jag: Wikis

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Format Adventure, Mystery,
Legal Drama, Thriller
Created by Donald P. Bellisario
Written by Donald P. Bellisario
Dana Coen
Stephen Zito
and more...
Starring David James Elliott (1-10)
Catherine Bell (2-10)
Patrick Labyorteaux (1-10)
John M. Jackson (1-9)
Karri Turner (2-10)
Tracey Needham (1)
Scott Lawrence (7-10)
Zoe McLellan (7-10)
Theme music composer Bruce Broughton
Opening theme Theme from JAG
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 10
No. of episodes 227 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Donald P. Bellisario
Producer(s) Chip Vucelich
Chas. Floyd Johnson
David Bellisario
Location(s) Big Bear Lake, CA
El Mirage Dry Lake, CA
Valencia, CA (studio set)
Cinematography Hugo Cortina (1995-2001)
David J. Miller (2004)
Larry Lindsey (1995-1996)
Running time approx. 42-44 minutes
Production company(s) Belisarius Productions
Paramount Television
NBC Productions (1995-1996)
Distributor CBS (1997-2005)
NBC (1995-1996)
Original channel NBC (1995-1996)
CBS (1997-2005)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 23, 1995April 29, 2005
Related shows NCIS
NCIS: Los Angeles

JAG (the American Military acronym for Judge Advocate General) is an American adventure/legal drama television show that was produced by Belisarius Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television and, for the first season only, NBC Productions. Originally conceived as Top Gun meets A Few Good Men, JAG was first aired on NBC on September 23, 1995, but was later cancelled on May 22, 1996 after finishing 77th in the ratings. With a network change, rival network CBS picked up the series for a midseason replacement, beginning on January 3 1997. CBS's decision to give JAG another chance would prove very profitable, as they aired it for nine additional seasons until April 29, 2005, for a total of ten seasons. In total, 227 episodes were produced and the show was also seen in over 100 countries. Due to the show's popularity, the show entered syndication early in 1999 and it is still regularly repeated around the world, mostly on the USA Network.



The series depicts JAG officers, though heavily romanticized, applying the stipulations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and international law as well as providing conventional television melodrama. In its initial phase, the show relied much on Hollywood military-prop suppliers and existing stock footage from other well-known naval and military films, including Top Gun, The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger. The Department of Defense later recognized the series as positive for its public image and therefore granted official support, providing the producers access to military installations and equipment. It is so far the only television show to have been officially endorsed by both the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. From the beginning, the show regularly incorporated elements of real-life military actions into its storylines, e.g. the aftermath of the Bosnian War, the attack on the USS Cole (DDG-67), the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism. In the wake of the above attacks the show experienced a boost in ratings and became a fixture on Nielsen's top 10.


The final ensemble cast centers on Captain Harmon "Harm" Rabb, Jr., USN (David James Elliott), and Lieutenant Colonel Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie, USMC (Catherine Bell). Bell had guest-starred on the final episode of season one, entitled "Skeleton Crew" as a Naval Officer that Rabb was supposed to have met for dinner; she was murdered and Rabb was arrested for her murder. This plotline was left open until a later season, when Bell was a regular character, and the loose ends of a doppelganger were revealed. Rabb was promoted to Captain in the second-to-last episode of the series. Harm and Mac's obvious love for each other, which must not be allowed to interfere with their professional relationship, is a long-running thematic element.

Elliott played Harmon Rabb from the start of the series in 1995. Rabb's original partner in the pilot was Navy Lieutenant Caitlin Pike, played by Andrea Parker. She in turn left the series to star in The Pretender (she later returned as a guest star in three episodes), and was replaced by Tracey Needham as Lieutenant JG Meg Austin. Needham left the series in 1996 and was replaced by Bell from season 2 on (old footage of her character was used in a season 3 episode).

Other members of the cast included Lieutenant Commander Bud Roberts (played by Patrick Labyorteaux), first a PAO on the aircraft carrier USS Seahawk (CVN-65), then later a junior Judge Advocate at JAG. While on an assignment to the Seahawk, he met his future wife, Lieutenant Harriet Simms, played by Karri Turner, who would eventually come to be the administrative aide (from the Inspector General's Office), who held the office together. Bud's clumsiness, both physical and verbal, and geeky interests (he's a Trekkie, fascinated by the paranormal, and a computer expert), together with his wife's maternal nature, were a frequent source of comic relief. His clumsiness was played down as the series went on. Bud lost the lower half of his right leg in Afghanistan in the last episode of season 7, while attempting the heroic rescue of an Afghan boy playing in a mine field. For his actions, he received the Purple Heart and later was able to return to partial active duty with a prosthetic leg.

Nanci Chambers, wife of David James Elliott, played Lieutenant Loren Singer. She portrayed this character as a loathsome villainess to great acclaim.[citation needed] Singer was consumed by her continual want to further her career at the expense of those around her. She often clashed with the other characters. Especially praised was an episode in which Singer hurt fan-loved Harriet by using the death of her baby Sarah to discredit her testimony in court.[citation needed] In a later episode, however, Harriet got a measure of revenge by punching out Singer (7.23 "In Country"). Singer was murdered, with suspicion falling on Harm, who was eventually cleared (the two part story detailing the investigation into Singer's murder was used as the pilot for the spin-off NCIS).



Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter visited the set and made a cameo appearance in the sixth season episode "Liberty".]]

Almost all episodes of the series feature scenes filmed aboard real United States Navy ships. The ship most widely used was the USS Forrestal (CV-59), commissioned by the U.S. Navy as a training carrier at the time. Most of the Nimitz class carriers also appear in one or several episodes. The USS Saratoga (CV-60), USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) were also used in the series.

USS Enterprise was used as the fictional USS Seahawk in many episodes. USS Forrestal and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) were also used as the fictional Seahawk, both in Season Four and for one episode each. For scenes filmed aboard Enterprise, the whole crew wore caps reading USS Seahawk - CVN 65 so they matched the ship's real pennant number.

USS Forrestal was featured in many episodes, most prominently two in which she portrayed the fictional USS Reprisal. In these episodes, all crew members wore caps with the CV 35 pennant number. This number was totally out of sequence with the pennant numbers of active USN carriers at the time the series was filmed, but was intentional. In fact CV 35 would have been the real pennant number of an Essex class carrier actually called Reprisal, which was canceled during construction in 1945 when WW2 ended and broken up in 1949 after consideration had been given to completing her to a revised design roughly similar to that of USS Oriskany (CV-34).

Only six USN ships featured in the series were called by their real name: USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Coral Sea (CV-43), USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), USS America (CV-66), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and USS Belknap (CG-26).

The Kitty Hawk is mentioned in one of the Season Three episodes, but never seen on screen. The America is the murder scene in one of the Season Three episode, but shots supposedly depicting her are in fact shots of the Forrestal (the ship most widely used in the series, as she was at the time used as the Navy's training carrier based in Pensacola, and therefore more easily available for filming). Real shots of the Roosevelt in harbor are used in one episode of Season One.

Season Three opener Ghost ship was filmed entirely aboard the Hornet while she was laid up at Alameda Naval Air Station before being preserved as a museum ship. Part of the storyline in Ghost Ship deals with the final fate of Hornet. It implies (though not explicitly stating it) that she was eventually scrapped due to severe fire damage sustained during the course of the episode, contrary to her real-life fate as a National Landmark. The sub-plot in Ghost Ship indicating that the ship's double hull had to be cut open from the inside to repair torpedo damage during WWII is apocryphal (though it does serve the main plot well).

File:Zito on jag web
Episode being filmed in 2003 with guest star Barry Zito

Hornet never suffered any torpedo damage during her active service with the USN. The only US carriers that did were USS Lexington (CV-2), USS Yorktown (CV-5), USS Wasp (CV-7), USS Saratoga (CV-3), and USS Intrepid (CV-11). Lexington, Wasp and Yorktown were sunk by the torpedo hits (plus bomb hits in the two first cases). Saratoga survived torpedo hits, but her hull structure was totally different from the Essex class carriers, including bulges and not a double hull. Intrepid was holed by an air-dropped torpedo, but the damage was to her rudder and to the single-skinned portion of the hull near the stern. So the kind of procedure described in the episode never actually happened, though it would have been technically feasible on an Essex class carrier.

Coral Sea is also featured in one Season Three episode and Season Four episode Angels 30. But she had already been scrapped by the time the episodes supposedly taking place aboard her were filmed. So part of the Season Three episode uses archive footage of the Coral Sea dating back from the early 90's just before her decommissioning, and other parts use shots of the Forrestal. The majority of the exterior scenes from Angels 30 were filmed aboard Forrestal and a few aboard Enterprise.

Belknap is mentioned in Season Four episode Going after Francesca as the Sixth Fleet flagship, a role she actually never fulfilled in real life. Actually Belknap had already been decommissioned and was laid up in the USA awaiting scrapping when the episode was filmed. But (unlike Coral Sea) all exterior shots are actual shots of Belknap before her decommissioning.

The series also includes appearances by Tarawa class amphibious assault ships,Ticonderoga class cruisers, Arleigh Burke class destroyers and Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates. In one of the episodes, the Spanish frigate SPS Santa María (F81) is used to depict a fictional USN Perry class ship (denoted by her NATO pennant number "F 81" painted under the bridge, instead of the US practice of having a "number only" ID painted on the bow).

Series end

In 2005, David James Elliott announced he would leave the show to pursue other projects after not being offered a renewal from the producers. The show introduced new younger characters (including former As the World Turns star Chris Beetem). Producers also thought about relocating the setting of the show to Naval Base San Diego, and even set a season ten episode there. Nevertheless, CBS announced the cancellation of the show after ten seasons on April 4 2005. The final episode, "Fair Winds and Following Seas", which aired April 29 2005, saw Harm and Mac assigned different stations: Harm in London, Mac in San Diego. They finally confront their feelings and decide to get married. The episode ends with them tossing a JAG challenge coin to decide who will give up their career to be with the other. However, in keeping with JAG tradition, the outcome of the toss is never seen, as the screen fades to black.



In 2003, the series spawned the spin-off NCIS in a two-part episode in which Rabb is accused of the murder of Lieutenant Singer. The two episodes, titled "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown," focused on the NCIS team, with the JAG regulars as supporting characters. Whereas the JAG episodes were primarily oriented on courtroom drama, NCIS is more focused on the field criminal investigations. NCIS also follows a different storytelling format than JAG, emphasizing character humor more than its parent program.

To date, two characters from JAG have appeared on NCIS: Patrick Labyorteaux reprised his role of Bud Roberts in the episode "Hung Out to Dry", while recurring guest star Alicia Coppola appeared in her JAG role of Lieutenant Commander Faith Coleman in several episodes.

The two-part JAG episode in which the NCIS cast were introduced was later rebroadcast as a regular episode of NCIS, although it was not included in the subsequent Season 1 DVD box set release.

NCIS: Los Angeles

CBS is currently developing an NCIS spin-off series that will be entitled NCIS: Los Angeles.[1][2] Filming is scheduled to start in February 2009, with the characters introduced in a two-part NCIS episode this year.[3] The characters listed were: Callen, Nate "Doc" Getz, Kensi Blye and Sam Hanna. Crew members will include Michael B. Kaplan, Lev L. Spiro, Jerry London, Sheldon Epps and Mark Saraceni.[4]

Chris O'Donnell will be playing the lead character, Callen, an enigmatic lead agent whose natural talent for undercover work is legend.[5] LL Cool J, will be playing the role of Special Agent Sam Hanna, an ex-Navy SEAL, who works in the undercover unit of NCIS in Los Angeles, and is also fluent in Arabic and an expert on Middle Eastern culture."[1]

Louise Lombard, Peter Cambor, and Daniela Ruah were confirmed to be cast as leads of the new spin-off. Playing the female lead and NCIS Agent (called "Lara"), a psychologist and NCIS Agent (called "Nate") and forensic investigator and NCIS Agent (called "Kensi") respectively, they will appear on-screen for the first time in an episode of NCIS that airs in the spring, followed by a pilot of the new series.[6]

U.S. television ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of JAG.

Note: U.S. network television seasons generally start in late September and end in late May, which coincides with the completion of the May sweeps.
Season Season premiere Season final TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
4 September 22, 1998 May 25, 1999 1998–1999 #18 9.74
5 September 21, 1999 May 23, 2000 1999–2000 #21 9.71
6 October 3, 2000 May 22, 2001 2000–2001 #26 9.2
7 September 25, 2001 May 21, 2002 2001–2002 #15 14.48

Awards and nominations


ASCAP Award:

  • Top TV Series (x2) - 2004
  • Top TV Series - 2003
  • Top TV Series (x2) - 2000


  • Outstanding Costuming for a Series (episode "Gypsy Eyes") - 1999
  • Outstanding Costuming for a Series (episode "Cowboys & Cossacks") - 1997
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series - Single Camera Production (pilot episode) - 1996

Imagen Foundation Awards:

  • Primetime Television Series (episode "Retreat Hell") - 2001

TV Guide Awards:



  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) - Steven Bramson (composer) (episode "Need To Know") - 2003
  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) - Steven Bramson (music by) (episode "Adrift", part 2) - 2002
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series - Hugo Cortina (director of photography) (episode "Adrift", part 1) - 2001
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series (episode "Boomerang", part 2) - 2000
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (episode "Gypsy Eyes") - 1999
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (episode "The Good Of The Service") - 1998
  • Outstanding Costuming for a Series - L. Paul Dafelmair (costume supervisor) (episode "Cowboys & Cossacks") - 1997
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costuming for a Series - L. Paul Dafelmair (costume supervisor) (episode "Smoked") - 1996
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Main Title Theme Music - 1996

American Cinema Editors, USA:

  • Best Edited Motion Picture for Commercial Television (the pilot movie) - 1996

American Cinema Foundation, USA:

  • Television Series - Drama - 2000

ACS Awards:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series' (Hugo Cortina) (episode "Gypsy Eyes") - 1999

Cinema Audio Society, USA

  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Series (episode "Gypsy Eyes") - 1999

Tim Philben (re-recording mixer)
Ross Davis (re-recording mixer)
Grover B. Helsley (re-recording mixer)
Sean Rush (production mixer)

Humanitas Prize:

  • 60 Minute Category (episode "Angels 30") - 1999

Motion Picture Sound Editors:

  • Best Sound Editing - Television Episodic - Sound Effects & Foley - 1999

TV Guide Awards:

Young Artist Awards:

  • Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Young Actress (Hallee Hirsh) - 2004
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (Aysia Polk) - 2000


For a full list of JAG episodes, see list of JAG episodes.

DVD and VHS releases

On September 1, 1998, the pilot episode of JAG was released on VHS in the U.S. by Paramount Home Entertainment.[7]

CBS Home Entertainment has released Seasons 1–8 of JAG on DVD in Region 1. Season 5 marked the first time the DVDs had a 16:9 aspect ratio. [1]

Season Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Extra features
1 22 July 25 2006 October 16 2006 October 16 2006 The region 1 release also includes an episode commentary by producer Donald Bellisario, behind-the-scenes footage, making-of features and the rarely-seen "Skeleton Crew" season finale. Region 2 and 4 releases do not contain special features.
2 15 November 7 2006 September 10 2007 August 16 2007 Episode commentaries by the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage and making-of features. Region 2 and 4 releases do not contain special features.
3 24 March 20 2007 June 24 2008 June 5 2008
4 24 August 21 2007 October 22 2008 October 2 2008 Gag reel, other special features. Region 2 and 4 releases do not contain special features.
5 25 January 29 2008 May 7 2009 May 7 2009 Gag reel
6 24 May 20 2008 September 14 2009[8]
7 24 November 4 2008
8 24 March 17 2009
9 24 N/A
10 22 N/A

See also

Notes & references

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Jag, and JAG







jag (plural jags)

  1. a sharp projection
  2. a binge or overindulgence, as in alcohol or drug use.
  3. a one-horse cart load, or, in modern times, a truck load, of something.



to jag

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to jag (third-person singular simple present jags, present participle jagging, simple past and past participle jagged)

  1. to cut unevenly

See also


  • Anagrams of agj
  • JGA



  • IPA: /laːg/, [læjˀ]


jag n. (singular definite jaget, plural indefinite jag)

  1. hurry, rush
  2. twinge, (a sudden sharp pain; a darting local pain of momentary continuance; as, a twinge in the arm or side)




  1. Imperative of jage.





  1. chase; imperative of jage



From Proto-Indo-Iranian *Hagni-, from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ngʷni-. Cognate with Sanskrit अग्नि (agní).


jag f. (plural jaga)

  1. fire



From Proto-Indo-European *éǵh₂




  1. I

Simple English

JAG (the American military acronym for Judge Advocate General) is an American adventure, crime, and drama television show created by Donald P. Bellisario. It was on air between 1995 and 2005. The series is about the JAG officers Harmon "Harm" Rabb, Jr. (David James Elliott) and Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie (Catherine Bell). In 2003, the series spawned the spin-off NCIS.


  • David James Elliott as Capt. Harmon Harm Rabb Jr.
  • John M. Jackson as Rear Admiral (upper half) A. J. Chegwidden (1996–2004)
  • Tracey Needham as Lieutenant. j.G. (junior Grade) Meg Austin (1995–1996)
  • Catherine Bell as Lt. Colonel Sarah Mac MacKenzie (1997–2005)
  • Patrick Labyorteaux as Lt. Commander. Bud Roberts Jr. (1997–2005)
  • Karri Turner as Lieutenant Harriet Sims (1997–2005)
  • Steven Culp as Clayton Webb

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