Hail and Farewell (Part I) – 205

[Season finale (a real downer!)]

An attempt to rescue three men in a Zodiac life raft, during a severe storm, failed. Three of the men attempting the rescue, drowned as well. Chegwidden (C) sent Turner (T) to the Thomas Lyons to investigate, where he was stonewalled by the captain claiming to have a “classified” mission. Turner found little information, but when he went to fax his report back to C, the communications officer said he would have to “check” the names in T’s report against those on the “list” which were not to be released. Looking over his shoulder, T saw that Webb (W) was one of the classified three, who had been drowned. Webb had told Mac (M) that he was going to Germany, and promised that he would make his absence bearable for her by communicating with her every day. She began receiving German gifts, including a German singing group, and had flashbacks of their last few times together and his promises. Turner returned and bumbled around M which made her suspicious. She went to Ws office and found Laurie June, his assistant, closing out his office. She discovered that Laurie had been sending M the presents, as if they had been sent by W himself, and tricked her into admitting that W was in the Tripler morgue.
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Trojan Horse – 204

[“Navy SEAL’s come under the microscope when a large amount of heroin is intercepted and confiscated, only to have a kilo of it turn up missing. And JAG officer Bud comes to the aid of a Marine singer who is being harassed by the record company that he is under contract to, when they object to him serving in the war.”]
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Coming Home – 202

[“JAG officer Harm helps protects a mother of a marine killed in action while serving in Iraq from overzealous reporters. In so doing, he works to prepare her for the upcoming burial of her son. Mac & Bud are called upon to see why armored vests given to soldiers in the field to protect them, instead are failing to do what they were designed to do.”]
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Fighting Words – 203

[The point that the screenwriter, Mr. Witten, was trying to make – and make and make and make – was that the, all to visible, Iraqi terrorists were NOT following the Muslim religious precepts that they profess. Unfortunately, so many points were superficial, and obvious counterpoints so often completely ignored, that the plot seemed contrived and forced, not the standard JAG series quality. The self-serving, sensationalistic reporter was, however, all too familiar – if not an overused character type.]

The SECNAV introduced Major General Earl Watson and his Iraqi counterpart General Mohammed Jabra at a press conference where ZNN reporter Jill Waddington grandstanded and accused Watson of having an offensive attitude toward the Muslims. She claimed that she had “just happened upon” (A lie) Watson’s guest sermon at a Baptist church, where he called it a “second rate religion” and that “we were doing battle with the devil.” The SECNAV ordered a JAG investigation and (surprise suprise) Harm (H) and Mac (M) disagreed on about everything. Watson told M that the religion “has a warrior streak which is too easily appropriated as justification for holy war.”
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Hard Time – 201

[This is such an incredibly absurd episode, and the expectation that the JAG audience is gullible enough to believe it is so condescending, that it reduces it to the level of an adolescent ‘soapbox opera’ or ‘sitcom.’ It is hard for me to believe that it even deserves retelling! I wouldn’t, except that the premise, that two ‘poppy seed’ bagels can ever be ‘mistakenly’ the source of a false positive drug screen, cannot be left unchallenged. Ms. Cohen not only wrote an exceedingly poor episode; but, compounded it by perpetuating a drug user myth, and completely fabricating her own medical reality. The premises are childish, the dialog fabricated and the actions are out-of-character.]

Mac (M) prosecuted PFC Michelle Boyer for ‘Heroin use’ and won a conviction yielding a one-year confinement. The ‘brig-chaser’ let Boyer get in M’s face and ask if she’d ever “regretted sending someone away?” Then, when M answered ‘no,’ Boyer cold-cocked M to the ground. Turner asked for another three years, and the judge gave her four! Then, when M found that the same incompetent ‘brig-chaser’ was being assigned to move Boyer across country, she asked the convening authority, Col Okerman, to assign someone else. You guessed it, Okerman was the overused, arrogant, condescending, resenting women in the military, type and refused Ms request. Then, when Chegwidden (C) tried to intervene, Okerman demanded that M be assigned to do it, [!] and unbelievably C agreed [!!]
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What If – 200

[The writers/producers were getting a bit nostalgic with this, the 200th, episode. Through Harm’s ‘daydreams’, they conjectured about what the series might have been like if they had directed the characters differently at various ‘choice points.’ It is another ‘role playing’ episode; but, where the major cast play themselves in an alternate universe. Still, however, it’s pretty much another ‘soapbox opera’ and NOT the typical JAG we are looking for. As you read this, just don’t lose the fact that this is “the road less traveled” and a daydream sequence… or you WILL be lost.]

On the occasion of PO Coates’ (Co) promotion to first class, the ‘regulars’ were at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Chegwidden (C) overruled the argument about who should open their fortune cookie first by saying “we’ll go by height, you first Rabb.” Harm’s (H) was: “Your unspoken desire is the road not taken, take it”; but, he avoided the obligatory “reading aloud.” Instead he lapsed into a reverie in which he was at JAG receiving his wife, Mac (M), who was dressed in silk “civvies,” acting childishly flippant, and wanting their divorce papers signed. They had decided to marry, after the night in Sydney harbor, but now she said she was tired of him not paying attention to her and announced she was quitting the service and marrying John Farrow, a river guide in Colorado.
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Take It Like a Man – 199

[A couple of moderately interesting plots; but, not the JAG that got us all hooked on the series. Ms. Meyers should have had a psychologist review her script, or at least talk to one before submitting it. Dialogue is unrealistic and contrived.]

Marine Corporal Hal Strange was bilking schools and organizations out of speaking fees, claiming that he had received a silver star when he hadn’t. The SECNAV decided to throw the book at him and JAG officers Mac (M) and Harm (H) were assigned to defend and prosecute respectively… although not always with respect. Mac acted glib, rushed and childish to Admiral Chegwidden (C) as well as others and continually picked fights with people. Even though defending him, M advised Strange to change his plea to guilty; however he said that “he deserved the medal” and refused. He condescendingly told M that he “doubted she had any idea of what combat was like and had ever killed anyone.” Her look told him otherwise and then there was stupid dialog about how “didn’t she think she deserved one?”
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Persian Gulf – 198

[One JAG back story comes to an end (sort of) in this episode; but, there’s still plenty left to worry about. At least Mac isn’t left with an albatross around his neck like Harm was with Palmer. One premise, albeit necessary for the plot, was completely unbelievable to anyone but a naïve writer. Overall, however, this was a well written episode.]

The Maravelis case (a naval research tech who stole the synthetic diamonds that he was making) was still on the JAG case docket because Harm (H) and Mac (M) were still trying to close his bank accounts and get into his safe deposit box. While getting into his car, H first discovered that it wouldn’t start then had his battery blew up in his face (making him deaf?) Bud (B) took over the case and found, with Mac, that there was only $100,000.00 in the accounts and that the diamonds were missing! Maravelis admitted that he had been selling the diamonds to CIA agent Van Duyne; who, he said, had told him that if he didn’t cop to the lesser plea he would be tried for treason. CIA director Kershaw stonewalled M (surprise) but eventually told her that Van Duyne had been found tortured to death and that M’s warning about him “hadn’t trickled up to him.”
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Crash – 197

[Although completely at odds (surprise, surprise) Mac and Harm investigate the same case in this episode. In a momentary lapse, Chegwidden reveals a rudimentary sense of humor; and, Bud seems to be “growing up”… a bit.]

Lt. James Ross crashed his F18 Hornet onto the ramp of the USS Bennington and was killed. Both Harm (H) and Mac (M) were assigned to do the JAG investigation, and Captain Goldman complimented H on his previous “Seahawk investigation.” They discovered that Ross had been landing on “automatic” but needed to switch to manual because he was too low. Then, they found that most of the plane had been burned, along with the maintenance data tapes. They were told that Ross had been following the glide path programmed into the computer; but, its data was also lost, so they couldn’t check it. PO 1st class Dakey denied any computer error and said that most often problems are due to a misaligned angle of attack vane. The senior chief got defensive and said the vane was NOT out of order, because they had specifically double checked it. Harm asked why he was so defensive and he said he didn’t like to speak ill of the dead. Ross had come back from two weeks leave, very depressed, and said that, because his wife was having an affair, he didn’t care what happened to him anymore. The Sr. Chief said he didn’t believe the crash was an accident.
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People vs. SecNav – 196

[This would be classified as a pretty far-fetched JAG episode if it just wasn’t that the depiction of the Frenchman was too close to be funny. He is just the type who would make secret arms deals with the Iraqi tyrant; then, try to mask his vested interest behind a feigned moral principle, at the US’s expense.]

A Platoon of the 1st marine division was pinned down by cross fire coming from a Tikifa hospital. They called for air support but there were secondary explosions and several civilian buildings were destroyed. The Athens bar association filed a complaint with the international criminal court charging the US president, Secretary of Defense, SECNAV and others with war crimes – calling it the “Iraqi incursion.” Even though the JAG, Chegwidden (C), said it was meaningless because the US didn’t recognize the court, the SECNAV said the Clinton administration was shifting policy and he had chosen, himself, to go to the Hague and answer the charges in order to “improve the US image” with the rest of the world. Thirty two civilians were killed (18 patients in the hospital) so Mac (M) said “if we lose we will be branded an outlaw nation by the entire civilized world.” Afterwards, Harm (H) teased her for being “too dramatic.” Mac, H and Bud (B) were summoned to the white house where Marcia Wheatstone, an advisor, said she disagreed with the decision; but, had set up meetings for them with Justice, Defense and State.
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Good Intentions – 195

[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.
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Girl’s Best Friend – 194

[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.”
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A Merry Little Christmas – 193

[Again, so many fragments it’s difficult to summarize, and all of them a bunch of “soapbox” rather than action; however, an interesting JAG episode, none-the-less, as long as it doesn’t become their regular method. Harm and Mac, Turner and his dad, Harriet and Bud, Harm and Mattie, Chegwidden and Meredith, Coates and… well everyone. It is their Christmas show, after all.]

Harm (H) and Mattie (Mt) were rebuilding a carburetor at Grace Aviation, and discussing what she needed to do at their upcoming custody hearing, when Harry Clark burst in the door and became abusive to Mattie. Harm bristled and grabbed him, only to be told that he now owned the hanger and she had better be out in two days. Mattie had a birthday without telling H, and was now 15, and said she “did things my way.” She had applied for extension on her bank loan but they refused when they found out that she was running the business, then they had sold it at auction. The house is still hers, with a bank note. The guardian ad litem, Donna LeMoyne, came on as a shrew and caught H without a lot of specifics to his plans. She said he’d better be ready by the home inspection and needed someone to vouch for his suitability as a parent.
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