|Captain Harmon Rabb Jr.|
David James Elliott as
Captain Harmon Rabb Jr.
|First appearance||A New Life (September 23, 1995)|
|Last appearance||Fair Winds and Following Seas (April 29, 2005)|
|Portrayed by||David James Elliott|
|Occupation||Judge Advocate in the United States Navy|
In the pilot episode, he is introduced as a young, Navy lieutenant serving as a Judge Advocate. The viewer follows his naval career from that point as the series progresses on. Considering the longevity of JAG, there is plenty of background information on his past life and military service that are given at various points in the series.
Youth & family
Harmon Rabb, Jr. was born on October 25, 1963 in La Jolla, California to naval aviator Lieutenant Harmon Rabb, Sr. USN and Patricia Reed. He is a third generation aviator. His grandfather was killed flying off the USS Hornet in 1942 during the Second World War. During the Vietnam War, his father flew F-4 Phantoms off the USS Ticonderoga, an Essex class aircraft carrier. On Christmas Eve 1969 while flying an Iron Hand mission, Harmon Rabb, Sr. was shot down over North Vietnam and was considered MIA. Harm's mother went on to happily remarry Frank Burnett, a senior VP of Chrysler Corporation.
When he was 16, Harm went to Laos to look for his father together with Colonel Francis Stryker. Years later, Harm was able to determine his father's fate. After he was shot down, Harmon Rabb, Sr. was taken to Russia, escaped from his captors, was involved with a Russian woman (producing one son), and was killed protecting her from Russian soldiers attempting to rape her in 1980. Harm met his half-brother, Sergeant Sergei Zhukov a helicopter pilot of the Russian Army (played by Jade Carter), who was accused of selling weapons to Chechen rebels. Sergei was later shot down and captured by Chechen rebels.
Nearly every Christmas Eve, Harm visits the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. to pay tribute to his father. In one episode, he met Jenny Lake (played by Catherine Bell) who was present on the USS Ticonderoga when his father was shot down. On another Christmas Eve, he invited one of his father's former squadron buddies Rear Admiral Thomas Boone to the wall. Another year, Harm was surprised by Clayton Webb bringing his half-brother Sergei to see him at the wall, after Webb exchanged two trucks of wheat for Sergei's freedom from Chechnya.
Harm graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1985. His service number is #989548301. During his early naval career, Harm was a naval aviator flying F-14 Tomcats. After an accident during a night landing on an aircraft carrier, in which his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) dies, it is revealed Harm suffers from night blindness (although in later seasons this is proved to be a misdiagnosis), he recovered on his grandmother's farm in Pennsylvania, before returning to naval service. After graduating from law school at Georgetown University Law Center and passing his bar exam, he transferred to JAG. After a few years as a Judge Advocate, he had laser surgery to correct what was misdiagnosed as night blindness (actually blurred vision as a result of retinal scarring caused by service action) and resumed his career as a naval aviator. Because of the slim chance of career advancement as an aviator, Harm returned to JAG after six months of service aboard Patrick Henry. While in Patrick Henry, his call sign was "Pappy" because he was older than the other aviators. Later, the other pilots renamed him "Hammer", his father's former call sign, believing Rabb's father would have been impressed by his son's bravery.
In the season 8 episodes "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown"—the pilot for NCIS—Rabb is accused of killing Lieutenant Loren Singer (Nanci Chambers). He was defended by Lieutenant Commander Faith Coleman (Alicia Coppola). Though NCIS Special Agent Gibbs (Mark Harmon) initially thought he was the culprit, he finally was convinced of his innocence, but it was Special Agent DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) who found the proof exonerating him.
While serving at JAG, Rabb still kept up to date with his flight status. At one point, after being denied leave by his commanding officer, Rear Admiral Chegwidden, to rescue Mac, Rabb resigned his commission from the Navy. He had a short stint working for the CIA before being fired. While flying for the CIA, Harm landed a C-130 Hercules aboard the aircraft carrier USS Seahawk. While working the CIA, Rabb was certified in several different types of aircraft including the F/A 18 and C-130. Rabb was subsequently reinstated into the Navy and once again served at JAG Headquarters.
In the final episode, Rabb and longtime friend MacKenzie were engaged; also, each was offered a career promotion, but to different locations. They decided to leave to fate which of them would retire their commission and had Bud flip a coin. The outcome was never aired, and the career status of either is unknown.
Dates of promotion
- Promoted to Lieutenant commander in episode 1.13 Defensive Action (original air date March 13, 1996)
- Promoted to Commander in episode 5.9 Contemptuous Words (original air date November 23, 1999)
- Promoted to Captain in episode 10.22 Fair Winds and Following Seas (original air date April 29, 2005) and as authorized under 10 U.S.C. § 777 to assume the rank before official "pay grade" promotion,a Navy custom known as "being frocked," by Major General Gordon Cresswell.
- Lieutenant (junior grade) / Commander Caitlin Pike, USN (Andrea Parker) - left during the first season, she returned to guest in season 6 episode "Touch and Go".
- Lieutenant (junior grade) Meg Austin, USN (Tracey Needham) - Partnered with Harm for the entire Season 1, left after 1st season when JAG was first canceled by NBC.
- Lieutenant commander Tracy Manetti, USN (Tamlyn Tomita) - Harm's partner for seven episodes in season 8.
- Major / Lieutenant colonel Sarah 'Mac' MacKenzie, USMC (Catherine Bell) - Harm's long-time partner, best friend, and later fiancée.
Awards and decorations
The list below contains all of Rabb's known awards and decorations (current as of season 10). The names are given in order of precedence, according to SECNAVINST 1650.1F and the U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations (NAVPERS 1566.5G).
Harm received his first Distinguished Flying Cross for saving the injured CAG of the USS Seahawk after the modified Tomcat they were flying was damaged by Flak during an ATARS run prior to an alpha strike (pilot)(Season 1). This incident also earned Harm the respect of a former shipmate and prompted him to start wearing his wings again. Harm received his second Distinguished Flying Cross for pushing his wingman to safety using his wingman's tailhook and his F-14's windscreen (Season 5 Episode 3).
Harm lives in a small Washington, D.C. loft apartment north of Union Station that he renovated himself. During the first few seasons of JAG, he smoked Cuban cigars occasionally but then later quit as he did not like being addicted to them. He owned a classic red 1969 Corvette, but it was stolen; he would later recover the car frame. He later "rebuilt" it (the steering wheel he bought was from his original car) with help from his friend Commander Sturgis Turner, whom he met during their academy days, Harm once thought the car had been stolen, but Sturgis had taken it from his garage to get a new top placed onto it. Later, it suffered damage from a collision with an old woman attempting insurance fraud.
Harm owns a vintage Stearman plane that he named "Sarah" after his grandmother (not his partner). He likes to take friends up flying when he's not working.
Rabb has several girlfriends throughout all ten seasons, but by the end of the final season, he is finally in a relationship with Sarah 'Mac' MacKenzie. By the end of the series, they consent to marry. Before, he has been jealous of Mac's relationships with Mic Brumby and Agent Webb.
- The Prisoner" airdate May 8, 1996