Life or Death – 98

Written by: Catherine Stribling; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[A somewhat dark episode. The actor playing Caleb Farmer will, in later episodes, play Tom, Mattie’s father]

Corporal Caleb Farmer received the death sentence for pre-meditatedly shooting at a marine squad doing calisthenics, killing three and wounding three. Mac (M) voiced personal agreement with capital punishment and Chegwidden (C) assigned her the defense. Brumby (Brum) got the prosecution and was still “on the make” for M. Harm (H) was trying to avoid Renee Peterson who was trying to snare him into “doing looping” for her recruiting commercial. Gunny (G) was a friend of one of the victim’s, Sgt Kryler, who was now a quadriplegic and told M that he hoped she lost her appeal. Farmer told M he had no excuses but said the squad had made his life hell, he’d asked for help but was turned down, was driven to drink and lost his mind. Mac told Bud (B) that farmer was like a broken down one eyed cat, a bird killer – you loathed him but felt sorry for him at the same time.

She discovered that Farmers previous attorney, then commander AJ Chegwidden, had not given adequate defense. Discouraged, M asked H to dinner but he told her he couldn’t; so, Brum asked her. They saw Renee come in and M called her “Cecilia B DeMille” the “bitch director from hell.” She cattily denigrated anyone who would date with her as a “whipped momma’s boy who loves being dominated.” Brumby let her continue as he saw that it was H who walked in. She continued, “or a pot bellied sugar daddy financing her movie.” When she said “or a mindless toy boy,” Brum said “you’re getting close.” Mac looked, then seemed a bit pissed at Brum. Renee had H overdub her commercial saying: “pleasure” over the “privilege to serve” which he had originally said.

Farmer was given a new sentencing trial. Brum was recalled back to Australia, to help with the peacekeeping in East Timor, and H was given the prosecution job. Mac tried to get him to agree to life in prison but he said they should let the jury decide. She asked to be taken off the case but C faced her down saying that she “wasn’t at JAG to protect his (Cs) reputation.” Mac showed that Farmer had 0.14% blood ETOH, that his platoon wanted him out of the service and harassed him, that he had sought help but the sociologist who saw him told him to “pretend he was a duck and let it roll off him,” refusing to refer him to a psychiatrist. Later, after arrest, a psychiatrist diagnosed a “marked personality disorder with paranoid tendencies.” Farmer attempted suicide during the trial and M tried to get him to keep fighting. He couldn’t give M even one witness for his defense. He asked M to be there for his execution and she agreed. Farmer asked to speak to the jury and promised that he would spend rest of life seeking redemption and hoping that “a man is more than just the worst thing he’s ever done.” Chegwidden gave advice for closing arguments: to Mac – don’t look at the widow, and to H – don’t look at the defendant. Brumby kept fishing for M to tell him she wanted him to come back to her, then kissed her. He told her that he kept after her because she didn’t tell him to stop. The jury upheld the death sentence and Farmer called out for M to “remember her promise to him.”

At Brumby’s farewell party in McMurray’s bar, Brum told H that he thought “he’d see him again.” Singer offered H a drink and H told her to call him Harm, out of uniform. Mac kissed Brum goodbye and as he walked out B started the group singing “waltzing mathilda.” [This closing scene was later used again as a memorial tribute to Trevor Goddard after his death.]

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