Played for Drama in the Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) Season 3 finale. When Gaius Baltar is placed on trial, Lee Adama gets called to the stand to explain exactly why the panel should vote to acquit. He delivers a blistering monologue about how everybody in the Fleet has been willing to forgive the various transgressions commited throughout the series, and how quickly they changed their mind for this one person. Must be read in its entirety:
Lampkin: Why do you believe that the defendant, Gaius Baltar, deserves to be acquitted?
Lee: Well, because the evidence does not support the charges.
Lampkin: Come on...
Lee: Did the defendant make mistakes? Sure he did, serious mistakes, but did he actually commit any crimes? Did he commit treason? No. It was an impossible situation. When the Cylons arrived what could he possibly do? What could anyone have done? I mean, ask yourself, what would you have done? What would you have done? If he had refused to surrender, the Cylons would've probably nuked the planet, right then and there. So did he appear to co-operate with the Cylons? Sure, so did hundreds of others. What's the difference between him and them? The President issued a blanket pardon. They were all forgiven, no questions asked. Colonel Tigh? Colonel Tigh used suicide bombers, killed dozens of people, forgiven. Lieutenant Agathon and chief Tyrol murdered an officer on the Pegasus, forgiven. The admiral? The admiral instituted a military coup d'etat against the President, forgiven. And me? Well, where do I begin? I shot down a civilian passenger ship, the Olympic Carrier, over a thousand people on board, forgiven. I raised my weapon to a superior officer, committed an act of mutiny, forgiven. And then on the very day when Baltar surrendered to those Cylons, I, as commander of Pegasus, jumped away! I left everybody on that planet, alone, undefended for months. I even tried to persuade the admiral never to return, to abandon you all there for good. If I'd had my way nobody would have made it off that planet. I'm the coward, I'm the traitor, I'm forgiven. I'd say we're very forgiving of mistakes. We make our own laws now, our own justice, and we've been pretty creative with ways to let people off the hook. For everything from theft to murder. And we've had to be, because we're not a civilization anymore, we are a gang, and we're on the run, and we have to fight to survive. We have to break rules, we have to bend laws, we have to improvise! But not this time, no, not this time, not for Gaius Baltar. No, you, you have to die! You have to die, because, well, because we don't like you very much. Because you're arrogant, because you're weak, because you're a coward, and we, the mob, want to throw you out the airlock because you didn't stand up to the Cylons and get yourself killed in the process! That's justice now! You should've been killed back on New Caprica, but since you had the temerity to live, we're going to execute you now. That's justice!
(crowd murmurs angrily)
Judge: Order, order!
Lee: This case, this case is built on emotion, on anger, bitterness, vengeance, but most of all it's built on shame. It's about the shame of what we did to ourselves back on that planet. It's about the guilt of those of us who ran away, who ran away. And we are trying to dump all of that guilt and all that shame onto one man, and then flush him out the airlock, and just hope that that gets rid of it all. So that we can live with ourselves. But that won't work. That won't work. That's not justice, not to me. Not to me.
Lampkin: No further questions.