This episode dealt with three plots...the death of a Marine and his journey home, the second an investigation into vests worn by soldiers and Marines in Iraq...and the mission by that Marine's platoon to avenge the ambush that killed him.
As a huge JAG fan and as a veteran, I enjoy the military storylines and how the episodes tie together, but this one got to me. I'm not ashamed to say that tears flowed while watching this. No one, NO ONE, should ever have to receive a visit from Casualty Branch, but death is a part of war... a fact that can't be changed. The personal nature of PFC Joe Smithfield's journey from battlefield to Arlington is heartbreaking and stunningly realistic, and will leave you with a appreciation for those involved in the bereavement cycle. Harm is in fine character as he helps Joe's mother through several difficult tasks, but watch for Mattie...her role in this episode takes on a new light. The plot that investigates the vests is smaller yet just as important, dealing with not only the generic problems with the vest, but why Smithfield's vest failed. The third plot began with the attack that Smithfield died in and ended with those responsible being caught. The scene that is tear inducing is at the end, and that I won't spoil. Bravo to Donald P. Bellisario.
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