, unless he had more than the DNA evidence - even when H asked him to "trust me." Hanna also stole records from Henry Kale's office, who was the former prosecutor of Waldo Sapphire. The records showed that Sapphire had been willing to confess to "another murder," for a plea bargain. Kale said he had given the information to Wainright's prosecutor, Lt. Cdr. Marvin Bolton - now a congressman; but Bolton had failed to turn it over to the defense, as required by the Supreme Court Brady decision. The SECNAV insisted on keeping the president out of it, because Bolton had led the opposition against the president's weapons program and now it would just look like "payback." When the SECNAV told harm "maybe next year," H didn't respond kindly. He argued that: this innocent man has spent 22 years behind bars, it's a mockery, and he can't wait another year just for political reasons! The SECNAV talked to Bolton, who admitted knowing the information; but, as expected, threatened the SECNAV for doing "payback." Trying to defuse the situation, the SECNAV authorized a simple pardon; but, when H offered it to Wainright, he refused it, saying that he wanted a whole new trial. Finally, the SECNAV got the president to authorize a new trial, stating that he "didn't like to be threatened." H asked T to let him to defend Wainright and T assigned himself to prosecute, against H. H called Bolton to testify and made him look a fool. Bolton threatened H that "your career is over!" Harm replied "so's yours." T tried to shame H about "not doing his homework," when he uncovered that Hanna was actually Wainright's daughter, and he claimed that Hanna had switched shirts while they were in her possession in order to free her father. But H showed that, in the first trial, Wainright's shirt was shown to have two types of blood - his, from the cut, and Tamaray's; while the shirt now in question, with the newly discovered DNA, showed only one type of blood - Tamaray's. He muttered back to T: "you should have done your homework, counselor." Wainwright was exonerated for murder.

Mac (M) prosecuted and Bud (B) defended Morris Renfield, found to have four wives. He had a job which required extended deployments, and had married all four in different areas of deployment, had children with two and financed it from his fathers trust fund. M took the whole thing personally, showing contempt for Renfield, who was sickeningly sweet. Renfield inappropriately tried to get personal with M, telling her that he "just knew she had been hurt" in the past. All of his wives loved him and tried to get M to drop the charges. Finally, when M wouldn't relent, they drew straws and all but one divorced him. That way M could drop the charges. She finally relented, but said she found his actions reprehensible and recommended dishonorable discharge with loss of pay and allowances. M asked H what had changed between he and T, because they "used to be friends." He said "people change, they grow apart," then interjected that he was still talking about he and T. She ragged on him about being attracted to Montez, and he said "when have I ever compromised my integrity for a woman?" She responded, "you've never compromised anything for a woman." Montez told H that Bolton was a bad enemy to have, and that she would help H "watch his back."

Friday, October 1, 2004

Corporate Raiders - 208

[Mac's major, worrisome, "illness" (of last season's finale) seems to have been largely ignored so far, except to reveal that it is endometriosis.] Acting JAG, Turner (T), showed concern about how he had alienated his old friends. He clearly doesn't have the same agenda as did Chegwidden, which is frustrating to Mac (M) and Harm(H). T asked Bud (B) if he had any "problem with my style of management." Diplomatically, B said he didn't; then, when pressed, said "there's not a lot of room at the top for friendship."

Mattie (Mt) returned from an extended stay with her dad, Tom. They announced that they were going to start up Grace Aviation again, and Tom asked H for a letter of reference. H was concerned about her burgeoning relationship with Kevin Reilly, a local boy, and had his version of a facts-of-life talk with her, saying she should "talk to her father." Mt eventually said she needed H, and his "annoying personal questions," then asked him to "reduce altitude" and kissed him on the cheek.

M and H investigated a "friendly fire" incident, where a marine unit was acting as "shadow advisors" to the bodyguards of a Kurdish leader, Mohammed Aziz. Retired Sgt. Maj. Thomas Elgart, of Battlefield Solutions (BS), was a consultant advisor to an Iraqi Civil Defense unit who were tracking a terrorist, and ("mistakenly") engaged in a gunfight with the bodyguards (and their shadow advisors), killing a marine. T was all too happy to call it a "friendly-fire" incident; but, Ann, the widow of Marine Cpl. Paul Sheehy, brought Emails her husband had sent before his death, implicating Battlefield Solutions as "trigger-happy mercenaries." M and H continued their investigation and found that retired Commander John Merrick (previously court-martialed for collision of a destroyer) was now the CEO of BS, so they complained to him. He promised that he "would take care of it," then called a general and asked for a court-martial of his own employee! Elgart was brought back to active duty, by order of the SECNAV, and court martialed. Merrick then told Elgart that he didn't think he was getting good defense (from H), and offered him $2 million to plead guilty to the court-martial that he had asked for! H coerced Elgart into not to taking it, saying: "2 million is a hell of a severance package." H found that BS had recently merged with Henson-LeRoux, a company who had oil interests in the Kurdish area; and, that Merrick had received 200,000 shares of it's stock. If the Kurdish area became independent, Aziz would become oil minister; and, because he had been openly antagonistic to the company, BS would suffer financial loss. Additionally, H discovered that Aziz had been previously "targeted" to be: "taken out by mistake," on five separate occasions! Unbelievably, the five failed attempts were based upon false information from a confidential "informant." Then, the informant also turned out to be under contract to BS, making H wonder if the information "wasn't coming directly from BS's board room" for their own corporate agenda. Elgart was found not-guilty, and Sheehy's widow filed civil suit for, as H told Merrick, a lot "more than your $2 million."

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hail and Farewell (Part II) - 207

[Follow-up sequel to last season's finale and the first without Chegwidden who has left the series.] Mac (M) returned to her apartment late and found that it had been trashed. Simon Tanveer (MI6 agent) was there, stabbed, and claiming to be "saving her life." He told her that he thought Webb (W) was still alive. He stayed in Ms apartment, because "everyone who knew W was in danger" from Peter Tyrook, "the Hawk," a contract killer who was looking for W. W had been planning to do a "sting" on Tyrook; but, now the tables were turned and W was the target. M tried to get Turner (T) to tell her what he had found during his investigation of Ws death; but, instead of just telling her he found nothing, he acted like he just "wouldn't tell her." She went to Ws apartment and heard him punching codes, to retrieve his messages from the answering machine, but he wouldn't answer her. She talked to Laurie June, Ws assistant, and asked her to "think about" telling her where W was. Later, while Tanveer was with her, M got a call from Laurie who merely said W was at "Mandalay." They went to Laurie's apartment and found she had been tortured to death. Tanveer and M were walking in the park and were shot at by W, but it missed. M talked to Ws mother to tell her about: Laurie's murder, "Mandalay," and to protect herself from "the Hawk." M finally told Harm (H) about it all; and, with Coates' help (by remembering the words to a poem about "Manderley"), deduced that W was at their families old home named "Manderley." Searching it, M & Tanveer found clothes in the house, and H found W on the beach. Tanveer got the drop on M, then admitted to being "the Hawk," who was a fictitious person. He said that he had stabbed himself, then trashed her apartment, killed Laurie, automated the phone call and was using M for his bait. He then got the drop on W, who was attempting a rescue, and H got the drop on Tanveer. But Tanveer still had M hostage, so he captured them all. While threatening to kill M, in order to find out how much info W had obtained about the Al Qaeda, Mrs. Webb appeared and shot Tanveer three times. M had it out with W for lying to her and walked out on him. W asked his boss, Kershaw, how he could "be who I am and still be with her." Kershaw didn't give him an answer and said that it was time for him to "come in from the cold."

The SECNAV appointed Turner as temporary JAG. Probably, as Coates observed, because he wasn't at all put off by the mindless paperwork and politics. H was very annoyed by all the "make work" T was dumping on them, instead of "real" cases. H tried, the whole episode, to talk to M about her medical condition. She apparently has endometriosis, which was "mostly removed." She put him off and told H that she would come to him when she wanted to talk. Finally he tried again on the beach, after Tanveer had been killed, only to be put off again; so, he walked away, frustrated, saying "let me know when you're ready." Krennick was rumored to be on the "short list" for JAG, and H said that she was the only one "to have ever chased him around the desk." She was later said to have been "flagged" and taken off the list.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Hail and Farewell (Part I) - 205

[Season finale (a real downer!).] An attempt to rescue three men in a Zodiac life raft, during a severe storm, failed. Three of the men attempting the rescue, drowned as well. Chegwidden (C) sent Turner (T) to the Thomas Lyons to investigate, where he was stonewalled by the captain claiming to have a "classified" mission. T found little information, but when he went to fax his report back to Chegwidden, the communications officer said he would have to "check" the names in T's report against those on the "list" which were not to be released. Looking over his shoulder, T saw that Webb (W) was one of the classified three, who had been drowned. W had told M (M) that he was going to Germany, and promised that he would make his absence bearable for her by communicating with her every day. She began receiving German gifts, including a German singing group, and had flashbacks of their last few times together and his promises. T returned and bumbled around M which made her suspicious. She went to Ws office and found Laurie June, his assistant, closing out his office. She saw that Laurie had been sending M the presents, as if they had been sent by W himself, and tricked her into admitting that W was in the Tripler morgue.

Mattie began wearing her mothers old locket and told Harm (H) that her dad had not done any prison time after he had "killed her mother" by being drunk. That didn't make sense to H who investigated the police report and found that her father had not been drunk. H talked to Mattie's father, Tom, at his rehab facility, and heard him blame himself for being in "denial," and for not paying attention, which made him skid on the ice. He had the letters, that his wife had sent to him, and gave them to H for Mattie to read. Mattie refused point blank, but then didn't come home from school and missed her first Al-a-Teen meeting. She walked in, just as Coates and H were calling the police, then stormed into her room refusing to talk. Later she told H that she had read the letters and was reconciling with her father.

C began, according to Coates, "loosing it" by: singing "Ta Dah" after giving Harriet (Ht) a commendation from the SECNAV for her USO Christmas show; calling T by his first name; and giving Bud (B) two eagle bookends to "thin out his stuff." He discussed with B the "solid ceiling" he had on his rank, due to his handicap. Then he reserved the Annapolis officers club for his formal "dining out" party. He started the rumor, with Coates, that he was retiring, and gave her the manual for the Dining Out saying he would appoint an officer as "Mr. Vice." Ht announced that she was pregnant, with twins, and was requesting an inactive reserve billet. C appointed Ht as "Madame Vice" and had bagpipes play as he made his entrance as the "President of the Mess." Mikey (Mk) was charged with having his glass empty, and requested B as his council. B explained the infraction, and Mk was fined $5 to charity. H toasted C that his retirement would "take him to a place of peace, contentment and natural fibers." C gave a great speech about spending time with his daughter, visiting ball parks, and how he would remember everyone. As his last official act as JAG, he swore B in as Lt. Cdr., having written a six page letter to the promotions board. He was shown walking out of the club in slow-motion, looking back at everyone and remembering.

M had worsening back pain and H made a doctors appointment for her. The doctor said it was referred pain, and ordered a laparoscopy. She was shown giving M the results, but they weren't revealed out loud. She eventually talked with H and complained that men just "seem to come and go" in her life, except for him. When he said he would always be there for her, she said there was something that he had to know, and told him. He recalled for her their 5-year agreement which was up this week and told her: "the offer still holds." [So, it's anyone's guess what next season will be like - let's hope they are not going to mess with a good thing!]

Friday, May 14, 2004

Trojan Horse - 204

["Navy SEAL's come under the microscope when a large amount of heroin is intercepted and confiscated, only to have a kilo of it turn up missing. And Bud comes to the aid of a Marine singer who is being harassed by the record company that he is under contract to, when they object to him serving in the war."]

Friday, May 7, 2004

Coming Home - 202

["Harm helps protects a mother of a marine killed in action while serving in Iraq from overzealous reporters. In so doing, he works to prepare her for the upcoming burial of her son. Mac & Bud are called upon to see why armored vests given to soldiers in the field to protect them, instead are failing to do what they were designed to do."]

Friday, April 30, 2004

Fighting Words - 203

[The point that Mr. Witten was trying to make - and make and make and make - was that the, all to visible, Iraqi terrorists were NOT following the Muslim religious precepts that they profess. Unfortunately, so many points were superficial, and obvious counterpoints so often completely ignored, that the plot seemed contrived and forced. The self-serving, sensationalistic reporter was, however, all too familiar - if not an overused character type.]
The SECNAV introduced Major General Earl Watson and his Iraqi counterpart General Mohammed Jabra at a press conference where ZNN reporter Jill Waddington grandstanded and accused Watson of having an offensive attitude toward the Muslims. She claimed that she had "just happened upon" (a lie) Watsons guest sermon at a Baptist church, where he called it a "second rate religion" and that "we were doing battle with the devil." The SECNAV ordered a JAG investigation and (surprise) Harm (H) and Mac (M) disagreed on about everything. Watson told M that the religion "has a warrior streak which is too easily appropriated as justification for holy war." M began her arguments with him by saying that Islam explicitly condemned terrorism. Watson said that Waddington's reports weren't accurate or complete. He had spoken that it was "Christian duty to protect people from terrorism" and told the two to ask the congregation for the complete truth. Unfortunately they interviewed seven people who had all seemed to hear the talk completely differently. Turner (T) offered to help M, who was having back pain, with the prosecution saying that he had never heard his chaplain father say anything against any other religion. Then Waddington brought out never shown, archived footage of another "sermon" Watson gave 4 days after 9/11 over 2 1/2 years previously. Watson had said the US was under attack by people who were following the Koran's advice to "Fight unbelievers wherever you find them" and that we were "a Christian army who will win this holy war." The SECNAV bumped it to an official court of inquiry, closed to the press, who began asking questions like: why didn't you get your speech approved by public affairs? And why did you wear your uniform? M tried to belittle H saying: "why aren't you offended by his speech?" H told her that the general had spent, and nearly given, his life to defend our right for free speech, "now you want to take away his right to freedom of religion and speech - why doesn't that offend you?" T found that Waddington had actually received her tip from a Cpl Hamud who was getting out of the service.

T received notice of an investigation into his "anti-Korean bias" charge from Lt Yi. Chegwidden (C) assigned Bud (B) to investigate saying that if it wasn't true he wanted T's record cleared. B argued that he had been in the exact same place, having Ts career in his hands, a year ago. C quipped "well, fortunately, he survived that experience!" T worried to M that his prosecution of Watson was hypocritical. She told him that "you're far too obsessively rational to be prejudiced against anyone." T took B his notes and information and told him that he "would do a fine job." Coates (Co) nagged C for a press release and he told her that what the country needed was more baseball heroes. When she said she wasn't a fan of baseball, he said "I've fired people for less." He dictated a memo to the SECNAV and included the part about baseball heroes, so she said she would write the first draft for his signature. The whole gang cornered Co in M's office and asked about Meredith. H said "we know that you know something." She told them "yes, I do… and the admiral won't be saying those two words." Hamud told M that he had met Waddington doing a story at boot camp. He called her after hearing of Watson's new appointment because he had been offended by Watson's "trash talking Islam" at an "interfaith" sermon after 9/11.

The board of inquiry recommended court martial and on the stand Watson said that he had been asked to be a guest speaker at a church meeting, in a chapel, days after 9/11 when emotions were high and did wear his uniform but made it clear his opinions were his own. To M's caustic examination he said: "I expressed belief that God is not neutral in the struggle between freedom and terrorism. M sniped back that she "thought God would prefer that people didn't throw his name around quite so much." M called the SECNAV to testify against Watson but H countered all of her arguments. Jabra testified that most Americans "can't tell the difference between real Islam and the terrorist perversion of Islam." He said Watson's remarks didn't really bother them because they were "just words." After saying that the people were glad of the help to rid them of Saddam Hussein, he said that he could "cut Watson some slack" because the speech was made after 9/11. He then told the court that he, personally, found Christian ideas odd; so, "if I find your religion a little bizarre, I can't get angry with you finding mine equally strange." Waddington reported that she "wondered if the prosecution was really trying to win," and M called her a "stupid twit." T brought in reverend Haynes, from Watsons previous speech, to explain the slides he used. One showing Baghdad on fire he said showed "the devil in the smoke." Watson explained to H that while he was there with his men, in battle, in danger, he believed that "God had permitted him to see the face of the devil" which had given him the strength to go on. He gave H one potential witness for his character. Mrs. Sattar's husband, Ayman, was killed in a fedayeen ambush and Watson had come to the house to express condolences. When found that she had breast cancer that the Iraqi hospital couldn't help, he arranged for his church to bring her to America for treatment, let her live in their housing and drive her to the Mosque every Friday for worship. H called Watson to the stand and he did well. M felt it necessary to give a lesson on Islamic belief's saying that "Jihad" only meant "to struggle or strive," only considered "warfare justified for self-defense or liberation," had rules against killing "children, women, elderly and other non-combatants… including suicide." She said that "they are not following Islam any more than Timothy McVeigh was following Christianity." [The authors left out that McVeigh never claimed to be on a Christian crusade or that "official" Islamic leaders aren't seen to actively refute or "excommunicate" terrorists] The court found Watson not guilty on the charges; but, the judge recommended formal counseling and ordered not to assert belief's in public forums. As Watson was walking out with H and M, they saw a news report of 18 killed in a Fallujah suicide bombing by the "fire of Allah" claiming a "glorious victory in this holy war." Watson excused himself. H said "that's why we need men like the general." M sniped "or not."

Yi told B that T had allowed a sailor to antagonize a North Korean skipper and supported him being tied up. He said that T had made statements showing he had little respect for Koreans. B told Yi that he had spoken with his father, who had been shot by a black man, and found him to be bigoted against blacks. He asked Yi to tell him honestly that he hadn't at least once questioned his own motives against T. Yi dropped the charges and B told T that he "wasn't going to let you down this time." C told Co about the most famous Jew in the 1930's. Hank Greenberg, AKA "hammerin' hank" was a hall of fame 1st baseman and left fielder who took the Detroit Tigers to four world series. Greenberg, C said, did more to combat anti-Semitism in the 30's than any other man. "What the world needs now," C said, "is a Muslim who can hit 60 home runs!"

Friday, April 2, 2004

Hard Time - 201

[This is such an incredibly absurd episode, and the expectation that the JAG audience is gullible enough to believe it is so condescending, that it reduces it to the level of an adolescent 'soapbox opera' or 'sitcom.' It is hard for me to believe that it even deserves retelling! I wouldn't, except that the premise, that two 'poppy seed' bagles can ever be 'mistakenly' the source of a false positive drug screen, cannot be left unchallenged. Ms. Coen not only wrote an exceedingly poor episode; but, compounded it by perpetuating a drug user myth, and completely fabricating her own medical reality. The premises are childish, the dialog fabricated and the actions are out-of-character. Where is this series going?] Mac (M) prosecuted PFC Michelle Boyer for 'Heroin use' and won a conviction yielding 1 year confinement. The 'brig-chaser' let Boyer get in M's face and ask if she'd ever 'regretted sending someone away?" Then, when M answered 'no,' Boyer cold-cocked M to the ground. T asked for another three years, and the judge gave her four! Then, when M found that the same incompetent 'brig-chaser' was being assigned to move Boyer across country, she asked the convening authority, Col Okerman, to assign someone else. You guessed it, Okerman was the overused, arrogant, condescending, resenting women in military type and refused. Then, when Chegwidden (C) tried to intervene, Okerman demanded that M be assigned to do it (!) And C agreed (!!) They couldn't find military transport (!) went commercial (!) with a layover in Cincinnati - Boyer's 'hometown.' (!) Boyer 'disappeared' in 15 seconds from a restroom stall with M standing in front of it (!), then was recaptured when she went for a smoke (!). No more flights to San Diego until the next day and a weenie security boss forced M off the airport (!) Of course, sharing the same room made them best of buddies, so M took her the next day to see her daughter in her boyfriends custody (!) where she, again unattended, stole pills from a bathroom and tried suicide. Again, missing the apparently 'only' flight from Cincinnati to San Diego (!) and giving M the opportunity to feel sorry for her and take her to a beautician, and shopping and out to eat (!) Of course she would pig out on muffins and begin to retch and be taken to an ER where an eager 'intern' would recognize 'poppy seed' induced 'false positive' drug test and offer that 'some people's system's are more sensitive' and he would run 'allergy tests' to prove it (!!!!) C goes to bat for M against little Lord Fauntleroy Okerman to obtain a new trial and M testifies that even she wouldn't have had better control if she'd been falsely convicted (!) [This is the kind of crappy writing that lost the show ratings and got it cancelled!]

Harm (H) and Bud (H) were assigned the case of Senior Chief Paul De Fina who's CO, Stotler, stupidly revealed De Fina's HIV status to PO McMichael, who had gotten a 'couple of drops' of blood on his sleeve from De Fina's cut hand without either proper rationale or precautions for confidentiality. Of course, McMichael gossiped it all over the unit. Again, the arrogant, know-it-all Stotler not only compounded the harm by relieving De Fina of duty, but basically told H "oh well" when the harm his actions had caused was pointed out. De Fina wanted to proceed with charges for reversal of the decision but his wife, who was also HIV positive, refused to talk to H and B. De Fina had been shot in a rebel uprising in Africa and received 'tainted' blood according to the hospital. B, in his meticulous follow-up, found the treating doctor who said that he remembered the case and didn't give any blood transfusion. H and B manipulated a confession from De Fina's wife who had found she was HIV positive while her husband was away then let him think that he had infected her. De Fina filed for divorce and got a position as HIV case manager at Bethesda. Stotler wanted H to get De Fina back because he was now short of trainers; but, De Fina refused.

Meredith came to visit C. Coates didn't keep her out saying "I'll pay for this, but it's in his best interest." Meredith said she didn't come to patch things up or ask forgiveness, just "couldn't let us part without words." C said: "goodbye." When she said "I deserved that," he told her that "falling on your sword" was embarrassing and he wasn't "playing out a scene from a bad movie with you." She told him that "Allesandro is married, so I am not worthy of being with any man, especially you." And "I've done this four times. Two acts of unfaithfulness and two I just disappeared." She said it was a pathology, self-destructive behavior. He told her to "go to a Therapist and stop working it out on the unsuspecting." She tried to start requesting something; but, he shut her off with "not this time" and "somewhere down the line with someone else." She left.

Friday, March 12, 2004

What If - 200

[The writers/producers were getting a bit nostalgic with this, the 200th, episode. Through Harm's 'daydreams', they conjectured about what the series might have been like if they had directed the characters differently at various 'choice points.' It is another 'role playing' episode; but, where the major cast play themselves in an alternate universe. Still, however, it's pretty much another 'soapbox opera' and NOT the typical JAG we are looking for.] On the occasion of PO Coates' (Co) promotion to first class, the 'regulars' were at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Chegwidden (C) overruled the argument about who should open their fortune cookie first by saying "we'll go by height, you first Rabb." Harm's (H) was: "Your unspoken desire is the road not taken, take it"; but, he avoided the obligatory "reading aloud." Instead he lapsed into a reverie in which he was at JAG receiving his wife, Mac (M), who was dressed in silk "civvies," acting childishly flippant, and wanting their divorce papers signed. They had decided to marry, after the night in Sydney harbor, but now she said she was tired of him not paying attention to her and announced she was quitting the service and marrying John Farrow, a river guide in Colorado. M had come to get admiral Krennick (K) to sign her terminal leave papers; but, instead H talked her into assigning M "her last case," as defense for Marine Col. Sutter charged with harming a prisoner. K told H that she did it so "you can get it out of your system and move on to someone tough, ambitious and able to give you the ride of your life." He told her to remember that he had "pulled 9 1/2 G's in a tomcat" and she responded "then maybe you're ready for me." Sutter had taken the recalcitrant detainee outside and fired his gun next to the man's head, in order to get him to reveal secret plans which eventually saved the lives of many men. Sutter told M that a female JAG had tried, unsuccessfully, to get information for 10 hours and then had "tattled" on him when he did what she couldn't. He said "phoney marines… women who have never seen combat can't possibly understand what is at stake." H insisted he take M and Farrow to lunch; then, traded zingers with Farrow, took the seat between them, and offered M a plea bargain, which Sutter had already turned down. When M found what H had done, she got right into his face and said "I'm going to kick your butt!"

Next, C deferred to Bud (B) and Harriett (Ht), who simultaneously read H's same fortune out loud. That sent H back into another reverie where Ht's parents had died and left her "all the money in the world." She came to B's "spa king" store to ask for an install before her housewarming party, for her new mansion. B told her he left the navy "when you lost interest in me" and Mikey (Mk) intimated that he had been pining for her. Ht said she had left him at the altar, because she didn't think he was mature enough, but now realized that it had been her own problem. M and H had their usual "veiled" bickering in the courtroom, where their statements had double meaning to their own lives. She told H that "loving you was like stepping on a rusty nail." H offered to give her their photo album, containing all their memories. She refused, but then took it when he wasn't looking. H told her "what if fate meant us to be together… but we both just got in our own way?" M countered with "what if, just doesn't get it done." Verese was practicing at Ht's house with "mister" Turner (T) watching and having some sort of "agreement terms," for Ht, in his briefcase. Ht showed B and Mk her million dollar paintings. In court, Sutter said, "you can't play by the rules when your enemy doesn't." M said: "I'll say," and H objected. M told judge Seibring "that was under my breath… and besides, I object. The counselor is badgering ME." Seibring said "you're flirting with contempt," and she retorted: "I am NOT flirting!" H's double meaning statement: "we can blame others for our predicament's, but the truth is we make our own bed" (looking directly at M) brought her retort "your honor, he didn't make the bed in two years!"

Next, C tried to defer again, but Co shamed him into opening a cookie with her. They got the same fortune, sending H back into the reverie. C and Meredith (Md) were married and he was a retired attorney who was defending Co, who had just skipped bail. Co had gone AWOL at Christmas and was now part of an art theft ring and known as the "cat woman." C told Md that Co was after a rare Shakespeare folio, then had to summarily turn down MD's offer to "help." Co was shown telling "Stan," her contact (from Magnum PI), that she had already "cased" Ht's new house, posing as a caterer. Md went to Ht's to see the folio, which she said she had bought on her accountant's advice, and had under security devices. B told Ht he would do the bathroom at no charge, but she said that with all her money she "still felt something was missing," then invited him to her party. H caught M looking at their photo album and she retorted "you're not the WORST thing that ever happened to me." In court, H continued his obtuse double meaning questioning, about "not being too proud to admit when they're wrong," to the point that Seibring threw up his hands in submission. He called them to the bench during an argument and told them to resolve their differences. They said that their "marriage counselor had quit."

Next, T refused to take a cookie saying he could only eat soy because of allergies. M took her cookie (the same fortune), but claimed that it said: "wherever you go, there you are." Back in the reverie, Seibring told Sutter that he had heard many things which troubled him, but "none had anything to do with this case" so adjudged for administrative action only. He told M and H that he wasn't going to discipline them because he found their squabbling entertaining. M and Farrow were leaving on a train; but, H shamed them into going to Ht's party, so as "not to leave any unfinished business." Verese was the entertainment, and T was engaged to her. H asked K for "more indulgence…" and promised her "rebound potential." Mk chatted up Co, a server. Md spotted Co, but C didn't believe her. C told Md that he "believed in fate" and they were meant to be together. B told Ht that he had "more money than she did" with his 17 outlets in 5 states, Spa King, and patent on the "miracle tickler." H gave M her signed divorce papers to "file with your terminal leave papers, retirement orders and every other burned bridge from your past unhappy life." She said that he "never committed until she had one foot out the door" and stormed out. T told H that if he let M go he "would wonder 'what if' the rest of your life." H said "destiny has spoken," and T replied that his dad always said that "destiny speaks through the choices we make." H found that M had left her coat with her train ticket in the pocket. Co and "Stan" broke into Ht's Shakespeare folio; but, were foiled by Md's bluffing with a fake dart gun. Co revealed that she wasn't a thief, but was really doing a "sting" just to catch Stan. Md advised C not to discount her imagination and he replied that he "lived in fear of her imagination." At the train station, Farrow announced that it was sold out and they couldn't buy a replacement for M. Just then, H showed up with the coat and ticket and announced that he had "stopped trying to stop you." As M was boarding, the ticket flew out of her hand in the wind, and Farrow left alone on the train. M turned to H and said: "I'm ready, are you?"

Back from the reverie, everyone had left already and C was asking H if he was going to follow them. H told M that he had "just been pondering the road not taken… yet!"

Friday, February 27, 2004

Take It Like a Man - 199

[A couple of moderately interesting plots; but, not the JAG that got us all hooked on the series. Ms. Meyers should have had a psychologist review her script, or at least talked to one before submitting it. Dialogue is unrealistic and contrived.] Marine Corporal Hal Strange was bilking schools and organizations out of speaking fees, claiming he received a silver star that he didn't. The SECNAV decided to throw the book at him and Mac (M) was assigned to defend while Harm (H) prosecuted. M acted glib, rushed and childish to Chegwidden (C) and others and continually picked fights with people. M advised Strange to change his plea to guilty; but he said that "he deserved the medal" and refused. He condescendingly told M that he "doubted she had any idea of what combat was like and had ever killed anyone." Her look told him otherwise and then there was stupid dialog about how "didn't she think she deserved one?" Webb (W) was back and in her apartment. After intimacy, she then told him that "one of these days he wouldn't receive such a welcome." He asked if she was mad that he was leaving or that he wasn't there when Sadik came. After more insipid conversation about how killing "made you more alive and made you more passionate" she told him that he was "sick." He said he wasn't having the conversation and left. She told C that Strange said he had earned the medal but his men wouldn't vouch for him so he wanted his day in court to stick it to the Marines. She argued with him saying "you don't know me as well as you thought!" When he suggested she had come back to work to soon, she glibly claimed that she was "honored to help Sadik obtain the martyrdom he desired and anticipated a fruit basket from the white house for riding the world of a terrorist." She blasted into her defense by attacking the teacher who had hired Strange to speak; and continued after H's objections were sustained to the point that the judge held her in contempt. C read her the riot act and ordered her to see a psychologist at Bethesda. She shot back criticizing his behavior "denying your own broken heart." (oh good grief) He told her to "lock it up" and get her "butt to the shrink before she exhausted what was left of his charitable nature."

Tom Johnson called H because Mattie (Mt) wasn't taking his calls. He wanted to "see my little girl" and H had to corner her into having dinner with him. He told her that he knew she could handle it and she pouted that "I know I can… but can you?" (?!) Mt acted like an arrogant ass at the dinner, attacking her dad for "killing her mother." H effusively apologized for her and forced him to accept a ride home. He told Mt that someday she would regret pushing him out of your life and she sulked that "I think I was happier before I met you!" Taking her to school, H gave her brochures for Alateen which she agreed to "consider" if he "would forgive me for being such a brat." Bud (B), on the other hand, went back to his role as the series' buffoon. He showed Turner (T), back from the "big easy" with Verese, a rare Habu pit viper snake that he was keeping in his office because "the evidence room was too cold." Trying to arrange a plea bargain for a Ensign Thompson, who had smuggled it in from Okinawa in his shirt, B had to visit him in the hospital where he was receiving anti-venom for his bites. B found the lid to the snakes cage open and then spent the entire episode sneaking around the office looking for it without telling anyone. He even barged into C's office just as C was finding the heart shaped locket that Meredith had given him. Thompson wanted the snake to go to the Zoo instead of "becoming a wallet" and B frustrated the convening authority into granting it, along with no brig time. T found the snake in his office and duct taped into his garbage can.

M went to W's apartment and was all over him at first, so he stopped her saying: "this isn't you." More odd dialog started with his: "standard psychological debriefing" after Paraguay, her having finished his assignment for him last week, and lashing that people had "inconvenient emotions" and he "didn't have what it takes to make me happy." With the psychologist, Lt. Cdr McCool, she was just as glib and flippant. After she related the story (because her file was classified) McCool offered that the "killing had left a hole in your subconscious." (?!) She continued her abrasive defense of Strange and discussed "medal inflation" where people got them but didn't deserve them. He said that he had saved two men but they wouldn't back up his story. She then lit into H about his "brother preferring to live in Russia than around you." She claimed H "pulled people into your circle just so you can push them away again." He told her that "this isn't about me loosing interest in Mt. You think I'm loosing interest in you." On the stand, Strange admitted he was a loner and the men didn't like him. H looked at M when he responded: "that's the problem with being a loner. You make it impossible to be your friend, then you wonder why you're always alone." M told Strange he was loosing and asked if he had ever asked the men "nicely." She gave him the address of one of the men, who was shown later testifying that Strange had really saved them. He had gone to thank Strange and was attacked about being incompetent. The men decided that they would never admit the incident. "All I ever wanted was an apology," he claimed. Then, after recalling Strange to the stand, M looked at H while she offered "you just wanted someone to realize what you'd been through and in your anger you went about it the wrong way."

Back with McCool, M said her childhood was unpredictable and she was afraid of abuse from her father. She "went back to thinking that I had to look out for myself and every disagreement became a chance to attack." When McCool tried to engage her into more conversation, M blurted "I'm fine now, continued talking wasn't the agreement" and started to leave. She said killing her former husband was a tragedy because she had cared for him; but "last week was just taking out the garbage." McCool told her she could always come back. Back at Webb's, she apologized; then, told him that if he "shut me off when I need you one more time… were done!" "Sadik wanted me," she said, so she had tested him to see if his thoughts were as "pure as he claimed." He resisted, she said, "like I wish I had my entire life." She admitted that "he was down when I shot him," the report was agency charity, "I killed him because he had hurt someone that I love." W responded, "I love you too, Sara."

Friday, February 20, 2004

Persian Gulf - 198

[One back story comes to an end (sort of) in this episode; but, there's still plenty left to worry about. At least Mac isn't left with an albatross like Harm was with Palmer. One premise, albeit necessary for the plot, was completely unbelievable to anyone but a naïve writer.] The Maravelis case (a naval research tech who stole the synthetic diamonds that he was making) was still on the docket because Harm (H) and Mac (M) were still trying to close his bank accounts and get into his safe deposit box. Getting into his car, H's car wouldn't start then his battery blew up in his face (making him deaf?) Bud (B) took over the case and found, with Mac, that there was only $100,000.00 and the diamonds were missing. Maravelis admitted that he had been selling them to agent Van Duyne, who had told him that if he didn't cop to the lesser plea he would be tried for treason. CIA director Kershaw stonewalled Mac (surprise) but eventually told her that Van Duyne had been tortured to death and Mac's warning about him "hadn't trickled up to him." Mac brainstormed that the 24 missing diamonds were in Van Duyne's cigar store locker and took B with her. There were only five there, and we saw Sadik Fahd, in disguise, watching them leave the store. When she got back to her apartment, she found Iranian music playing on her stereo and a single diamond on her bed. Sadik called her cell phone and began playing a "cat and mouse" game with her. He told her that Van Duyne had brought his death on himself and that the diamond was a "token of my esteem" for he had "great admiration for you Sarah." He called her "incredibly brave" and said he "wanted to make it up to her." Sadik was staying with, Fardad, a gay Iranian and eventually killed him; but, not before telling him that his name, Fahd, meant "lynx" in Iranian. Chegwidden (C) assigned Turner (T) to take over from Mac because she had new evidence and was now going to be a witness as they amended their charges to aiding the enemy in a time of war.

H stayed in the hospital over night, deaf, and Mattie (Mt) came to visit. Coates (Co) had told H, on his writing easel, that "lies = bad parenting." Mt thought H was sleeping so prayed and wanted God to "do a better job taking care of him." When H got home, he wouldn't let Mt miss school. M came to tell him about Fahd javing booby trapped his car. Webb was still unaccounted for, and H told her that she "picked a hellava boyfriend." She told him to "not look so happy about it." H played scrabble with Co and Mt, and had to tell them that "duh" wasn't a word. M came again and he told her that Sadik was "seducing you." "Sadik wants something from you," he told her, "and he's found your weakness. You want to know what he's up to, and he's using your intelligence against you." She told H he couldn't help, because he was "still a liability." Mac found the night club where Sadik had called her with the woman singing Iranian in the background. She sat down and Sadik called again, talking to her as he changed his disguise and walked across the street to where she was. He kidnapped her, at gun point, and took her back to the apartment, where he began his battle of rhetoric with her. He told her that she was out of her place and had no man to protect her. She mocked his fear that he still held "a woman at gun point." He holstered his gun. Mac continued to mock him in her exchange of words. He explained that this month was the 25th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. He was nine when he saw Buhollah Khomeini in person and had an "enlightenment" about "world justice and peace under Islam." His father was killed by the Shah's secret police and within a year he was in the army, which set Tehran in flames, as "the war began." He told M that America's downfall was that "everything is for sale… even, permissive action links (triggers for nuclear weapons)." He said: "bought from your arsenal, paid for with your diamonds." She asked him if there was anything that he would "give up his Jihad for?" He asked "are you making an offer?" and she replied "do I have something you want?" He asked for "tea." Still trading insults, he told M that she "was pretending to be a woman, no man, no kids, a barren life in a prison of fear." She said that what attracted him to her "was the same thing that angers you… my independence."

They were overlooking the nightclub where he said he was going to "blow it up, so you can see that you aren't safe anywhere... except with me, to protect you." She told him that "slaughtering a bunch of kids while you watch from a distance is scraping the bottom of the barrel… even for you Sadik." When he told her it was less than 10 minutes, she began sexually enticing him with "what will it take for you to change your mind?" They heard sirens outside, and the bomb squad evacuating the night club. M unbuttoned her blouse and showed him the "wire" that she was wearing. While he was looking, she kicked his gun out of his hand, slammed him into the couch and slugged him to the punctuation of: "I'm not weak… I'm not barren… I'm not a whore." She got to the fallen gun first, but he drew another from his coat. She shot him in the arm and, while he was down, said: "that one was for Harm… this one's for Clayton Webb" and shot him through the forehead. The CIA team broke through the door and told her to "stand down." She told Kershaw that she was sorry she'd killed him, because he "might have told us where he was getting the PAL," but Kershaw just said "he might have killed you." As she walked, alone, out of the apartment, she looked at herself in the mirror and said "I'm not sorry."

Friday, February 13, 2004

Crash - 197

[Although completely at odds (surprise, surprise) Mac and Harm investigate the same case in this episode. In a momentary lapse, Chegwidden reveals a rudimentary sense of humor; and, Bud seems to be "growing up"... a bit.] Lt. James Ross crashed his F18 Hornet onto the ramp of the USS Bennington and was killed. Both Harm (H) and Mac (M) were assigned to investigate, and Captain Goldman complimented H on his "Seahawk investigation." They found that Ross had been landing on "automatic" but needed to switch to manual because he was too low. Then, they found that most of the plane had been burned, along with the maintenance data tapes. They were told that Ross had been following the glide path programmed into the computer; but, its data was also lost, so they couldn't check it. PO 1st class Dakey denied any computer error and said that most often problems are due to a misaligned angle of attack vane. The senior chief got defensive and said the vane was NOT out of order, because they had specifically double checked it. H asked why he was so defensive and he said he didn't like to speak ill of the dead. Ross had come back from two weeks leave, very depressed, and said that, because his wife was having an affair, he didn’t care what happened to him anymore. The Sr. Chief said he didn't believe the crash was an accident. M found an unsent email, to Ross' wife Arlene, which said "give me one good reason I shouldn't just fly into the back of the ship some night. I told Stanich I didn't care if I live or die and he said he didn't give a damn either, and to just suck it up and keep flying." They confronted the CAG, Cdr Stanich, with the email and he didn't deny the encounter; but, said that he didn't take the comment seriously because most of the flyers had come back from leave with mood swings. They both thought that Ross' death looked like it was suicide, but M also tore into Stanich with a passion. H and M argued in front of the captain, and he asked: "you two work together? That must be a picnic." But, he agreed with M and ordered an article 32 investigation on Stanich. M strong-armed Ross' wife into testifying against Stanich, threatening to subpoena her. She said that she would loose $500,000.00 insurance money if it was adjudged suicide. M and H continued their argument in front of Chegwidden (C), who said he agreed with H. They were so adamant that C told H he would prosecute and M defend. When they just stood there stunned and sputtering - C said "just kidding."

H wanted to delay going on the investigation for a day, so he could keep an appointment with one of Mattie's (Mt) teachers. He didn't say anything to C though, and asked Coates (Co) to substitute for him. She said she would talk with the "Dragon Lady," and watch Mt, if H would "leave his credit card." Drabowski, the teacher, was threatening to flunk Mt if she didn't hand in all of the semesters work, even though she wasn't there for half of it. Drabowski really was an unreasonable, judgmental, witch, who started ragging on H for being "an uncaring, uninvolved parent." Mt tried to get her back on track, but Drabowski turned on Mt as well; so, Mt walked out on her. Co called H and said Mt "needed a little parenting." Mt told him that Drabowski said he was "an irresponsible father who didn't care about her education," and H said: "so you were sticking up for me." Mt told him that he would have the chance to stick up for himself next Friday and H promised that "nothing would keep him away." When H got back, he found that Mt had stayed home from school, ostensibly ill, and told her that if she "ever was feeling overwhelmed, to promise him that she would come to him." She said, "sure, I'll do that, if you're around." He told her that he never felt he was a teenager and had always regretted it. He said that she had "plenty of time to grow up so to enjoy the freedom." She said that she had been free to do pretty much what she wanted before she met him, and he merely said "so could I." Of course, he left the next week and told Mt "I'll try and be back." She told him "go ahead, knock yourself out!"

Bud (B) was shown calling Mike (Mk) and getting the answering machine. He left a message about "how long is this act going to go on - Mikey?" but was interrupted by H. B was second chair in the defense and had found "suicide prevention training" on the internet. He had H respond to a distressed "virtually depressed" sailor, and the computer gave H "zero" on his "don't be a fool" response. B told H that when he was depressed over his leg, he was "just glad I didn't have a gun around." Arlene testified that Ross had come home a cocky career pilot, who ordered everyone around like they were enlisted personnel, and argued. He got the idea that she was having an affair and wouldn't listen to reason. When Ross had called her from Naples, she made him promise to "see someone" if he felt bad, and he promised that he would see his CO. M pontificated and the judge (not to mention H) had to tell her to stop editorializing several times. Stanich said he regretted giving the pilots leave, because they all came back unfocused, bickering and saying off the wall things. One said he was going to slug the captain so he could be sent home, another that he was going to jump ship and swim back to Naples. He thought Ross was fooling around like the rest of us. H found that Ross had ordered a motorcycle two days before his death, and asked for a continuance, so he could go back to the ship. When there, he asked for an F18 so he could recreate the flight. He told the captain that he had gotten his quals "in another agency." B told Dakey that they had been able to resurrect the "last 84 minutes" of Ross' flight and were going to follow the settings exactly. During the flight, Dakey nervously tried to say the numbers were wrong and stop the flight. He finally got so nervous that he blurted out "the radar's wrong, that's why Ross crashed." H told him he had been flying on manual the whole time. He admitted that there had been a "couple of 4 wires that night. Planes had been landing long so he tweaked the settings." Both B and the Capt ragged on Dakey about his allowing a woman to think her husband had committed suicide and loose benefits as well as letting Stanich go to jail. The Capt told him that he would be in the brig "for years" and Dakey broke and ran. He climbed outside the ships rail and threatened to jump. B told everyone to "let him handle it" (probably because of his internet training making him an expert) and tried to commiserate with Dakey. When that wasn't working he blurted: "don't be a fool" which got him to stop; and brought him back inside the railing.

The judge acknowledged the new information, but ragged on Stanich about how insensitive he'd been, anyway. Then he said Stanich had "probably learned his lesson" and recommended against a court-martial. H made it to Mt's school just in time; but, didn't avoid the Dragon Lady's launch into her tirade. Finally H pulled out a business plan for a crop dusting company, letters to the IRS, banks and suppliers, and a 20-page letter to the juvenile court judge that Mt had written over her custody hearings. Drabowski said "I suppose that will do."

Friday, February 6, 2004

People vs. SecNav - 196

[This would be classified as a pretty far fetched episode if it just wasn't that the depiction of the Frenchman was too close to be funny. He is just the type who would make secret arms deals with the Iraqi tyrant; then, try to mask his vested interest behind a feigned moral principle, at the US's expense.] A Platoon of the 1st marine division was pinned down by cross fire coming from a Tikifa hospital. They called for air support but there were secondary explosions and several civilian buildings were destroyed. The Athens bar association filed a complaint with the international criminal court charging the US president, Secretary of Defense, SECNAV and others with war crimes - calling it the "Iraqi incursion." Even though Chegwidden (C) said it was meaningless because the US didn't recognize the court, the SECNAV said the Clinton administration was shifting policy and he had chosen, himself, to go to the Hague and answer the charges in order to "improve the US image" with the rest of the world. Thirty two civilians were killed (18 patients in the hospital) so Mac (M) said "if we loose we will be branded an outlaw nation by the entire civilized world." Afterwards, Harm (H) teased her for being "too dramatic." M, H and Bud (B) were summoned to the white house where Marcia Wheatstone, an advisor, said she disagreed with the decision; but, had set up meetings for them with Justice, Defense and State. A soldier told H that Iraqi's were overwhelmingly surrendering everywhere, making it impossible to do anything but take their weapons and send them home. Tikifa was on the road to Baghdad and had to be secured. Another, told M that that they couldn't wait for reinforcements, because the crossfire made it impossible to evacuate their wounded. Lieutenant Morris said that they had sent in corpsmen, to assist wounded civilians, but they were being shot. "We were the liberators, Saddam is the criminal," he told H, and said he would go to testify, even though he wouldn't have immunity. At the airport, chief inspector Doosman had a warrant, and arrested the SECNAV for a "perp walk." Immediately, H objected to the "glass booth," as visually prejudicial, so the SECNAV was allowed to sit with his defense team. A flamboyant, weenie, Frenchman with an "inspector Cleuseau" accent and an imperious attitude (weenie) read the "sharges," and the SECNAV plead "not guilty." The weenie first called a Dr. Aziz who said they had moved some patients to the lower level and the Iraqi soldiers were trying to "protect them from the American and British aggressors." H got him to reluctantly acknowledge that Iraqi's had stored munitions in the hospital long before the American's came, and that he had "protested" both that and the occupation of the building. Then the weenie called Mrs. Bahnam, a distraught mother, whose 6-year-old, crying son had been killed in a second explosion. H got her to admit that her husband, a teacher, had been taken to prison by Saddam's men six years ago and was now "missing." "Saddam," she said, "will get a trial but my husband didn't." Later M told H that "Webb sends his love," and H replied "that's a scary thought." He despaired to M that "it could have been me dropping the bomb, and Bahnam doesn't see any difference between me and a murderous dictator!" The weenie even called the secretary general of the UN who incredibly called the US action in Iraq "unsanctioned by the UN and therefore illegal." H got him to reluctantly admit that the UN allowed "military action for purposes of self defense." The secretary quoted the biblical passage about the lamb and lion lying down together and H responded "well before the 'lamb' rules against eating 'me,' he better get the wolf to agree." Lt Morris told that they were pinned down, had wounded, receiving fire from two locations including the hospital and were scrupulously avoiding hospital and civilian targets. "If Iraqi's hadn't used the hospital as a bunker it would still be standing today," he said. The Weenie pompously challenged "what gave you the right to be on Iraqi soil in the first place?" Morris said "first, my orders; but, then I saw the mass graves, spoke to a father forced to watch his little boy's arms cut off, a woman repeatedly raped and tortured. I didn't have the right to be there -- I had an obligation!" During a break, a man came from the audience with a knife and tried to stab the SECNAV in the back; but Morris got in the way and took the blow.

Coates (Co) was bitten on the leg by little AJ who was hiding under her desk. Harriet (Ht) complained that the school was out, her baby sitter was sick, she had a deadline on paperwork and AJ was "acting out, because of the new school and new baby." AJ broke into C's office and the admiral offered him a cookie. AJ asked "what is acting out," and C told him "when something is bothering you and you don't say what, but instead do things you shouldn't." AJ told C that "mom and dad are always with the baby and I'm always with the babysitter." Mikey (Mk) was babysitting AJ at an arcade and AJ didn't want to leave. He begged for "one more" and when Mk turned to get another token to give in to him, he ran away. Of course Ht came to the arcade flailing and blaming Mk. B left their case in the Hague and returned, only to flail at him as well, blaming and abusive. B spouted that "You're worthless, you've always been worthless, you'll always be worthless." Mk just walked out. He went back to the arcade and saw a boy with AJ's coat and "frog pet" that he had given him. The boy ran to his father, in a transient shelter, who told Mk that AJ had given them as presents and had told them that he 'didn't have a family.' AJ appeared as if nothing had happened and called Albert and Bobby his friends because "he doesn't have to go to work and take care of some dumb baby." Alfred didn't want any dealings with the police so had avoided their searches. B tried to tell Mk "he didn't mean it" and he "would make a fine officer." Mk said "yea, I know, but you don't." He said B would always see him as "a kid brother, dumb and worthless -- you and dad." He said he was tired of it so next time they needed a babysitter, chauffer or stooge to call someone else. "And," he said, "it's Mike not Mikey" as he walked out.

The weenie, who apparently was only providing security for the prosecution side of things, offered to drop charges if SECNAV plead guilty and made reparations. He called the US an "arrogant bully"; but SECNAV countered with "arrogant, that's a French word isn't it? After all these years of being friends and allies, you still don't have any idea who we are!"
The pompous-faced weenie taunted: "well tell us, just who you are." (The scene cut to the next day in court.)
SECNAV: "Since it's founding, America has been the symbol of hope for the world, and remains so today. We accept our responsibility, which all civilized nations should, to fight against aggression and tyranny. We don’t fight for land, oil, money or to impose our will -- we take up arms against violent men who threaten our freedom and the freedom of others."
Weenie: Did the world ask you to be its savior?
SECNAV: In 1917, 1941 and throughout the 40 years of cold war, the world asked us for help… and we gave it! Now that the war on terrorism has begun, we can't wait to be asked. We must do what has to be done!
Weenie: So you have the right to attack any nation of which you disagree?
SECNAV: If that nation poses imminent threat, we reserve the right to use military force to protect ourselves.
Weenie: (Just a stupid look on his face.) No further questions.

The court's decision: "The use of armed force without the mandate of the security counsel is a breech of international law; but, must be weighed against each particular case. Would greater loss of life have occurred if Iraq's tyrannical regime had continued? Moral, as well as legal factors, must influence court decision." The SECNAV was found "not guilty" on all counts, except "willful destruction of civilian property," and reparations of $20 million to the town was ordered. The weenie told the SECNAV that he disagreed with the decision; but, was glad that he "didn't have to spend his life in jail." The SECNAV spoke French to him and said that the two countries' long time friendship shouldn't be discarded, so asked him to go have a drink. (A bigger man than I am.)

Friday, January 16, 2004

Good Intentions - 195

[An interesting plot, even with more than one internal inconsistencies which weren't caught in editing. It does set up a substantial argument between Chegwidden and Coates; which, then was merely completely ignored in future episodes, as if it never happened. There were several un-named characters, annoying for a reviewer] Ensign Monica De La Torre (DLT) was found strangled at the Norfolk Naval Ship yard, and fingernail scrapings matched DNA of PO Luis Cumpiano (Cmp), who was found passed out on his ship with scratches on his arm and no memory of events since being forced to drink for initiation rites. Mac (M) met Chaplain Oliver Stephens, who said he'd been "working closely" with Cmp for 3 years. He started preaching to M and said that he was an alcoholic in recovery for 17 years and Cmp was a leader of one of his groups. M shut him off by revealing that she was in recovery for "5 years and 10 months." Cmp admitted he had been in recovery for 2 1/2 years, until shipmates wouldn't take no for an answer and forced him into the "Tequila Bowl." Literally, everyone anyone talked to said that Cmp "couldn't have done it" because it was completely out of his character. Harm (H) talked to the civilian detective who, except for DNA evidence, seemed to be operating on circumstantial evidence. The cab driver had said that "Cumpiano" (?DLT) was trying to get him back on base; but, insisted on coming to the pier, saying he wanted to swim back." Elisa, Cmp's wife, said he "wouldn't even talk bad about someone, much less try to hurt them." M tried, a couple of times, to convince H that alcohol impairs judgment and inhibition but doesn't transform personality. H refused to agree to any plea lower than unpremeditated murder and said he would go for capital aggravating factors. A fellow sailor told M that DLT attracted attention because of her looks and approachable personality. He also said that Cmp was bullied by his wife, Elisa, but seemed to be ok with it. He could see her busting someone's head more than Cmp. H, still questioning the detective, badgered him until he admitted that there was an unsolved murder a year ago, on the same dock, with same MO; but, told H to "just do your job and let me do mine." H revealed the prior event to M, and also that Cmp had been deployed on a ship at the time. They were notified that a marine guard had overheard Cmp confess to the murder while he was talking to the chaplain. M chastised Stephens for even starting the conversation where he might be overheard; but, he tried to turn it back on M. Cmp said he still had no memory of doing any harm to DLT, but Stephens had told him to pray and beg for mercy and the Lord would forgive him, which is what he was doing. M found that Elisa had called Cmp on his cell phone, while he was at the bar, and believed that she may have been the killer.

Coates (Co) interrupted C's meeting for a phone message from Meredith, and was pushy about getting him on the line. He told her that "he would take care of it" then took back all involvement with wedding plans from her. She kept on interjecting and interfering to the point he eventually had to shout: "stay out of it, that's an order." Then, softening, he added "and a personal request." Finally, when C was in his office late one night, she told him "Whatever happened between you two… I'm sure can be worked out." He told her "you don't have any idea what you are talking about." She pushed "only because you won't tell me"; and, stunned, he asked "why would I?" She said "it might make you feel better," which was the last straw he would take. He shot back "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say. Get out of my office and leave me alone!"

Bud (B) was assigned to defend Cdr Michael Rainer, of the SEAL training team, for misappropriation of funds. Turner (T) prosecuted. Rainer told B that, with his degree and experience he wouldn't steal from the navy, he would have retired. He claimed that ammunition had been used before he had a chance to inventory it. B watched an extraction exercise from a catwalk and was surprised that it used live ammunition. Rainer said that had sacrificed his health, 2 marriages, and 3 kids he hardly sees, for the Navy. The job is my life and I wouldn't jeopardize it for $22,000. A weenie supply officer pontificated to B and T that there was an "anonymous hotline tip," and that they had found receipts didn't match vendor's documents. Checks cut for munitions had been fraudulently endorsed and cashed, but never actually ordered or delivered. B cleverly backed down his client saying: "you are either a forger or know the person who is," then mentioned the severe penalty he was going to get. Rainer admitted to forging the paperwork, but said he had used the money "to procure experimental ordinance which, for security reasons, he couldn't discuss." B said he "wasn't that gullible" and Rainer took him to see Russian knock out gas and vials of antidote(?). B showed T documents showing the purchase from Spetsgruppa Alfa, Russian special forces counter terror unit, and said that the purchase orders only claimed to be for "non-lethal hostage rescue operations." T was still unconvinced, but B only said that Rainer didn't think he'd done anything wrong and wanted to testify. On the stand, Rainer said that he'd entered into classified procurement deals without authorization from chain of command; but, he had the duty to disobey orders which he knew to be counter to the safety and security of the US. If he could rescue anyone without firing a bullet, it would be unlawful and immoral not to do so. The judge recommended general court martial and Rainer told B to "plead it out, I've made my point, no since taking this any further." T agreed to dismissal, restitution with loss of benefits and 1 yr confinement, suspended.

H went to Ms apartment and said he was worried about M - "allowing your past to jeopardize your judgment, especially your client." She reiterated that ETOH didn't change your true nature, only made it harder to control the one you already have. He said that sometimes a persons true nature is buried so deep they never understand it. Marcie Jones, the crime lab tech, said the only other evidence was one broken hair; but, they couldn't match it without a follicle. M asked if there was a way to tell if the person was on prenatal vitamins, thinking Elisa, but they would need more sample and a direct comparison with someone. M asked for a "discarded tox screen printout," just to "humor me." H interviewed the jailer who had heard the confession and found that they both had been talking very loud. The chaplain told Rainer that the Lord would have mercy on him… DLT was in a better place… and the Lord was behind the shack that night and "saw everything." M bluffed Elisa, with hints about tox screen, to finally admitting that she had followed DLT and her husband from the bar to the pier and saw DLT wrestling with Cmp (actually trying to prevent him from disrobing and swimming to the ship.) She flew off the handle, accosted DLT, kicked the unconscious Cmp, and wouldn't listen to any explanations. DLT left, saying she just was trying to help, then she left too, leaving her unconscious husband on the dock. H pulled up in his car, as M was accusing her, and told M that Elisa didn't kill DLT. They both went to see Stephens. At first he denied everything, even though they had record of his car getting a ticket on the dock at the time of the murder and a signed statement from his pusher who sold him cocaine. The body was found 20 yards from a shack that no one knew about, except the killer and the police. Stephens quoted scripture at M and she quoted them right back. He finally broke down and said he couldn't sleep, couldn't think and couldn't feel anything, but he didn't actually confess. Cmp was released and said thanks to M. H said that "he owed you more than a thank you. You didn't give up, sensed something was wrong and forced me to reconsider. Watching Elisa and Cmp together, M commented they've known each other since eighth grade and still have secrets." H said, "don't we all."

Friday, January 9, 2004

Girl's Best Friend - 194

[The first episode of the new year. Chegwidden (C) has, under the recommendation of the wife of a colleague, purchased a diamond engagement ring for Meredith (Mer) (so large the stone can easily be seen in several medium shots.] This episode rids the series of a poorly understandable, and annoying recurrent character.] Meredith made arrangements to wine and dine professore Selvaggio during his teaching trip to DC and was upset at Chegwidden for not wanting to be "the third wheel" in all her "outings" with him. She knocked the diamond out of its setting and demanded that Coates (Co) not tell the admiral "or he would think I'm clumsy." Selvaggio looked at it with a magnifying glass and implied that it might be stolen because it didn't have a laser etched serial number on it. Mer got upset with C, that it might be stolen, but completely ignored his question about Selvaggio. Mac (M) told C that it "looked good to her" and they wondered if Selvaggio was just trying to stir up trouble. C said he'd never met him but there was "just something about the guy" that he didn't trust. M said "at least you show you're romantic" which some guys "can't get right." C told her that he thought she and Harm (H) had "decided to forgive and forget," thinking it was H she was referring to, but she responded "I'm not talking about him." M said that after "living through operation Chaco Borealis" she had a little respect over at Langley, and offered to take the diamond to Agent Van Duyne, their diamond expert. The diamond store told C that they got the diamond from a local man who deals in loose stones. Van Duyne told M there was no way to tell if a stone was stolen, and that he was uncomfortable with diamonds as a token of love - knowing what they buy on the black market - "you tend NOT to hear a love song when you look at one." He said the stone's "symmetry was uncanny… no imperfections… no inclusions… clear as water… and growth structures were without blemish." Suspicious, he asked where she had gotten it; and, suspecting his suspicions, she refused to tell him where she got it, so he just told her, emphatically, to be careful! C went to a factory warehouse's upstairs' back room and grabbed Handy, a sleazy looking guy who called him "Popeye." He had to slam the guy against the wall then chase him through the factory before he "convinced" Handy to admit he had forged the authenticity document on a "blood diamond." C demanded to know where it came from and Handy said "you're not gonna like it." C personally went to the naval research lab to arrest Lt. Maravalis, who was a technician who made synthetic diamonds. M prosecuted and H defended with Bud (B) as second chair.

Harriet (Ht) was taking time off, after her USO show production, to chaperone little AJ's school trip so he would behave. H was absent, for personal reasons, taking custody of "that little girl." H told Mattie (Mt) he was looking for a two bedroom house in Falls Church and she said she wanted to live in the city, showing him an ad for a vacancy in his own apartment building. He told her that "we didn't go through what we went through just to be neighbors" and that she couldn't live alone. B told M that she "was looking well rested" recently, and "it's been a long time since I've seen you so content." When she seemed to give him the eye, he flustered on that he was just "happy that you're happy… and agent Webb (W) … if he's the reason you're happy." She just said: "don't believe everything you hear." C found Cotes' coat and other clothes in drawers around the office and told her to "solve your roommate problems." Co refused H's offer to pay for an apartment if she would have Mt as a roommate; but, changed her mind when he offered to let her put it in her name and pay for Mt's half of the rent. Mt called Co "the cheerleader type" so Co set her straight about her past. When they were moving in, Mt suggested that they might be able to share clothes and said "I could use one of those," pointing to a bra. Co said they needed to go shopping together; and, when Mt said she didn't have any money, told her "do what any girl does… ask 'dad' for his credit card." H took Mt to school and she told him that "you have no idea how navy brass boosts my rep." Her friend Andre, a math geek, "wanted to be a fighter pilot too" and saluted H. H told the boy to "loosen up." Mt asked Co "what made H want to take care of me?" and she replied "probably for the same reason he did me." He lost his dad and has a soft spot for kids who look like they need a father. Mt observed that they had the "same situation" and Co said "and the same guardian angel."

Ms opening statement was grandiose and she used inflammatory photographs without H or B objecting. She said mother and child slaves were forced to mine diamonds which were spirited to jewel centers and paid for weapons to arm other children so they can maim other children. Maravalis spent lots of time at Belgian diamond exchange, smuggled them into the US and, with help of a forger, pass them off as legitimate. Four months previous he opened an off shore bank account and lives beyond the means of a career officer. In B's opening statement, he used all the tricks that M and H had taught him. He used the photos from Ms desk and said Maravalis had no ties to Africa etc. He was recently married to someone who had money. Van Duyne pulled Ms car over and gave her a folder with documents which proved she had the "right guy but the wrong theory." Maravalis had been under CIA surveillance for 3 months but they could only look at foreign entanglements. He said he "never wanted to find out what it feels like to be tortured by the enemy - like W; and was giving them to M so he could nail Maravalis. The next step, he claimed, was going under cover to sell diamonds to scum like Sadik Fahd but he'd lost his nerve. He said he had given the same folder to an operative in Brussels. M interviewed Dr (name not given), the director of the lab who admitted he was Van Duyne's anonymous informant. He initially refused to talk because these were the "kind of guys who won't stop at you, but will kill your whole family." She threatened him and he eventually testified that he had seen 60 stones (120 carats) go missing from the lab. They made synthetic diamonds for "thermal management of semi-conductors" and cost almost nothing to make but sell for 1.3 million on the open market. You can only tell the difference from the natural stones by using spectrophotometry - they are too picture perfect to pass for natural. Cs stone, he said, "was definitely one of mine." M found that Van Duyne never contacted anyone in Brussels and had disappeared. Maravalis agreed to a plea bargain and admitted that he started with one but then started selling stones to a local dealer and to Antwerp. He wore his uniform to add "credibility" and gave a sob story about his mother being poor and never having an engagement ring etc. He said his new wife wouldn't stand by a thief so had filed for divorce. H said Maravalis would torn over his money and give back un-sold stones. The judge told him he didn't buy his sob story because: "guess what, my mother never had a ring either."

Discussing the case after the trial, H said "love can drive a man crazy." M said "that runs both ways." H invited her to Mt's new apartment for lunch. Mt answered the door in boxers and H admonished her saying he felt "like captain Von Trapp." M had to explain the reference to "The Sound of Music," and both Mt and Co just said: "what?" Co told H that "I guess we need a DVD player dad." C went to Mer's apartment after work and found her asleep on the couch with classical Italian music playing. The sleazebag Selvaggio came out of the bedroom in his underwear. Mer sat up, but just looked at C. Neither said anything, but C, without showing emotion, just turned and left.