Bud Roberts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bud J. Roberts, Jr.
Jag bio labyorteaux.jpg
Patrick Labyorteaux as Lieutenant Commander Bud Roberts Jr.
First appearance A New Life (09/23/1995)
Last appearance Fair Winds and Following Seas (04/29/2005)
Portrayed by Patrick Labyorteaux
Occupation Judge Advocate, USN
Family Bud "Big Bud" Roberts, Sr. (father)
Michael "Mikey" Roberts (brother)
Spouse(s) Harriet Sims[1]
Children 5
Rank Lieutenant Commander
Alma mater George Mason University School of Law

Lieutenant Commander Bud J. Roberts, Jr. JAGC, USN (played by Patrick Labyorteaux) is a character in the JAG TV series.


Son of a retired Master Chief, Roberts joined the Navy, and as an Ensign was assigned to sea duty aboard the USS Seahawk as the Public Affairs officer under Captain Ross. It was during this role as the PAO aboard the Seahawk, that he first met Lt. Harmon Rabb, and his partner Lt.(JG) Caitlin Pike, when they arrived to investigate a murder; this got him interested in a career in law, and it was later Lt.(JG) Meg Austin who recommended him for transfer to JAG prior to her own transfer from JAG staff. He attended law school in the evenings at George Mason University School of Law and, upon scoring top grades in his finals, was assigned extra legal responsibilities and acted as a trial counsel for special courts-martial. Sarah MacKenzie and his wife Harriet Sims are the only people Roberts will allow to view his law school grades. He, his younger brother Mikey (Michael Bellisario) and sister Winifred (Winnie) had a somewhat strained relationship with their father, who raised them himself after the death of their mother, due to his physical and sometimes abusive methods of disciplining them. Bud's last meeting with LCDR Rabb prior to his transfer to JAG Headquarters was in the first season episode "Skeleton Crew," when Rabb had been dispatched to investigate the murder of a former Academy classmate (and a love interest).

Roberts is well liked and well respected by everyone at JAG headquarters, and is often considered one of the better trial lawyers there. His success rate in the courtroom is often contributed to by his opponents' underestimation of him and his abilities. Harm had once said of him, "Watch out for his 'Aw, shucks, I have a lot to learn' routine", alluding to Roberts' ability to appear less intelligent than he actually was. After returning to JAG headquarters following the loss of his right leg from a landmine, Bud was assigned to working Disability cases; he proved his worth to JAG when he investigated and successfully turned in a refusal of benefits when he noticed a sailor damaging his eyes with self-inflicted laser burns. Shortly thereafter, Bud returned to full limited duty in the court room.

Though not the physical type, Bud has been known to become so when the situation demands it; he once caught a punch thrown by his father, and was able to subdue the larger man without difficulty. The incident where his jaw was broken when he stepped between two simultaneous punches from Rabb and the Australian officer Lt. Cmdr Mic Brumby outside of an Australian courtroom had more to do with the physical limitations of the human body than lack of physical prowess. At the time of the taping, actor Patrick Labyorteaux had earlier suffered an accident that had broken his jaw, causing it to be wired shut and producers opted to write it into the storyline.

LtJG Roberts married Ensign Harriett Sims in 1998.[1] Together, they had five children:

  • A.J. Roberts (named in the honor of RAdm A.J. Chegwidden, however not taking his proper first and middle names Albert Jethro.)
  • Sarah Roberts (named in the honor of Lt.Col Sarah MacKenzie). Unfortunately, the child died due to complications in childbirth.
  • James Kirk Roberts (named in the honor of Capt James T. Kirk). Bud was a big Star Trek fan.
  • Unnamed twins (a boy and a girl) born towards the end of the series (the girl is called Nikki in episode "Straits of Malacca").

Lieutenant Roberts was assigned as Judge Advocate on the USS Seahawk during the beginning of the War on Terrorism in 2002. He lost a leg trying to save a boy from a field of landmines in Afghanistan that year.[2] He was transferred back to JAG HQ after his operation and proving that he was still able to meet the fitness requirements of the U.S. Navy.

Roberts was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 2004 in "Hail and Farewell" Part 1, which was the final act of command of the Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, at his dining out. Bud had already been passed over for promotion twice, meaning that if he were to be passed over a third time, he would have been discharged from the Navy.

In the series' final episode, LCDR Roberts chose to remain at JAG HQ after being offered billets by Captain Rabb and Lt.Col MacKenzie.

Bud appeared in episode 2 ("Hung Out to Dry") of the JAG spin-off NCIS. He and fellow cast member Admiral A.J. Chegwidden played by John M Jackson are the only two people who have appeared in this show as the same character they were in the parent show.

Dates of promotion[edit]

  • Promoted to Lieutenant in episode 4.19 The Adversaries (original air date April 13, 1999)
  • Promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in episode 9.23 Hail and Farewell (Part 1) (original air date May 21, 2004)

Bud's Awards and Decorations[edit]

Bronze star
Purple Heart Navy Unit Commendation National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
  • Bud was awarded the Purple Heart after stepping on a landmine, and losing his right leg.

Nuclear Football[edit]

In one episode, Lieutenant Roberts was selected to carry the nuclear football. He had trepidations about this duty, as he was worried that he would be responsible for the deaths of many innocent people. While he was on duty as the Military Aide to the White House, the President whose "nuclear football" he was guarding (George W. Bush) attended a conference. During this conference, Bud had to go to the bathroom. When he reemerges, the President is gone. Bud then runs the three miles to the White House with the 40 pound nuclear football. This closely resembles a real event, when President Bill Clinton once left a meeting in such haste that he left behind his military aide, who then ran to the White House.


  1. ^ a b "Wedding Bell Blues". JAG. Season 3. Episode 23. May 12, 1998. CBS.
  2. ^ "Enemy Below". JAG. Season 7. Episode 24.