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Recap / JAGS 03 E 16 Chains Of Command

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This episode returns to the carrier USS Seahawk, where an airplane is heading back to the carrier to land, but finds itself dangerously low on fuel. Although the pilot refuels in a tanker and lands, the Chief of the Boat Command Master Chief Sullivan identifies a young female enlisted airman as being responsible for a mistake in allocating sufficient fuel for that aircraft. The Command Master Chief then calls the crewman into his quarters and tells her what she must do, to make her impending problem go away.


JAG headquarters then receives a complaint of sexual harassment from that female crewman. Harm and Mac are sent out to investigate. This time however, they find a deeper coverup and a quid pro quo arrangement, that might take down someone in the ship's leadership structure too.

As Mac's new boyfriend Dalton Lowne gets involved in the matter, he does something that crosses a line - which Mac perceives as a betrayal, and ends the relationship.

Tropes encountered here are

  • Author's Saving Throw: This episode was written by the same man who wrote the rather controversial second season episode "Crossing the Line". That episode was admittedly an Author Tract on his own views about the so called "unsuitability of women in the military". To correct for that, he wrote this episode, in which he portrays moral rot among senior military leadership and a misogynistic and exploitative culture.
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  • Bastard Boyfriend: Mac's guy, Dalton Lowne should have recused himself from defending the Master Chief on account of his relationship with Mac. Instead, he accepts the case, doesn't tell her beforehand and forces Chegwiden to "recuse" her instead. He then displays more bastardry by snooping into Mac's investigative notes, discerning ancillary information damaging to the prosecution's cause but not relevant per se to the case. Mac is miffed and breaks up with him.
  • Blackmail: Master Chief Sullivan found out about a one night stand that his skipper Captain Ross had during a port visit. In return for his silence about the affair, Captain Ross would transfer all the women that the Master Chief had coerced sex from, to plum assignments in different commands, giving them career boosts.
  • Coming in Hot: A Tomcat comes in to land at night, dangerously low on fuel with one engine flamed out, the other barely seconds away, and slowly losing control authority. He barely makes the 1 wire, but it is still a landing in which he and the plane are intact.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: At episode's end, Harm, Mac and Bud are all in a bar, listening to the same sad song and drinking their sorrows away. Except for Mac as she is a recovering alcoholic. Harm is commiserating over Annie Pendry breaking things off with him, Mac is attempting to get over Lowne, who she broke up with, and Bud is despondent over Harriet being mad at him.
  • Lady Drunk: Victoria Ross played by Mary Jo Deschanel.
  • Retirony: In a manner of speaking. MCPO Sullivan had a year to go before he could retire with full benefits. But now he is facing serious charges and possible prison time and a certain revocation of all those benefits.
  • Sexual Extortion: Master Chief Sullivan is alleged to have coerced sex from a young petty officer air traffic controller to make a serious mistake she had made, go away.

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