Written by: Paul Levine; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon
[This JAG episode had such a ridiculously implausible plot line so as to be insulting to regular viewers and damaging to DJ Elliot’s character (Harm) who was shown to lie to Mac, unrealistically put his life in danger, and be derelict in his legal skills.]
Lt Curtis Rivers, using his medal of honor, crashed an election rally for “Wild Bill” Layton running for the senate, and called him an imposter. Layton, who was wearing his navy pin on his lapel, told everyone that he was a “Navy SEAL” and running on the platform of “integrity in government and family values.” Rivers removed the pin and Layton took a swing at him. Rivers held his hands up and stepped back until Layton came at him again so he decked him. The JAG, Chegwidden (C), told Harm (H) that Layton wasn’t a SEAL but had received a Navy Cross. Also that Rivers was in a group of retired SEALS who exposed imposters. Bud (B) observed that there were “more fraudulent SEALS than real ones.” Chegwidden assigned H to try and obtain an apology from Rivers so any charges would “go away.”
Senator Henry Barrington asked C for permission to submit his name for a federal judgeship then segwayed, before receiving it, into Layton’s case. Rivers refused H the apology and instead told him of another imposter who was a gun for hire. The FBI knew about him but were stymied. Chegwidden asked Bud to help with his judgeship application and B said that he would be good for the job but asked would the job be good for him. Mac (M) was assigned to prosecute Layton but wanted 24 hours to reason with him. Instead she found a campaign manager who quoted a focus group which had advised to “convict Rivers” and that “compassion (for the liar) was in this year.” When M pointed out that the spotlight would be turned on him, Layton said he “had nothing to hide.” Harm offered to defend Rivers but Rivers declined saying he’d “do it himself” and that H “could be 2nd chair.”
Instead he told H of the imposter-assassin, Earl Ticktin, who had washed out of the Navy after basic training but as an assassin he already had three confirmed kills. Rivers smugly told H that he’d hired Ticktin to kill H as bait (?!!). Then convinced H to go along with ruse by basically calling him “chicken” (?!!) He introduced H to Pops Munchak and Vic Velasco who were arguing with each other like baffoons. Rivers said “relax, I’d trust them with my life,” and H retorted “I’d trust them with YOUR life too.” They then offered to “call off the hit” if H merely said he wanted them to, but he didn’t (?!!)
At the trial, Rivers made his own opening statement and began eloquently using rhetoric about SEALS. Mac objected, and the judge asked him if H could perform the duties of a SEAL. He responded “no,” so she asked him “what makes you think you do the job of a trial lawyer.” He responded “because he knew the truth” and she quipped “obviously you’ve never been to law school.”
Harm went jogging with Rivers who was explaining his defense strategy; namely, to claim that he had merely been making a “citizens arrest.” Harm pointed that he hadn’t arrested Layton, only forcibly removed the pin and punched him. Rivers claimed that it had only been “in self-defense” but then, in macho bravado, claimed that he had not felt the least bit threatened by Layton. Munchak, who was tailing at a distance, took a shot at the sniper who was targeting H but missed him then lost him on a motorcycle. Rivers said “we’ll get him next time”, and H merely shook his head (?!!) The sniper loaded his own shells, 7.62 mm with soft rim primers and hollow points. Rivers said that he remembered a previous FBI case sighting of a motorcycle, so they went to talk to police chief Carson. The chief said that there had been a report of someone shooting transformers and setting off explosives in the Vallecito Mtn’s. He claimed that the FBI had investigated the report after someone had confessed hiring a contract killer and had made a pay drop in the location, but they couldn’t find anything.
Harm told M that he didn’t know why anyone would try and kill him. Mac said she “hoped he wasn’t involved in one of Rivers crazy scheme’s” and H said “you know me better than that!” (?!!) Mac made the motion to prevent H from bringing up Layton’s military record and the Judge Granted the motion. [???!!!] Layton then lied on the stand that Rivers had assaulted him fist. Harm did convince Rivers to let him cross-examine Layton. When the judge wondered why, Rivers replies “there are different kinds of beaches to storm, this one is Cdr Rabb’s.” Harm let Layton pontificate and, as anticipated, his playing to the crowd brought up his military service; so, with the door open, H was then able to impeach his military record. Layton claimed that he “didn’t go around touting his own horn about his decorations.” He said he “earned his trident in the field (?!!) when he rescued three POWs.” Harm proved that only one American had ever been rescued from captivity during the entire Vietnam war. Layton claimed that it was a black op, and no-one would admit it. The rest of his platoon disappeared in Cambodia- he was on solo recon and never made the mission.
Barrington began trying to pull strings with C for his friend “Bill Layton.” Police Chief Carson called H and requested that he go with him to a cabin that he had discovered in the mountains, before the FBI got there and took credit for it. And, unbelievabley, H went with him without telling anyone [?!!] Meanwhile, Rivers had his buddies check to see if Layton’s Navy Cross had really been classified. (?!!) Claiming that Ticktin had been sighted, he got H to go with him to the cabin. Harm called M to ask her to request a continuance but didn’t tell her any reason (?!!). When M was receiving the continuance Rivers objected claiming that he was ready (?!!) then, only after Layton was on the stand, Munchak rushed in with the evidence he’d just obtained. Rivers asked how he obtained his Cross and Layton described a “riverine OP on the Mekong Delta where he captured a North VN Major on an ambush and abduction mission under fire then interrogated him to reveal a weapons stockpile. Rivers pointed out that Layton had been in a public affairs office writing press releases and Layton gloated “before he was transferred to combat unit.” Rivers had Layton read one of his press releases which turned out to be about a PO Mora with the exact same details Layton had just claimed for himself! Rivers asked him to describe any of the men in his unit who had disappeared or give any of their names but he couldn’t. Rivers called him a coward, liar and imposter and Layton just sat there.
At the mountain cabin, Carson sent H around to the back and claimed that he was an excellent shot and would be able to cover him. He said he loaded his own ammo and described it – the same ammo that H knew the sniper used. Suspicious, H discovered a booby trap and then deliberately set it off which drew Carson in to look at the kill. Harm took pot shots at him until, as he tried to escape, H got the drop on him. Instead of dropping his gun, he turned to shoot H but was shot himself. Harm returned to stand by Rivers as the verdict was read. Found “not guilty” of conduct unbecoming but “guilty” of assault and battery (?!!), with forfeiture of one day pay.
Barrington told C that “in time you will learn to be a team player.” When he became a judge he would “remember who got you that appointment.” When C advised of constitutional separation of powers, Barrington spoke of “the difference between the platitudes of civic lessons and cold hard realities; and that it would be a mistake to disagree.” Chegwidden advised “no, the mistake was yours.” Harm told C that he would “miss him” and C retorted “why? Are you leaving us again?”