Friday, April 29, 2005

Fair Winds and Following Seas - 227

Everyone (nearly) vies for selection by either H or M who are supposed to choose their own staff - and all JAG employees are fair game! M "psychically" said they will be 5489 miles and 10.5 hrs flying time apart. Co wanted to "stay the same" until coaxed by V to be "adventuresome." T congratulated H on making captain & his appointment. Surprised, H said "It sounds like you mean it"; then "you were qualified too." T replied "the captains board didn't think so. But perhaps I'll be JAG after you." M sublet her apt to Vereese, who was moving to DC to see how it worked out with T. B commented that the Hs new position is a "straight shot into JAG" then fumbled when Cr advised he "didn't plan on retiring anytime soon." H told Mattie he "wouldn't go anywhere without her" & Tom isn't contesting custody.

H asked B to go to London with him as "Assistant Force Judge Advocate!" (wow). He excitedly accepted saying Ht would be fine w/ it. Then M asked B to come w/ her as a "Blue Suit XO" & he said that he had already accepted Hs offer. BUT- Ht was NOT happy at all! She jumped on B then wangled him to back down! Then B told H that it was HIS decision to "stay put." Ht had lunch w/ M & explained ("Bs not to know") that he "still needs monitoring" (just like her controlling mother!) H observed "once Ht makes up Bs mind for him then that's pretty much it!" Cr asked Mikey what the "set to" was that he had with his daughter Cammie. Mk said he was in the right but they worked out their differences & she would make a great lawyer - "She has a way of interpreting the rules to her advantage, bending the facts." Cr told him that when it came to his daughter he had "rules of engagement, do you get my meaning?" Mk tried to talk to B about loving Cammie but he said "you can't!" "You crazy?" - "fall OUT of love!" - then refused to talk to him about it. Mk then asked H who said "are you crazy?" then: "talk to Cammie, & explain your feelings openly and honestly" (interesting coming from H).

V asked M for San Diego as well but was turned down flatly. "You are not the kind of lawyer that I want on my staff - period." He argued with her throwing up her mistake w/ Farrow so M threw him out of her office. Then Cr assigned V to marine corps recruiting depot at Paris Island to handle a recruit twice found muddy outside barracks having been in swamp to "kill the enemy." V questioned why he had to go & Cr bristled "The general asked me and I agreed!" Recruit Walter Evans, 16 y/o, falsified a birth certificate, HS diploma & mothers signature to join Marines. His mother told V that "she was loosing him." After his father was killed in Afghanistan Walter withdrew, became obsessed & ran away. She put out an amber alert. He refused to go home w/ her. V called Cr for advice who said "think out of the box, that's your specialty" & hung up on him! The Gen held an award ceremony (not Vs idea) for Walter stating he "knew his father Sgt Maj Silers Evans, how proud he was, etc." then made Walter an "honorary marine" & ordered him to go home w/ mother & "come back when ready." V didn't know that Gen knew Siler; "didn't want it known, that's why I asked for JAG." V counseled mrs Evans to seek "stress help" & told of his childhood: Father died when 15 y/o. tried church, street gangs, booze, girls. Too much for mom so sent to live w/ uncle. "He told me things I didn't know about my dad - things mom didn't want to talk about him. That got me better."

AND M & H FINALLY, ACTUALLY TALKED! Through many 'flashbacks' they gave insight to their unusual emotional dillema.
H- "I forgot how beautiful you are." M- "You resigned your commission, came 5,000 miles to find me and were nearly killed. Why?
H- "I think you know why."
H- "Five years from this moment, if neither are in a relationship we'll go halves on a kid." Then it showed them kissing @ M & Brum's engagement party!
M- "Eternity, is that how long we're going to wait? You still can't let go can you? H- "not yet" M- "you're just this way with me aren't you?" H- "Yes, just you"
H- "If you want to have a baby in the future, the offer still holds. We could do it together like we planned."
M- "Cmdr Rabb is the kind of man I would want for my child."
M- "So much more to talk about than just W" H- "then when you're ready let me know."

FINALLY M came to Hs apartment the very night before their departure!
M- "Lets talk about you and me, neither of us wants to be the first to say goodbye."
H- "I don't think that I'll ever feel about anyone else the way I feel about you."
M- "That's flattering, but don't tell that to your future wife, whoever she may be, she won't understand."
H- "Do YOU understand?" M- "No, I don't understand why we can't make it work, why we've let FATE decide our futures."
H- asked Mac what it was of all men that attracted her?
M- "They wanted me & they let me know it."
H- "I wanted you & you knew it."
M- "No woman wants to be a mind reader. With you there are always complications, another woman, work, searching for your father."
H- "That's all past. We've got 12 hours."
M- "Is it, we've had 9 years."
H- "I guess maybe I've just needed a deadline."
M- "Well you've got one now sailor boy!" After kissing, M- "Are you proposing?"
H- "Yes, I’m proposing. Let's get married."
M- "This has always been the 500# gorilla in the room. If we get married, one of us has to give up our navy career."
H- "I love you. I don't want to give up my navy career & you don't want to give up the Marine Corps.
H- "Do you believe in fate?"
M- "Fate put us together, sort of."
H- "Fate could keep us together forever."

They invited T, Co, Ht, B, & Cr to McMurphy's Tavern (where all important events have taken place) to announce their engagement. Co felt she needed to lie to Cr to get him there. They explained their impending marriage and their dilemma about neither wanting to give up their career. Then H said "We've decided to let fate decide." B showed the "JAG coin" that Adm Chegwidden gave him when he retired. The "future bride" called - "tails" (the same as she always has in the past & lost). B flipped the coin into the air and it turned into slow motion. The scene froze w/ everyone looking up at the coin which showed "JAG - Judge Advocate General 1995 - 2005" (on the "tails" side.)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Dream Team - 226

PO Ferro caught PO Sanhuinius stealing candy bar from ships store then suffered continual harassment after that as Sanhuinius was twice his size. After shore leave from USS Carl Vincent in Japan Sanhuinius picked a fight; Ferro knocked him out and he later died. V told Cr he didn't need any help defending but Cr said "I think you do" and assigned H as 2nd. V played the same arrogance w/ H that he had w/ M and H set him in his place; but V "spit back." Barnes, original prosecutor, went to Iraq & B took his place. V kept showing his arrogance & inexperience; H kept bringing him back on track; B seemed annoyed about them being "buddies" - the "dream team." Cr, the boxer, advised V that there must have been some pre-existing problem; V found steroids & ETOH & visit to Medical officer w/ neurological symptoms after leave. Hs pathologist Gasden found Puffer fish toxin. H advised V to check out source (he didn't) thinking B would drop charges. M very suspicious about Vs "evidence" advises B to investigate further. B changed to murder charges after he found that Gasden convinced of the toxin but shipmates say Sanhuinius hated fish. M advised him that he had his case, he needed to find out why. B found that Ferro had charged puffer fish toxin (used for pain relief) on credit card; shop keeper photo id; Sanhuinius had power bar & toxin in stomach; power bar wrapper in pocket with Ferro's fingerprints INSIDE the wrapper & evidence of being re-glued. M told B they were 2 alpha males & deep down every dream team is a nightmare waiting to happen.

M kept trying to "be there" for H but he pushed her away - she said "you tried to be there for me but I pushed you away so I guess this is only fair." Co came uninvited to hospital on a Wed (her & Mattie's normal night out) & relieved H. Mattie opened her eyes. Later removed from respirator; began speaking; remembered Hs first words to her. M said "things will never be the same;" H said "trust me, it'll be awhile but you'll get back!" H lied when she asked where her father was; "That's the first time you've ever lied to me!" H said "he'll get back" - referring to Tom (her father) & "I'm not leaving."

M assigned to defend Seaman Apprentice Charles Bander who was caught releasing navy's trained dolphins. Everyone, B especially was making fish jokes: "on porpoise," "Squid pro Quo," "It's a red herring," "for the Halibut." T prosecuting under wrongful misappropriation (10yrs penalty). Bander testified under mitigation that he had been surfing and was targeted by Great White shark moving closer in circles. Dolphins came and circled between him and the shark for an hour and escorted him back to shore. He just couldn't see them penned - he owed them. Uncharacteristically T rec'd that he be "sentenced" to sea service w/ the dolphins. {Everyone's dialog in this whole episode was uncharacteristically relaxed & intimate)

Cr announced creation of Joint Legal Service Center Southwest & M commandant of the unit. H appointed Force Judge Advocate Naval Forces Europe, headquarted in London England, a Captain Billet and immediate frocking. 2 Days travel and 4 days proceed time. H & M looked at each other stunned… !

Friday, April 15, 2005

Unknown Soldier - 225

Cr's brother Wallace (former Vietnam SEAL traumatized & disaffected from Vietnam service) asked Cr to investigate the found remains of soldier he believed was Marine helicopter pilot Lt Joe Johnson. Cr gave V 5 days to interview and "see the jazz festival." Gr also assigned and had to "coerce" V into "doing his job" as he wanted to slack off all the time. Drove to Joe's hometown Vicksburg while V was asleep in car; newspaperman said Joe's bro Elroy (DNA for ID) was blues guitarist & knew Loretta McKeely in Tutwiler; Loretta said he divorced her for some "Jezebel" (her sister April-Dawn); who said he divorced her for "Candy Graham" another singer & gave them a home made record. V forced himself on Gr in same motel room; sleeping in same bed though Gr said it was against regs. She guessed that he had been "left at alter by only woman he had ever loved" which upset V. Gr recognized "Candy's" Voice as Indira Diamond. Drove back to Natchez where she was appearing. Indira said Elroy left; got wedding invite from PO box in Memphis, might find him on Beal St. Tried all clubs on Beal St, found Etta (Gladys Knight) & guitarist told them Elroy had died. After leaving, V realized that guitarist had same guitar as in photo of Elroy. Went back & guitarist was Elroy. Wallace disclosed details that helicopter had gone down after chasing Vietcong away from their POW rescue black-ops mission. Co-Pilot & gunner thrown clear, Joe trapped inside. Wallace couldn't budge aircraft. Joe begged him to "not let him burn" asking him to shoot him until he finally did before flames got him. Wallace got peace; Elroy gave DNA but said he didn't want to know results so he can "keep thinking that he might run into him some day.

Mattie still in coma; H prosecuting reservist doctor Lt Chang for using "Vecuronium," muscle paralytic, to intubate a severely burned Iraqi girl against orders from Capt Smith. When H was speaking disparagingly about Chang, Co told him that she was an excellent doctor who didn't give up, "the kind that he wanted for Mattie." H seemed distant toward M who told Co that H wouldn't talk to her so maybe he would w/ Co. Smith said that they "ran out of drug" and helicopter had to risk enemy fire to bring more. Chang described that she couldn't "not use the drug" cause she was "a doctor first" and she knew that it would work. Got the child intubated; left to take blood to lab and 10 min later girl dead. H very distressed during her description of valiant attempts to save girl but in cross exam played attorney very well and pointed that she "had never considered herself in military despite joining to have her medical school paid for." B discovered that Smith had made the mistake and only ordered 1/10th of needed drug which made them in short supply and required military shuttle replenishment. H agreed for administrative separation & prorated payback but Chang turned it down. She said she had been successful at everything because she had worked at it but had never really applied herself to being an officer. Military needs doctors more than ever now; wanted to accept consequences and remain in service to finish her commitment.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Two Towns - 224

[This episode was skillfully written to compare incidents in two towns: Kresge OK and Talasura Iraq; and two people undergoing trials. It is actually the same plot in two different settings with differently named characters; and, is quite good considering H and M are in "parallel play," again.] Lance Cpl Scott Van Arsdale and two of his buddies saw Ma'Mun Al-Reza hurry distractedly out of the platoon mess tent just before a bomb exploded. Scott stopped to tie his shoe so was the only one of 17 reservists from Kresge not killed. Harm and Bud were sent to Kresge to help process survivor benefits, so happened to be in the story line to investigate the fire bombing of the Reserve Center. The whole town turned out to see Scott's homecoming. Mayor Hazlet, an attorney turned real estate agent, said that all of the boys had worked on their parents farms and had joined the reserves together in support of their country and families. They were combat engineers and none complained when they were called up. Within minutes of the center burning the sheriff caught Scott nearby, smelling like gas, and guiltily, preemptively saying you've got the wrong man. H heard that Scott had a "strong moral center" but had refused to talk to his pastor. Cliff Pardee, the military rejected brother of Scott's dead friend said that Scott was a "goody, goody" who "even picked up litter on the way to school." They heard nothing that exonerated Scott so they recommended article 32. The town, however, blockaded his removal to Washington saying "we've given up enough of our boys, you're going to have to fight for this one." They decided to hold the hearing in Kresge with H & B prosecuting. Hazlet decided to defend for free over Hs advice. Hazlet threw suspicion on Cliff who had an anger issue, punched a wall, siphoned gas from sisters car, had no witness for where he was during fire and had lied to H about why he was rejected from the service. After being rebuffed by Cliff H befriended his son, Donovan, who was carrying a cat that had lived in the recruiting station as a mascot. He said that he had been given the cat for safe keeping by Scott just before the fire set. With the new evidence he confessed, waived his article 32 rights and accepted punishment. He said that he was just so angry he didn't know what else he could do but that he was sorry he had deceived them. One by one, all of the town stood in his support.

Meanwhile Ma'Mun was being held under duress by Colonel Mazzone, trying to extract a confession. Cresswell sent Mac to the area because Mazzone wanted someone "who could relate" with the mother of Ma'Mun who was making a huge fuss. Ma'Mun had actually been working as spy FOR the US, against the village Sheikh who was a town tyrant, known terrorist and had been killed resisting apprehension. Ma'Mun's backpack was the explosive device but he claimed he had nothing in it except a few personal items including a Koran. He had left the tent realizing he had left his pass in the bathroom and going back to get it. You could tell M was not happy with Ma' Mun being tied to a chair for hours but participated in Mazzone's "plan." She visited his mother and said that as a prisoner of war and would continue to be regardless of her attempts to shout down elected officials, enlist al Jazeera or write threatening letters to US congressmen. "It must be working, you're here," she said. M replied that she had no authorization to change his status but if she would lower her tone "we could have a reasonable discussion." She then told M a very convincing story about being trained as an interpreter in Baghdad but fleeing with her son after the Shiite rebellion where all males between 18 and 60 were killed by SadDAM. Ma'Mun had convinced her to return last month, as safer and an opportunity to free the community. He had a vision where "boys like these could be educated." M said she couldn't see her son but asked for a letter. Then she told Ma'Mun she had seen his mother- but refused further information; and had a letter- that he couldn't see. Finally he signed a confession. M had to demand to tell the mother herself over Mazzone's objections. When she was told, Mrs. Al Reza asked "under what conditions," to which M didn't answer. She showed M Nabil, an orphan, delinquent boy, who she had chastised for throwing rocks. He had accused her of just being mad because the Sheik killed her son. He said he had been on a balcony and overheard the sheik talking to another man about putting a bomb in Ma'Mun's backpack. M found wire, semtex and defaced Koran pages in a boarded up shop. Mazzone bad-mouthed Ms evidence and request for stake out. She finally convinced him with simple investigative logic, confession extracted under duress, and why did you ask for someone who could relate unless you wanted me to "relate." They eventually did catch Mohammed Sadar, on the "hot list," coming back for his stuff, and got a confession from him.

The people in Kresge voted to donate 25% of son's life insurance policies for a war memorial to their son's. Ma'Mun was released and M had Mazzone go to a town meeting where a school was announced with Ma'Mun as the teacher. Mazzone would answer questions "about the occupation and how it will affect our lives." When everyone clamored to ask a question he murmured to M "What is this?" She told him, "Democracy, sir."

Friday, April 1, 2005

Death at the Mosque - 223

[Except for Vukovic's arrogant, know-it-all character, this was an episode reminiscent of the "real" JAG we all know and love] Coates spruced up Vukovic before he went in to see Cresswell, and was told to call him "vic." Co later told Mac that V "was kinda cute" and M said "he clearly shares your opinion of himself." Cr sent V, alone, to defend PFC Hoke Smith, charged by Gen Hugh Cardworthy with the unpremeditated murder of a civilian, which just happened to be caught on ZNN videotape. Col Bootney presided (he was judge last week in San Diego) and Marine Maj Atkins prosecuted. Atkins was a tank commander in Desert Storm and went into JAG after "he lost some body parts." Cardworthy told V that he would need to "be there" in order to understand, even a little, what a marine is and does and why. Smith said that their six men went through a raging gun battle to neutralize the sniper in the minaret of the mosque. They shot some terrorists on the ground floor, then Brad Holliman's cameraman wanted to get a shot from the tower so ran on ahead. He was blown back, dead. Smith and PFC Quick went up the stairs, threw a grenade, then shot a terrorist who was raising his gun. Holliman brought the camera up as another man was raising his arm and was shot by Smith. Later he wasn't found to be armed or booby trapped. Holliman threw the video all over the airwaves, "just doing his job." Capt Ellis said that he considered any building with snipers and weapons a target and that Smith was justified in the shooting. V was loosing in court and began bargaining for confinement and dishonorable discharge, but Atkins told him that "in the blink of an eye" they had to make a decision and those decisions were frequently correct. V finally decided to go back and look at the mosque, and found a loose floorboard with explosives and a hidden suicide vest and detonator chord. The following day he had Ellis testify that the man Smith killed could have been the commonly used "spotter" and then played the videotape of the weapons storage. Smith was found not guilty.

Cardworthy handed V his new TAD orders, compliments of Cr, to accompany the 1st Marine division back to Karbala as "JAG on the spot." Holliman was in Vs face and Ellis ordered him to cooperate. V told him "I'm not in your Chain of Command," to which he was told that his TAD, in fact, made him Ellis's soldier. V replied that he was no soldier, I'm in the navy! They encountered another fire fight and had to blow entry. Smith saved V from another booby trapped terrorist but was injured. As V was helping him out, Holliman blinded them with his camera light. V had to kill a terrorist, who saw them in the light, then shot Holliman's light and camera. Ellis then expelled Holliman from combat areas for endangering his men.

Mattie was still in a coma but here was some small improvement. Cr told H to "take all the time he needs." H found Tom outside a bar, drunk but was told that "I've made his choice. Leave me alone." M went, uninvited, to the hospital to ask why her calls hadn't been returned. "Cause you would ask questions I couldn't answer and say things I didn't want to hear." When she tried to touch his shoulder, he told her "No," so she said "let me know" and left. Cr asked M to talk to Cammie who (this week) claimed issues of "gender holding her back" in the military. She did, and Cammie told her that her mom met Cr at age 18 and knew in 3 seconds they would marry. She asked if M had ever loved like that and was told "no." After the talk, Cammie apologized to her mother, saying: "I love having you as my mother" and that she would "try the Navy" but hot to tell her dad.