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YMMV: JAG
  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: Foreign characters (as in Non-US citizens) were always portrayed as either dirty, funny, naÔve, or just plain stupid.
    • The sole exception to this generalization seems to be the Sudanese "peopleís poet" Professor Dobotu in the fourth season episode "Embassy" who is a Gandhi-like Gentleman Snarker.
  • Acceptable Hard Luck Targets:
    • Subverted with amputees; as Bud Roberts gets a leg amputated as result of stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan, yet he's ultimately able to fully recover (with the aid of a prosthetic leg) and to live a happy familiy life.
  • Acceptable Lifestyle Targets:
    • Drug users
    • Averted with homeless military veterans who are portrayed as sympathetic people who need help to re-enter society.
  • Acceptable Professional Targets: The show, being about lawyers, does employ a few obligatory lawyer jokes. Within the military setting itself, the show also demonstrates that this trops is true within the American armed forces, with servicemembers of various occupations or branches making jokes at each others' expense (Marine infantry vs lawyers, Naval aviators vs. everybody else, commissioned officers vs non-commissioned officers and enlisted, Navy vs Marines, etc.)
  • Acceptable Religious Targets: Fanatic and outright anti-American Muslims with hostile intentions were always legitimate villians on this show. However, Muslims who does not express an open anti-American sentiment are portrayed quite favorably.
  • Actor Shipping: There was/is a lot of shipping among fans, often in the form of fanfiction, to different degrees with the two leads: Harm and Mac (or in some cases even the actors).
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Loren Singer.
  • Armed Farces: This trope only happens stateside and never on the frontlines.
  • Armies Are Evil: Inverted Trope. The U.S. Armed Forces (naval services in particular) is portrayed, save for a few bad apples, as the very finest America has ever offered to the world. The civilian world is commonly portrayed as something lesser than the military with its inherent codes and values. In fact, the military is implied to be the only place in America where the content of a person's character can be fairly judged without any prejudice. An obvious Author Tract as the creator and executive producer did, once upon a time, serve in the Marine Corps and would later make a career in Hollywood.
    • Even with the blatant pro-military stance from the get-go, JAG wasn't Backed by the Pentagon for the first two seasons because the Navy, following the Tailhook incident and the controversy of introducing females on combat ships and fighter planes, were in a hyper-sensitive mode and didn't want to be associated with any TV-show dramatizing crimes committed in the service.
    • Played straight with the Royal Ulster Constabulary in an episode taking place in Northern Ireland, mostly so that the IRA could be portrayed as heroic freedom fighters.
      • This is all made rather darkly Hilarious in Hindsight due to the show's post 9/11 policy of terrorists being furiously condemned and castigated as the absolute worst of all humanity and those aiding and abetting terrorists (as Harm and Mac happily did in this episode) being held in special contempt, which raises the delightful implication that terrorism is only bad if it is the US being targeted.
      • For some strange reason this line of reasoning was not used post-9/11 with regards to US forces and various Islamic terrorist groups with similar claims of being "freedom fighters". Also historical conflicts like The Vietnam War, when referenced, is always depicted with the same American narrative bias.
  • Artistic License - Military: When the pilot first aired, a group of real Navy JAG officers got together to watch it. Before it began, everyone agreed to take a shot each time they saw a mistake. The contest had to end before the first commercial break because they knew they'd be passed out unconscious before the end if it continued.
  • Awesome Music
  • Bellisario's Maxim. Since He is the creator of this series, it's reasonable to assume that it does apply.
  • Better on DVD: JAG gets even better when watching in a marathon because of story arcs, subtle character development and frequent continuity nods.
  • Broken Base:
    • Some fans argue passionately about who was the best female lead: Andrea Parker, Tracey Needham or Catherine Bell. Since Bell starred in 9 out of 10 seasons some people see this debate as moot. Parker was hired for the Pilot episode but NBC did not want her for the series so Donald P. Bellisario was forced to hire Needham. When the show moved to CBS for the second season, Bellisario didn't want to keep Needham, but Parker had already been cast in a lead role in The Pretender and was thus unavailible. Bellisario took a gambit and hired an unknown actress (Bell) who'd had a small role in the last season 1 episode, and the rest is history...
    • Opinions obviously varied when the comic relief characters Bud and Harriet suffered the tragedy of Harriet giving birth to a stillborn child. Some viewed it as an unnecessarily cruel hand dealt to two undeserving characters while others saw it as a well executed dramatic twist that kicked off dialog on an issue many people are reluctant to talk about in real life.
    • The sudden retirement of Admiral Chegwidden following season 9.
  • Central Theme: The military in general, Navy & Marine Corps in particular, represents all thatís good about America, and although there are a few rotten apples in the barrel, they are invariably dealt with, and the military as an institution is never at fault.
    • A subversion of Armies Are Evil as far as it gets without being outright propaganda.
  • Complete Monster: Charles "Charlie" Lynch from season 4's "Nobody's Child" and "Goodbyes" is a remorseless psychopath who kills at the drop of a hat for any reason. He begins by stomping a young girl to death solely because he feels she may have disrespected him. After the murder, Lynch opts to target her sister for fun. While initially stopped, he later returns to kidnap said sister and hold her hostage to torment her mentally before he plans on murdering her as well. When questioned about his motives, he states he kills for fun and asks if anyone has a problem with it.
  • Creator Worship: Bud in is fan of Quantum Leap, and when seeing Donald P. Bellisario's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame he exclaims:
    Hey, it's the Quantum Leap guy!
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: At least in the first season, they appear to use the theme music much to the effect of the Indiana Jones theme.
  • Gateway Series: JAG is a combination of a Military and Warfare Television and Law Procedural, so it could be argued that it may serve as a gateway to either genre
  • Genius Bonus: Sometimes on JAG, the meaning of military acronyms are never explained to the viewers, and upon rarer occasion are references made to case law without explaining in detail what that case means to the viewers.
  • The Good Guys Always Win
  • Mary Sue: Sarah MacKenzie skirts dangerously close to this. Harm dances back and forth over the line as a Marty Stu too.
    • If you rewatch the series you'll find plenty of character flaws in Mac. Harm, on the other hand, is more or less an Escapist Character. Earlier on in the show, his somewhat rusty piloting skills are an off-and-on source of humor, such as in "Pilot Error", before he became an Ace Pilot in every flying object he came near.
  • Product Placement: It could be argued that JAG and NCIS are dramatized recruitment and retention commercials for the Department of the Navy.
  • The Scrappy: Lt. Loren Singer is disliked by a good portion of the fandom.
    • No doubt intentional, as most of the cast didn't like her much either - she was a lying, manipulative, power-hungry bitch and something of a Smug Snake. And then she died and Harm got accused of her murder in the NCIS pilot episodes. He's lucky Gibbs was investigating...
  • Target Audience: The show's biggest fans fall into one of two categories: the late middle-aged and bored college students, who came to love the show via the USA Network's early-to-mid morning repeats.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: On JAG this tropes comes in two different flavors. If concerning the Navy and Marine Corps, the vast bureaucracy, which it is, will often be portrayed in a positive and/or neutral sense. If concerning any other service or another non-military agency the negatives will be accentuated.
  • The Woobie: Both Bud and Harriet may qualify for this - Bud especially after the seventh season finale.

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