Close Quarters – 189

Written by: Dana Coen; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[An odd little JAG episode where Chegwidden acts like a pompous ass, Turner an uncertain patsy and the plot is barely believable. A lot of ‘parallel play’ fragments the storyline making the synopsis difficult]

In the sea of Japan Cdr Joyner’s sub, USS Cathedral City, rescued North Korean sailors while they were spying on South Korea and their minisub sunk on a reef. The JAG, Chegwidden (C), sent Turner (T) to “see what’s up” and decide if the spies are “combatants or survivors.” Chegwidden also told him to “come back with a new attitude.” Unfortunately an arrogant intel officer, Lt. Ye, was also dispatched to conduct intelligence interviews and interpret. Without provocation, he immediately bristled and tried to put T “in his place” during the plane ride over to the sub. Ye said something to the prisoners and they all began yelling. Turner tried to interview the Korean captain but he refused to leave his men. Turner decided to ask questions right there and Ye tried to back him down, saying, “that’s not the way it’s done.” Carefully considering their options, T calmly replied, “it is now.” Ye began embellishing the questions, provoking an angry outburst. When T calmly challenged it, Ye said that he had asked about surveillance equipment and advised they would salvage the ship when the Korean yelled that the Americans had run them aground. Turner told them they might not be allowed back to their country, and Six sailors were happy because they wanted to defect. They had to split the group (neither of who would talk), so the crew had to give up even more of their birthing space. Ye became more openly smart mouthed to T, so T asked “do I annoy you?” The arrogant creep, turned it back on T as having offended him! Turner said whatever it was, wasn’t intentional – but the toe-rag snotted back: “I think it was.” Turner attempted to know him better and found that he had grown up in Los Angeles, and his father had become reclusive after being shot in a liquor store robbery. Just then Joyner announced that the Koreans were to be picked and taken to Japan.

However, before they could go, one Korean was found unconscious in a head. Turner reprimanded the crew who were bad-mouthing the man. The ships corpsman used his “cookbooks” and came up with the diagnosis of SARS [?!] The entire ship had to wear “gas masks” and scrub down the entire surfaces of the boat, along with surfacing and exchanging air. Joyner Pontificated that “every molecule on the boat was suspect” but that they couldn’t wear the masks for long, or it would “give them a headache and their brain would cease to function properly” [good grief, Dana. Where did you come up with this?] Then the Korean captain refused to remove his mask, saying it still wasn’t safe (even though none of the Americans were still wearing them), and T asked the chief to remove the mans mask because “their brain would be affected, and they wouldn’t be able to question him.” The chief tricked the man and took it off, and Ye belittled him for wanting to “feel superior.” Turner said he didn’t see that in the chief and Ye stormed off. With the SARS diagnosis, Japan wouldn’t let them land so they were being diverted to Dutch Harbor, 7 days away.

Harm (H) returned to JAG and was given the “cold shoulder” by everyone. He got T’s old office with a dead rat in the wall and a stench. He met Terrance Minnerly, a one-armed, black seaman from 1942 – 45, in a pharmacy buying blood pressure pills. Harm befriended him and opened the pill bottle which he said he had been out of for 4 days. Police came and arrested Minnerly because the receptionist for the HMO across the street said she had been robbed. Harm told Mac (M) that he was helping Minnerly, who had tried for four days to get his HMO to correct a mistake they were making but had been given the run-around. He’d been evicted for not being able to pay his rent and was sleeping at the shelter. When he went personally to the HMO offices the receptionist became obstructionistic and refused to let him see anyone. When she threatened him with security, he stuck his finger in his coat and demanded her purse. He only took enough for his pills but she called security. Mac advised H that he better not take the case because he had too much work to do reviewing 27 Imes cases, two times as many as the others. Coates (Co) came and gave him 6 more “singer” cases from C. Harm had already let Minnerly stay in his apartment. The public defender came to JAG and dumped the case back to H because Minnerly’s disability was $137 above the poverty line. Bud (B) refused to help H, first claiming that he had too many cases to review; then, when he had to tell H he had two, he let slip that he would “If I was allowed to.” He said that “no one else could either.” Harm asked if he was being “punished,” and B said “consider it a hazing.” He went with hat in hand to M, but she just mocked him for poor time management, until H just started to walk out saying “I’m sorry to have wasted your time.” She did relent and said she would meet with Minnerly “just to see” and H brought him into the room, introducing her as his new lawyer. She told H she had changed her mind because “if you were me you would have said ‘yes’ and I’m overwhelmed.” Mac talked to Minnerly and C had to interrupt her because she was late for a sentencing hearing. She just left Minnerly in her office. When H returned, Minnerly was with C.

Back on the sub, T thought Japan’s refusal was “overkill” for just a corpsman’s diagnosis out of a book. The corpsman he had a microscope but no “virus matching software” [Huh? Really this is completely bizzare!]. Turner offered to be “point man” on making the slides and transmitting them to the mainland via the internet connection the ship had. The Korean captain continued to be upset and Ye accused the chief of “assaulting” the man. Another crewman was “unconscious” and the chief had thought he was just sleeping. The Korean began screaming and smashed some electronic equipment with a fire extinguisher (they were being kept in the torpedo room!!) and had to be subdued. So now, even more birthing was taken up by the Koreans and the captain asked T if he could put the four (non-defectors) into a raft and set them adrift after notifying the Koreans where they were. Turner said no and the Capt. retorted “who is going to protect my crew, and don’t tell me God.” Turner asked “you were under the impression that I would?” and the Capt. said “you look like a pious man.” Turner replied “less and less.” The captain said there was no more room and he would have to secure the saboteur to his rack. Ye then got in the Captains face over “inhumane” treatment. Turner agreed with the Capt. and said it was “strange talk from an intel officer.” Ye smart-mouthed back, “keep working those cliché’s.” T asked “who are you representing here” and Ye claimed “his country” and that he could “do it without penalizing these men for being who they are.” Finally T responded that he “resented the implication,” but Ye snapped “doesn’t surprise me.”

Trying to help the Capt. T asked “what about sedation” and Ye snapped back “great, treat him like an animal.” The Capt. stood them down saying “no need to make this personal.” The Capt. decided on sedation; but the lab came back that there was no SARS – it was “just a nasty flu” [right, which rendered two victims unconscious!] Ye told T “good for you, sir” and T calmly replied that it “was too bad they couldn’t have gotten along better.” True to his arrogant, chip on his shoulder, character, Ye responded “do you know how that could have been avoided?” T said he didn’t and, instead of an intelligent conversation, Ye just smirked his adolescent snarl and said “that’s too bad.” Turner merely said “I won’t argue the point” and dismissed him, after asking “was the man who robbed and shot your father black?” Ye replied “yes.”

Harm called Mattie (Mt) to see if Mrs. Del-Mucci was stopping by to check on her. Mattie whined that she had been given two dresses, a grammar text and a bean casserole. Harm responded that she was a good neighbor to have but Mattie just bellyached that she “couldn’t get past the hairs on her cheek.” Harm said that her father still being alive complicated guardianship and he would see her when “I can see over my desk.” He told her that he wasn’t going to abandon her. Playing the jerk, C asked H and M into his office and whined “why wasn’t I informed” about Minnerly. He grandiosely pontificated about the navy’s “Great Lakes Experiment” where president Roosevelt had recruited thousands of black men and placed them in supportive roles. Minnerly said that “at the time it was an honor” and many barriers were broken. He was stationed in the band at Treasure Island in San Francisco. He had played the piano – until he lost his arm in an accident two weeks after his discharge. Chegwidden said that he had contacted the commonwealth attorney, who he knew in law school, and got him to agree to drop the charges for an anger management class. After Minnerly left, Chegwidden chastised H for “not being on top of this… I thought better of you… aren’t you ‘that man who does what it takes to get the job done?'” More calmly and respectfully than most would have been, H merely said he had the “impression ‘that man’ was unwelcome in this office.” Chegwidden responded: “not entirely.” H asked “what is expected of me? Am I to prove myself, or be myself.” Chegwidden looked down his nose and said “do what you do.” Harm said it was difficult under the work load, and C smirked as he told him to give Singer’s cases to M.

Turner came back with the “flu” and Chegwidden told him to go home so he didn’t spread it around, then informed him that Ye had filed a complaint against him through the chief of naval intelligence. He asked T if it was true and T said no. “Then that’s good enough for me,” C said but asked T if he “ever got angry?” Turner wanted to know why and C said “if you think you’ve been falsely accused why don’t you get pissed off?” Turner wrung his hands and simpered he had been doing “introspection” and he “might have handled it better.” Chegwidden shook his head that T seemed to be buying into the accusations, then tried to introduce T to Minnerly. Turner declined because he was sick and said “when I’m more worthy, sir.” [What does that mean?! Pure and simple, while this may have been a sort of interesting basic plot, the screenplay and dialog were just plain and simply sloppy writing!]

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