Chains of Command – 53

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

Master Chief Sullivan (MC), of the Seahawk, was again charged with sexual harassment, similar to the “crossing the line” incident (in JAG season two). This time by an air controller, PO Douglas, who was in trouble for letting an F14 run out of fuel, then was promised intervention in exchange for sex. JAG officers Mac (M) and Harm (H) were sent to investigate by Chegwidden (C), and Bud (B) was forced to go along, despite his studying for a law class exam. Bud was preoccupied and ignored Harriet’s (Ht) attempts at “lovey dovey” in the office, to her annoyance and name calling.

Bud related that former captain Ross had resigned unexpectedly only one year short of 30 and just as he had been tapped for Rear-Admiral. The current captain said the MCs record was spotless and the Air Boss was indignant at the charges saying “no one saw this coming.” Douglas said that she was adjusting to and enjoyed carrier life, admitted her “screw up” then that the MC had offered to “make the problem go away” in exchange for sex. She took him up on his offer but, talking to a friend the next day, decided to “come clean.” Harm said that it was her word against the MC and she said “there are probably others” giving him a list of names. The MC denied all allegations but became very defensive telling M that “‘you people’ have an axe to grind.” He said that “in the old days they considered it unlucky to have a women on a ship,” and “if you ask me it still is.” Mac told him that “in the old days it was considered appropriate to castrate the village pervert,” and “if you ask me it still is.”

Making their report to C they were surprised that Dalton Lowne had been hired as MCs attorney. Lowne refused to tell M who had hired him and she told him to “stay at arms length.” Ross said he had been asked by MC to be a character witness. He said that he was no longer in the navy so he could say what he thought, surprising H due to his record of promoting women to good positions. Ross’ wife told H that she knew his father. Latham came to Hs apartment and told him that it was the founder of National Patriot’s Foundation, Lane Black, who had hired Lowne in order to discredit women in the military.

Bud accused Ht (who was assigned to help Lowne) of “peeking” at his case papers. She called him a “jerk” and he told her that “not everybody can be born with a silver spoon in their mouths.” Despite what M told him, Lowne showed up at her apartment, ostensibly to “plead his case with her.” While she was out of the room he rummaged on her desk and stole case information. Bud closed blinds and doors “so others wouldn’t hear” when he told H that of the 67 women he checked he only found one, Jane Klee, who “wouldn’t come forward voluntarily.” She had filed charges against MC but later withdrew them and Capt Ross found her a “plum assignment at the pentagon.”

Latham returned with word that Black had hired investigators who intended to “tear Douglas to pieces.” Lowne called a press conference and threatened to “reveal all the other officers he had found that weren’t charged” if the “MC were found guilty.” Mac blew up at his attempt to justify his action and told him “it was over.” He retorted that he “wouldn’t let her go.” Bud wouldn’t believe that Ht didn’t have anything to do with the leak and their argument again turned into name calling, him finally telling her that he “didn’t like the dresses she wore which made her look like his grandmother.”

Lowne revealed that Douglas had two previous “screw-ups,” including being drunk, and was disciplined by the MC; and, that she had previously filed sexual abuse charges against her step-father which were dropped. Harm was upset that she had allowed him to be blindsided but she said that her step-father had been guilty. When her own mother covered for him the cops let it drop. Bud discovered a “pattern” of promotions in the list Douglas had given them. When H cross examined Ross, he had given special consideration in transfers and promotions to 17 women. When Lowne objected and H couldn’t get the information in, he saw Mrs. Ross leave the courtroom. He followed her and learned that she was an alcoholic, her husband had retired to see that she got help, that MC has snuck her alcohol from the commissary and had “destroyed my husband.” Harm appealed to her integrity and she agreed to testify. Instead, however, Ross came back up and finally admitted that he had covered for the MC because Sullivan was blackmailing him about sleeping with a woman while he was underway. The MC was found guilty.

Mac, H and B ended the episode by all fortuitously coming together in the same bar, after they had all chosen the same juke box song (What becomes of the brokenhearted). Bud said that Ht was mad at him and M was subdued about the issues with Lowne. Bud groused at H because he still had Annie, but H told them “it didn’t look good now” and “the only ones that I have are you two.” They retorted together: “imagine how that makes us feel.” Harm advised B that “nothing with a woman is great ALL the time. Hell you’re lucky with 5 good days a month.” Then M chimed in trying to restrain herself. Harm quickly backtracked about men and women “You know with the opposing sex” being different. The conversation grew quiet just at the point in the song where they all knew the words; and, one by one, they started singing, lowly, along with the music. [The final scene is truly a JAG classic with them all singing in refreshing, intimate conversation.]

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