Sun 11 Aug 2013
“Collateral Damage.” From Stargate SG-1: Season 9, Episode 12 (185th of 214 installments). First aired: 13 January 2006. Regular cast: Ben Browder (Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell), Amanda Tapping (Lt. Col. Samantha Carter), Christopher Judge (Teal’c), Beau Bridges (Major General Hank Landry), Michael Shanks (Dr. Daniel Jackson), Gary Jones (Chief Mst. Sgt. Walter Harriman). Guest cast: Anna Galvin (Dr. Reya Varrick), Warren Kimmel (Dr. Marell), Benson Simmonds (Dr. Amuro), Ian Robison (Frank Mitchell), William Atherton (Emissary Varta). Writers: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie. Director: William Waring.
Our galaxy is on the verge of complete destruction, as a race of super-powerful beings called the Ori equipped with hypertechnology have begun their campaign to force all sentient beings to succumb to their will or be exterminated . . .
. . . but you’ll see none of that in this particular show. Instead, “Collateral Damage” is one of those series episodes which back away from the main story arc to do a little character building. The character being built in this case is Colonel Mitchell. He is, in fact, the focus of the entire show.
Mitchell and his SG-1 team are on another planet trying to establish diplomatic relations in hopes of stopping the Ori advance. These people have developed an educational device which could drastically reduce learning times — and its potential for military use against the invasion isn’t lost on the Earthmen.
The very first scene, a flashback, however, shows Mitchell committing a cold-blooded murder and being arrested for it. The victim is the very research scientist who developed the learning device, only to have it taken away from her by her government — specifically, by the military. Mitchell is sympathetic to her situation, and it isn’t long before he and this woman become romantically involved.
The next morning the SG-1 team is informed that the colonel has been taken into custody, with the victim’s blood on him, his fingerprints on the murder weapon, and a confession on his lips.
Although Mitchell instinctively knows better, he must reluctantly admit that he remembers killing her, but his hosts want only to send him back home to Earth. Incensed, he stubbornly refuses their offer to sweep the whole disruptive thing under the rug and demands the matter be cleared up, one way or another.
Exactly how the crime was committed and how well the actual killer’s identity is submerged will come to light only when, in a nice bit of irony, the victim’s learning machine is employed to ferret out the real murderer.
The whole plot of this show is an ingenious riff on detective fiction’s Golden Age trope of “the least likely suspect,” and in this instance could only be played out in a science fictional setting.
Transcript with SPOILERS: http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/s9/transcripts/912.shtml
And here is a review by someone who didn’t like it, also with a SPOILER alert: