Girl’s Best Friend – 194

Written by: Darcy Meyers; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[The first JAG episode of the new year. Chegwidden (C) has, under the recommendation of the wife of a colleague, purchased a diamond engagement ring for Meredith (Mer) (so large the stone can easily be seen in several medium shots. Pleasantly, the episode also rids the series of a poorly understandable, and annoying recurrent character.]

Meredith made arrangements to wine and dine professore Selvaggio during his teaching trip to DC and was upset at the JAG, Chegwidden (C), for not wanting to be “the third wheel” in all her “outings” with him. She knocked the diamond out of its setting and demanded that Coates (Co) not tell the admiral “or he would think I’m clumsy.” Selvaggio looked at it with a magnifying glass and implied that it might be stolen because it didn’t have a laser etched serial number on it. Meredith got upset with C, that it might be stolen, but completely ignored his question about Selvaggio. Mac (M) told C that it “looked good to her” and they wondered if Selvaggio was just trying to stir up trouble. Chegwidden said he’d never met him but there was “just something about the guy” that he didn’t trust. Mac said “at least you show you’re romantic” which some guys “can’t get right.” Chegwidden said that he “thought you and Harm (H) had decided to forgive and forget,” thinking it was H she was referring to, but she responded “I’m not talking about him.”

Mac told C that after “living through operation Chaco Borealis” she had a little respect over at Langley, and offered to take the diamond to Agent Van Duyne, their diamond expert. The diamond store told C that they got the diamond from a local man who deals in loose stones. Van Duyne told M there was no way to tell if a stone was stolen, and that he was uncomfortable with diamonds as a token of love – knowing what they buy on the black market – “you tend NOT to hear a love song when you look at one.” He said the stone’s “symmetry was uncanny… no imperfections… no inclusions… clear as water… and growth structures were without blemish.” Suspicious, he asked where she had gotten it; and, suspecting his suspicions, she refused to tell him where she got it, so he just told her, emphatically, to be careful! Chegwidden went to a factory warehouse’s upstairs’ back room and grabbed Handy, a sleazy looking guy who called him “Popeye.” Chegwidden had to slam the guy against the wall then chase him through the factory before he “convinced” Handy to admit he had forged the authenticity document on a “blood diamond.” Chegwidden demanded to know where it came from and Handy said “you’re not gonna like it.” Chegwidden personally went to the naval research lab to arrest Lt. Maravalis, who was a technician that made synthetic diamonds. Mac prosecuted and H defended with Bud (B) as second chair.

Harriet (Ht) was taking time off, after her USO show production, to chaperone little AJ’s school trip so he would behave. Harm was absent, for personal reasons, taking custody of “that little girl.” Harm told Mattie (Mt) that he was looking for a two bedroom house in Falls Church and she said she wanted to live in the city, showing him an ad for a vacancy in his own apartment building. He told her that “we didn’t go through what we went through just to be neighbors” and that she couldn’t live alone. Bud told M that she “was looking well rested” recently, and “it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you so content.” When she seemed to give him the eye, he flustered on that he was just “happy that you’re happy… and agent Webb (W) … if he’s the reason you’re happy.” She just said: “don’t believe everything you hear.” Chegwidden found Cotes’ coat and other clothes in drawers around the office and told her to “solve your roommate problems.” Coates refused H’s offer to pay for an apartment if she would have Mt as a roommate; but, changed her mind when he offered to let her put it in her name and pay for Mt’s half of the rent. Mattie called Co “the cheerleader type” so Co set her straight about her past. When they were moving in, Mattie suggested that they might be able to share clothes and said “I could use one of those,” pointing to a bra. Coates said they needed to go shopping together; and, when Mt said she didn’t have any money, told her “do what any girl does… ask ‘dad’ for his credit card.”

Harm took Mt to school and she told him that “you have no idea how navy brass boosts my rep.” Her friend Andre, a math geek, “wanted to be a fighter pilot too” and saluted H. Harm told the boy to “loosen up.” Mattie asked Co “what made H want to take care of me?” and she replied “probably for the same reason he did me.” He lost his dad and has a soft spot for kids who look like they need a father. Mattie observed that they had the “same situation” and Co said “and the same guardian angel.”

Macs opening statement was grandiose and she used inflammatory photographs without H or B objecting. She said mother and child slaves were forced to mine diamonds which were spirited to jewel centers and paid for weapons to arm other children so they can maim other children. Maravalis spent lots of time at Belgian diamond exchange, smuggled them into the US and, with help of a forger, pass them off as legitimate. Four months previous he opened an off shore bank account and lives beyond the means of a career officer. In B’s opening statement, he used all the tricks that M and H had taught him. He used the photos from Ms desk and said Maravalis had no ties to Africa etc. He was recently married to someone who had money. Van Duyne pulled Ms car over and gave her a folder with documents which proved she had the “right guy but the wrong theory.” Maravalis had been under CIA surveillance for 3 months but they could only look at foreign entanglements. He said he “never wanted to find out what it feels like to be tortured by the enemy – like W”; and was giving them to M so he could nail Maravalis. The next step, he claimed, was going under cover to sell diamonds to scum like Sadik Fahd but he’d lost his nerve. He said he had given the same folder to an operative in Brussels.

Mac interviewed Dr (name not given), the director of the lab who admitted he was Van Duyne’s anonymous informant. He initially refused to talk because these were the “kind of guys who won’t stop at you, but will kill your whole family.” She threatened him and he eventually testified that he had seen 60 stones (120 carats) go missing from the lab. They made synthetic diamonds for “thermal management of semi-conductors” and cost almost nothing to make but sell for 1.3 million on the open market. You can only tell the difference from the natural stones by using spectrophotometry – they are too picture perfect to pass for natural. Chegwidden’s stone, he said, “was definitely one of mine.” Mac found that Van Duyne never contacted anyone in Brussels and had now disappeared. Maravalis agreed to a plea bargain and admitted that he started with one but then started selling stones to a local dealer and to Antwerp. He wore his uniform to add “credibility” and gave a sob story about his mother being poor and never having an engagement ring etc. He said his new wife wouldn’t stand by a thief so had filed for divorce. Harm said Maravalis would turn over his money and give back un-sold stones. The judge told him he didn’t buy his sob story because: “guess what, my mother never had a ring either.”

Discussing the case after the trial, H said “love can drive a man crazy.” Mac said “that runs both ways.” Harm invited her to Mt’s new apartment for lunch. Mattie answered the door in boxers and H admonished her saying he felt “like captain Von Trapp.” Mac had to explain the reference to “The Sound of Music,” and both Mt and Co just said: “what?” Coates told H that “I guess we need a DVD player dad.” Chegwidden went to Mer’s apartment after work and found her asleep on the couch with classical Italian music playing. The sleaze-bag Selvaggio came out of the bedroom in his underwear. Meredith sat up, but just looked at C. Neither said anything, but C, without showing emotion, merely turned and left.

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