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Characters / JAG

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This page is a listing of characters in JAG.

Technically, several of the main characters of Spin-Off series NCIS first appeared as guest roles on JAG in the two-part Backdoor Pilot, "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown", in season 8. However, those characters are properly listed at the NCIS character page.

Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead!

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Main cast

    Harmon "Harm" Rabb, Jr. 

The main character for the entire run of the series. An ex-fighter pilot turned lawyer for the Navy's Judge Advocate General's office who uses the same daring and tenacity in the courtoom that made him a "Top Gun" in the air.

  • Ace Pilot: When you've flown everything from a Stearman to a high-velocity spy plane, landed a C-130 on the deck of an aircraft carrier, and pushed a crippled F-14 by the tailhook with your own plane's canopy, you better be one of these.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: But only when he's in dress uniform. When he has to represent a sailor in civilian divorce court not only is he out of his depth as a lawyer, he has to buy an off-the-rack suit and it shows.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Harm to his half-brother Sergei.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He has a flair for dramatics and a tendency to stretch legal decorum to the limits, but there's probably no better advocate for you if you're facing court-martial.
    Mac: Have you ever known the commander to do anything...
    Bud: ...Improper? No. Unconventional. Yes!
    • In "Ice Queen", Leroy Gibbs says that Rabb is the best prosecutor and defense counsel there is at JAG.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Harm was originally a Naval Aviator, following in his father's footsteps, until he crashed his plane in a night landing on an aircraft carrier due to an undiagnosed vision problem. In order to stay in the Navy, he went to law school and became a judge advocate (military lawyer).
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the Pilot Movie, the fact that Harm is a former aviator who used to fly F-14 Tomcats is what enables him to save the CAG at the end.
  • Cigar Chomper: He is a fan of Cuban cigars and took advantage of a trip to Cuba in the first season to bring a sizeable supply back to the States.
  • Commander Badass
  • Cool Plane: Owns a restored Stearman biplane like his grandfather trained on in WWII. Named it "Sarah", after his grandmother (not his partner).
  • Courtroom Antics: Harm fired a loaded submachine gun into the courtroom ceiling during a trial to challenge the assertion that it malfunctioned during combat. No one lets him forget about that either, particularly the judge presiding over the case.
    Bud [on Harm]: He's like Michael Jordan in the courtroom.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When applying to be the guardian of Mattie in 9th season episode "A Merry Little Christmas" a social services worker comes and inspects Harm’s apartment.
    Watley: [reads book title]'The Adolescent Girl: A Study in Pathology', [reads another book title] 'Between 16 and Sex: Raising a Teenage Girl'. You seem to be prepared for the worst.
    Rabb: I'm a fighter pilot, Mr. Watley, we prepare for the worst, that way we cut down our surprises.
  • Dad the Veteran: Harm's deceased father.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Mac [on the sex of a cow]: How do you know it's a her?
    Harm: She's obstinent, immune to reason and totally in the way.
  • Disappeared Dad: Harm's father was shot down over Vietnam on Christmas when he was a kid, and Harm's attempts to find him were a recurring subplot for the first three seasons.
  • Do-Anything Soldier: Is there a Navy job that Harm can't perform?
    • Justified late in the series when Harm switches from flying F-14 Tomcats to F/A-18 Hornets as the F-14 was being phased out of active service with the Navy.
    • He's not a very good military judge - Admiral Chegwidden tells him his habit of making snap assessments of people and his emotional style of advocacy means he's not as objective as he needs to be to move from first chair to the bench.
  • The Dreaded: According to Major Klein in "Boot", Harm has a reputation as a "Heavy Hitter". It seems that it is considered rare for Harm to be assigned to anything routine.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Harmon Rabb, known as Harm to his friends.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The resolution of the Pilot Movie is where Harmon Rabb, Jr. is firmly established as the self-confident heroic figure that would remain throughout the rest of the series. When Harm saves the CAG’s life in an F-14 Tomcat he gets redemption from the dishonor of having been forced to turn in his wings, despite the diagnosed night blindness, and proving that he’s still a capable aviator, just as his father once was. From the CAG's perspective, it's the son of the man he couldn't save who now saved him.
    • Also, contrast him with Lieutenant Pike when they both arrive aboard the Seahawk. He effortlessly exits the helicopter, holding his cap in his hand. Pike is helped down by a deckhand, and her hat is promptly blown off of her head by jetwash, thus hinting at Harm's familiarity with carrier flight deck operations.
  • Friend to All Children: Harm comes across as this. He befriends the 10 year old son of his girlfriend in season 3, and saves him from both murderous thugs and terrorists. In season 4, he goes after the murderer of a small girl on a Navy base and saves her twin sister from the same fate. And initially in that case he employed Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a convicted child molester, who were innocent but provided useful info. And he finally becomes the guardian of an adolescent girl in season 9 with an alcoholic father.
  • Generation Xerox: Harm’s dad just so happened to look in his prime exactly like his son latter does in his prime (save for the mustache and the deeper voice)…
  • Genius Bruiser: Harmon Rabb is a lawyer that looks like a boxer and is, of course nicknamed 'Harm'. He's more liable to use the law to fight his battles than anything else, but failing that he's a trained Naval Aviator and qualified to fly fighter jets.
  • Good-Looking Privates: He was attending a party at the French Embassy (with most of the JAG Corps officers) when he was sent to the Adriatic on short notice. He arrives aboard the USS Seahawk in his dress whites and it is several scenes before he can get another uniform to change into.
  • Gut Feeling: Harm has an uncanny ability to judge whether a defendant is innocent or not before any evidence admissible in court is provided.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Such an outfit is worn by Harm in the beginning of "Ares", when he boards a plane from Okinawa heading back to the States, only to be recalled for more adventures to follow…
  • Hello, Attorney!:
  • The Hero, The Ace, and every other derivative of that.
  • Hunk
  • I Will Find You: Harm's quest to find his father.
  • Indy Ploy: This seems to be the modus operandi of Harmon Rabb, regardless whether it is in a fistfight, in the cockpit, or in a courtroom.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes:
  • It's What I Do: When applying to be the guardian of Mattie in 9th season episode “A Merry Little Christmas” a social service worker comes and inspects Harm’s apartment.
    Watley: Do you have a firearm in the house?
    Rabb: Yes, sir. But it’s under lock and key.
    Watley: Do you ever have cause to employ it?
    Rabb: Once or twice in the line of duty.
    Watley: Aren’t you a lawyer, Commander Rabb?
    Rabb: I’m also a war veteran, a Naval officer and a qualified F-14 pilot.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Harm spends a substantial portion of the show searching for his father, who went MIA during the Vietnam War. His father escaped custody, and was later shot and killed, but not before meeting a Gypsy woman and fathering another son, Sergei.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • In "Ares", Harm is told not to go to the bridge onboard the destroyer because the captain doesn’t want any JAG lawyers there during an exercise. However he goes there pretending that the message was ambiguous.
    • In the episode "True Callings" when Harm realizes he is better as a lawyer, he saved a sailor from the brig by pointing out the prosecuting attorney filed the wrong charges, such as "False Imprisonment," which is applicable only to police officers and the like instead of "Kidnapping," and pointed out how the other charge actually invalidates the prosecution's main witness against the sailor by another technicality.
  • The McCoy: He relies on emotion and gut feelings almost as much as facts and evidence.
    Mac [to Harm]: Look, you run on emotion. It's what makes you a good lawyer!
  • Military Brat: 3rd generation naval aviator.
  • Miranda Rights: Harm has his rights read to him twice, first by FBI Agents in "People v. Rabb", and Article 31 rights by Leroy Gibbs in "Ice Queen".
  • Nom de Guerre: When he returns to flying duty, he is called "Pappy", due to being older than most of the other pilots. Eventually, his squadron mates decide to change his callsign to "Hammer", after his father.
  • Rank Up: He starts the series as a full Lieutenant, gets promoted to Lt. Commander halfway through season 1. After he's cleared of a charge of "contemptuous words" in Season 5 he gets bumped up to full Commander, and at the end of the series he's "frocked" as a Captain with the promotion being permanent if he takes a billet heading up JAG's European division. When he returns in NCIS: Los Angeles he's a Captain and Executive Officer (XO) of an aircraft carrier.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: He once emptied the magazine of a sub-machine gun into the ceiling of a packed courtroom to disprove testimony that a Navy SEALs weapon jammed during an operation. He subsequently had to pay to repair the bullet holes and would have been on the hook for an enormous repair bill several years later (water seeped into the building and caused structural damage) had Bud not found a way to bury it in the annual maintenance budget.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Harm used to smoke cigars until ”The Return of Jimmy Blackhorse” in the third season.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome:
  • Team Dad: When Harm goes back to flying Tomcats for a while, he is considered this by the younger aviators.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Harm had his vision impairment fixed and went back to flying Tomcats for a short while, before his new commanding officer convinced him that he was too old to be competitive as an aviator against all the younger pilots, despite his skill, and that he would do the most good as a judge advocate.
    • Is revealed to have undergone this again in NCIS: Los Angeles, when Harm being recalled to combat leads to him breaking off his engagement with Mac.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Anything vegetarian.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: In the pilot episode, we get to see the accident where Harm five years earlier crashed an F-14 on an aircraft carrier, which killed his RIO, grounded him as an aviator and put him on a different career track as a lawyer.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Half the stunts he's pulled should have had him cashiered out of the Navy, or at least left him with very poor chances of promotion.
    • In "Mishap", he even says: I never let fear for career influence my actions. Which is convenient, when you got the Powers That Be on your side...
    • In the same episode Admiral Chegwidden mentions that he's received lots of complaints about Harm and his methods over the years.
    • The one time he resigned and it stuck, he got back into JAG only when a minor background character suddenly revealed she'd falsified her credentials and never passed the bar exam, which exacerbated the shortage of personnel, which meant that Admiral Chegwidden had to ask the Secretary of the Navy to reinstate Harm's commission...
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Mac and Harm, for 9 seasons. They Do, but break it off when Harm gets called back into combat and Mac finds an opportunity at the State Department, according to the tenth season finale of NCIS: Los Angeles.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: C'mon...

    Caitlin "Kate" Pike 
Played By: Andrea Parker
The female lead in the pilot episode. Appeared a few times in season 1 and in one season 6 episode.

  • Brainy Brunette: Possesses some impressive computer skills, in contrast to Harm's better people skills. She is able to pull a favor from another officer on the ship because she tutored him in math at Havard.
  • Demoted to Extra: Not even mentioned after Season 1 until her reappearance in Season 6.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Crossing with Straw Feminist: She would prefer to be treated as a trained lawyer and an officer of the United States Navy, not as a woman to be ogled, pursued, or protected by others.
  • Executive Meddling: NBC did not want her (for reasons unknown) as the female lead in the series proper.
  • Good-Looking Privates: She arrives on the Seahawk in her dress whites, for the same reason as Harm. Unfortunately, she doesn't welcome all the attention this trope brings her.
  • Ivy League For Every One: Graduate of Harvard Law School.
  • Put on a Bus: She is reassigned between the pilot movie and the first regular episode.
  • Statuesque Stunner
  • Straw Feminist: Caitlin Pike has signs of this in the pilot episode, somewhat justified because she's inexperienced with serving onboard ships and the downright macho attitude displayed by male crew members.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: As she helpfully reminds Lieutenant Carter when he calls her a bitch while she places him under arrest: It's Lieutenant Pike, not "this bitch".note 
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Harm. When they're driving to the SeaTac Naval Base, Harm is evidently in quite the rush to see her again, which Austin notes.

    Megan "Meg" Austin 
Played By: Tracey Needham
The female lead in season 1. Transferred out between seasons 1 and 2.

  • Boot Camp Episode: "Boot" has Meg investigating Paris Island's female DI's in the most straightforward way.
  • Claustrophobia: In the second episode ("Shadow"), Meg complains about this when aboard a submarine. She is able to use this to her advantage when the villain shows a minor streak of The Dulcinea Effect, getting him to let his guard down when he tries to comfort her during her freak-out.
  • Cunning Linguist: Nowhere near the degree of Mac, Austin is fluent in Spanish, as befitting a well-educated Texan.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted. She's a lawyer, a computer expert, and fluent in Spanish.
  • Punishment Detail: In "Boot", while undercover as a Marine private, she is assigned sanitary duty.
  • Put on a Bus: Lt. JG Meg Austin was present for most of the first season, but disappeared with little explanation at the start of the second.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Apparently her father was friends with Lt. Colonel Oliver North (of the Iran-Contra scandal). Meg calls in a favor from "Uncle Ollie" once or twice when they need info they can't get through official channels.
  • The Squadette: In contrast to Lt. Pike, Lt. Austin seems to enjoy the macho military attitude a bit more, having been raised as a Farmer's Daughter.
  • Statuesque Stunner
  • Stereotype Flip: A beautiful blonde who also happens to be a lawyer, professional computer hacker, and fluent in Spanish. More than once other characters (usually villains) will make dismissive comments about her, assuming her to be a Dumb Blonde or a harmless Damsel in Distress.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Despite being a perky blonde rather than a serious brunette, she is very tech-savvy and snarky, similar to Lieutenant Pike.
  • Techno Wizard / Mr. Fixit
  • Texan Drawl

    Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie 
Played By: Catherine Bell

Appeared as the female lead in seasons 2-10. A Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) in the United States Marine Corps, Mac works with Harm in investigating crimes but also often serves as opposing counsel to him in the courtroom.

  • Abusive Parents: Mac's father was a bit abusive, though she managed to forgive him on his deathbed.
  • Action Girl: She makes it abundantly clear she is a Marine who just happens to be a woman, rather than a woman Marine. That said, she doesn’t get into scrapes that often.
    Mac [to Harm]: I'm just as macho as you.
  • The Alcoholic: Mac, formerly. Gets Off the Wagon after her ex-boyfriend dies in her arms. She's also being stalked by a Dirty Cop.
  • All Women Love Shoes: This trope is lampshaded in one conversation between Harm and Mac in the third season episode "Vanished":
    Mac: In one way or another, we're all searching for something.
    Harm: Oh, yeah? What are you searching for?
    Mac': What every woman wants: a great career, a good man and comfortable shoes, lots and lots of them.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Other than after a traffic accident in "The Four Percent Solution", Mac never sustains any visible injuries throughout the show. In a "A Tangled Webb" she was about to be subjected to Electric Torture, but Harm saved her in the nick of time.
  • Brainy Brunette: C'mon, a polyglot lawyer...
  • Cartwright Curse: Rare female example.
    Mac: I expected there to be death when I joined the Marines, but not when I joined JAG. It's like everybody around me keeps dying.
  • Colonel Badass: After she gets promoted between Seasons 4 and 5.
  • Cunning Linguist: Mac, as she speaks Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Farsi and German.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Harm is presumed to have drowned in "Cabin Pressure":
    AJ: Colonel, the commander is too damn pig-headed to leave this world. He will find a way out.
    Mac: Even if they offer him wings, sir?
  • Dirty Harriet: Mac goes undercover in season 5 as a Chief Petty Officer trying infiltrate a Wicca group, including getting herself sky-clad.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Woe to the enlisted man who forgets that the beautiful woman in front of him is also a Marine and a senior officer.
    Mac: (after some enlisted men on a sub play a joke to see her in her underwear) SNAP TO!
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Mac had an abusive husband who refused to sign the divorce papers. And then he wound up dead and Mac was tried for murder.
  • Genius Bruiser: Mac also qualifies, though not surprisingly given that she's a Marine.
  • Hello, Attorney!:
  • Lady of War: She is a Marine officer, although she is never shown actually leading troops in combat.
    Mac: I do have a tattoo, I'm a pretty good arm-wrestler and, although I don't like the term, I'm technically a Jarhead.
  • Ludicrous Precision: In the first episode she appears in ("We The People"), we learn that despite not wearing a watch Mac can tell you what time it is, or how much time has elapsed, no matter what the situation is. She says that she's usually accurate to within 30 seconds, and when people ask her how she does it she just says "It's a Marine thing."
  • The McCoy: Though according to her in 2019, it wasn't enough to save her engagement with Harm.
  • Military Brat: Her father was an enlisted Marine.
  • Missing Mom: Mac's mother left when she was a kid. They eventually reunited, but it didn't go well.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Mac has, other than presumed ancestry from the British Isles given her name, Cherokee and Iranian ancestry. The Native American ancestry is only mentioned in "The Return of Jimmy Blackhorse", while the Iranian part is mentioned in several episodes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Catherine Bell is a notably attractive woman, and the show took many opportunities to show off Mac both in uniform and in other attire, skivvies and swimwear included.
    • In "Yesterday’s Heroes", as part of the plan of busting a drug kingpin is having Mac approach his mooks in a two piece swimsuit to get Distracted by the Sexy. It works.
    • The entire beach segments in the two-parter "Boomerang" is really pointless, other than providing Fanservice...
    • In "JAG TV", Mac lands a publicly televised case which all of a sudden receives national attention. On an in-verse segment of The Late Late Show the then-host Craig Kilborn has this to say about Mac:
    Now, officially, she's a colonel in the Marines. But to me, she's a major babe.
    (Kilborn holds up picture of Mac in the bikini she wore in "Boomerang".)
    I think we now know why the Marines are first on the beach.
    • Another example of obvious Fanservice is in "Critical Condition", where we get to see Mac in lingerie while getting changed into her Service C uniform.
    • In "Straits of Malacca", Mac wears a special forces-style wetsuit when boarding a cargo ship.
  • Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Done with Mac.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Catherine Bell's pregnancy in late season 8, as her character temporarily served as judge to hide the fact. And later that season she follwed Clayton Webb on a secret mission to Paraguay posing as his pregnant wife...
  • Semper Fi: Is mostly portrayed, as part of the Marine persona, as The Stoic.
    Mac: I'm a Marine, a devildog, we don't back down from anything!
    • However, at times such as in "Second Sights" when finding her estranged father on his deathbed at a hospice in a state of coma, and at the same time meeting her even more estranged self-centered white trash mom, she turns out to be Not So Stoic. But it turns out to be a Double Subversion: after her father has passed away she tells her mother without any emotion that she never wants to see her again because it was she, not her father, who once abandoned her.
  • Statuesque Stunner
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Mac resigns her commission to work for her then-boyfriend's civilian law firm in "Impact", only to realize in the next episode "People v. Rabb", after having successfully defended Harm pro bono in court and got him acquitted on murder charges that she was far happier back at JAG. Turns out Admiral Chegwidden never actually processed her discharge papers, and she was allowed back on, albeit she spent the next few episodes back at JAG doing scut work as penance for leaving.
    • Subverted in the tenth season finale of NCIS: Los Angeles; Mac does stop carrying out major legal duties in the Marine Corps, but this time, works as their liaison with the State Department. This is part of why she and Harm break off their engagement.
  • Third Act Stupidity
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Mac and Harm, for 9 seasons. They Do, but break it off when Harm gets called back into combat and Mac finds an opportunity at the State Department, according to the tenth season finale of NCIS: Los Angeles.
  • You Are in Command Now: In "Guilt", Mac, as the senior officer present, leads the unexpected evacuation of the U.S. Consulate in East Timor. Ironic, given that the skipper of the Amphibious Assualt Carrier she was TDA on earlier in the episode remarked that:
    Capt. Huddleston: I keep forgetting you're a non-combat officer. I guess the only land mines that you dodge are legal ones.

    Budrick "Bud" Roberts, Jr. 

First seen in the Pilot Movie as the public affairs officer aboard the USS Seahawk. Became a regular in season 2.

  • Abusive Parents: His father was physically abusive to both him and his brother Mikey, and early on Bud sometimes worries that he'll be the same when he becomes a parent.
  • Amusing Injuries: He once received two simultaneous solid punches to the face that broke his jaw. He spent some time with his jaw wired shut and could only speak in unintelligible mumbles that only Mac could understandnote .
  • An Arm and a Leg: He stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan. He had to fight hard to maintain full duty status.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In general, for every new child Bud and Harriet gets, the better everything gets for them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Don't let the innocent act fool you - Bud may not be a combat officer, but he can and will put you through a legal world of hurt if you deserve it. Goes double for when you go after Harriet or their kids.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bud to Mikey. It was what finally got Bud to stand up to their father when Mikey showed up for Bud's wedding with a black eye.
  • Chekhov's Hobby:
    • Bud’s interest with the paranormal comes in handy at times, as in "Vanished" when they manage to locate a missing F-14 with the help of observations made by UFO enthusiasts. Also, a case of Characterization Marches On, as Bud by the time of “Psychic Warrior” has become more of a skeptic.
    • His liking science fiction shows comes to help him relate to a terrorist and get crucial information out of him without the terrorist knowing. He also gave the Admiral's girlfriend information on how the Original Series of Star Trek borrowed heavily from Shakespeare with some scripts, which she notes will allow her to reach more students now.
  • Doing Research: As one of the low men, he was usually tasked with this by whomever he was helping that episode. He even helped Harm out of an insurance/accident scam.
  • Embarrassing First Name:
  • Ensign Newbie: Started out as Public Relations Officer on the Seahawk, and pretty much fit the mold of an officer fresh out of school. Slowly broke out of this as he worked with Harm and Mac.
  • Genius Ditz: Sharp lawyer, yep. But sometimes can't go 5 minutes without dropping something, losing something or sticking his foot in his mouth.
  • Happily Married: Bud and Harriet.
  • He Is All Grown Up: You'll notice that late into the run of the show, Bud's hair turns gray, most likely from stress on the job (both in-character and for the actor in real life). Around this time, the dopey aspects of his character start to vanish and he becomes a competent and accomplished lawyer. Then, sometime later on NCIS, 14 seasons into its run and long after the end of JAG, he has grown into a late middle-aged man and has earned the rank of Captain.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Bud had that role regulary in seasons 2-4, and on occassions afterwards when sitting second chair or likewise.
  • The Intern: Bud served as an assistant to Harm & Mac during seasons 2-4, before he graduated from law school and became a judge advocate (military lawyer) in his own right.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Zig-zagged. It becomes a plot point that as a JAG lawyer, his promotion opportunities are few and far between and that there's a good chance that he'll be forced to leave the Navy as a Lieutenant if he's passed over too many times. It's part of the reason he volunteers for sea duty, as it will improve his chances. Admiral Chegwidden uses the last of his clout within the Navy to promote Bud to Lieutenant Commander before retirement.
    • As of the beginning of Season 14 of NCIS, he's reached the rank of Captain.
  • Military Brat: Father was a senior NCO in the Navy.
  • Nerd: Bud describes himself as a Nerd in "The Colonel's Wife".
  • Non-Action Guy: Despite being a trained military officer and passing certain guidelines and qualifications, he rarely gets into a scuffle himself. (A very good argument against that can be given due to him taking out his abusive father and slugging a guy he thought was gonna attack his brother.)
  • Noodle Incident: Gets slugged by a pregnant stripper.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: One of Bud's tactics. Or as Mac puts it, his "Awwe-shucks" facade as a lawyer. He got a serial killer to confess on the stand by playing dumb and later stressed Harm out by asking him why the guy should believe Bud was incompetent at all.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Bud had that role until season 4.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 2.
  • Recurring Character: In season 1.
  • Took a Level in Badass: He went from an Ensign working Public Affairs to Lieutenant Commander by series end, and through it became a very able lawyer, able to match wits and skills against Mac, Harm, and Sturgis. In his final case of the series, and actual proper case overall, Bud beat Harm and Lt. Vukovic using the very evidence Harm discovered to try and clear his client's name.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Bud and Mikey Roberts, although only on rare occasions.

    Albert Jethro "AJ" Chegwidden 
Played By: John M. Jackson
A Rear Admiral (2 stars) who served as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy (JAG) from 1996 to 2004. A Navy SEAL who served in The Vietnam War with distinction, he transferred to surface warfare, and later on went to law school becoming a judge advocate.

He first appeared as a recurring character in the latter half of season 1. Appeared as a regular in seasons 2 to 9. In 2013, Chegwidden reappeared, now as a civilian lawyer, in the season 10 finale of NCIS ("Damned If You Do") as Gibbs' attorney. He later returned in 2017 in NCISLosAngeles to provide aid to the team there.

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, before he became lawyer, was a Navy SEAL who earned a Navy Cross in The Vietnam War, and he's had more than one occasion to showcase his credentials in badass...including one or two Papa Wolf moments. And one incident involving an actual wolf...
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Bearer of Bad News: In “Critical Condition” Chegwidden has to tell Harriet that her husband stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan and is in critical condition.
  • Benevolent Boss: While not above dressing down or chewing out his staff, he also utilizes Loophole Abuse and My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours to keep his people out of serious trouble from those over him.
  • Big "NO!": Admiral Chegwidden does formidable one in "Ghosts".
  • Born in the Wrong Century and Hopeless with Tech:
    Webb: So you finaly decided to join the millenium and get computer literate.
    AJ: No choice. SECNAV said I was the last flag officer to get online.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Chegwidden has clearly has a difficult job as Judge Advocate General of the Navy, reconciling the often disparate interests of justice and policy-makers, not to many the many eccentric and unpredictable people under his command.
  • Cool Old Guy: Navy SEAL, decorated Vietnam vet, top-flight lawyer, bare-knuckled brawler. Chegwidden's seen a lot, survived a lot, and can tell some pretty good stories.
    AJ:: VC tried to cut my head off with a machete: 39 stitches.
  • Da Chief
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Gunnery Sergeant Valindez: I like challenges, sir!
    AJ: Well, gunny, that's what Napoleon said when he invaded Russia. I expect better results from you.
  • Death Glare: Chegwidden is a master of this trope. The fact that he's a former Navy SEAL reinforces the validity of this beyond any formal authority.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When he was President of the Captains Promotion Board, Commander Lindsey's name came up. When asked about his views on the man since he did serve at JAG, Chegwidden stated he would not willingly have the man on his staff again as he has no confidence in his ability and he breaks too many rules. The officer who asked, who had personally seen Harm bend and break rules, just stares.
  • A Father to His Men: His "people" are his surrogate family. For all his acting like a "growling old salt" he will go to the mat for any of them. His last act as JAG was to basically demand that the Navy promote Bud despite his career-limiting injury.
    AJ [to Bud's father]: Don't you hurt that boy.
    Big Bud: No, sir.
    AJ: Because if you do then you'll answer to me Master Chief. You don't want that.
    Meredith [to AJ when talking about Harm & Mac]: You are not their father AJ. They're adults.
  • Grumpy Bear: Chegwidden often displays such characteristics, even though he has more gentle sides and genuinely cares for his staff. Even though he often hides behind military protocol and the authority that comes with being an admiral to distance himself from interpersonal relationships beyond the strictly professional, he deeply cares for the people that work under him.
  • Honest Advisor: Admiral Chegwidden is depicted this way in his onscreen dealings with the two SecNavs during his time in office.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: The Judge Advocate General is a 2-star "terminal" appointment, meaning that this is the last billet in Chegwidden's long career before he's forced to retire.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Admiral Chegwidden it is not having been with his daughter Francesca (who grew up in Italy with her mother and stepfather), during her childhood and adolescence.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: He will always try to be polite to people, and if his bad mood is making him caustic to someone undeserving, he will apologize.
  • Only Known by Initials: Up until the season 4 episode "War Stories", none of the other main characters knew that the full name of their boss is Albert Jethro.
  • Outranking Your Job: Occasionally the writers would have Admiral Chegwidden taking care of business, such as acting as defense attorney, which ought to have been handled by a subordinate.
  • Papa Wolf: God help you if you threaten or hurt his daughter or anyone under his command. He'll even terrify his own people when they hurt each other. When Harm and Mic accidentally broke Bud's jaw with punches intended for each other, the Admiral threatened to horsewhip and keelhaul both of them. But because Bud was covering for them and claiming it was an accident he, with Mic's superior's permission, locked Mic and Harm in a room and told not to leave until they had inflicted the same level of harm onto each other as they did to Bud.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 2.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the time. Sometimes when he's hit his limit over his people's eccentricities he'll go into a tirade.
  • Recurring Character: In season 1.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He is a chronic potty mouth who drops a swear every few sentences or so. It's so bad that his own dog is literally named Dammit. The story behind that is he got a terrier that wouldn't obey him in any form until he lost his temper and yelled "Dammit!" at the dog, which got its attention, then became the only thing it responded to.
  • Team Dad: Rear Admiral AJ Chegwidden, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy (boss of the team) and a former Navy SEAL.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Coffee, "Cup of Joe". Though by the time he appears in NCIS he's switched to tea.
  • Tranquil Fury: This is the case whenever Admiral Chegwidden gets angry or really pissed-off.
  • Two Star Badass: Summed up in one memorable Badass Boast in Season 1.
    AJ: My name is Admiral Chegwidden. I am the Judge Advocate General of the United States Navy. Before I leave this hangar, I will know the why and the how of Lieutenant Douglas Marion's death, or Commander Rabb, here, is gonna have your ass... and I'm gonna own your soul.

    Peter Ulysses "Sturgis" Turner 
Played By: Scott Lawrence

Appeared in seasons 7 to 10. Harm's former roommate at the Naval Academy and a submariner-turned-lawyer. The character became a regular cast member in the tenth season.

    Jennifer Coates 
Played By: Zoe McLellan

Petty Officer Jennifer Coates first appeared in season 7. She served as Bud's "Legalman" when he was assigned as the JAG offcer on the Seahawk, then succeeded Jason Tiner as the yeoman/administrative assistant to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy from season 9-10. The character became a regular castmember in the last season.


Other JAG personnel

    Harriet Beaumont Sims 
Played By: Karri Turner

The wife of Bud Roberts, since "Wedding Bell Blues" in the third season.

Appeared in seasons 2-10.

  • Adult Fear: In "Nobody's Child", pregnant Harriet accidentally gets to see crime scene photos of the corpse of a brutally murdered girl and freaks out. A few episodes later in "The Adversaries" she sees the dead girls identical twin sister and gets flashbacks of the photos.
    • Lt. Singer uses this against her when she's a witness to a fatal assault aboard an airplane, exploiting her fear that the plane would crash and kill her and her unborn child to claim her memory of the events is unreliable.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: In general, for every new child Bud and Harriet gets, the better everything gets for them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Bud and Harriet are the sweetest couple and good parents, but both go on the warpath if someone screws over their spouse. Notably, Harriet once punched out Lt. Singer when she tried to damage Bud's career out of spite.
  • Ensign Newbie: Harriet took Bud's job as a public affairs officer on the USS Seahawk when Bud transferred to JAG, and was just as much a newbie as he was.
  • Fake Guest Star: Karri Turner never received star billing despite regularly appearing on the show for 9 seasons.
  • Happily Married: Bud and Harriet.
  • Loophole Abuse: Once Bud and Harriet start a relationship one of them should have been transferred as the military frowns on couples in the same chain of command. The Admiral, however, pulled a few strings to have Harriet "officially" assigned to the Inspector General's Office and then "loaned" to JAG on a semi-permanent basis.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: Following her marriage with Bud Roberts, Harriet continues to be referred to by her maiden name, Sims. It’s likely done for convenience (because there would otherwise be two lieutenants Roberts in the same workplace) and it’s unknown if she changed her legal name.
  • Mama Bear: Threaten her kids and you will live to regret it.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Harriet Sims, despite having been brought up in wealth, joined the Navy, works hard as an office manager at JAG and has at the end of the series 4 children with Bud Roberts.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Secretly Wealthy: Bud Roberts is at first shocked upon realizing that his then-fiancée Harriet Sims comes from a wealthy family, as shown by their Big Fancy House and her father's multiple sports cars, when visiting her parents in Florida for the first time in "Yesterday’s Heroes".
    Harriet: This is my parent's life, Bud. It's not mine.

    Jason Tiner 
Played By: Chuck Carrington

Petty Officer Jason Tiner served as the yeoman/administrative assistent to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy from season 2-9.

  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Ascended Extra: Tiner went from an extra to a minor character in his own right after a few seasons and, apart from the lead characters, appeared in the highest number of episodes.
  • Living Prop: Petty Officer Jason Tiner slowly transitioned from this state to a character in his own right during seasons 2 to 5.
  • Logic Bomb: Suffers one in "Critical Condition" when Chegwidden tells him he gets to decide whether the Admiral should charge Mac or Harm with being AWOL when they both chose to stay with a wounded Bud (the Admiral only authorized one of them to stay). The Admiral gave Tiner the problem precisely because he knew Tiner would not be able to choose, thus allowing him to avoid the issue entirely.
  • Lovable Nerd:
  • Mauve Shirt:
  • Mistaken for Gay: He one day hung out with his brother, who was gay, and came out of a gay bar with him. He then was involved in a fight with Gunny as Gunny arrived with his Marine buddy, when Tiner's brother accidentally ran into the Marine. So, many suspected him of being gay, and thus going to be discharged from the military until the matter is cleaned up.
  • Non-Action Guy:
  • Put on a Bus: Leaves after graduating law school and being accepted into Officer Candidate School.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Say My Name: Usually at full bellow by the Admiral - "TINER!"

    Mic Brumby 
Played By: Trevor Goddard

Appeared in seasons 4-6. First appeared as an Royal Australian Navy exchange officer on duty in the United States for the first year, then went back to Australia and later came back to work as civilian attorney in Washington. Went back for good when his engagement with Mac broke up.

  • Amoral Attorney: Becomes one for a while when he resigns from the Royal Australian Navy and comes back as a civilian. He took cases where people were suing the Navy, which didn't sit well with anyone at the JAG office.
  • Awesome Aussie: Averted, even though he talks just like Crocodile Dundee.
  • Fake Nationality: Englishman Trevor Goddard playing Australian Mic Brumby. Apparently Trevor Goddard made a career out of playing Australians.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During Mac and Farrow's murder trial, he keeps trying to shift the blame onto her. When Harm, Bud, etc. blast him for this, he truthfully points out that they're all slightly in love with her and therefore unable to be objective.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Romantic False Lead: For Mac in seasons 5 & 6.

    Victor Galindez 
Played By: Randy Vasquez

Appeared in seasons 5-7. A Marine Gunnery Sergeant who takes over as the head of the JAG office staff after he decides against retiring from the Corps.

  • A Day in the Limelight: "Retreat, Hell" was one where Galindez had to protect a Korean War deserter he was transporting back to Washington for court-martial from a Corrupt Hick sheriff who was trying to take away his family's land.
  • Collateral Damage: Happened when he was a deputy sheriff in New Mexico, after his first enlistment. They were conducting a raid on a meth lab, and when the suspect reached for a weapon one of the rookie officers panicked and accidentally shot Galindez in the ass. He decided after that to go back into the Marines.
  • Put on a Bus: Asks for, and receives, a transfer back to front-line duty in Afghanistan. Shows up once or twice when Harm, Mac or Bud were "in country".
  • Recurring Character:
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Gave up a cushy private sector job when he decided he wasn't going to blame another Marine for a mishap actually caused by his future employer's prototype weapons system.
  • Sergeant Rock: Both in the office and after he requests a transfer back to combat duty post-9/11.
  • Servile Snarker:
  • Semper Fi:
  • Token Minority: Latino.

    Loren Singer 
Played By: Nanci Chambers

Appeared in seasons 5-8.

  • Abusive Parents: It is implied on one occasion that this is how she became the nasty piece of work she is. Asshole Victim also applies here.
  • Amoral Attorney: There are few lines she wouldn't cross to win a case and her coworkers know it.
  • Asshole Victim: So despicable that the showrunners killed her off just to set up a new show because they knew she wouldn't be missed and was disposable.
  • Body Horror: Not only murdered, but left to rot in the woods, where she had her face eaten off and became unrecognizable... and had the remains of a murdered by proxy fetus inside her. And then a young Cub Scout shot an arrow into her by accident and found her when he went looking to retrieve it. The sight of her body traumatized him and made the scoutmaster vomit.
  • Bus Crash: Murdered sometime before Season 8, Episode 20, "Ice Queen", the episode that also serves as the Backdoor Pilot for NCIS, serving as their first on-screen murder investigation. And boy, is it a doozy.
  • Death by Sex: Becoming pregnant with a love child got her murdered.
  • Drunk with Power: In "Tribunal", when Admiral Chegwidden and most of the senior staff are away overseas Lieutenant Singer is designated as "Acting JAG". One of the first things she decides to do is to have a fire drill and to have Lieutenant Sims to review and update all internal administrative manuals.
  • Informed Judaism: Subverted, as Singer only pretends to be Jewish in "The Promised Land" to badger a Marine deserter and convert who had joined the IDF. Her first chair Commander Turner calls the bluff by testing her knowledge of Judaism.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Singer had signs of this. One instance is when Mac is about to lose a custody case to remove a child from her abusive, civilian, father. When he went to see his ex-wife and child on base where the mother was staying, he was told a blond JAG officer had taken them off base. He came charging into JAG Headquarters and nearly attacked Lt. Sims, believing she was said JAG. This provides more than enough evidence for Mac to win and when asked, Singer simply avoids a direct response.
  • Karmic Death: She got into an illicit sexual affair and became pregnant, which led to her murder to avoid exposing the truth if she were to give birth. She was discarded in the woods and found by accident when a Cub Scout shot an arrow too far out into the forest and discovered it lodged in her corpse... which was missing a face.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She will gladly do anything short of actual criminal behavior to advance her Naval career. Even if it risks getting people disbarred (Mac), divorced (Bud), or humiliated (Bud, Harriet, Harm).
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Is it any wonder she got close to Commander Lindsey?
  • Real-Life Relative: Nanci Chambers is the real-life wife of David James Elliott.
  • Recurring Character:
  • You Look Familiar: Chambers played an assassin in Season 2's "Washington Holiday".

    Gordon "Biff" Cresswell 
Played By: David Andrews

Appeared in season 10 only and replaced Chegwidden following his retirement. A Colonel in the Marine Corps who served as Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was upon his appointment as Judge Advocate General of the Navy promoted to the rank of Major General (2 stars).

  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: This is the initial perception of the new Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Major General Gordon Cresswell, in the tenth season of JAG from the perspective of the main characters.
  • Benevolent Boss:
  • Cool Old Guy:
  • Da Chief
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After an escapade with Coates being a juror while Harm and Mac defend and prosecute, respectively, leading to some unorthodox but good good work revealing the real culprit, and Bud helped Harm breaking a coded book the victim had after completing his other tasks, the General finds he can accept their eccentricities provided they keep up their level of work.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Semper Fi:
  • Two Star Badass:

Other recurring characters

    Clayton Webb 
Played By: Steven Culp

A shadowy and morally ambiguous CIA Officer who just happens to be around the cases that Harm and Mac pursue. Appeared in seasons 2-10.

  • Badass Bureaucrat: He works his way into being this over the course of the show.
  • Blatant Lies: For a time, Webb insisted that he worked for the State Department, rather than the CIA, despite always turning up in the middle of various plots. Nobody, hero or villain, ever believed him for a second, but most of the time his claim would be accepted with a roll of the eyes and a grain of salt.
    Webb: I am a Special Assistant to State. Sometimes.
  • The Chessmaster: Clayton Webb. He is a good Chessmaster (both in the sense of being skillful and being on the good side), but he is cold and ruthless and has a streak of the Knight Templar in him. However, he is incorruptible and occasionally surprises people with his softer side. In the later episodes he often goes into danger himself, giving him a good claim to being a Badass Bookworm.
    • The one time he tried to manipulate Admiral Chegwidden, the Admiral busted Webb's nose for it. After that Webb treated the Admiral with nothing but the utmost respect.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Webb's practicality about covert warfare often shocks everyone else. The others sometimes act as his conscience.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His usual demeanor around the JAG cast.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Webb grew to be quite popular for a Company man.
  • Faking the Dead: Clayton Webb does this twice.
  • Guile Hero: Especially toward later episodes when he kind of Took a Level in Badass.
  • Insufferable Genius: Well he's smart and he thinks he is a genius.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Webb has some of that in him. Often other characters think him a jerk until the end of the episode.
    • Often that is because he is being The Spock and Harm is being The McCoy. However Webb has something of a cynical and smart alecky personality as well.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Webb is deeply cynical about his work, but nevertheless acts to further America's interests, and is a loyal patriot.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Following his actions in "Need To Know" that revealed what happened to a submarine on a classified mission, the Agency reassigns him to Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Romantic False Lead: For Mac in seasons 8 & 9.
  • The Spock
  • The Spymaster: CIA Officer Clayton Webb.
    Webb: I have a hand in everything.

    Alexander Nelson 
Played By: Paul Collins

Appeared in seasons 3-8. The series' first Secretary of the Navy

    Edward Sheffield 
Played By: Dean Stockwell

Appeared in seasons 7-10. The series' second Secretary of the Navy. Was before that a U.S. Senator from Virginia.

    "Big" Bud Roberts 
Played By': Jeff Mac Kay

The father of Bud Roberts. Appeared in seasons 3-10.

  • Abusive Parent: Big Bud Roberts' idea of discipline was beating up his kids. He never quite comes to regret it, unfortunately.
  • Book Dumb
  • Dad the Veteran: Retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer (non-commissioned officer). When he gets recalled to active duty post-9/11, he tries to get out of it until he realizes he'll be stateside doing traning rather than deployed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As crappy a dad as he is, Big Bud does find time to be with his sons at Christmas, attend his grandkids' christenings, help defend Mikey in court, and eventually find the guts to support Bud in rehab following his injury in Afghanistan.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Big Bud is to some extent a retirement aged example of this trope.
  • Recurring Character:

    Michael "Mikey" or "Mike" Roberts 

Bud's younger brother.

  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: When Mikey visits the Roberts' home after Bud is injured, Harriet is ranting about all the things happening since the Admiral notified her. Mikey can see that Harriet is about to lose it, he snaps her out of it by saying he is tired from the trip and asking for a cup of black coffee.
  • Military Academy: Mikey attends the United States Naval Academy in the later seasons.
  • Real-Life Relative: Michael Bellisario is the son of Showrunner Donald P. Bellisario.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Sibling Rivalry: Bud and Mikey Roberts of JAG, although only on rare occasions.
    • They did have a brief falling out when Mikey briefly lost track of baby A.J., which Bud blamed on Mikey being irresponsible.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mikey, Bud's little brother, grows enough of a backbone to stand up to his father by the beginning of season eight.

    Thomas Boone 
Played By: Terry O'Quinn

Appeared in seasons 1-8.

  • Ace Pilot: Literal ace, from the Vietnam War. His Establishing Character Moment from the pilot is getting into a dogfight with two Serbian Mi Gs and winning.
  • Bald of Awesome:
  • Cool Old Guy: Undisputedly, and most of his pilots worship him as such.
  • Consummate Professional: He may disagree with Navy policy (especially regarding women in combat roles such as fighter pilot), but he will not tolerate anyone under his command who lets their personal feelings affect carrying out their duties in a professional manner.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even when on trial, he can't help but be a smart-ass
    Krennick: Does the Crusader's profile look anything like that of a MiG?
    Boone: No it does not.
    Krennick: But that's what the pilot saw. He is in enemy airspace, and having encountered MiGs earlier in the day, his brain turned your Crusader into a MiG.
    Boone: He was an Air Force pilot.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With his late wingman's son, Harm.
  • My Greatest Failure: He was Harm, Sr.'s wingman on the flight where "Hammer" was shot down. Boone tried to stay over his crash site until rescue arrived, but had to return to their carrier because he was low on fuel. He says he would do it all again the same way, but also says that he has to live with that decision for the rest of his life.
  • Noble Bigot: Thinks women have no place in combat and is very vocal about this opinion even to the women themselves. He still treats the ones under his command scrupulously fairly, and at one point goes off on someone he suspects of actually acting on the same bigoted sentiments.
  • Principles Zealot: In "A Separate Peace" Harm defends Boone who is accused of war crimes during The Vietnam War. While Boone doesn't plead guilty, he does nothing to defend himself or help the defense. It turns out that he is innocent but believes that no matter the cost he can never break a vow of silence once it's given.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's a hardass with uncompromising high standards of those under his command. But if you meet those standards he'll give you a fair shake.
  • Recurring Character: Throughout the show.
  • Tell Me About My Father: He served with Harmon Rabb Senior on the tour he was shot down and went MIA and occasionally tells his son Harm Jr. a story about his time with Harm Senior.

    Roberta "Bobbie" Latham 

  • Ivy League for Everyone: Graduated first in her class at Yale Law School.
  • Recurring Character:
  • Strawman Political: Roberta "Bobbie" Latham, democratic congresswoman from Michigan is an arch-typical leftist liberal advocating of the advancement of women in the military for the sake of just doing it, is critical of excessive defense spending, claims to be a human rights activist, is a political oppurtunist in general, and a strong advocate of UN peacekeeping operations (even if the operation can't keep the peace in the first place.)

    Elizabeth "Skates" Hawkes 
Played By: Creator/Sibel Galindez


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