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‘JAG’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With the Stars of the Hit ’90s Military Drama

Find out which star is now a Hallmark Channel staple!


JAG and its cast changed the face of TV forever. The show, which followed the exploits of an elite wing of military officers trained as lawyers, taught us the military acronym for Judge Advocate General and spawned the equally popular and long-running NCIS franchise.

Originally described as a mix of Top Gun‘s thrilling military adventures and A Few Good Men‘s intense legal drama, JAG was a sleeper hit. The show debuted in 1995, and was originally cancelled by NBC after just one season. It was then picked up as a midseason replacement by CBS, and would go on to run 10 seasons and 227 episodes. That’s a whole lot of great TV, especially when you add all the aforementioned spinoffs to the equation!

David James Elliott and Catherine Bell in 'JAG,' 1995
David James Elliott and Catherine Bell in JAG (1995)Belisarius Productions/CBS Studios/MoviestillsDB

JAG cast

After 10 years, JAG wrapped in 2005 — here’s what the best and brightest in the military have been up to since.

David James Elliott as Harmon Rabb, Jr. USN, Lt. Commander and Captain of JAG Corp

David James Elliott from the JAG cast. Left: 1990s; Right: 2021
David James Elliott Left: 1990s; Right: 2021Belisarius Productions/CBS Studios/MoviestillsDB; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty

Played by David James Elliott, the naval aviator-turned JAG lawyer Harmon “Harm” Rabb, Jr. was the show’s charismatic protagonist. Over 10 years, viewers followed not only his naval career but also his personal life. When the series began, Harm was a Lieutenant. By the time it ended, he was promoted to Captain and was being transferred to London.

Born David William Smith, the actor soon took the name David James Elliott to distinguish himself from another actor named David Smith. In 1986, Elliott had a bit part in Police Academy 3: Back in Training and a couple years later nabbed a role in the TV show Street Legal. A three-episode run on Knots Landing and a co-starring role in the ’30s-set 1993 drama series The Untouchables followed. In 1994, the year before he got his signature role in JAG, he showed up in Melrose Place and Seinfeld

In the years since JAG ended, Elliott has had recurring roles on the TV shows Close to Home, The Guard, Scoundrels, GCB, Secrets and Lies, Impulse, Spinning Out and Heels. Other noteworthy role include two-episode appearances in CSI: NY and Mad Men. While Elliott is primarily known as a TV actor, he has appeared in a handful of movies, most notably playing actor John Wayne in the film Trumbo. In 2019, he reprised his JAG role in three episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.

Now 63, Elliott has been married to actress Nanci Chambers for over 30 years. Chambers played the ambitious Lt. Loren Singer on JAG from 1997 to 2003.

Catherine Bell as Marine Lt. Col. Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie

Catherine Bell from the JAG cast. Left: 1997; Right: 2022
Left: 1997; Right: 2022, JAG castRonald Siemoneit/Sygma/Sygma/Getty; Emily Assiran/Getty

Catherine Bell played the beautiful by-the-book officer whose chemistry with Harm Rabb was unmistakable, but kept at bay so as to not compromise their professional relationship. The will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic kept viewers hooked, and it was rewarding to see Mac succeed in the traditionally male world of the military, working her way up from Major in the Marines to Lieutenant Colonel.

Bell started out as a model and worked as a massage therapist for eight years while trying to be an actress. Soon she started picking up TV roles, including an appearance on an episode of Friends.

Since the end of JAG, Bell has had roles on other hits such as Lifetime’s Army Wives and Hallmark’s Good Witch series and movies. While Good Witch aired its final episode in 2021, she and her TV husband, James Denton, were reunited in Hallmark’s Christmas on Cherry Lane earlier this month. Fans were excited to see the two back on screen together with hopes of a Good Witch reunion. 

Related: ‘Christmas on Cherry Lane’ — Everything You Need to Know About Hallmark’s Star-Studded Holiday Rom-Com

Bell reprised her JAG role on three episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. She’s also recently appeared in a selection of other Lifetime and Hallmark movies. Her other film credits include Men of War, Bruce Almighty and The Do-Over.

Outside of acting, Bell, now 55, is a thrill-seeker who rides motorcycles and plays a variety of sports. She also has her own lines of skincare products and jewelry.

Scott Lawrence as Peter Ulysses “Sturgis” Turner, USN, Commander, JAG Corps

Scott Lawrence Left: 2013; Right: 2017
Left: 2013; Right: 2017, JAG castFrank Trapper/Corbis/Getty; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty

Scott Lawrence played Commander Peter Ulysses “Sturgis” Turner, a good friend of Harm. While he wasn’t introduced until season seven, he became an essential part of the show.

Lawrence started out with appearances in shows like L.A. Law, Murphy Brown, Bagdad Cafe, China Beach, Growing Pains and Quantum Leap. Since 1994, he’s been the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars video games. He’s also been in films like Timecop, Private Parts, Cloverfield, Avatar, The Social Network and Star Trek Into Darkness.

More recently, Lawrence, now 60, has appeared in NCIS and NCIS: Hawaii, albeit as different characters from the one he played in JAG. Other post-JAG TV appearances include recurring roles in 24, Sons of Anarchy, Fear the Walking Dead, Suits, Mr. Mercedes and Unbelievable.

Patrick Labyorteaux as Budrick “Bud” Roberts, Jr. , USN; Ensign,  Lt.

Patrick Labyorteaux Left: 2004; Right: 2015
Left: 2004; Right: 2015, JAG castJohn Sciulli/WireImage/Getty; Jonathan Leibson/Getty

Patrick Labyorteaux played Ensign-turned-JAG lawyer Lt. Commander Budrick “Bud” Roberts. His acting career started long before that, as he was originally a child star who played Andy Garvey on Little House on the Prairie from 1977 to 1981.

In the ’80s, Labyorteaux acted in movies like Summer School (alongside future NCIS star Mark Harmon), Heathers and Ski School. Shortly before JAG, he starred in the short-lived show The Last Frontier and provided a voice for Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

Now 58, Labyorteaux reprised his JAG role in three episodes of NCIS. He’s also appeared in shows including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Ghost Whisperer, Castle and The Offer. His most recent credit is in the 2023 Great American Family movie 12 Games of Christmas.

Zoe McLellan as Navy Petty Officer Jennifer Coates

Side-by-side of Zoe McLellan in 2000 and 2015
Left: 2000; Right: 2015Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty; Toni Anne Barson/FilmMagic/Getty

Zoe McLellan played Petty Officer Jennifer Coates from season seven until JAG ended. Coates was a young woman from a rough background who rose through the ranks, becoming a valued part of the team.

McLellan started out in the ’90s, with appearances in Under Suspicion, Silk Stalkings, Diagnosis: Murder and Star Trek: Voyager. She also acted in movies like Inventing the Abbotts and Dungeons & Dragons.

After JAG ended, McLellan was cast in the soapy series Dirty Sexy Money and then had roles in various Lifetime movies. She became the female lead (in a role different from her JAG role) in NCIS: New Orleans in 2014 and stayed until 2016. She was then a regular on Designated Survivor. Now 49, she is no longer acting as of 2019.

John M. Jackson as Rear Admiral Albert Jethro “A. J.” Chegwidden

John M. Jackson Left: 1990s; Right: 2017
Left: 1990s; Right: 2017CBS/@DoYouRemember?/YouTube; Shane Brennan Productions/CBS Television Studios/MoviestillsDB

John M. Jackson played Rear Admiral Albert Jethro “A.J.” Chegwidden, the quintessential gruff and commanding military man.

Jackson started showing up in TV movies and shows like MacGyver and Beauty and the Beast in the ’80s. His role in the acclaimed crime drama Wiseguy from 1987 to 1989 earned him more notice, and in 1992 he played a senior JAG officer in A Few Good Men, making him a perfect choice for JAG four years later.

After JAG, Jackson appeared in Bones as the FBI Deputy Director. He then reprised his JAG role on NCIS and six episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. Jackson has also been in movies including Local Hero, The Legend of Billie Jean, Sid and Nancy, Career Opportunities and Gifted. Now 73, he hasn’t acted since 2018.

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