Written by: Thomas Moran; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon
[An interesting JAG plot, even with more than one internal inconsistencies which weren’t caught in editing. It does set up a substantial argument between Chegwidden and Coates; which, then was merely completely ignored in future episodes, as if it never happened. There were several un-named characters, annoying for a reviewer]
Ensign Monica De La Torre (DLT) was found strangled at the Norfolk Naval Ship yard, and fingernail scrapings matched the DNA of PO Luis Cumpiano (Cmp), who was found passed out on his ship with scratches on his arm and no memory of events since being forced to drink for initiation rites. JAG officer Mac (M) met Chaplain Oliver Stephens, who said he’d been “working closely” with Cmp for 3 years. He started preaching to M and said that he was an alcoholic in recovery for 17 years and Cmp was a leader of one of his groups. Mac shut him off by revealing that she was in recovery for “5 years and 10 months.” Campiano admitted he had been in recovery for 2 1/2 years, until shipmates wouldn’t take no for an answer and forced him into the “Tequila Bowl.” Literally, everyone anyone talked to said that Cmp “couldn’t have done it” because it was completely out of his character.
Harm (H) talked to the civilian detective who, except for DNA evidence, seemed to be operating on circumstantial evidence. The cab driver had said that “Cumpiano” (?DLT) was trying to get him back on base; but, insisted on coming to the pier, saying he wanted to swim back.” Elisa, Cmp’s wife, said he “wouldn’t even talk bad about someone, much less try to hurt them.” M tried, a couple of times, to convince H that alcohol impairs judgment and inhibition but doesn’t transform personality. Harm refused to agree to any plea lower than unpremeditated murder and said he would go for capital aggravating factors.
A fellow sailor told M that DLT attracted attention because of her looks and approachable personality. He also said that Cmp was bullied by his wife, Elisa, but seemed to be ok with it. He could see her busting someone’s head more than Cmp. Harm, still questioning the detective, badgered him until he admitted that there was an unsolved murder a year ago, on the same dock, with same MO; but, told H to “just do your job and let me do mine.” Harm revealed the earlier event to M, and also that Cmp had been deployed on a ship at the time. They were notified that a marine guard had overheard Cmp confess to the murder while he was talking to the chaplain. Mac chastised Stephens for even starting the conversation where he might be overheard; but, he tried to turn it back on M. Compiano said he still had no memory of doing any harm to DLT, but Stephens had told him to pray and beg for mercy and the Lord would forgive him, which is what he was doing. Mac found that Elisa had called Cmp on his cell phone, while he was at the bar, and believed that she may have been the killer.
Coates (Co) interrupted Chegwidden’s (C) meeting for a phone message from Meredith, and was pushy about getting him on the line. He told her that “he would take care of it” then took back all involvement with wedding plans from her. She kept on interjecting and interfering to the point he eventually had to shout: “stay out of it, that’s an order.” Then, softening, he added “and a personal request.” Finally, when C was in his office late one night, she told him “Whatever happened between you two… I’m sure can be worked out.” He told her “you don’t have any idea what you are talking about.” She pushed “only because you won’t tell me”; and, stunned, he asked “why would I?” She said “it might make you feel better,” which was the last straw he would take. He shot back “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard you say. Get out of my office and leave me alone!”
Bud (B) was assigned to defend Cdr Michael Rainer, of the SEAL training team, for misappropriation of funds. Turner (T) prosecuted. Rainer told B that, with his degree and experience he wouldn’t steal from the navy, he would have retired. He claimed that ammunition had been used before he had a chance to inventory it. Bud watched an extraction exercise from a catwalk and was surprised that it used live ammunition. Rainer said that he had sacrificed his health, 2 marriages, and 3 kids he hardly sees, for the Navy. The job is my life and I wouldn’t jeopardize it for $22,000. A weenie supply officer pontificated to B and T that there was an “anonymous hotline tip,” and that they had found receipts didn’t match vendor’s documents. Checks cut for munitions had been fraudulently endorsed and cashed, but never actually ordered or delivered. Bud cleverly backed down his client saying: “you are either a forger or know the person who is,” then mentioned the severe penalty he was going to get. Rainer admitted to forging the paperwork, but said he had used the money “to procure experimental ordinance which, for security reasons, he couldn’t discuss.” Bud said he “wasn’t that gullible” and Rainer took him to see Russian knock out gas and vials of antidote(?). Bud showed T documents showing the purchase from Spetsgruppa Alfa, Russian special forces counter terror unit, and said that the purchase orders only claimed to be for “non-lethal hostage rescue operations.” Turner was still unconvinced, but B only said that Rainer didn’t think he’d done anything wrong and wanted to testify. On the stand, Rainer said that he’d entered into classified procurement deals without authorization from chain of command; but, he had the duty to disobey orders which he knew to be counter to the safety and security of the US. If he could rescue anyone without firing a bullet, it would be unlawful and immoral not to do so. The judge recommended general court martial and Rainer told B to “plead it out, I’ve made my point, no since taking this any further.” Turner agreed to dismissal, restitution with loss of benefits and 1 yr confinement, suspended.
Harm went to Ms apartment and said he was worried about M – “allowing your past to jeopardize your judgment, especially your client.” She reiterated that ETOH didn’t change your true nature, only made it harder to control the one you already have. He said that sometimes a persons true nature is buried so deep they never understand it. Marcie Jones, the crime lab tech, said the only other evidence was one broken hair; but, they couldn’t match it without a follicle. Mac asked if there was a way to tell if the person was on prenatal vitamins, thinking Elisa, but they would need more sample and a direct comparison with someone. Mac asked for a “discarded tox screen printout,” just to “humor me.” Harm interviewed the jailer who had heard the confession and found that they both had been talking very loud. The chaplain told Rainer that the Lord would have mercy on him… DLT was in a better place… and the Lord was behind the shack that night and “saw everything.” Mac bluffed Elisa, with hints about tox screen, into finally admitting that she had followed DLT and her husband from the bar to the pier and saw DLT wrestling with Cmp (actually trying to prevent him from disrobing and swimming to the ship.) She flew off the handle, accosted DLT, kicked the unconscious Cmp, and wouldn’t listen to any explanations. DLT left, saying she just was trying to help, then she left too, leaving her unconscious husband on the dock. Harm pulled up in his car, as M was accusing her, and told M that Elisa didn’t kill DLT.
They both went to see Stephens. At first he denied everything, even though they had record of his car getting a ticket on the dock at the time of the murder and a signed statement from his pusher who sold him cocaine. The body was found 20 yards from a shack that no one knew about, except the killer and the police. Stephens quoted scripture at M and she quoted them right back. He finally broke down and said he couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think and couldn’t feel anything, but he didn’t actually confess. Compiano was released and said thanks to M. Harm said that “he owed you more than a thank you. You didn’t give up, sensed something was wrong and forced me to reconsider.” Watching Elisa and Cmp together, M commented “they’ve known each other since eighth grade and still have secrets.” H said, “don’t we all.”