A Few Good Men...a question about perjury.

A Few Good Men is probably one of those movies we’ve all seen several times. I enjoyed it, yet it always leaves me wanting to rewrite the ending and get that lying sack of crap Lieutenant Kendrick arrested for perjuring himself regarding ordering the Code Red. The consequences of that perjury could have played a significant part in an unjust conviction of Dawson and Downey. In the movie, Kendrick, as far as I can tell, escapes even a comment regarding his perjury.

I was reading Wiki about the movie when I discovered this. * Kendrick would later be arrested for his perjury*. Is that an assumption, or did I miss something, or what the heck is later referring to?

There’s a Kevin Bacon line toward the end about going to arrest Kendrick.

Ross tells Kaffee that he’s going to arrest Kendrick.

Must have missed that. :frowning:

Capt. Ross: I’ll see you around campus. I gotta go arrest Kendrick.

Kaffee: Tell him I say “hi.”

Capt. Ross: [nods] Will do.

Kaffee says “Tell him I said 'Hi”."

and Ross replies “Will do.”

that may help twig your memory :slight_smile:

It never seems to shake Dawson’s sense of honor to see Kendrick get on the stand, swear to tell the truth, and then lie to cover his own ass.

And as loathsome as Kendrick is, I have a special distaste for Lt. Col. Markinson; goes into hiding, comes back to tell Kaffee what happened, shoots himself rather than testify, and leaves a note to one of the defendant’s mothers about how he can’t help her son who’s on trial for his life. What a piece of shit.

Since the OP has been answered, there’s a question I’ve always had about this movie. Would Kaffee really be risking so much to accuse Col. Jessup of ordering the code red? I think Ross even says he could go to prison for it. I thought attorneys could advance their theory of the crime without being sanctioned for it. Any attorneys here know the straight dope on that.

Nitpick: his letter is to Santiago’s parents. He ends it with the line “your son is dead for one reason: I wasn’t strong enough to stop it.”

Kendrick was really screwed regardless of what he did.

If he didn’t order the code red as he was ordered to do, he’s screwed by Jessup.

If he does order the code red, and admits to it, then he’s screwed for giving an illegal order.

If he does order the code red, and denies it, then we saw what happened.

His career was screwed no matter which way he played this one out.

My mistake, yes, it was to Santiago’s parents, explaining why he didn’t save their son. And he was dead before he’d have to explain to Dawson and Downey’s parents why he didn’t save their sons. What a contemptible worm.

Another very minor nitpick, but it was Downey’s Aunt Ginny Miller. His parents weren’t in the picture.

Isn’t the standard procedure in cases like this to refuse the illegal order, and to immediately go over the head of the person who gave you the order?

My big nitpick was “there are dozens (?) of substances that can kill and leave no trace in a body or rag”


I just watched this for the - 100th? - time over the weekend. It got me to wonder how many people had made the same connection that Caffey eventually did about Santiago not having been packed despite supposedly leaving the base the next morning. I certainly didn’t and had never even stopped to ask myself that question until this most recent viewing. Anyone here think of it before it was revealed? Also, when they’re all having lunch and Jo is questioning Col Jessup and he says the the bit about waking up next to a woman you have to salute, I get that he’s saying the only one that outranks him is the POTUS but there’s something clunky about the wording. Is he implying that Danny and Jo are sleeping together? What does that have to do with anything? He seems to be directing his comment at Danny but Jo is the one who is pushing him for an answer. I suppose it just comes down to Mr. Sorkin’s style. I mean, it is fun and Nicholson delivers it perfectly, yet listening to it for the 100th time it suddenly sounded. . . *different *to me :confused:

The problem is that they were so far from civilization that going over Jessup’s head would have been near impossible. By the time he thought of it, Jessup would have already ruined his career in any of a dozen ways. Kendrick really had no choice.
Even Dawson and Downey felt compelled to do something illegal because they were ordered to and, as Santiago proved, there’s no way off this base.

I hate to bring reality into this. :smiley:

Gitmo is a Navy base. The base commander is a Naval officer. Jessup was the commander of the Marine Security Forces on the base. He was not the commander of Gitmo. By the time I was deployed there that position was a Major slot and I used to go to the weekly poker game at his quarters. I saw a list of past commanders and it did indeed used to be a full bird colonel position. In order to go over Jessup’s head he wouldn’t have to go far. It still probably would have ruined his career anyway since Jessup had clout beyond his relatively low rank.

Yes, obviously, but Markinson would hardly have known that.

Yes, but the guy who testified to that was an internist and not a criminologist (and also a useful link in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon), and the defense objects to his testimony being admitted, strenuously. He’s not an expert on poisons. Even if there were such poisons, I’d expect the defense to challenge whether two marines at Gitmo could get their hands on such substances.

I never wondered about Santiago not being packed. The thing I noticed on rewatching was how tactically well constructed Kaffee’s examination of Jessup is. He asks him about why Santiago wasn’t packed, why he ordered the men not to retaliate against him once word of his letter got out, etc. Then there’s a break when Jessup gets up to leave, but is ordered back to the stand. Then Kaffee starts in with the part about Jessup’s men following orders. Each part of the testimony starts with small things and gets Jessup to commit more and more. Then Kaffee spring the contradiction on him.

In a sense, the movie is constructed the same way, a lot of drama and distractions to keep us from noticing the contradiction that’s been obvious all along. On the other hand, I’m not sure why Jessup went to all the trouble of creating a phony transfer order, doctoring the tower logs, etc. They could have just said that Kendrick ordered his men not to harm Santiago and that Dawson and Downey did it anyway. The whole bit about Santiago being scheduled for transfer doesn’t back up their story in any way.

I haven’t looked it up but there are many differences between a military court and a regular public court. Apparently it is a pretty major offense to accuse a superior officer of a crime without proof. One of the great aspects of this film is the interplay non-spoken dialect between Kaffee and Jessup: they both seemingly know that the accusation can’t be made but they both dance around the edge of it playing this cat and mouse game until Jessup eventually falls to it.

The prosecutor arrests people? I would think the MPs would do that.

After Jessup admits the code red on the stand, the judge says “MPs guard the colonel”

I actually only finally watched this film the other day(!) As I recall Ross said that at the minimum it would destroy his career/reputation. He’d be dishonorably discharged and that would be on his resume as a lawyer forever (he was a Harvard Law School grad from an old money family). Maybe he said that if he went *too far *in his questioning of Jessup he could maybe even wind up in the stockade too, then be dishonorably discharged etc. As stated above there are some significant differences between military and civilian courts and law. Even though he was the defense counsel questioning a witness the judge did tell Tom Cruise (who was only a lieutenant) to address Jessup as ‘sir’ or ‘colonel’. The jury also consisted of only nine officers (not twelve) from the different military services. They didn’t get into it but I’m not sure if the jury’s verdict even has to be unanimous or just a majority.