I'm having trouble recalling which television show had an episode with a particular plot. It was probably on TV in the 1990s but could well have been a movie. Haven't had much luck googling and searching/reading episode summaries on IMDB.

Plot points I recall (vaguely; may be inaccurate but they stick in my mind):

  • On a submarine, there is a laptop with software (perhaps referred to as a "virus") that threatens to kill a bunch of innocent people, possibly by launching nuclear missiles. At least, I'm fairly sure there was a submarine...
  • Bad guy invents a software program to "translate English into Japanese automatically" (or possibly vice-versa).
    • I recall this seeming far-fetched at the time (using Google Translate recently triggered this memory).
    • It may have been late in the episode that the bad guy reveals his motivation; I think I mainly remember the ending.
  • Bad guy becomes disgruntled after his employer pays him just a salary while they make millions.
  • The crew of the submarine fakes a malfunction in the software causing it to target the submarine.
    • The bad guy falls for this trick and tells one of the good guys (possibly the female lead) how to disable the software (some obscure keyboard shortcut like "control+alt+shift+F9").

I have done some detailed searching of these series (but haven't watched them... yet ;-):

  • SeaQuest DSV - I thought it was this show but so far haven't found an episode with the stated plot. Even searched through online transcripts for all three seasons...
  • JAG - I thought perhaps the submarine thing was making me think of SeaQuest and figured it might have been JAG. There seem to be a lot of seasons and episodes but I only watched a handful.
  • Seven Days - I read through the episode summaries and checked a few plausible ones found on YouTube but nothing convincing.
  • Well, you've definitely done your homework, maybe even one of the very few ID questions that might be worth an upvote. In fact I had to somehow think about Seven Days, too, when reading this, but more by feeling and atmosphere than by actual plot? – Napoleon Wilson Sep 13 '13 at 14:39

I believe you are correct and that this is one of the early JAG episodes. I have very similar recollections.

Here's a description of Episode 3 - Shadow, that I think fits the bill.

  • Incredible, that is it! Thank you. :-) It also has the corny "cigar on top of the submarine" ending which I remember cringing at so long ago... – penfold Sep 13 '13 at 15:09
  • I should mention that I recall visiting that site and searching for keywords like "submarine", "translation" and "Japanese" without any luck. Torpedo might have been the kicker, rather than "missile". – penfold Sep 13 '13 at 15:10

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