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.)