This Broadway hit about the trial of two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay sizzles on stage. The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain and a cover-up of what really happened. Prodded by a female member of his defense team, the lawyer eventually makes a valiant effort to defend his clients and, in so doing, puts the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial.
Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson Accused of murdering Private William Santiago.
Dawson is slightly faster on his feet than Downey, and tends to make decisions for both of them. Dawson
has the utmost respect for military protocol and honor.
Pfc. Louden Downey Accused of murdering Private William Santiago in conspiracy with Dawson. Downey usually follows Dawson’s lead. He believes completely in the military ideals of honor and integrity, and that makes it hard
for him to admit that any of his commanding officers have led him astray.
Lt. j.g. Sam Weinberg A good friend of Daniel Kaffee’s. Sam is not as involved in the case as Kaffee or Galloway, but heworks on it with them nevertheless.
Lt. j.g. Daniel A. Kaffee The son of a famous lawyer, Kaffee is afraid to try his best and not measure up. To escape this, he simply doesn’t try. At the opening of the play, he is far more concerned about his office softball team than the cases he’s working on. As he gets more involved in this case, his priorities start to change.
Lt. Cmdr. Joanne Galloway The only woman in the play, she’s worked hard to come as far as she has. Galloway first brings enough attention to the case to have Whitaker discuss it at a meeting, and then talks her way into being assigned as a second lawyer, so each defendant has one of their own. She is extremely intelligent, and sometimes gets into trouble for saying exactly what she thinks.
Capt. Isaac Whitaker Whitaker is in charge of the military lawyers in
Washington, D.C. He allows Joanne Galloway to work on the case even though Kaffee was the only lawyer
officially assigned to it.
Capt. Matthew A. Markinson A captain stationed on Guantanamo Bay, under Colonel Jessep who once worked with Dawson, Downey and Santiago. He suggested transferring Santiago off the base, but Jessep chose not to.
Markinson has trouble with the fact that his C.O. is so much younger than he is.
Pfc. William T. Santiago Although he dies before the action of the play begins, Santiago appears in a few flashbacks. He was never a very good soldier, and didn’t appear to care about his buddies. At one point, he wrote a letter offering to turn another soldier in for a minor breach in protocol in exchange for being transferred off the base.
Lt. Col. Nathan Jessep As Joanne Galloway says, Jessep is the “Golden Boy of the Corps.” As the youngest Colonel in the North American Command, he makes sure everyone knows how good he is at being in control. Often, he chooses to appear powerful rather than to make prudent, lifesaving decisions. He has the utmost faith in his own authority as a Marine, and in the sanctity of the Marine Corps.
Lt. Jonathan James Kendrick Commander of the Windward wall (the side of the
base where Santiago was stationed) on the Naval base in Guantanamo Bay.
Lt. Jack Ross A lawyer assigned to prosecute Dawson and Downey. Emotionally uninvested in the case, he expects Kaffee to ask for a plea bargain. He sees his job as to save face for the military as much as possible – which entails punishing the accused just leniently enough that they won’t talk about any breaches of protocol.