Going After Francesca – 65

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

[A major JAG episode where Chegwidden’s ex-wife is introduced]

The JAG, Chegwidden (C), was in Italy on an “inspection tour” and to visit his daughter, Francesca. Harm (H) and Mac (M) are there for the court-martial of WO Ray Dillard accused of stealing five stinger missiles to sell to Afghanistan. Chegwidden stopped to dress down two unruly sailors accosting a woman and was injured while Francesca was kidnapped. Italian Sgt Cade thought it had to do with “ransom” from her wealthy stepfather Vittorio Paretti; but, C “knew” it was related to Dillard or the Afgani’s. Chegwidden interrogated Dillard and, as defense attorney, H advised him not to wave his rights. Chegwidden offered him immunity on any new information if he helped retrieve Francesca. Dillard said he didn’t know about the kidnapping but wouldn’t answer who his contact was. Chegwidden told H and B to personally escort him to the courtroom and M to “nail his ass to the wall” – to add pressure to cooperate.

Chegwidden visited Marcella Paretti, his ex-wife. Her husband, Vittorio, hadn’t told her of the kidnapping and she flew into C about “keeping her safe for 26 years and in one day with you she’s gone.” She hated the “trail of blood” behind C, and said she only knew that he looked good in dress whites and had a good heart when she married him. Vittorio said that he would give all his money for her return and asked what C would give up. Marcella called C back to apologize and said “allow me my guilt, AJ. An occasional confession is good for the soul – it cleanses.” She took him to Francesca’s apartment where C went straight to her desk and found a photo taped to the bottom of a drawer. “looks like she’s got your temper,” he told Marcella, showing her a photograph of a man that had been taped back together. The man was a lover, Luschiano Antinori, who had broken her heart a year ago but had kept away from her parents.

Harm told Dillard that they had him “dead to rights” and advised cooperation for a reduced sentence. He said “lets see what they have,” so M nailed him. On the way out of the courtroom he told H that he had stolen them for “love.” A woman, Leila was Afghani. A motorcyclist came down the street and shot Dillard. With his last gasp he said the middleman was Luschiano Antinori.

Lusciano was shown coming to the house where Francesca was being held. He told her that he was trading her for “a truckload of Algerian oranges.” They made love and she took his gun the next morning. He faced her down and she couldn’t soot him so he took the gun and hit her. Marcella overheard Vittorio on the phone and when questioned was told that it was just a problem with a truckload of “Algerian oranges.” Harm talked to Cade who had a lot of information. Lusciano and the shooter were both “Cammora,” organized crime. Lusciano had disappeared when Francesca was kidnapped. One year previous Francesca’s uncle Franco killed Lusciano’s father. In revenge Luschiano Killed Franco (hence their breakup). Three weeks previous Vittorio hijacked one of Lusciano’s trucks, “Algerian oranges,” probably the Stinger missles. Chegwidden talked to Marcella again who told about the phone call and gave C a tiny gun for protection saying “you’ll need this.” He told her “this is why you left me!” She said “it had now come full circle.” She didn’t know why C didn’t come after her when she left. Stunned, C asked, “did you want that?”

Chegwidden got Admiral Evans, Cdr of 6th fleet, to authorize an EP3 over-flight of the address he saw on the back of the torn photograph and to get the Italians to authorize GIS special forces action. Cade came to help them with location and said that the Cosa Nostra had “been there for 500 years and would be for 500 more.” Chegwidden replied “not all of them.” He and H checked out armament claiming it was for “requals.” Two 9mm Beretta’s with extra magazines of hollow point shells. Harm asked for two M590 A-1 shotguns with speed-feed stocks – “for skeet” he claimed. When C asked for high power shells he said “humor me, sometimes I just like to blow the hell out of something.” The chief said he “knew the feeling” but that was a “lot of firepower for a lawyer.” Chegwidden offered, “obviously you’ve never seen him in the courtroom.”

Chegwidden and H went to stake out the house, while they were waiting for the GIS, and saw Vittorio come with the truck and be killed by Lusciano. Chegwidden decided to “go in” and H could wait for the GIS – yea, right! He said “we’re about to break seven separate statues of Armed forces law, so you better call me AJ.” They were noticed and a gun battle ensued. Lusciano used Francesca as a shield, forcing Chegwidden and H to put down their guns. Cade came up without a weapon and was killed by Lusciano. When C went for a weapon, Lusciano shot him in the leg. Francesca broke free and H had a stand off with Lusciano. He tried to do a face down, like he did to Francesca before, and Francesca shot him with the small pistol.

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