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Trivia / JAG

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  • Actor Allusion:
    • Before playing Admiral Chegwidden, John M. Jackson played Captain West in the film version of A Few Good Men.
    • Before playing Secretary of the Navy Nelson, Paul Collins played a Pentagon official also named Nelson in Executive Decision.
    • And Dean Stockwell was the Secretary of Defense in Air Force One.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie is partially of Iranian heritage and speaks Farsi, as is and does actress Catherine Bell too.
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  • Backed by the Pentagon: The U.S. Marine Corps supported this series early on, but it took a while for the U.S. Navy to get behind it. They were allowed to film on location with their actors at several military installations in California, such as Camp Pendleton, Point Mugu Naval Air Station, and at Naval installations in San Diego. They also filmed aboard the frigate USS John A. Moore (FFG-19) for the season 3 episode "Tiger, Tiger", aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) off the coast of California for the first episodes of season 5, and aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA-5) for season 6 episodes. After the events of 9/11 Bellisario said it became increasingly more difficult to shoot on location than it had been before. Following the cancellation in 2005, Commander Bob Anderson of the Navy's Office of Information Agency West is quoted to have said that in JAG "the Navy never looks bad".
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  • California Doubling: Except for the pilot episode (partly shot on a decommissioned aircraft carrier in Texas), location filming in Washington DC for two season 4 episodes and a season 5 two part episode filmed in Sydney, Australia, the series was entirely shot in California locales.
  • The Cast Showoff: Harm plays the guitar just like David James Elliott, and Mac does kick-boxing and speaks Farsi just like Catherine Bell.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • Retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant Matt Sigloch, originally hired for a small part in the Pilot Movie, became the on-set military technical advisor for all the 227 episodes.
    • Admiral Chegwidden’s replacement as Judge Advocate General in the final 10th season, General Cresswell, is played by actor David Andrews, who is a graduate of Stanford Law School and was a practicing attorney before becoming an actor.
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    • Retired Marine Captain Dale Dye plays a Marine senior NCO in "Desert Son". Of course, Dale Dye has made a career as a character actor playing in military roles.
  • Completely Different Title: JAG has a different title in Sweden because the word Jag in the Swedish language is the first-person pronoun (i.e. I in English.) Probably not coincidentally, the movie A Few Good Men also shares the same title: "På heder och samvete", which is a phrase taken from the Swedish witness oath and literally means "by honor and conscience".
  • Channel Hop: From NBC to CBS after NBC canned it after the first season.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Donald P. Bellisario: First As Himself at a Quantum Leap Fan Convention in "Father's Day", as Hugh Blackadder in "To Russia With Love", and later on in the ninth season, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is directly shown. His voice is also heard several times through PA systems and communication radios.
    • Co-Executive Producer (season 2-10) Charles Floyd Johnson has a small recurring part as toxicologist Dr. Bruce Gasden.
  • Directed by Cast Member: David James Elliott (Harm) directed three episodes: "Lifeline", "Take It Like A Man", and "There Goes the Neighborhood".
  • DVD Commentary: Only a few episodes in seasons one and two of JAG have audio commentaries and since they were recorded nine to ten years after the episodes were made, they best can be characterized as remembrance style.
  • Ending Theme: JAG has a different orchestral end theme for its first season. Later seasons used a version of the opening theme.
  • Fake American:
    • David James Elliott hails from Canada. However, he did become a U.S. Citizen during the show's run.
    • Subverted for Catherine Bell, who was born in London but moved to America when she was two.
  • Fake Russian:
    • Harmon Rabb's half brother Sergei Zhukov is played by Canadian Jade Carter. Evidently he won the part over several Russian actors.
    • A disgruntled Russian submarine captain hired by Al-Qaeda is played by Swedish actor Bo Svenson.
    • American actor Rex Linn plays a Russian KGB officer who speaks English like a native Texan. The in-universe explanation for this is that he grew up in Texas where his parents spied on the U.S. space program.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The building used as the exterior of JAG Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia is in reality the Cravens Estate in Pasadena, California and owned by the American Red Cross. It has also been used for many other series like; 24, Bones, Commander in Chief, Judging Amy; and movies like Enemy of the State, Rush Hour 3, Swordfish and Traffic.
  • In Memoriam: When Trevor Goddard, actor who played Mic Brumby, died in June 2003 the season 9 premiere episode "A Tangled Webb" part 2 ended with one of these showing a clip from "Life or Death" (5.13) of the JAG family singing Mic "Waltzing Matilda" as he left to return to Australia.
  • Milestone Celebration: JAG celebrated its 100th episode "Boomerang (Part I)" by filming it on location in Australia, and the 200th episode was a What If?.
  • Name's the Same: Harm's Boeing Stearman biplane is named Sarah, named for his grandmother. This causes a bit of confusion for Major Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie when Harm is taking her for a ride and she thinks he has started calling her by her first name.
  • Network to the Rescue: After NBC canned it after the first season, it got picked up by CBS, and the rest is history.
  • Out of Order: The first season episode "Boot" was meant to air after "Defensive Action", the episode where Harm is promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Due to being aired sooner, Harm gets a one-episode promotion before being promptly demoted again without anyone noticing.
  • Playing Against Type: Faran Tahir initially plays to type when he appears as an Al Qaida-aligned terrorist in the NCIS pilot episodes, but makes a second appearance on the program as a different character, a CIA operative who Harm manages to smuggle out of Libya.
  • Prop Recycling: The Submarine set in the episode "Shadow" was the one built for Crimson Tide.
  • 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 followed Clayton Webb on a secret mission to Paraguay posing as his pregnant wife...
    • Indirectly through Ripped from the Headlines, as numerous incidents and happenings affecting the military are used as material for episodes, such as the 2001 April 1st collusion of an American and Chinese plane, or Clinton era budget cuts. One episode had Rabb going up against the Rogue Warrior.
    • Directly through 9/11 and the resulting armed conflicts in the Middle East, from the seventh season onwards.
  • Recycled Script: "Scimitar" in season 1 and "The Black Jet" in season 4 both feature an American service member captured by a hostile government on their soil, subjected to a Kangaroo Court, and ultimately set free by Harmon Rabb.
  • Retroactive Recognition: S
    • Sam Worthington played an Australian sailor in the 60's in the season five episode "Boomerang: Part I".
    • Joe Spano plays a Navy Captain in the season 3 episode "Clipped Wings." He's more famous as Special Agent Tobias Fornell on NCIS.
    • Joel McKinnon Miller appeared in the Season 5 episode "Front and Center", and is most noticeable as Detective Hitchcock on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
    • The USS Seahawk's CAG in Season 8 is played by Tony Dennison, better known as Lt. Andy Flynn on The Closer and Major Crimes.
  • Romance on the Set: Patrick Labyorteaux (Bud) fell in love with production manager Tina Albanese.
  • Shoot the Money: The crew certainly took advantage of the 100th and 101st episodes "Boomerang", filmed on location in Sydney, New South Wales, in order to turn Australia into Scenery Porn. And also the parts of early season 5 episodes filmed aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis certainly did that as well.
  • Sleeper Hit: JAG was a sleeper hit which hardly received any press coverage until the fourth season when it entered the top 15 ratings.
  • Star-Making Role: For Catherine Bell as a lead actress in television.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • In 1st season episode "Sightings" (1996), Harm asks a ten year old girl: Do you know how to operate a cellular phone?
    • In 3rd season episode "Impact" (1998), when escaping from the Bradenhurst facility, Harm captures a 3.5" floppy disc containing digital photos of the UFO-like UCAV, taken directly out from a digital camera.
  • What Could Have Been: Back in 2005 there were plans for a JAG: San Diego, basically a West Coast Team for the series. The concept was introduced in a season ten backdoor pilot episode, but the series never got made. A series revolving around a naval team in California wouldn't happen until NCIS: Los Angeles, the first spin-off of the show's spin-off NCIS.
  • Written by Cast Member: Patrick Labyorteaux (Bud) wrote the season 6 episode "JAG TV".
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Before playing Sarah Mackenzie, Catherine Bell played a Navy Lieutenant love interest of Harm's who died in the (intended) first season finale. Harm notices this, and is visibly stand-offish towards her at first because of it. In real life, Bell all but begged to be brought back on the show as another character, and the two characters looking identical was utilized.
      Mac: Sounds like I have a twin out there.
      [flashback of Mac's doppelganger being zipped up in a bodybag]
      Harm: Not anymore.
    • Another example is with Lt. Loren Singer, whose actress played an assassin in an earlier episode. Interestingly, David James Elliot (Harm) and Nanci Chambers (Singer) are married in real life.
    • Also, Alexander Kuznetsov appears first in "Cowboys and Cossacks" as Commander Kretchiak, and in later episodes as a different Russian officer named Captain Alex Volkonov (who becomes Harm's Russian analogue throughout the series).
    • John Walcutt once played a defendant, Caleb Farmer, who was put to death for his crimes, with Mac defending him and Harm prosecuting. Later, he would come back to play Tom Johnson father of the young girl Harm had befriended and seeking to be her legal guardian.
    • Barry Jenner (Dallas, Star Trek: Voyager) first appeared in "Ares" as the captain of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and later in "Mr. Rabb Goes to Washington" as the asshole ZNN reporter Norman Delaporte.
    • Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat in The X-Files) first appears as an airplane mechanic in "Full Engagement", and as a Senator in "Impact" (the latter a UFO-themed episode no less).

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