Jan. 3, 1998
As Army Ranger Lieutenant Jarod Patton, Jarod seeks to find out the truth regarding a deceased Vietnam veteran, Private First Class Mark S. Clements, who was labeled as a traitor and wrongfully stripped of his honor and reputation in the early 1970's. Clements died in Vietnam when he, allegedly, accidentally stepped on a pressure-sensitive land mine called a "Toe Popper". [[When the mine is stepped on, it gives off a distinctive clicking sound, but doesn't detonate until the pressure (caused by the person stepping it) is released (by the person stepping OFF of it).]] Sensitive documents were found with his remains, which seemed to indicate that he was in the process of passing the documents on to the enemy when he died.
Believing he had been framed, Clements' daughter has spent her life trying to prove her father's innocence so that he can be honored as a hero and get his name on the Memorial Wall in Washington, DC, but she's thus far been unsuccessful is proving anything. Jarod takes up her cause, and finds out what really happened to Clements, but first he has to ingratiate himself with the Army Rangers Captain Prentiss McClaren, who was Private Clements' commanding officer in Vietnam.
Posing as Lt. Patton, Jarod manufactures and demonstrates to McClaren a new kind of helmet-mounted mini-camera, the TAC (Tactical Aniscopic Camera), then promotes the TAC to Congressman Barney Stanfield (who was also a member of McClaren's Bravo Company in Vietnam at the time Clements died). McClaren and Stanfield hope to use the new TAC in Operation Dust-Off: "a joint mission with the Colombian military to infiltrate and destroy narcotics processing facilities" owned and operated by a drug lord called Esteban Largo. If they can photograph the Rangers destroying one of Largo's processing plants, they'll both get a boost in prestige and increase their "war on drugs" financing.
IN A SIDE STORY: at The Centre, Broots is sent by Mister Raines to The Centre's Miami, Florida office where Jarod has infiltrated The Centre's computer system. Broots is to do a complete mainframe inventory of the system there. He can't, however, find an appropriate baby sitter for his daughter Debbie. Her regular sitter is sick with the German measles; her godmother is unavailable, and Broots won't leave her with someone he doesn't know. He convinces a very reluctant Miss Parker to look after her while he's gone.
At first Miss Parker resists all contact with Debbie, but finally bonds with her over their shared loss of their mothers -- (Miss Parker's loss through death, Debbie's loss through divorce and abandonment) -- and the joint unwrapping of a gift that had been left to Miss Parker by her mother, on the very day her mother died in The Centre elevator, which Miss Parker had never opened before. The gift was a volume of Little Women... and Debbie and Miss Parker take turns reading chapters in it.
MEANWHILE, Jarod goes with Bravo Company when it destroys Largo's cocaine processing plant in Monte Guadalupe, Columbia, but -- while viewing the TAC-captured video tape of the operation -- uses his visual acuity to determine that there simply wasn't enough debris in the explosion of the plant for the plant to have been fully operational when it was bombed. He determines that someone must have tipped off Largo just before the Rangers arrived, and that Largo had had time to remove most of his machinery and personnel before the Monte Guadalupe plant was destroyed.
Going through bank accounts and stock records he discovers that both Captain McClaren and Congressman Stanfield have been receiving regular, large deposits in their bank accounts from a South American cigar company called Santiago Caribe Cigars... which happens to be owned by... you guessed it: Esteban Largo. If McClaren and Stanfield were working together now to bilk and betray their country, Jarod decides, they must have been working together in Vietnam as well: but rather than protecting drug lords in Vietnam and taking the kickbacks, they were selling US secrets to the highest bidders. Clements wasn't the traitor; McClaren and Stanfield were. But Jarod has to prove that.
The only lead to the past that Clements' daughter had been able to find was a person called "Duke", whom her father had mentioned in the last letter he wrote before he died. Duke had information about a traitor in the company, Clements' had written, and Clements was going to try to find out who it was. Going over old newsreel footage of the Vietnam era, Jarod finds a tape from August 16, 1972 about the Toe Popper mines and the death of Private Clements. In the video is a young Vietnam boy named Le Xuan Duc... nicknamed "Duke" by his American soldier friends... who said he knew Private Clements and had watched him die.
Jarod tracks down Le Xuan Duc, who is now relatively wealthy and living under the name "Lenny Duke", and selling video tapes, via infomercials, about achieving "the American Dream". Jarod confronts Duke with questions about Clements' death, and even contrives to splice old newsreel footage of him into the rough cut of an infomercial video Duke is producing, but Duke refuses to go to the authorities with what he knows about Clements' death. He does tell Jarod what really happened, however:
In 1972, then a young child, Le Xuan Duc had discovered some "Classified" documents in then-Lieutenant McClaren's tent, and had told Clements about them. Clements couldn't brand McClaren as a traitor without proof, so he and Duc followed McClaren into the jungle one night to try to catch him in the act of transferring the classified documents to the enemy. McClaren knew they were following, however, and lead them into a clearing where he had planted some land mines -- and where Duc stepped on a Toe Popper.
Not wanting Duc to be injured, Clements carefully transferred his own weight onto the pressure-sensitive mine and let Duc escape. Then McClaren came out of the jungle, and shot Clements in the leg, letting him bleed until the loss of blood caused him to fall off the land mine. The mine exploded, tearing Clements apart so that no evidence of the gunshot wound was visible. McClaren then planets bits of the classified documents on Clements' remains, and branded him a traitor. In exchange for Duc's silence about the incident, McClaren saw to it that Duc and his entire family were air-lifted from war-ravaged Vietnam and settled in as naturalized citizens in the United States. Once in the US, Duc educated himself and found his fortune...
Although Lenny Duke regrets his lies, he still refuses to aid Jarod, so Jarod seeks to get a confession out of McClaren himself. He fakes a letter from Stanfield to McClaren in which the Congressman tells McClaren that their cover is blown, and that McClaren should meet him on the Rangers' testing ground in Lost Hills, Virginia. McClaren goes to the testing ground to meet Stanfield, but instead walks into a "clearing" and steps on what he believes is a Toe Popper mine. He can hear the mine's distinctive CLICK, and freezes in his tracks. Jarod appears, and at first McClaren is grateful to see him, and asks him to find someone to defuse the mine he's standing on. Then he realizes that Jarod set the mine himself... and that Jarod wants a full confession from him.
Reluctantly, angrily, McClaren admits to the truth about Clements' death, but tells Jarod that no one will take Jarod's word over his own, so the confession is worthless. Smiling, Jarod produces a camouflaged TAC, and informs McClaren that he has his confession on video tape. The public won't have to take Jarod's word about Clements' death: they'll have McClaren's own words as proof of what really happened.
Jarod then tells McClaren that he's going to shoot him to get him to move off of the Toe Popper -- just as McClaren had shot Clements. Rather than shooting McClaren in the leg, however, Jarod shoots at the mine, which immediately explodes and covers a terrified McClaren with watery red, green and yellow goo. As McClaren stands trembling, dripping with bloody-looking refuse, Jarod tells him: "Don't wet your pants, sir. It's Jell-O."
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Broots arrives to find Miss Parker and Debbie in the Tech Room. Debbie has her hair done in a flip (like Miss Parker), is wearing a leather skirt and fitted jacket (like Miss Parker), and is assuming some of the same body language and stances as Miss Parker. Stupefied and a little amused, Broots asks what happened to Debbie. Miss Parker tells him: "We went shopping..." Then, approaching Broots, she continues to him, privately, "She's a good kid... Always take care of her... or I'll hunt you down and kill you. Understand?"
Miss Parker then goes to Debbie and gives her the copy of Little Women. Debbie hugs her in return.
The episode ends with a view of the Vietnam Memorial Wall... and the addition of Private Mark S. Clements' name to it.