SISKO,... LOL!! you got me all wound up over Commodore STONE LOL!!!,... I am still ripping on this guy!!!! See, I told you I hated him! LOL! Which is REALLY tough for me, as this one of my favorite episodes! LOL!
Here is the thing, IF STONE were truly honorable
as he tries to play, the script should have gone down along these lines:
STONE: Look Jim, I don't doubt your word, but the record tape clearly shows something entirely different than your deposition.
KIRK: But that is not what happened,.. I had no grudge against Finney,... He was my friend.
STONE: I understand you feel that way;... perhaps it's fatigue, you've been through hell,... out in deep space for a long time,... but as a Starfleet Flag Officer I am duty-bound to investigate, first and foremost,... no exceptions. I am sorry Jim.
So it is exactly at the next moment when STONE 'offers the blind eye - sweep it under the rug - Masonic handshake' deal to KIRK, that is when he becomes a Villain, just another corrupt official usurping the system of Justice, "for the good of the image of the service",.. murder?,... what murder?
The problem with doing it the way I have it scripted, is that there would then be NO CONFLICT of STONE vs. KIRK,... and therefore less drama, and STONE is not as interesting as a character or plot device.
The way it was done (being the correct way) these two look like they are about to have a fist-fight,.. which is great!, as now their conflict is PERSONAL,.. and STONE looks like he can definitely kick some butt too!
So all in all,... it is superior scripting and charactersation, but my teeth just grind when STONE gets all sleazy with his 'let's make a deal' corruption
,... no wonder Kirk want to punch him! LOL!
And think about Finney's daughter, sobbing away,... how do you think she would feel knowing the high-and-mighty Commodore STONE tried to cut a private side-deal with KIRK, knowing full well what he saw on the computer playback,.. and treat her DEAD dear old Dad - who gave his life to the service - as a pile of broom sweepings, so the image of 'The Service" could avoid potential scandal,....
I wonder if Don Mankiewicz was trying to make an allusion for all those families who had to cope with B.S. cover-up letters and High-Ranking Officer 'condolence visits' to their homes regarding the "death of their son in Viet Nam",.. when in fact the son was a POW/MIA captured or wounded in Cambodia,... but so 'The Service' could save face, the facts, and the son, and all the Finneys of the world get swept under the rug too.
And the Generals exchange Masonic handshakes with a 'wink-and-a-nod' at the Officer Club cocktail parties, while all the Finney-widows weep away their days.
AND MAYBE,... that is all I have to say about STONE,... maybe,.... LOL!!!!