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Admiral A.J. Chegwidden (John M. Jackson) who is a former Navy SEAL will continue his role as the tough guy with a soft side who oversees all JAG cases. We were introduced to Chegwidden's romantic side when he started dating Dr. Sydney Walden (Cynthia Sikes). This season, Chegwidden is introduced to Sydney's son (Sean Murray), who will do his best to complicate their relationship.

Lieutenant Bud Roberts (Patrick Labyorteaux), a former JAG law clerk turned attorney, will continue to impress his colleagues with his clever legal maneuvers. Bud will work even more closely with Harm as Chegwidden assigns him to handle some of the most important cases. In real life, Patrick Labyorteaux's writing skills will be showcased in an episode of JAG which is tentatively set to air in October. This is Patrick's first episode for JAG.

Lt. JG Harriet Sims (Karri Turner) is an administrative assistant who married Bud and had their baby last season. Sims is due with their second child this year, but Bud and Chegwidden get a scare when complications with her pregnancy arise at work.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant Victor Galindez (Randy Vasquez), continues his duties running the JAG office. Galindez' background doing police work as a Marine MP comes in handy when Harm and Mac need an extra hand in their investigations. Notes Bellisario, "We wanted another character who was not an officer and we also wanted a Hispanic. There are a lot of Hispanics in the Marines and Navy. It was time they were represented."

Chuck Carrington (Petty Officer Tiner), began as a day player three years ago but his role has since increased, thanks partly to a flood of e-mail from young female fans. In fact, JAG's audience has grown increasingly younger, a surprise since the under-35 demographic has little familiarity with the military milieu of the series. But, then again, JAG has been a surprise from the beginning.

The essence of that success, Bellisario believes, is the show's connection with real events even as it plies the television waters as an entertaining drama. Past episodes have been inspired by the Kelly Flynn imbroglio, the disappearance and rescue of Scott O'Grady, incidents of sexual harassment, the case of a Marine officer court-martialed for disobeying orders, and the false report of the military using chemical weapons against its own troops.

Says Bellisario: "Dramatic, action adventure programming has all but disappeared from the airwaves. I don't do sitcoms; I don't do urban neurotic dramas. I created JAG because it's the kind of television I like to watch. Besides that, I served four years in the Marine Corps and remain fascinated by the military's code of ethics--God, duty, honor, country--and how, in these rapidly changing times, it still survives. That's what Harm and Mac, and JAG as a whole, represent."

That sense of good and evil, and of heroism, is also what has resonated with an ever- growing audience for JAG, a series that has survived and prospered in the storm-tossed seas of television.

 
 

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