Back in the Saddle – 188

Written by: Stephen Zito; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[Another ‘life changing episode,’ removing a character, adding another and nobody seems too happy.]

Commander Carolyn Imes was prosecuting Petty Officer Lawson for neglecting his assigned gun mount maintenance and causing injury to three sailors when MPs stormed the court room, ostensibly under Chegwidden’s (C) orders, and arrested her. In line for a new security clearance a background check revealed that she had changed her name to a recently deceased member of the Michigan bar, requested a duplicate certificate, and claimed she had passed the bar on her JAG application – instead of having missed it by one point. Chegwidden ordered all her defended cases to be reversed – needing re-evaluation for re-trial. Mac (M) pointed out that Harm (H) had been the prosecutor in 27 of the cases so he could be helpful. Chegwidden said “expedite all you want, get it done by end of the week.”

Turner (T) said he “almost missed Rabb” when he was assigned to prosecute Imes; because he “used to take most of the heat.” Imes told M, her defense, that she “didn’t think it would matter.” The UCMJ just said “graduate OR member of state bar” and she was accepted in ’88, three years before JAG reg’s clarified that the bar was mandatory. She tried to beat M at her sad “I’ve fought up from nothing” life; but, M won. Imes said she had 14 years of outstanding fitness reports and wanted a trial so she wouldn’t have a record for civilian life. Mac went to Harm’s apartment to ask for help because she had “left 17 messages in 5 months.” He told her “I thought we’d done our talking, you made that clear.” She didn’t engage his combativeness and H was surprised that her boyfriend Webb (W) hadn’t told M that H had been fired from the CIA because of the press coverage in the previous episode. Even though he had flown 37 missions in 6 months, the TV cost him his job and he said he “was done with government work”! Harm said he’d “beat Imes 6 times running” and M left the records for him to review.

Catherine Gayle came for “advice,” she was pregnant. She claimed that M had given her a “get away from my man” look, probably because H had hinted that they had gone through a “marriage ceremony” at the bedside of her dying mother. Her mother rallied and was now in a care center, but she hadn’t been told about either the “marriage” or the pregnancy. Harm went to visit Gayle’s mother and was surprised to be told “It’s too bad you’re not in love with my daughter.” She had known about the charade all along but didn’t want to prevent Catherine’s chance for a kindness. She also recognized the pregnancy and H told her that he was told he didn’t have anything to do with it. Harm proposed that they “give it a shot, and see what happens,” to Gayle. She told him that he was “too high risk” and to call her when he really knew what he wanted. Harm went to Blacksburg to take a flight in “Sara,” his Stearman, and found that “Pop’s Grahowsky” had sold out to “Grace Aviation” run by Mathilda (Mattie) Grace a 14-year-old. Mattie latched on to H, helped him change spark plugs, told him they had something in common by being given “goofy names,” and offered him a job crop dusting for $300 per day. She followed him to the field in her truck, with an arrangement with the local sheriff, and told him that he was a good flyer for avoiding a tree.

Turner told M she was “crazy” for wanting to go to trial and that he would “expect that from Rabb but not you,” because she usually took the conservative, safe route. Stunned, she asked him to “list my other faults” and he called her “sanctimonious and a bit of a prig.” She asked, “where did that come from,” and he responded “It’s been building for awhile now,” and walked out. She asked Bud if he thought she took the narrow view? He said, “no.” “Find me sanctimonious?”“no ma’am;” “priggish?”“no ma’am;” “would you tell me if you did?”“no ma’am.” She told B that she was “failing to communicate” with C; he told her they were doing great, “the admiral yells at me and I say I’m sorry.” Harm came to JAG to go over cases and coolly deflected Ts offer of a beer. Coates (Co) offered to inform C, but H said “don’t bother I’ve nothing to say to the admiral” then saw C, who was behind him, just walk away. He told M and B that he was busy, this was a favor, and let’s “get on with it.” Coates tried to take H’s part with C, and the admiral told her to mind her own business. Then, when she told him she was still trying to “define her job” he asked “did you just try to ‘handle’ me?” And told her she was “parsing the truth like a lawyer.” Mac also tried to take Hs part with C and was told she was “so pathetic and transparent. He’s done here. Don’t sing his praises cause they fall on deaf ears.” On Ms exit, Coates told her “when someone’s that angry, you know they’re hurting inside”; and, of course, C was standing behind her. When Coates, yet again, told him to “go talk to him,” C read her the riot act and said he wasn’t interested in her opinion or what she had to say. “Don’t say it,” he yelled, “even if you wanted to call me ‘unreasonable,’ or ‘pig headed,’ or ‘unfair’.” She said “I don’t need to, because you already know it.” In her face he told her “people don’t like to be ‘handled,’ so if you do it, you better be damn sure you are right… as you are this time,” and he left to go see H.

“Mr. Rabb” was called to testify to Imes’ character. Turner was hateful in the trial and even tried to make H look foolish. He even claimed her “so help me God” oath meant that she had lied to her god; but, H resisted, until asked if he considered breaking the oath “conduct unbecoming.” Harm had to reply “yes.” Chegwidden appeared at Grace Aviation to talk to H, which made Mattie unhappy. “Is this bald guy the jerk who fired you?” she asked. Going “Dutch treat” to a bar, C said “apparently there’s more to say”; then, when H was being flippant, called him “annoying.” Harm said “yes and ‘not a team player’ and ‘controlled by my emotions’ as well,” (using C own words when he fired him). Chegwidden said he would ask the SECNAV to reinstate his commission “under the right circumstances.” Harm said he was listening and C continued: “Stop acting like Peter Pan who wants to fly and never grow up. You’ll not have the life you want until you take responsibility for your actions – at work, with women, or any facet.” Seeing H shake his head, C just got up and said “let me know. Come back, we’ll start fresh” and walked out. Imes was found guilty of conduct unbecoming but only given a discharge, not brig time. Mattie was upset at hearing H was going to go back to JAG. When he wanted to comfort her, she said “I don’t know you well enough to let you see me cry.” She then said she had lied about her dad, that he had really been drunk the night her mother died in their car crash, and that he had abandoned her. She was living in the house bequeathed to her by her mother, and was making payments by running the business. Harm advised that she would eventually be found out, and said that he would: call her every day, see her every week, find a neighbor to check in on her, talk to the court about becoming her guardian and get her into school. He took her flying to seal the deal. [closing credits were to ‘soaring’ music instead of the JAG theme]

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