Season 1 Episode 8

Brig Break

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 02, 1995 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
64 votes

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Episode Summary


Harm and Meg investigate the theft of stolen missiles at the Seatac Naval Base. While interrogating Quinn, the thief, a prison breakout takes place and Lt. Austin is taken hostage. Contrary to the Major in charge, Lt. Rabb thinks that this is a well-planned breakout with a big goal. And it seems the goal is even bigger than ever thought. Locations: Seatac Island Naval Base and area


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  • Meg handcuffed gagged

    and trying to pee while cuffed at one hand. Dunno why they included that part.
  • Harm and Meg attempt to uncover the truth behind the theft of Stingers from Seatac Naval Base. When the culprits play their hand, a brig break ensues and Lt. Austin is caught in the middle of the gambit and taken hostage.moreless

    When Petty Officer Peter Quinn, weapons specialist, is caught trying to leave Seatac Naval Base with a Stinger in the trunk of his car, Lts. Harm Rabb and Meg Austin are sent to investigate. It wouldn't be the first time a Stinger went missing, and everyone believes Quinn to be the culprit in both instances.

    At Seatac, Harm is reuinted with his former partner, Lt. Kate Pike whom we last saw in the Pilot episode. As they catch up, Lt. Austin starts the interview with their 'client', PO Quinn, being held in the brig.

    There is more than meets the eye to the theft of the anti-aircraft weapon, and PO Quinn is extremely uncooperative when Lt. Austin attempts to question him and determine his motives. He tells her she can go back to JAG and tell them he doesn't need their help.

    Quinn's two brig-mates ('Davis' and 'Jesse') choose this moment to set an escape plot in motion when one feigns a serious stomach ailment. When one of the guards opens the 'sick' prisoner's cell on the orders of Gunnery Sgt. Gentry, he is stabbed with a shiv.

    Gunny Gentry releases both prisoners and cuffs a surprised and defiant Lt. Austin to PO Quinn.

    "I believe it's called a 'brig break', ma'am," Gentry says smugly when she demands to know what's going on.

    Harm just happens to look through the blinds from the Officer's Mess and spies the five boarding a bus and instantly realises what's going down. He and Kate race outside. Gunny Gentry is at the wheel, intent on speeding away from the base.

    With a burst of speed, Harm manages to reach the still-open door on the moving bus. Gunny Gentry pulls his gun from his holster, but Meg kicks it away just in time, before Quinn hauls her away.

    Gunny and Harm exchange a few blows and tussle at the wheel, but Gunny gets the upper hand and shoves Harm out of the door where he tumbles to the tarmac. He can only watch helplessly as the bus smashes through the barrier gate and races away out of sight.

    While a Maj. Aspinal heads up the search for the escapees, fully believing the brig break was on the spur-of-the-moment, Harm begs to differ, and Kate backs him up on this point. Harm surmises that any break that involves the Gunnery Sgt. had to have been planned. The question remains as to why.

    Could there be a connection to the Stinger Quinn attempted to steal? It wasn't the first Stinger that went 'missing' from Seatac, and Harm begins to suspect he's missing some major pieces of the puzzle; pieces Kate actually holds. She does not tell Harm what she knows about Quinn's past, or what mission is already underway at Seatac prior to Harm's arrival.

    Harm's concern for Meg's safety throughout the entire ordeal is clearly evident, as he does his utmost to ensure the bus is not fired upon by choppers flown in to assist in the search. Maj. Aspinal makes the decision to have most of the personel pulled off-base to assist in the recovery of the escapees, a plan Harm believes to be foolhardy, because it leaves the weapons-storage facility vulnerable.

    On the bus, Meg tries to subtly ask questions that would give her a better picture as to what's truly going on.

    Quinn maintains his less-than-cooperative attitude. Davis and Jesse are chatty, though, and reveal they're trying to complete what they call 'Operation Finish Desert Storm'.

    Some argument ensues over the stupidity of the name, since no one 'gets it'. But Meg does, as she was a former computer weapons specialist.

    "To finish Desert Storm," she says, "you have to get Saddam." She believes the escapees are after the SADMs (Special Atomic Munition Demolition) securely stored on-base. What she doesn't know is the reason they want these destructive weapons.

    In short time, the bus makes a stop up an old logging trail and a group of White Supremacists dressed in combat gear and armed with automatic weapons greets the Gunny. We assume these are the 'bad guys', and that Gunny has been supplying them with their gear all along.

    By then end of the episode, though, the red herrings are revealed, and so are some other secrets.

    The first secret is that PO Quinn is in reality Mark Green of Army Intelligence. He was working undercover to try to find out what he could about Davis and Jesse and the connection to the Aryan Nation. Providing the group with first 'missing' Stinger was Quinn/Green's way of getting 'in' with them. When Gunny finds out about Quinn/Green's betrayal, he shoots him dead.

    The second is that the Gunny has found himself an even more lucrative offer than that of the Aryan Nation - the Iraqis. Acquiring a SADM for the purposes of terror was his main objective. With Quinn/Green now dead, Gunny forces Meg to assist him with arming a SADM, which Gunny intends to detonate on base - after giving himself some time to escape.

    The climax of the episode has Harm, Kate and Meg driving frantically as far from the base as possible with the armed SADM with Meg in the backseat as she attempts to deactivate it.

    'Brig Break', in particular, shows Harm in his true 'loose cannon' form. At every turn he defies Maj. Aspinal's orders, and contradicts his every decision. He acts on his own volition, and it is directly as a result of his concern for his partner's safety.

    It's also good here to see Harm and Kate interact. It's perhaps the kind of relationship we would have seen had Andrea Parker been allowed to remain as Harm's partner for the entire JAG series. There's some wonderful playful banter between the two prior to the brig break, and there's also some sparks of frustration when Harm senses Kate is keeping pertinent information from him. Kate had known all along that Quinn was in reality Green, and knew of his undercover operation. She admits they didn't know that Gunny Gentry had been involved.

    And if one pays close attention, one will know which of the Lt.s was correct about the access code the Gunny used for arming the SADM. (But don't tell Harm, because the wrong woman wouldn't want him to know that.)moreless
James Nardini

James Nardini

PO Toby Davis

Guest Star

Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White

PO Peter Quinn

Guest Star

Wayne Duvall

Wayne Duvall


Guest Star

Andrea Parker

Andrea Parker

Lt. Caitlin 'Kate' Pike

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When she's pulled off the boat, Meg is wearing her shoes (~32:35). She's pulled back on the boat barefoot having lost her shoes in the water (~33:11). Later on her captor has shoes for her to wear as she gets off the boat (~35:35) Where'd he get them?

    • Goof: The countdown on the SADM reads 2000 for 20 minutes and 0020 for 20 seconds but it also shows numbers like 1285 which should be impossible.

    • Lt. Kate Pike and Lt. Meg Austin have a minor disagreement about the proper title of the visitor's registration form for the brig.
      At the start of the episode, Kate believes the forms are called "dash seven-seven-four-oh-ones"; Meg counters this by saying she believes they are called "dash seven-seven-five-oh-ones".
      The dispute comes to a head at the climax of the episode when Meg is trying to disarm a SADM using a code entered by Gunny Gentry. Since the Gunny had perversely tormented Meg by telling her the 5-digit code he picked "has a seven in it", Meg, Harm and Kate desperately try to choose a string of numbers with a seven in it that Gunny might have used on a regular basis.
      Meg thinks about the visitor's registration form, and Kate once again states that they're 77401, and Meg says they're 501s. Harm just yells for Meg to try them both.
      When she does, the countdown finally stops at 7 seconds. "It's disarmed," Meg says with relief. If we were paying attention to the start of the episode, we would remember which one was right: Gunnery Sgt. Gentry confirms that Meg is correct when she first enters to see Petty Officer Quinn, who says, "Do you have your -77501s, ma'am?"

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Meg: We're looking for a five digit code with a seven.
      Harm: How much time?
      Meg: Seven minutes. Funny huh?
      Kate and Harm: No!

    • Kate: You didn't tell her?
      Harm: Must have slipped my mind.
      Meg: Happens a lot.
      Kate: I had the same problem with him.

    • Kate: So, how are you and Meg getting along?
      Harm: She has this thing about trying to prove she's as good as any male officer.
      Kate: Don't we all.

    • Harm: So why aren't you handling this Quinn defense?
      Kate: Believe me, I wanted to. But Major Aspinal's taken over the Provost Marshal's Office here, and he's one by-the-book Marine.
      Harm: Nothing wrong with that.
      Kate: Listen to you! You threw away the book when you were 16.
      Harm: Not true. I just read a different book.

    • Kate: Admiral Brovo's last act before going into exile was to transfer me to CINPAC. I figured Hawaii, here I come! But the plane stopped in Seattle. So, I stowed the bikini and bought mittens.
      Harm: I'd love to see you in them.
      Kate: My mittens?
      Harm: Mmm-hmm. Just your mittens.

    • (Lt. Meg Austin arrives at the Brig to interview Petty Officer Quinn. While walking past, two other prisoners (Davis and Jessie) ogle her and make lewd remarks. She ignores them and after having a look at Quinn as he reclines on his cot, she heads to the interview room.)
      Davis: Oooh! She likes you, Quinn.
      Jessie: We didn't get no woman officer defendin' us.
      Quinn: You're too pretty for a female lawyer, Jessie. And Davis is too horny.
      Jessie: What's that make you?
      Quinn: Well, I'm between pretty and horny. Guess that makes me pretty horny.

    • Gunnery Sgt. Gentry: This clears 2 officers, Ma'am.
      Meg: My partner will be along shortly.
      Gunnery Sgt. Gentry: Good cause I wouldn't want you going in there alone.
      Meg: And why's that, Gunnery Sgt... Gentry?
      Gunnery Sgt. Gentry: You're a female, Ma'am.
      Meg: That doesn't mean that I'm incapable of interviewing prisoners by myself.

    • Meg: What's the rush?
      Harm: Rush?
      Meg: Speed limits 55. You've been doing 70 since we got off the ferry.
      Harm: Yeah, after mach 1 I never could go back to 55.

    • Harm: There is always a wild card, Kate. If you don't learn that at Spook school, you should have at Harvard Law.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Utek (Escape)
      Slovakia: Utek z vazenia (Prison Break)

    • This episode was originally scheduled to air on October 14, 1995 - but was pre-empted by the baseball playoffs which aired on NBC. It was re-scheduled to air on this night instead.