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."