Marine Private First Class Thomas Hill walks in to his own surprise party, only to die right there on the carpet from some bleeding gut wound. What a bloody downer; you know that's totally going to kill the Karaoke-off later.
Aww, Tony has been mopey lately. Maybe all the death and killing and concussions from last week have something to do with that? Yay! Gifts for Tony! Two sets of 2 tickets for Female Mud Wrestling (the Mud Queens of Maryland if you are wondering and yes, its a real thing but not in Maryland - in Chicago. Hot.). Man, Ziva and McGee know DiNozzo, though, he seems ... off about it. Weirdo. Gibbs arrives with the murder 'o the week. Probably has something to do with the dead PFC from earlier.
Cut to the crime scene and yep, its dead PFC Hill. PFC Hill, just returning from deployment in Afghanistan was due to be the Grand Marsall in the local high school Homecoming Parade. Palmer and Ducky get into some nerd wars over the derivation of the homecoming concept, brought on by Ziva's lack of knowledge about this American curiosity. Cause of death, multiple blunt force traumas and stab wounds. Lets explore the outdoor crime scene ...
McGee and Ziva spy a pool of blood with a cell phone lying in it in the middle of the roll. Here's a good idea, lets stroll over to it - OH NOES, a street sweeper comes and street sweeps a probably important part of the crime scene. How do we think Gibbs is going to feel about that? Hmm?
When we return from commercials, the triple threat is combing through the street sweeper garbage pile in the evidence warehouse. Gibbs comes in for the run down of where they are; Tommy Hill was adopted by a military family (the McCormicks) and had an impeccable service record (though, as a PFC, how long could he have been in?). DiNozzo and Ziva explain to Gibbs how everyone loved this Marine -- Gibbs rightly points out that by being killed, clearly, not everyone liked him. That's why he is the boss and you're not. Grieving family interview time. Oh man, the dad totally knows something. Something was bothering Tommy from the time he got home from deployment; mom didn't know what. Gibbs and Abby's bonding hour. I love these scenes; every week, they are my favorite. We learn that Abby had 3 dates to homecoming back in the day ... which maybe ended in bloodshed? Unclear. Moving on. Abby discovers that PFC spent his last three days (i) trying to hack into the State of Virgina's website and (ii) his laptop spent some time in the middle of no where, 200 feet off of a hiking trail. Gibbs is pleased. Cut to DiNozzo and McGee out in the woods digging up the ground. They're having a heart to heart about DiNozzo feeling remorseful for being a dick in High School. What is up with Tony this week? Its like Bizzaro World DiNozzo. Anyway, they discover a box with about $50,000 in it; what was PFC Hill up to?
After the break, we're in the morgue where we are joining Palmer and Ducky already in progress in a continued reminiscence of homecoming (I am loving the high school reflections this week -- what an interesting group of people to have known as surly teenagers). Gibbs. Ok, back to work. There was syringe broken off inside Hill which contained a strong sedative. Botched kidnapping, followed by a struggle? Ziva and McGee are out to the crime scene where they run into a rather hostile mom and dad McCormick and some mean girl (and boy) that pick on McGee's shoes, hair and bags under his eyes -- aww McGee. Before Ziva pulls McGee away, I think its interesting to note that Lindsey (the foster kid living with the McCormicks) seems like she knows something, or at least is put off by the hostile tone of (guilty) dad. Hopefully, we'll pull on that thread later. Hey, Ziva and McGee came up with 2 syringes! Side note, DiNozzo is having a problem tracking down the boy (his name is John Smith (a/k/a Stinky John); should be an easy locate) who he strung up on a flagpole back in high school. Also, no progress yet on the source of the buried treasure found in the woods. But, interestingly, after falling behind on their mortgage, the McCormicks were able to payoff the entire thing in one fell swoop. File that away for a little bit, we'll revisit it later. Ok, prints on the syringes belong to an ex-con named Curtis Beane. Gibbs wants a BOLO (I love law enforcement acronyms!); Gibbs and Ziva head to Beane's place of work (a taco place employed solely by ex-cons -- safe. Count your change carefully). The owner doesn't buy that Beane can be caught up in anything, he's his best manager, good guy. Back to the lab with Abby. After using a smudge attack (basically, a method of analyzing the buttons someone presses in order to deduce their password), Abby was finally able to break into the cell phone where she found surveillance photos of PFC Hill .... 's sister TWIST! Hill wasn't the target, Lindsey was.
Back from the commercials and we are in another hostile parents plus Lindsey /Gibbs and Ziva interview session. The mom seems genuinely upset that Lindsey was the target; dad still seems hostile and pissed off. "Why would anyone want to kidnap Lindsey , we're po' folk." "Glad you brought that up. Hey, angry dad, let's talk about your financial woes and the mysterious lump sum you paid to your bank?" Angry dad says that the records are wrong, the mortgage company reduced their mortgage amount; there was a letter. No sizeable payment to see here people, lets move along -- shifty. Lindsey 's birth parents were anti-technology commune hippies; they were also super abusive. She ran away and through the foster system, wound up with the McCormicks. Maybe its the birth parents, though surveillance photos on a cell phone would seem to betray the anti-technology theme, no? DiNozzo posits a PFC Hill-Curtis Beane criminal enterprise theory whereby Beane was trying to kidnap Lindsey as leverage over PFC Hill so he would give him some of the $50K stash. Gibbs is going to begin first shift of watching over Lindsey in case Beane or the hippy dippy parents come back after her. Oh, Stinky John (Tony's object of bullying)? Yeah, he had cancer (cured now) and is leaving the country tomorrow. What privacy laws did McGee break to get that info?
One on one session with Gibbs and Lindsey. The McCormicks are much nicer than the abusive birth parents (you're setting the bar kind of low Lindsey). A noise?!? Outside. Stupid "boyfriend" Nathan was creeping outside. I like how dad McCormick was sleeping on the couch armed with a golf club. Didn't he see The Untouchables, you don't bring a golf club to a gun fight. Hey Nathan has seen Curtis Beane before, he was poking round the neighborhood the other day. Just then, DiNozzo got a call from the taco owner; Curtis Beane showed up and is talking crazy talk and is on the roof. Curtis Beane is not going back to jail ... so says Curtis Beane. We'll see about that. Geez, the taco owner has a real man crush on Beane, really wants him safe. Anyway, Beane almost falls off the edge but that has more to do with the lethal overdose sticking out of his arm than determined jumping. DiNozzo points out that Beane was correct, he won't be going to jail. Back at HQ, McGee thinks this shizz is locked up, I mean Beane had the murder weapon on him (why is McGee walking around with that -- shouldn't Abby get it straight away?). Gibbs wants motive dammit (though not an element required in proving a criminal case, I see his point)! Ziva has something for show and tell. remember that mysterious bank letter received by the McCormicks saying the mortgage was reduced? Yeah, forgery. The file was found on Hill's laptop but was last modified while he was deployed -- letter not sent by Hill. So who sent it (I'm looking at you angry dad). Enter Abigail! Here's the deal, Lindsey was at the crime scene (blood on the other syringe was hers) AND she is actually 27, not 17 (I have to tell you that I feel much better now about thinking she was good looking). What the what?
Final act. Ok, so Lindsey has been shacking up with families at 2 year intervals; saying she's 16 and running away again right before she "turns" 18. She's gone by at least Daisy and Roxanne in the recent past. Lets go pick her up. First, DiNozzo's rendezvous with John Smith .. who has grown into a giant and seems to be doing very well. Also, he's not sure why DiNozzo is apologizing to him. Hmm. Lets come back to that in a minute. "Lindsey" interview. Oooh, they've moved into the badass interview room. She's in deep shit now.
Oh girl, you're a bad liar. How did you make so much con money? She says she was stuck with something and woke up in a field a half hour later (while Hill was being killed). Wait, maybe she's not lying. She seems to genuinely have no idea about the pictures. Ducky confirms that she really thinks she's a 17 year old named Lindsey. She's also the one who sent the bank letter and paid off the amount. Gibbs is still thinking long con, Ducky thinks she's suppressing some horrible childhood. The abusive hippy parents story - lie; based in fact. She had some nasty burn scars on her arm, suspiciously like a deep fryer's tongs. Back to the taco guy ... he's "Lindsey's" niece. Taco Guy, who is the WORST liar ever got custody of her after her parents were killed years ago (when she was 11). She stole money from him (earned through skimming off the top of his ex-con employees extracurricular activities) and when Beane ran into her and Nathan the other day, taco guy went after her.
Wrap-ups. "Lindsey" is headed to a commitment evaluation hearing but first, she needs to say goodbye to the McCormicks, who still love her. Angry dad, sorry I had you wrong, is less angry now. Lastly, DiNozzo explains to Gibbs what went wrong with his apology to Stinky John. Apparently, it was DiNozzo that was strung up by his undies, by Smith. Tony is confused as to when he flipped that story in his head. Actually, he just seems confused in general. What is the deal with DiNozzo?