Every legal drama needs a case where no one wins.
That was certainly what happened on The Code Season 1 Episode 7.
The case involving Lt. Zephyr "Tark" Tarkanian was a dog from the get-go.
Tark had already been nominated for a Medal of Honor.
But instead of going home with his unit, he stayed, fighting with a local militia against the Syrian army in what he saw as a moral imperative.
Even hero Marines don't get to make that call. So when he got picked up, the Marine lawyers suddenly had to deal with a textbook case of desertion against a soon-to-be-decorated lieutenant.
No one wanted any part of this, especially the expected attendant publicity. So Abe, Harper, Maya, and Trey worked out a slap on the wrist for Trey via text, during their off-hours.
Then Tark rejected the deal in court, choosing instead to essentially explain that he was right and the military was wrong, never a strong defense in a court-martial.
Which meant that Abe, Harper, and Maya had to head to Syria to investigate Tark's "crime," which proved the meat of this episode.
Harper really got thrown into the fire.
Not at first, mind you. Initially, while Abe and Maya questioned a local Turkish commander, Harper sat around shooting the shit and connecting with Captain Dyer.
Then things got hairy when she went out on patrol with Dyer and his unit, as a firefight broke out between the Syrian army and the local militia, with the Americans caught in the middle. Including Harper.
From the promo, you would have thought this battle went on for most of the hour. It didn't, but it did have a lasting impact on Harper.
That's because her friendly new acquaintance Dyer was shot and died right next to her.
That also meant that Harper was next in the chain of command and had to take over the battle strategy. She was smart enough to know what she didn't know. so she asked the Marines that had been there for help.
She figured out how to get her troops on the roof of a nearby building, and soon they had driven off the attackers.
But the experience had changed her, whether she could admit that to herself or not.
Abe knew as soon as he saw her afterward because he had been in combat before.
He tried to convince her to take some time off, but she refused. Still, she was understandably off her game, and their flimsy prosecution suffered as a result.
The trio came back from Syria with nothing but three dead Marines since nobody among the allied forces would say a bad word about Tark.
Even after Rami brought Harper the peach box which yielded photos of Tark fighting with enemy combatants, it was too late to pull out anything resembling a win.
So, after a nudge from Trey, Abe ended up dropping the charges against Tark, who went on to collect his medal.
Was Tark wrong?
The cardinal rule of the military is to obey orders. But policymakers don't often have all the information that those on the ground do. And too often choices are made based on political expediency, not moral correctness.
Tark was standing up for what he believed in, even if he went about it in totally the wrong way.
Trey was acting JAG because Col. Turnbull went to Germany to see her rescued son Adam, who had gone mysteriously incommunicado.
She always found out that she had gotten bad intel about Adam's condition. She got told he was dehydrated, but the fact was that he had his leg amputated above the knee because of sepsis.
Glenn's dreams for her Marine son soon disappeared as she became aware of his actual condition.
Even worse, she had to support him while tempering his unrealistic timeline for returning to the fight with his unit. Once the drugs wear off, Adam will better realize what he's up against.
The colonel will be facing another battle when she returns home, as Rami was still stuck working at his new assignment, his penalty for speaking out on The Code Season 1 Episode 6.
I can't see the office functioning well with her adjutant, Lt. Glen "One N" Eick, substituting for the uber-efficient Rami.
Good old Rami, checking in on Harper even while he's in limbo.
The fact that Rami's still appearing on screen rather than just disappearing makes me believe this is a short-term situation, that Glenn (with two Ns) will use her connections to get him back soon.
I miss his precisely worded exchanges with Abe or frankly any of the lead characters. The place isn't the same without him there.
To no one's surprise, Abe's relationship with Alex is getting messier.
For the kids' sake, they were trying to be careful, but Dani caught them in an embrace.
This put Abe in a quandry.
At some level, he felt like he was betraying his late friend Jason by going beyond the friend zone with Alex. He also didn't want to damage his relationship with her children by seemingly taking Jason's place.
It was no secret at work what was going on with Abe and Alex, but there seemed to be support for this taboo arrangement.
Work kept Abe away for a time. When they got together again, Alex tried to give him an out, but he wasn't buying it. He wanted to stay, regardless of how complicated things might become.
SPOILER: It's an encore of the pilot next Monday. Why CBS wants to disrupt the narrative flow, I have no idea.
It's not impossible to find the pilot as you can watch The Code online.
What did you think of Tark?
Did Harper acquit herself well this episode?
Is Abe making the right choice?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.