[A truly masterfully written episode. Compare this episode with the season 10 episode “San Diego”, filmed to please CBS minions wanting the “younger demographic,” with its: intrusive space-ship music; vertiginous, aimlessly wandering photography; disgustingly confusing character morality; and superficial entertainment despite a moderately interesting core plot. This was a well written and delivered episode. Music was grand, photography larger than life, character development captivating and script (as C said) “heroic.”]
JAG officers Harm (H) and Meg (Mg) investigated the death of USN Pilot, Lt Douglas Marion, the son of unforgiving Senator Grace Marion, during a SEAL “black op” mission; but, they were “stonewalled” by the entire group until finally they charged the whole team with obstruction of justice. Marion’s autopsy showed massive injury from his fall after his parachute didn’t open but also hypoxic coma which revealed some of the groups previous lies.
The group leader, Lt Alexander Kellogue, thought Gen Behnke would get him out of trouble; but, the general just let them all hang. The JAG, Chegwidden (C), came personally to San Diego and brought the Senator with him. Kellogue still lied but C’s threats got the rest of the men to tell the story. The General had changed the operation at the last minute from a 30 knotts/30 feet helicopter insertion into a High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jump only 2 hours before the mission. He had seemed to have hoped that the SEALs would decline so “his own men” could do it. Marion was to have landed and flown back a captured drug lord plane; but his parachute hadn’t opened and he hit the water. Harm discovered that Marion had suffocated on the way down due to a sabotaged o-ring on his oxygen. The General was the most likely culprit.
Kellogue gave C the pre-mission letter Marion had written to his mother – (a SEAL tradition started many years earlier by “Ensign Chegwidden”.) Harm discovered that the General was now repeating the mission but this time with his own men; so, C ordered Harm to HALO with the SEALS and recover the plane before the general. During the trip, the SEAL team quizzed each other on famous quotes as was their tradition in order to keep their minds off anxiety. However, the general had a “spy” watching the SEALs so was told of Cs plan. In the race to the site the SEALs won and beat general there.
They found an old R4D prop plane, however it had been outfitted with AWACs type black ops gear from McDill – apparently sold to them by Gen Behnke! That was why the general had to be first to the site, to prevent being found out. Worried that they couldn’t get the old plane to fly, Kellogue asked “who said: I will fight no more, forever?” When others couldn’t answer he continued, “I don’t know either, but he wasn’t a marine!” Chegwidden and the senator flew in the aircraft with the seals insertion. She was impressed with the jump and the men, and and was visibly softened; so, C gave her son’s letter to her, saying: “you’re ready to read it.”
After he saw H take off with the plane, the general realized the trouble that he was in and committed suicide by jumping out of the helicopter over the ocean. [No Krennick in this episode (thankfully).]