- Michael O'Hare as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair
- Claudia Christian as Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova
- Jerry Doyle as Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Delenn
- Richard Biggs as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Andrea Thompson as Talia Winters
- Stephen Furst as Vir Cotto
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Caitlin Brown as Na'Toth
- Jeff Austin as Centauri #1
- Ardwight Chamberlain as Kosh (voice)
- Maggie Egan as Newsperson
- Mark Hendrickson as Narn Captain
- Douglas E. McCoy as Delta 7
- Marianne Robertson as Tech #1
- The characters Susan Ivanova, Talia Winters, and Vir Cotto are introduced in this episode.
- Also appearing in the episode are Jeffrey Sinclair, Michael Garibaldi, Delenn, G'Kar, and Londo Mollari.
- This episode marks Ambassador Kosh's second appearance, after The Gathering.
The Centauri agricultural colony on Ragesh III is attacked by an unknown force exiting hyperspace. On Babylon 5, Lieutenant Commander Susan Ivanova, the new second-in-command of the station after Laurel Takashima was reassigned, is in search of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair in the Zócalo. She finds him in the Observation dome to let him know there is a problem. Ambassador Londo Mollari approaches Garibaldi to ask him for a favor, but is interrupted by his new aide, Vir Cotto, who informs him that Ragesh III has been attacked.
Minbari Ambassador Delenn and Narn Ambassador G'Kar enter and offer their condolences. Mollari is suspicious that the Narns had something to do with it, but G'Kar adamantly proclaims his ignorance. Mollari plans to call an emergency meeting of the Babylon 5 Advisory Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds later.
A transport ship sends word to the station that they are under attack by Raiders. Ivanova tells Garibaldi, who takes a small Starfury flight to investigate. Just as he leaves, commercial telepath Talia Winters steps into C'n'C to report her arrival on the station, per Psi Corps regulations, only to get a notably cold shoulder from Ivanova, who leaves to find Sinclair. She finds him in his office, listening to the election coverage of the Earth Alliance presidency. They spend time trying to figure out who could have taken part in the attack of Ragesh III, but do not come up with any clear conclusions. She's astonished when Sinclair insists that the Minbari could not have been responsible, that he considers them too honourable to commit such a sneak attack, despite his own history as a veteran of the Earth-Minbari War. Sinclair explains to Ivanova about his grandfather, who inspired him to join Earthforce and taught him "to ignore the propaganda...to focus on what he can see."
Mollari soon receives footage of the attack and identifies the vessels as Narn. Mollari storms off to find G'Kar.
In deep space, Garibaldi and his wingman find the remains of the attacked transport, stripped bare with no survivors.
Mollari finds G'Kar in the Zócalo and threatens retaliation, which G'Kar mocks and then extends his own threats. Mollari has to be physically restrained by station security from assaulting G'Kar.
In the aftermath, Mollari and Sinclair speak in the former's quarters. Mollari apologizes for the incident with G'Kar and tells Sinclair of a prophetic dream he once had, a vision of his own death were he sees himself and G'Kar, both twenty years older, strangling each other to death. Sinclair tells him things can change in twenty years, but Mollari is convinced it will happen. Sinclair also tells Mollari he is calling the Advisory Council and the League, hopeful he can form a coalition against the Narn attack. Mollari explains that to keep his nephew, Carn Mollari, safe from harm, he personally arranged for him to have a higher position – on Ragesh III. He may have sealed his fate. Mollari then explains that interstellar diplomacy is all a game, and that the only thing that matters is blood. He swears that if Carn is dead, if it is the last thing he does, he will see war against the Narn.
Sinclair goes to visit Vorlon Ambassador Kosh. Kosh agrees to attend the emergency council session Sinclair has called, but declines to help, instead offering a cryptic remark. In C'n'C, Garibaldi suspects that transport routes (typically kept secret to prevent Raider attacks) have been leaked somehow. He investigates to find a link between the transports hit and the supply routes. He also notes that, judging from the state of the destroyed transport, that the Raiders are packing much more powerful weapons than usual.
Mollari soon finds out that the Centauri government has decided to take no action to the attack – citing the colony is too far, too small, and too unimportant to risk a confrontation. He tells Vir Cotto that they will not tell the Council of this, to see if the other races can take action and thus embarrass the Centauri government into acting.
Winters runs into Garibaldi in a transport tube and asks why Ivanova seems so standoffish. Garibaldi recommends she try talking to Ivanova in her off-duty hours at the casino. He then invites her back to his quarters to see "his second favorite thing in the whole universe."
G'Kar encounters Sinclair in the Zen Garden, reflecting quietly before the Council meeting. G'Kar reflects on the Centauri occupation, and about his dream to wipe the Centauri out completely. He also points out that the Narns were one of the few races to supply weapons to Earth during the Earth-Minbari War. Sinclair rebukes G'Kar's assertion that Earth "owes" the Narn Regime, proclaiming that the Narns "will sell to anyone who can pay", and criticizing the Narn for a cowardly attack on a civilian colony.
After leaving the garden, Sinclair is met by Garibaldi, who has discovered that one company that sold transport routes is the common link between all the attacks. They are now fairly convinced of what the Raiders' next attack will be.
Sinclair speaks with an Earth Alliance Senator, asking for authorization to vote for military intervention. The Senator is hesitant to authorize action so close to an election, and tells him to abstain from the vote. Ivanova, who has been watching from the doorway, informs him that a flight of Starfuries is ready to intercept some raiders, Garibaldi believing he has discovered the leak. Sinclair comes up with the plan to lead the mission himself. Telling Ivanova that she "never heard" the conversation, Ivanova is left to chair the council meeting and vote in support of sanctions.
During the council meeting, G'Kar's explanation of why the Narn attacked was because a hundred years ago the planet had been a Narn colony. Ambassador Delenn admonishes G'Kar for being willing to invade a colony over blood spilled so long ago. G'Kar rebuffs the allegations of invasion, insisting they were invited to come by the colonists. He introduces a transmission from Ragesh III, from Carn Mollari, who claims that they had asked for Narn assistance. Londo Mollari believes it to be a coerced statement, and not factual, but while the others present suspect he is right, there is no proof. G'Kar motions that the charges be dismissed, and the motion passes.
Meanwhile, in deep space, Sinclair and his Starfury wing successfully track down the Raiders in the midst of the latest attack on a transport.
Sinclair's fighter wing engages the Raider vessels, easily scattering them and saving the transport. Following the skirmish, Sinclair's wing locates the Raider's command and control vessel.
Back on the station, Mollari assembles a hidden weapon to kill G'Kar. On his way to kill him, he crosses paths with Winters, who gets a telepathic vision of what he plans to do. She reports this directly to Garibaldi, who quickly intercepts Mollari and convinces him not to go through with it.
Sinclair approaches G'Kar with his discovery from the raiders' base: a Narn officer, supplied along with weapons sold to the raiders by the Narn. Intercepted transmissions logged on the base also confirm Mollari's assertions that the attack on Ragesh III was entirely unprovoked. Sinclair threatens to bring the evidence before the Council unless Narn forces withdraw from Ragesh III.
Ivanova explains why she has been avoiding Winters, that her mother had refused to join the Psi Corps, and opted to take sleepers to suppress her telepathic abilities instead of going to prison. The drugs lead Ivanova's mother into a deep depression, ultimately lead to her suicide.
Garibaldi has convinced Ambassador Delenn to come back to his quarters with him, where they share popcorn and a night of watching Duck Dodgers, although the comedy is lost on her.
Sinclair watches election returns, showing a victory for the incumbent president Luis Santiago.
- Talia informs Ivanova that she is required to check in with the second-in-command. In the pilot, her predecessor was required to get approval from the station commander to enter the station at all. That requirement could have been altered in the interim.
"One night you'll wake up and find our teeth at your throat."
- – G'Kar, to Mollari
"Only one thing matters, blood calls out for blood."
- – Mollari, to Sinclair
"I'm in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying."
- – Ivanova, to Winters
"They are alone. They are a dying people. We should let them pass."
"Who? The Narn or the Centauri?"
- – Kosh, to Sinclair
"Commander, there's a problem..."
- – Ivanova, to Sinclair
"Ignore the propaganda, focus on what you see."
- – Sinclair, to Ivanova
- "Midnight on the Firing Line" at the Internet Movie Database
- Episode guide page for Midnight on the Firing Line at the Lurker's Guide
|Babylon 5 Season 1 "Signs and Portents"|
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|Babylon 5 franchise|
|Babylon 5 & Crusade Episodes by Season|
|Signs and Portents • The Coming of Shadows • Point of No Return • No Surrender, No Retreat • Wheel of Fire • Crusade: Season 1 • Unfilmed Episodes|
|The Gathering • In the Beginning • Thirdspace • River of Souls • A Call to Arms • The Legend of the Rangers • Voices in the Dark|
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|DVD Releases • VHS Home Video • The Official Guide to Babylon 5 • Babylon 5: Into the Fire|