In this JAG episode, Harm is given a hero's welcome back at JAG HQ by Admiral Chegwiden, and is informed that his former CAG has recommended him for his second Distinguished Flying Cross. Harm expects to be eased in slowly, by doing mostly administrative busy work, as that was how Mac was eased in upon her return to JAG HQ two seasons ago, but the Admiral tells him, that Mac was "punished" for trying to go into a lucrative comfortable civilian career before scurrying back, while Harm went on a combat deployment and came back, decorated for valor. Therefore, the Admiral will assign Harm a challenging case - defending the Secretary of the Navy's son, a Lieutenant Brian Nelson for disobeying his skipper's direct order.
Turns out that SECNAV's son was raised in an uncompromising and harsh manner, and as a result, has a rebellious streak emerge whenever he is around harsh authority figures. Conversely, the skipper, Commander Burke is known to be harsh and unforgiving too. It therefore, seems like this is more a Battle Of Wills between two stubborn men. A little more digging uncovers that Commander Burke is actually more fair and lenient than his reputation would suggest, but was approached by SECNAV and instructed to take a harsher stance towards his son, so as to teach him humility and deference to authority. The skipper offers to drop all charges, if Lt Nelson will just publicly apologize to the captain for questioning an order. Willhelm do it?
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Commander Burke decides to discipline a junior helmsman for dialing in too much power, and not changing course fast enough, even though Nelson had caught his errors and corrected it. Burke thinks Nelson had coddled the young seaman, and therefore, inflicts a harsh punishment on the helmsman to punish Nelson. Problem is, Nelson protested a little too loudly.
- Pride: The character flaw in both Burke and Nelson.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Lt Nelson appears to be this way. However, when SECNAV is ready to give him that approval and mend the broken relationship, his son rebuffs him. Turns out, he never wanted SECNAV's approval - he only wants to be left the hell alone.