When Jack Ross tries to prove that Code Reds don't exist by showing that they're not in the GITMO Operations Manual. Awesomeness ensues. Specifically, Kaffee asks Barnes where the directions to the lunchroom are in the operations manual. A confused Barnes says it isn't in there, causing Kaffee to question whether he'd ever had a meal - after all, how could he if directions to the location of the food aren't in the book? Ross can't hide his admiration of that one, no matter how much he wants to.
The climactic scene in which Jessup takes the stand: no music, no special effects or camera tricks, no spectacular feats of heroics; just the energy of Aaron Sorkin's screenplay and two powerhouse actors. The scene couldn't have been any more intense if the building had been on fire.
The final salute between Kaffee and Dawson, who throughout the movie treated Kaffee with disrespect because of his belief that Kaffee was a poor officer who just wanted to get rid of Dawson in the quickest way possible.
Kaffee: You don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor.
Dawson: Ten-hut! [salutes] There's an officer on the deck.
The Fridge Brilliance moment when you consider how Col. Jessup's character was painted in the whole film. In every scene he was depicted as enjoying being the centre of attention, almost monologuing theatrically in a very slow tone of speaking: the scene in his office (what with sarcastically calling his man to "get the President on the phone"), at the lunch (he was shown telling a story to the whole bunch, and the "you have to ask me nicely" incident), and in the court. In this light the brilliance of Kaffee's line of questioning became clear, as he was essentially denying Jessup to gain a momentum in their exchange, resulting in the latter unnecessarily insisting in his complete authority, ultimately spelling his doom. Especially apparent in:
Jessup: "I know what I said. I don't have to have it read back to me likeó"
Kaffee: "*ignores* Why the two orders? Colonel?"
Kaffee, after getting Jessup to confess in open court, is nearly attacked by the enraged colonel who calls him "son" and tells him he weakened a nation. Kaffee, not remotely affected by Jessup's death threats, delivers a efficient and brutal comeback.
Kaffee: Don't call me "son". I'm a lawyer, and an officer in the US Navy. And you're under arrest, you son of a bitch.
Lieutenant Weinburg's tirade on why he hates the defendants, and why he thinks they deserve life in jail:
Weinburg: "They beat up on a weakling — that's all they did! The rest is just smoke-filled coffee-house crap! They tortured and tormented a weaker kid! They didn't like him, so they killed him! And why? Because he couldn't run very fast!"
Much earlier in the film, Kaffee, who is all set to assign the defendants new counsel at the plea, instead offers a plea (not guilty), having decided to remain in charge. He then reveals he's worked out why he's got the case - as a lieutenant junior grade with 9 months experience and a track record for plea-bargaining, Division are convinced he'll do his usual and the case will never hit court. Cue him reeling off a list of instructions to Galloway and Weinberg that prove that he has actually prepared himself, leaving the pair of them stunned and speechless.
Kaffee: So this is what the inside of a courtroom looks like!
While the original play isn't as well known as the film, it still has its moments. One of them comes in the climactic final examination of Jessup: he's just given his famous Motive Rant but Kaffee proved that he was responsible for issuing the Code Red (note that in the play Jessup's lies are exposed because Kaffee is able to prove the existence of an earlier transport flight from Gitmo thus proving that Santiago was never going to be transferred). Kaffee then lays into Jessup with a brutal"The Reason You Suck" Speech which is mainly an Ironic Echo of his Motive Rant.
Kaffee: You trashed the law! But hey, we understand, you're permitted. You have a greater responsibility than we can possibly fathom. You provide us with a blanket of freedom. We live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns, and nothing is going to stand in your way of doing it. Not Willie Santiago, not Dawson and Downey, not Markinson, not 1,000 armies, not the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and not the Constitution of the United States! That's the truth isn't it Colonel?I can handle it.
This line, which pretty much traps Jessup during the final trial:
Kaffee: If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger??