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Originally Posted on October 26, 2011

Episode 906

Man, if I had a dime for every time I was playing the "Who Would You Choose, Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez" game while driving a big rig and hitting a drunk pedestrian staggering across the road who then dies with clear fluid pouring from his mouth, well, I'll tell you, I'd be rich!   Credits!

Ducky provides the gang with some much needed coffee on an early morning gathering in the office and refers to himself as the Sir Galahad of caffeine (Sir Galahad having been the perfect knight of courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry ... and coffee. Yep, that's Ducky!). Much to McGee's discomfort, the DiNozzo muses on how Ducky must be getting some good lovin' from old Penelope, given his good mood of late.  Ziva and McGee, having better sources of office gossip than DiNozzo, know in fact that Ducky's good mood is attributable to Ducky's new lady friend, Mary. DiNozzo scoffs at the thought that he doesn't have sufficient sources and in fact, informs us that he has "gold sources coming out the yang."  Ha! And Ew!

As they gather round the crime scene, Ducky informs them that the lady's name is Dr. Mary Courtney and they met through a social dating website called Scholar Date. She is the chief administrator for all of DC's various social outreach, counseling and therapy programs.  Their date that night will involve homemade paella (which Ducky pronounces with a solid "l" sound instead of the typical Spanish, double l, "y" sound.  DiNozzo snarks that paella is named after "Paellus", the Aztec god for sex after sixty. Coming on the Turkey Vulture comment two episodes ago, I am thoroughly loving Tony's old people sex humor. As an aside to this scene, can I say that Palmer knows A LOT about dating websites for a guy that is engaged.

Blood result tests show that Lieutenant Simms (the drunk, dead pedestrian from the opening) had a blood alcohol level of only.05 (that's not even legally too drunk to drive). Also, he wasn't diabetic which can cause the type of wooziness that the rig driver witnessed. Meanwhile, Ducky feels like Lt. Simms' skin was loose, ew, and that he suffered from water intoxication. His body had about a pound to much of water sponged inside him and that, even without the Big Rig Killer, the Lt. would have drowned in his own skin.

When we return, we find DiNozzo trying to recruit a mail girl for his new office gossip source. Ziva nails him. They are distracted by the news that Simms had 40 gallons of water poured down his throat and that together with the evidence of duct tape marks on his wrists, perhaps he was waterboarded?

McGee uncovers a Phillip Ekkerly who had a public fight last month with Simms though no charges were made against either guy. Abby chimes in to say that Simms had blunt force trauma on his skull from something cylindrical dating back to before the truck hit him. While working with Palmer on the body, Ducky sneaks out to meet Original Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd Mary Courtney on a bench outside the office. “What’s in the box, Mary” (its funny how many times one hears this line on TV given the fact that I associate it so closely with the movie Se7en).  Luckily for Ducky, there is no head in the box, only delicious pastries. Ducky demurs as he is saving room for the paella. Just then, Gibbs passes by and Ducky introduces Mary to Gibbs. This must be serious for him to bring a girl home to meet the parents. 

During the talk with Ekkerly, he explains the reason for the fight last month.  Seems that Simms owed Ekkerly $500 for a mailbox Ekkerly was keeping at Simms’ place. Simms accused Ekkerly of never paying his outstanding bill when he took his business elsewhere, though Ekkerly says he did pay, and Simms Ekkerly’s $500 deposit for the arrears. Ekkerly says he was resigned to just letting the small claims court handle the whole thing . Also, Ekkerly was working at the time of murder so suck it cops. Also, also, Ekkerly hasn’t seen Simms since the fight.

Abby is grilling Ducky for the lowdown on Mary. Ducky just wants to focus on work. Gibbs comes in and agrees. Simms was hit hours earlier with a pipe. He also had 3 hits of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine in his system. You know Methylenedioxymethamphetamine as either its chemical abbreviation, MDMA, or its street name, ecstasy. Unfortunately, being high on X would cause euphoria like symptoms, not drunk symptoms. The two are kind of indistinguishable for me if we’re being honest.  However, the euphoria high would lead to unquenchable thirst. Since he was high, Simms voluntarily drank the water that the killer supplied; drank it until it killed him.

Back to the Ekkerly lead.  Ekkerly was using Simms to smuggle RKG3 Soviet Anti-Tank Grenades in and out of the country. So, you see $500 story wasn't a total lie. Ekkerly says that Simms was worried about losing his kids and really wanted out of the smuggling business. Ekkerly paid Simms $300 last night and was headed to a bar. A guy at the bar says that Simms was a regular and was always trying to get laid. A suspicious waitress is eavesdropping on this conversation and at the mention of ecstasy walks away. Tony and Ziva notice and chase her down. Turns out she has some ecstasy packets on her.

Back in her lab, we learn that Abby is McGee’s source for office gossip. She can't tell Tony things because he blabs too much. And seeing as how McGee blabbed about Ducky’s gossip, Abby is now having doubts about whether McGee is a worthy recipient of her gossip.  Tony doesn't understand how far he's fallen down the trust ladder. Gibbs corrects him that its more like a stepstool. Anyway, back to work.  Abby has analyzed the mud on the rearwells of Simms car and discovered ultisols (or Virginia red clay), mixed with animal poop and Rusty Crayfish (a nasty bugger that destroys natural biodiversity populations). This combination puts Simms in the location of Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge Virginia.  Since he died on a highway next to the park, he was definitely there. The team tap into the Leesylvania toll cameras and track back to a picture of Simms entering the area. Off they go to investigate.

Meanwhile, back in the morgue, we have an interlude where we learn that Jimmy is not handling well Ducky having a woman; he relies on work being steady and unchanging since he’s going through personal change at home with the pending nuptials.  Ducky misses his mother’s dogs. Those two are weird together.  Must be the formaldehyde fumes. 

Out in nature, McGee is suffering from allergies and Tony compares him to the 70’s classic, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Some of John Travolta’s finest work.  The gang find a car in the woods, abandoned. The car belongs to a Samuel Alcott.  Nearby, all dead and tied a tree, the find Mr. Alcott himself.   Gibbs thinks this is victim number one; Simms was victim number two and we are looking at a possible serial killer.

Tapping into Simms’ phone, the gang find out that he was at Ekkerly’s the night before. Some security footage shows them getting into a shoving match. When Gibbs and company go to move in on Ekkerly, he pulls a gun.  Also, he’s got a box of grenades in his possession as he’s closing up shop for the night. 

Meanwhile, on Ducky’s date, we find him boring Mary with the details of current water death crime. He admits a perverse fascination with the killer's ingenuity. This is all a build up for Ducky to explain that he’s into new things. Mary's into new things too. Before it gets too kinky or gross for the viewers, Ducky pulls Mary up for a dance and the cheek to cheek it around the room.  Ducky brings up Mary’s father while trolling for some action, smooth Ducky, smooth, but Mary’s  not so into talking about dad so lets move on. 

Next day, Ducky has figured out that Alcott had the same blunt head trauma as Simms. Ducky thinks that the first Alcott killing went well but the second with Simms, not so much. Feeling pretty dark about his macabre fascination with the water killer, Ducky blows off a call from Mary as doesn't want to drag her into his life and expose her to the foul mood settling in on him as he discovers the killer’s twisted nature..

Abby has found that Simms was dosed straight, uncut ecstasy which is called “hammer and sickle.” Lana (the suspicious waitress) had ecstasy cut with baby aspirin.  Her stash did not kill Simms. Lana wants to. cut a deal to flip on the hammer ands sickle dealer but since she’s already given them the first name, Randy, they pretty much figure out it’s a guy named Randy Jonas, without her help. Dumbass. Randy is a patient in a lockup medical faciity. The security guard was a former patient. I feel safer now.  Since Randy has been locked up for a week, he can’t be the killer BUT, he can be the one who supplied the drugs. Who’d Randy sell to?

At a follow-up ate, Ducky has arrived late due to the case but she is enthusiastic about hearing the details. Ducky relates the discovery of the new body and tells her how now he realizes that the killer is a sadistic bastard and that he erred in admiring his creativity. This killer doesn't create anything, only destroys and in a cruel manner to boot. Well, now you’ve gone and upset Mary, Ducky.  You see, Mary has gone to a lot of trouble to set up something that Ducky’s never seen before as to make him happy. And now, Ducky is hating on the water killer; how can you say such mean things Ducky?!? She snots out a “You're very welcome, Donald.” And turns on the full crazy eyes!!!  TWIST!

Back in the bullpen, the gang is piecing together that Mary is a common link to Simms, Alcott and Randy.  Both Simms and Alcott received counseling through services for military veterans and though they were at two separate counseling facilities, they were both near the park.  Also, Randy's drug rehab was run by same root outreach program that Mary is overall in charge of. Last piece of the puzzle is that both guys followed a person into the woods alone following a woman passing through toll booth (and its security cameras). Hey Palmer, where's Ducky?

Back to the house of paella and crazy, Ducky asks why she picked Simms and Alcott? Well, glad you asked. You see, they had to be military so that they would come across your radar (well ,they had to be Navy or Marines so glad she lucked out in her apparently careless recruiting process). The rest was pretty easy.  Mary explains that the military is teeming with scumbags so six of one, half dozen of another for specific target.  These two men in particular were so weak. It was easy to lure them from bar out to the woods. By the way, I didn’t kill anyone, those men killed themselves by drinking the water.  Ducky tries to explain that is not her father; neither were Simms nor Alcott. They also weren’t murderers or rapists.  Just as Ducky is making some possible headway with Mary, Gibbs busts in and Mary hightails it the bathroom. She breaks up a mirror and slices her wrist (Bloody Mary! ZING!). Ducky is able to sooth her into calmness; she sadly whispers that she only wanted Ducky to stay.

Wrap Ups! Back in the morgue, Gibbs and Ducky have a drink. We find out that Mary’s going to a psych ward in the mornng. Ducky doesn't understand how he could miss her psychotic behavior and feels like he’ll never trust his judgment again. Gibbs says he still does. Also, Gibbs doesn't take a hint that Ducky wants to be alone for a bit so he has to throw Gibbs out. Just as Ducky goes to close Mary's profile on Scholar Date, he gets pinged by a Sarah from Raleigh North Carolina and signs. Oh poor baby; how exasperating for you Ducky to have women (crazy or not) falling over you.

Originally Posted on October 19, 2011

Episode 5: Safe Harbor

This episode brought an excellent and classic NCIS mix of dramatic procedural and great comedic moments. The return of Special Agent Abigail Borin was a treat especially in her double role as Gibbs clone and now a "matchmaker"? Let's get to it!

After the team received several late night phone calls from Gibbs and smelling leftover chinese that he left in the office over the weekend, the team decides that Gibbs needs a new woman. It's been a while since we've seen Gibbs with a good love interest, maybe since Col. Mann? I do miss the intrigue from the earlier seasons of Gibbs being picked up by random redheads in nice cars, but I digress. This week's murder brought NCIS and CGIS back together, when a Coast Guard officer is shot on the deck of a ship that entered the port illegally. Searching the ship, they discover a family locked in a closet of some sort seeking asylum in the US from Lebanon.

When Borin rejects herself as a future Mrs. Gibbs, she decides to help the team find him a match. To do so, she turns over her address book to DiNozzo. How very Gibbsian of her! Her contacts are not in a smartphone, but a hardcopy address book, full of women. DiNozzo, Ziva and McGee begin going through the book and pulling up pictures of the women, leading to some very funny scenes. This one seems perfect, but she's over six feet tall! Another one might be a keeper, but she's a New Age High Priestess, yikes!

As the mystery unfolds, Mariam (the mother of the asylum-seeking family), develops a nice relationship with Ziva. It was interesting to hear Ziva reference her brother at the same time as her mother and sister. Mariam tries to take the blame for shooting the Coast Guard guy, but slips up when Ziva asks how far away she was. The older son's anger seems like a tip-off, until we learn that dear old dad was involved in a bombing that killed Americans and now he's in interrogation. SECNAV makes several appearances in this episode and I still can't figure the guy out. Although it was amusing that the woman from the State Department(?) called him Vance's assistant. Heehee. When Ziva learns that the dad is a terrorist, she goes to tell DiNozzo, who's hanging out with him in the kitchen, where something soapy-smelling is on the stove. When they confront him, he runs, spilling the pot 'o soap in the process, which leads to the excellent scene where Borin tries to get some leftover soap off of DiNozzo's ass, telling him to bend over as she tries to get it off saying "it's really in there!" LOL!!! Borin fails and the pants are sent to Abby, who learns that they are actually dealing with explosives. Dad claims that it's the older son who's the bad one, but when they find him tied up, they realize that the younger son is about to blow up the ship that is full of fuel and is right near some other ships full of weapons and such, bound for the Middle East. Mama intervenes too and he's led away in handcuffs.

As the mystery dealt with parents and sons, so did our funny subplot. When the team finally hits on a match for Gibbs, he looks at the screen with her picture and says "what is she doing up there?" Turns out, he dated her! TWIST! She's perfect, but not for him. Of course, the best moment of the night was the last one. In the darkened bullpen, Gibbs tells Ziva, who'd worried that he's lonely, that you're never lonely when you have kids. She looks at him and he says "Good night, kid". Awwwww.

Minor sticking point: when they found the family locked in the closet, the handle of the door was broken. Since there was no crew in the end, how did they lock themselves in?

Originally Posted On October 15, 2011

Episode 904
"Enemy on the Hill"

First, an apology for no recap last week. I didn't like last week's, The Penelope Papers. Its rare that I don't love an episode of NCIS, let alone not even like one.  Lily Tomlin did nothing for me and I don't like McGee nearly enough on his own to warrant an entire episode for the two of them. So I am skipping its review.  Lily Tomlin is an aging hippy and McGee's grandma to boot.  She was involved in the development of a secret defense department project which was shut down years ago but never really abandoned. A Navy Lieutenant she was in contact with killed.  Ok. Moving on.

We open on a yappy reporter trying to pump brain-dead citizens for views on an upcoming defense spending appropriation bill.  I'm skipping over the woman who responds, "that's a husband question ..." and skip right to the fact that the yappy reporter chases down a reluctant interviewee (and fairly creepy guy) leading to him being run over by an oncoming car.  If the guy wasn't a contract killer, I'd feel worse but, I'm getting slightly ahead of myself.  Credits.

We come back to find out that Abby is donating a kidney to a complete stranger. Here to interrupt the news is DC Metro Detective Danny Sportelli, come to boast his arrest of the "Cooler". The "Cooler" is contract killer, Paul Arliss. You'll know him as Creepy Guy that was run over in the cold open. DiNozzo mocks Sportelli's heroic arresting of a guy run over.  Turns out he's not dead, only mostly dead.   Among Arliss's papers, Sportelli found evidence that his next target is due to be one, Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Brett.  McGeek has already run Brett's details. Turns out, Commander Brett is something of a badass soldier known for surviving in the Stan by living on bugs. He's also a Top Gun grad. Man, I love that movie. How long before Hollywood remakes an inferior version?  Anyway, Brett is now a legislative fellow to the House Armed Services Committee.

Interview with Brett.  As you can imagine, Commander Badass is in denial about the threat to his life since, "hey, who would want to kill me, I'm Awesome!".  Brett can't go into hiding because there is a big appropriations bill (remember the yappy reporter's report from the intro?) and he needs to advise the Committee.  He's not crazy about being shadowed but does raise a horny eyebrow when he learns it'll be Ziva.

Back at the morgue, Abby comes to Ducky for some advice; turns out her parents had a secret child that neither she nor her brother (Lucca) knew about.  This long lost brother was discovered because he entered himself for screening for the same stranger kidney donation that Abby did.  Ducky doesn't really have a lot to give, Abby is clearly stunned and super confused as to why her parents would have given away a child when they had 2 kids already.

At the hospital, McGee and DiNozzo find out that they will not be interviewing Arliss; Arliss is dead.  Whoops.

While shadowing Brett in the halls of Congress, Ziva senses a threat from a sketchy dude who is both approaching Brett and reaching in his pocket at the same time (the way you would to pull a knife or gun at the last moment).  Ziva roughs the guy up only to learn that that he's a lobbyist and a friend of Brett's.  Lobbyist tells Brett to catch up with him later.  Shady.

At Arliss's house, DiNozzo, through the use of using his body as a human ruler, discovers a false wall in Arliss's garage and Gibbs discovers a secret computer/weapons room.  Sportelli agrees to let Gibbs crack the computer as long as he reports any findings; sure see how that goes Sportelli.  McGee's doing the legwork on the computer cracking because Abby is clearly preoccupied with a frustrating call to her Aunt Gert who is clearly suffering from severe dementia.  Nice tidbit, we learn that Abby was a cheerleader in high school.  Oh how people change in college and beyond, huh? McGee discovers a wire of $25,000 sent to Arliss's account from a George Kaplan only days before Arliss was run down.  The Brett contract money.  He also finds Kaplan's address.

At the follow-up Brett interview, we learn he has an eight year old, special needs daughter named Matilda.  Man, I hope that detail doesn't become important later.  Brett doesn't recognize Kaplan's name and continues to think this threat is bogus.  This dude is shady to the max.  The boys track down Kaplan's apartment; for a guy who was able to send a $25,000 wire to Arliss, he lives in a shithole.  The landlord is a boozy woman, who really should have been cameoed by Cloris Leachman.  She says Arliss was her best tenant: his business manager sent the rent every month on time and he made no noise; in fact, she hasn't seen him since he rented the apartment. The business manager's (the guy has a business manager and lives in this shit hole?!?) name is Drew Turner.  Cloris Leachman tries to seduce Gibbs and as she leaves, DiNozzo describes her as a turkey vulture, 20 years past a cougar but she still likes to hunt. She just can't take down the prey. Ha!!! Oh DiNozzo, I missed you.

Back on the Hill, we're at the end of a long day and as a reward for her service, Brett ditches Ziva behind a no return access, fire staircase door. Then he kind of gloats about ditching her as he walks away.  What a dick move and really cements his shadiness.

Further review of Mr. Kaplan turns up $1 million in a stock brokerage account. Time to meet the business manager.  To DiNozzo's delight, Drew Turner is a woman. Tony can't even help himself from flirting and invites her into their office for a meeting with the gang.

Commander Asshole says he ditched Ziva because he was with a woman and wanted some privacy for the bow-chicka-bow-bow. He still thinks the threat is bogus.

My favorite moment of any NCIS episode is the Abby/Gibbs moment. Here we are.  Abby is distracted, her work is suffering and Gibbs is worried/annoyed (he's tough to read sometimes). Gibbs tells her that "I need ya Abbs." Aww. Love these two.   One of the pieces of information that Abby dropped the ball on was that Drew blew off her meeting.  About the same time this comes to light, the realize that Turner lied about not talking to Kaplan recently since she authorized a $500,000 wire transfer from his account to a Costa Rica gambling website. At Turner's home, DiNozzo finds Turner just hanging around. Ha! I kid. She's dead, apparent suicide by hanging.  Luckily the lower portion of her hanging body was in view of mailbox slot or else, DiNozzo and McGee might have wasted time looking for her when she didn't answer the door.

At the morgue, Ducky gives a lesson to the attendees on why he thinks the suicide was staged. First, suicide by hanging is a rare method and second, even rarer in women.  No, Ducky figures that she was choked to death and then propped up to make it look like suicide. There is a discussion about how maybe Turner was Kaplan (I gotta tell you, I had the same thought). Game Plan? DiNozzo wants to follow the money. Gibbs turns McGee loose on trying to find Abby's secret brother.

Gibbs/Ziva run Turner's name by Commander Liar Liar, Pants on Fire; he says he doesn't know the name. However, the suicide/death convinces him that maybe the threat is real and he'll stay on protective custody.

Back in Abby's lair, a refocused Abby has determined that Kaplan and Turner were definitely separate people (since women and men have different handwriting styles). Meanwhile, DiNozzo has figured out that the money came from a Swiss bank; the Broussard Bank.

The return of the shady lobbyist!  He barges into Brett's office; seems very entitled and is whining about how he thinks they're losing "Canelli's vote."  There is some collusion there, not sure of its a crime?  Shady lobbyist is equal parts embarrassed at finding Ziva there for his outburst and indignant.  When she steps outside, Brett tells him about the threat on his life. However, he reassures shady lobbyist that he thinks the threat will go away in a couple of days.

Back at HQ, some further digging has revealed four deposits into Kaplan's account this year, totaling $1.5 million.  Also! Brett's fingerprints were on the signature card. Brett signed as Kaplan. TWIST! Did Brett kill Turner? And put a hit out on himself?

Gibbs needs proof that Turner knew Brett. DiNozzo has a light bulb moment when he realizes that "George Kaplan" is a character from North by Northwest,  a character that didn't exist. Brett set up the account to be able to get the Swiss bank money anonymously.  Kickback scheme in full effect! Meanwhile, McGee has uncovered the name and address of Abby's brother. Abby wants to meet him, alone. His name is Kyle Davis. Anyone keeping track of the HIPAA/Federal and State privacy violations committed by McGee?

The gang has discovered that the money was authorized by a foreign subsidiary of a shipbuilder company, Stenbridge Marine.  Stenbridge Marine is behind the $14 million aircraft carrier appropriations bill about to be voted on.  Turner was having a weekly rendezvous with Turner in order to launder his kickback money ... and probably have an affair.

The Secret Brother Meeting!  Kyle Davis works at a store front pet rescue. He kind of looks like Abby so props to the casting department!  Abby is clearly have second thoughts on telling Kyle. Kyle is very enthusiastic about his pets and their relaxing powers.

Ziva brings Commander InHotWater into HQ for an interrogation and "accidentally" let's him see shady lobbyist already in the main interrogation room.  Brett starts talking fast; Turner was addicted to online gambling. She put the hit out on Brett (to get unfettered access to his cash) so he preemptively whacked her. You see, Commander Heart of Impure Gold was putting the money away for his special needs daughter.  He doesn't really fight their accusations and wants to lawyer up. Smart move.

WrapUps! Gibbs is reading Endurance magazine (the website says its the premier resource for the life you lead, so I'd say that's an important read) when he gets a knock on the door. Abby!! She didn't tell Kyle who she was. Also, she thinks she's worked out her question on why her parents would have a secret child and then give it up for adoption when they already had Abby and Lucca ... its because they didn't. Her parents were the sweet kind of people that adopted kids, not the other way around. Adopted kids like Abby! TWIST! She proved her theory by running an old hair sample she had of her mom against her own; not a match. She calls herself, Little Orphan Abby, which, perfect! She feels lost. Gibbs fortune cookie wisdoms that family is more than just DNA, its about people who care about, and take care of, each other (fortune cookie wisdom, but true nevertheless). Abby's mission is to find out why her "parents" didn't tell her.  Gibbs reassures her that she's not alone.  A storyline for Abby!!!! YAY!

See you next week!

Originally Posted On September 29, 2011

Episode 902

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?

Originally Posted On September 22, 2011 

Episode 901
"Nature of the Beast"

This episode was so chock-full of information and action, mystery and intrigue that this post will contain input from both TV Watcher and Standing Blogger. We may as well apologize for the length of the post up front. Check the recap, after the jump.

As Season 9 begins, we learn two important things, (i) Tony has seemingly shot another NCIS agent in pursuit of his secret mission which he was given at the end of the season 8 finale by the always awesome Matt Craven (the new SECNAV), (ii) he himself was shot but a vest saved him, and (iii) he doesn't remember anything that happened since he was in the May finale (not who was in the mysterious picture, not who he shot, not EJ's role and the whole microchip affair).  Dr. Rachel Cranston (a/k/a Kate's sister) shows up at Gibb's request to help Tony remember the last three months. The rest of the episode is spent mostly in the past, with interspersed "real-time" moments of Tony and his visitors in his hospital room.

In flashbacks, we learn that people with the microchips represent a secret team of Navy Intelligence Officers, known as the Phantom 8.  The microchip is a pass-key that gives them worldwide access to secret information.  Also, there is a thing in the Navy called the Watcher Fleet, which just floats around the world spying on things, countries and people.  The head of this Watcher fleet is a bad dude named Latham who has a bad sidekick named Bailey Salinger (Party of Five? Anyone? Anyone *crickets*). Anyway, Bailey is a death ninja, who has been stalking DiNozzo's hospital bed, impersonating the FBI but is really there to kill Tony.  When they are not trying to kill beloved cast members, Bailey and Latham are stealing microchips from dead people and sitting in front of spooky monitor screens in Watcher Fleet HQ selling the top secret microchips on eBay to the highest terrorist bidder.  Latham and Bailey have also set DiNozzo up to take the fall for the murder of Cade (who is looking  very ... homelessly) and the almost (dammit get the job done people) murder of EJ.  Turns out the entire mission was a big con, on DiNozzo and on SECNAV, because the picture that SECNAV gave DiNozzo was of Cade, who was innocent (and is now dead).  The final scene has Gibbs going into Mike Franks' big box of an insurance policy which we first saw like 2 seasons ago but is finally getting used (continuity FTW!). In the big box of deus ex machina, we learn franks has a file on the Phantom 8 including their class photo, with bailey sitting on the floor dead center.  Oh man, Gibbs is on to you boss, you best run and hide.  And, now we have  our season mystery! Side note: Ziva is made a full fledged NCIS agent .. probie no more!  Check back soon for the full run down.