Another really good episode, yet again worthy of Season One & Two. There was an actual case, which was the focus of the episode, rather than just being 'thrown in' because they are Navy Cops and need a case, and is secondary. And as with last week the red-herrings were actually extremely good red-herrings this week rather than being blindingly obvious red-herrings, thus the baddie wasn't so obvious as usual.
There was no real OOC behaviour, not in the manner we had at one point, although I sadly again I found DiNozzo nasty on more than one occasion, not just immature, but nasty in a way that he's never been. I can only put that down to it being his way of still dealing with the whole Jeanne thing.
Ziva's love/obsession/infatuation (depending on how each person views it) for DiNozzo wasn't as intense this week, which I'm was pleased to see (not that I object to DiNozzo/Ziva but it's been rather OTT and OOC so far this season). Although there were a few hints of it, and it's still blatantly clear (to me - sorry curly_the_sue) that she's in love with him - it didn't overwhelm, it was more balanced.
There were some wonderful DiNozzo/McGee moments, which should really keep the DiNozzo/McGee fen happy.
And some nice Gibbs/Ducky looks too.
In fact there are quite a few little, fleeting moments for various ships.
And as always I smiled when I saw Jimmy's name in the credits.
The episode begins with a man and woman going to an apartment for some lunch time sex, she's married (not to the man). He looks out of the window and there on a ledge, high up a building, opposite is a man.
The news crew are at the scene when NCIS arrive, the kids in the truck, Gibbs in the sedan, the man, (whose name we don't know, but who is Lt. Michael Arnett) is a naval officer. Whilst Gibbs is talking to the cop in charge of the scene, McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva are talking about Abby and her job offer; McGee says that Gibbs doesn't know (oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear, Tim, how long have you worked for Gibbs? You know how omniscient he is *g*) and DiNozzo agrees (Tony, you've worked with Gibbs even longer, of course he knows). Apparently Abby was seen having cocktails at the Ritz Carlton with a known corporate head-hunter. DiNozzo's source of information is overhearing it whilst in the lift.
Up on the same floor as Arnett, DiNozzo tries to tell Gibbs how to handle it (blinks, does the boy never learn?) Gibbs just ignores him and (following on from last week's episode no doubt - amazing how they can keep this kind of continuity and yet mess up so much actual important stuff) and tells the kids to "Stay," whilst he goes and to try to talk to Arnett. He gets nowhere.
McGee suggests taking a photo of the man with his cell, sending it to Abby so that she can run a check against the naval personnel database. Gibbs approves and tells McGee to do it. McGee starts to do so, but gets paralysed on the ladder, so Gibbs takes the cell from him, climbs over him and takes the photo himself, gives the phone back to McGee and then climbs out onto the ledge and says (in true Gibbs fashion): "Great view of the Washington monument from up here."
Back at HQ, Abby is in her lab and Ducky comes in looking for Gibbs (as I've said many a time it always touches me how Ducky virtually always tracks Gibbs down physically when he wants him, rather than calling him). Is it just me or did he sound tired and/or distracted? (Maybe his mother had a restless night or . . . someone else kept him up all night *g* sorry *smacks hand*). He asks Abby if she knows where Jethro is and she points to the television showing Gibbs and Arnett on the ledge. She's running his picture and at that moment she spots something on him - a firearm. She tells McGee about the gun, he tells Gibbs, Gibbs has already seen for himself. Ducky wonders what could make a young man so desperate to want to kill himself. And Abby gets a match. We learn that Lt. Michael Arnett works at the Pentagon and he is a linguistics expert.
Back on the ledge, Arnett pulls the gun and the kids go into position. Ziva says she hasn't got a shot because she'd hit Gibbs; DiNozzo tells Gibbs to ease back; Gibbs being Gibbs does the opposite, effectively preventing any of the kids from taking a shot. Abby and Ducky are watching this from Abby's lab and both look concerned, Abby comments: "Damn you, Gibbs. You take too many chances." But he wouldn't be the real Gibbs if he didn't.
Gibbs is still being fed information and we learn Arnett has a wife, Dana, who turns out to have left him; Gibbs empathises with it and tries to persuade Arnett to talk to him. He still won't. Then we learn he also has a sister, Rachel. When Gibbs mentions her name, Arnett does talk, says she's 17 and again Gibbs tries to use her as a reason that Arnett shouldn't jump. Arnett says he's really messed up; Gibbs tells him to trust him and talk to him; he gets Arnett to put the gun down and has just persuaded Arnett to move towards him when Arnett is shot. Gibbs tries to grab his hand, but to no avail; Arnett plunges to the ground.
Back on the ground Gibbs is told the shot came from the building opposite, but there's no one there, no one saw anything and the area from where the shot came is clean. He's listening, without really listening, the death has hit him quite hard.
DiNozzo is having a go at and teasing (but in the above-mentioned nasty way, not in the previous seasons DiNozzo teasing style) McGee about him freezing. McGee says he would have done it. And Ziva says that she thinks DiNozzo is more afraid of heights than McGee. DiNozzo denies it, saying he'd climbed a wall, Ziva laughs and points out it was twenty feet, he was wearing a harness and he did it to impress a girl; DiNozzo merely comments that it worked. It's a reference to Jeanne, and him still not really being over her (understandably so) is, as I said, the only reason I can find for him being nasty, it's his way of coping; the only way he knows how to cope.
Ducky and Jimmy arrive; Gibbs is just standing, staring at Arnett's bloody body, and after a moment Ducky goes over to him. He totally invades his personal space and speaks to him; he knows Gibbs so well, their friendship is so close, he knows what to say with words and what to say with his eyes. There is no comfort he can offer at that time other than to help find the reason for what happened. So he chooses to focus on the case telling Gibbs:
Ducky: "Having an eye witness like you makes my job a lot easier. Nevertheless I will get you the autopsy results post haste."
Gibbs simply says: "Thanks, Duck."
After more looks are exchanged, Ducky leaves Gibbs and returns to the body. Gibbs has blood spatters on his undershirt.
Ziva and DiNozzo go to Arnett's apartment. There is no evidence of a woman ever having lived there - Dana Arnett moved out a week ago - and DiNozzo talks about how the man always gets screwed in a divorce. Ziva then starts one of her two-meaning conversations. She talks about communication being important in a marriage and how maybe he stopped talking to her and also stopped listening. During this DiNozzo isn't listening to Ziva, he's off on his own little world, maybe still thinking about Jeanne, and he's surprised and a bit depressed, it seems, to discover Arnett was using hair rejuvenating lotion. Ziva is not only talking about the Arnett's, but also about DiNozzo and her; DiNozzo is no longer talking to her and he is also not listening to her - and she doesn't mean there and then at the apartment, she means generally. DiNozzo does find one thing, however, a pink toothbrush.
Back at the office, Ducky and Jimmy are in Autopsy with Arnett's body and the door opens.
Ducky (not turning around): "I'm fast, but I'm not that fast."
Gibbs says nothing, he just moves towards Ducky.
Ducky: "Something still bothering you?"
Gibbs: "Yeah. Investigating a homicide and a suicide."
Jimmy asks a rather inappropriate question about whether Arnett's murder was tied in with his suicide. It earns him a classic Gibbs look and he apologies.
Gibbs: "He was coming in. Wanted to tell me something."
Ducky just looks at him; again there really isn't anything he can say to help.
Back in the squad room, DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva are eating Chinese and reading fortune cookies. Abby has left the details of a hypnotist on McGee's desk to help him with his phobia, causing McGee to get a little upset with DiNozzo that he told Abby. Ziva won't read her cookie, but tosses it to Abby who reads it; it says how she has a chance to change her financial future, and with that she bounces away. The others stare after her.
Gibbs arrives back at the moment and attention is turned back to the case. DiNozzo reports on how Arnett was sleeping on an air mattress (which seems a tad odd given that his wife moved out into a hotel not another apartment), but there is no suicide note. They aren't getting very far, however, as the Pentagon is stonewalling McGee; he can't even get to talk to Arnett's CO.
At that moment Gibbs gets called to MTAC and takes McGee with him. Jenny has Arnett's CO (Captain Roger Walsh) on the hook-up. He and Gibbs have a mutual dislike for one another in seconds, that's clear. He wants to know if Arnett's death has anything to do with the operation he was on; Gibbs doesn't know yet. We learn that Arnett was an Arabic speaking intelligent officer and was tracking an Al Qaeda operative who was in Washington. Walsh then turns on Gibbs and blames him for Arnett's death, saying he should have prevented it; he should have pulled Arnett off the ledge (poor Gibbs, that was very nasty).
Gibbs and McGee then go to the Pentagon to see Walsh, who has the unit on lock down. He won't allow them access to Arnett's hard-drive, he'll only allow them to take the contents of his desk drawers. Arnett apparently kept himself to himself and didn't talk about personal stuff. McGee discovers a bottle of strong anti-depressants; Walsh did not know Arnett was on them. As Gibbs and McGee leave, Walsh stops Gibbs and tells him to keep him informed (hmm, this is Gibbs, you'll be kept informed if Gibbs thinks it pertinent, not because you're trying to bully him).
Back at HQ, DiNozzo and Ziva are talking about Abby leaving. Gibbs and McGee arrive back and both are silent. Ziva announces Dana Arnett is there and she's put her in the conference room. McGee looks up the details of the doctor who prescribed the pills: a Dr. Neil Fleming, who is not military. Gibbs sends McGee and DiNozzo to interview him.
He and Ziva are talking to Dana Arnett; she claims the marriage was doomed from the start and that it was the fault of the navy for all the missions they sent him on. She tells a lovely story of how they met, at the National Gallery; she didn't know Arnett was seeing a psychiatrist, she'd left him because she thought it would force him to face the fact they had problems; he'd changed and she was surprised that he was murdered. Although she, as the widow, did twitch my spider sense a bit, it almost seemed too obvious that it was her.
At Fleming's office, McGee stops DiNozzo from knocking on the door and flashes a light instead; DiNozzo then has to flash it several times. We learn that when he was younger McGee was a therapist once, but nothing else is said. Then DiNozzo turns to once again really taunting (in his, this-is-not-DiNozzo, nasty way) about the incident on the roof. He took pictures with his cell of McGee frozen and threatens to put them on UTube. A wrestling match ensues on the sofa, with McGee trying to get the phone from DiNozzo and when Fleming walks out they are in what easily could be a lover's clinch. Indeed, he thinks they're the married couple who called him earlier. DiNozzo actually plays along for a moment calling McGee 'Timmy' and saying they can be themselves there; McGee flashes his badge to Fleming. Fleming won't tell them anything, calls on medical ethics and patient confidentiality and denies they stop with his death. He says that he sees several military personnel who don't want to see a military doctor as it would affect their careers. He does tell them that Arnett whilst being depressed when he last saw him was not suicidal. Fleming has to be a suspect, even if at this point we know not why.
Back at HQ, Abby goes into the squad room and finds no one there. She sits down at Gibbs's desk, puts his glasses on and starts 'being Gibbs' snapping at DiNozzo, McGee and David, and then she realises he's standing behind her.
Gibbs: "Feeling real secure about your job, are you, Abbs?"
Abby; "Umm. Not so much any more." (It's okay, Abby, daddy still loves you, you're quite safe).
She doesn't have much for him, all negative or stuff he knows. Except . . . the last call on his phone came from within the NCIS building.
Outside Jenny's office Intel Analyst Nikki Jardine appears and they go into Jenny's office. Nikki doesn't mind being called in, but she does object to the manner of the message. The message that Gibbs left her. Nikki rants on and then out of the darkness Gibbs appears (oops). It turns out the call to Arnett came from her; she denies knowing he was dead, had been at home asleep when it had appeared on the news as she'd been working the Middle East desk at night. Asked about Arnett, she says he was outside the wire, she'd called him because she wanted to know with whom he'd shared his information about Al Qaeda and he said he'd get back to her: he didn't. There appears to be a mole involved in the operation. She is temporarily assigned to Gibbs's team until the case is solved - that doesn't go down well with Gibbs or her.
Gibbs: "Report to the squad room at 0730."
She leaves and she used the cuff of her blouse to open the door - watched by both Jenny and Gibbs.
The next day Ziva and DiNozzo arrive together and again they are talking about Abby's job offer; Ziva knows far more than DiNozzo did. Apparently it'll pay $200,000 per year, with stock options and a car.
Nikki won't shake hands with Ziva, she doesn't shake hands; DiNozzo suggests a hug, but then offers his knuckles, reluctantly Nikki does touch them lightly. Ziva tells DiNozzo to behave himself. McGee can't find any judge to sign off on the warrant to get Fleming to turn over his files on Arnett.
Nikki then tries to apologise for what she said about Gibbs the night before, but he ignores her and asks what the has found out. She has managed to contact a cryptologist at Pentagon who said that Arnett passed through a field office in Djibouti and needs to talk to the special agent there. She's about to go to her office to make the call, but Gibbs makes her sit down at a spare desk. She is not happy and after a moment starts to clean the phone with a sterile wipe - watched in amazement by Gibbs, DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva. DiNozzo has done a background check on Arnett and he comes from money, leading DiNozzo to wonder if Dana had signed a pre-nup. Gibbs tells him to bring her in again and as he passes by Nikki, DiNozzo pretends to sneeze on her, horrifying her.
In Autopsy Ducky, watched by Jimmy and Abby, is removing a contact lens from Arnett's eye, Abby comments that she could nerve use them, the idea of sticking her finger in her eye (me too, Abby, me too). The fact that he wore contacts ties in with Arnett's medical records; Jimmy gives Abby some blood samples and then stares at her as she's leaving. She wants to know why he's staring, in fact why everyone is staring at her that day. He denies it and she leaves; he repeats his denial to Ducky, but Ducky tells him he was staring. Jimmy asks if Ducky knows about Abby's job, which Ducky says is NCIS's worst kept secret. As always happens with these kind of rumours the job grows and grows and becomes more magnificent by the moment.
Nikki, with Jenny and Gibbs, reports she had spoken to the special agent in Djibouti, and learnt that Arnett was upset as he thought his witness had been compromised. Gibbs gets a message on his cell, grabs Jenny's glasses and leaves: the Pentagon have released Arnett's files. Jenny and Nikki exchange a comment about Gibbs and not 'impatient' was not the word Nikki would use to describe him.
Ziva and DiNozzo are talking about Nikki and Ziva thinks they'd be right for one another; they both have fears; she's afraid of germs, DiNozzo is afraid of commitment and they are both afraid of Gibbs. DiNozzo denies being afraid of Gibbs (but not of commitment). They then go to see Dana again and DiNozzo, to Ziva's amazement (and mine, I was open-mouthed at the way he, apparently, was screwing up) DiNozzo launches straight into Dana about a pre-nup; Dana gets angry and leaves, accompanied by Ziva. Although we do later discover that DiNozzo was right about Dana, I still think his method here was wrong, Gibbs would have been furious. And again, I can only think the whole Jeanne affair is still really getting to him, so much so that it's threatening to interfere with how he does his job.
Back in Autopsy Abby reports that yes, anti-depressants were found in Arnett's body, but that unexpectedly Timolol, which is used to treat Glaucoma, was also found. Arnett's file does not record that he has Glaucoma.
Ducky: "Mr. Palmer, have the Lieutenant report back to the table."
Jimmy: "Yes, sir."
McGee has discovered the Fleming was a radical undergraduate and has spoken out against the war as recently as last week. He thinks Fleming is the killer.
The files Gibbs has are useless as so much has been blacked out. Walsh is again on the link-up in MTAC and as Gibbs is on his way, Nikki appears with information, she goes with him. The unit is still on lock-down, Walsh still won't help with information and has found out about the call to Arnett from NCIS. He wants to know why NCIS don't talk to one another. Jenny then does what Directors should do and takes over, telling him he will have information when they think it pertinent. Gibbs kills the call.
Then a call from Djibouti comes in. Special Agent Roberta Wells reports that tribal leader has been beheaded in Al Qaeda style and it is believed the man was Arnett's missing contact.
Nikki has been concentrating on the most recent leaks and it turns out that the one person who could have had access to all the leaks was Arnett himself: he compromised the tribal leader. She thinks he is the mole.
Back in the squad room Nikki is taking them through Arnett's background, and we learn that like DiNozzo she is a movie buff - another thing Ziva suggests they have in common. Nikki claims that Arnett is leading two lives, and as such it was Al Qaeda who ordered his murder.
DiNozzo still thinks it's Dana.
At that moment Ducky and Abby arrive and tell them about the Timolol, it had been substituted for the contact lens solution and was twenty times more potent than the normal dose. Some more little looks (for us G/D fen) as Ducky explains to Gibbs and they look at one another. And the fact that Arnett was, unbeknown to him, taking Timolol explains why he was suicidal because it mixed with the anti-depressants he was on, would have made him clinically depressed.
McGee claims they are overlooking an obvious character, which leads DiNozzo to yet another nasty outburst (this is not DiNozzo) about how this isn't one of McGee's books. McGee stands his ground and claims the killer is Fleming, he'd know about the interaction of the drug.
DiNozzo is still going on about 'black widow' she had access to contact lens solution.
Ziva thinks it's Captain Walsh as he had access to Arnett's intel, plus they found a bottle of contact lens solution in his desk.
Nikki still thinks it's Arnett himself.
The four of them start to argue, Abby stands and watches.
Gibbs and Ducky exchange another look, before Gibbs stands up and whistles and tells them to "Break up the dog pile." He wants evidence, not theories. It's a very nice little scene, the kids arguing until finally daddy get mad.
McGee has Fleming in the interrogation room; Fleming confesses to being anti-war but says it doesn't make him un-American. He takes exception to the file McGee is leaving and gets up to leave; McGee orders him to sit down again. Outside Gibbs and Jenny are watching.
Jenny: "I see McGee has your mad act down."
Gibbs (with a little proud smile): "Almost."
Jenny has heard that Gibbs's agents are pitting against one another and asks him about Rule #15 'Always work as a team'.
Gibbs: "Not on this one."
She says that no one could have saved Arnett and that he was dead the moment he stepped onto the ledge. Gibbs wants to know what he tells Arnett's sister.
Back in the squad room, we get another Ziva-ism when she reports the Pentagon are 'rock-walling' her. Nikki takes it to be a quirk and says everyone has them, even her. DiNozzo says he hasn't noticed.
In Abby's lab, Nikki tries to get Abby to run another check of Arnett's hard-drive, Abby says no point it's been wiped and tells her to ask McGee, as 'Mr. MIT thinks he's better than anyone at that kind of thing'. Abby is stressed, that is very un-like her. Yes, she's made jokes about McGee and MIT before, but not with an element of viciousness in her tone (I wonder what's in the air at NCIS at the moment? We have both DiNozzo and Abby being bitchy). Nikki helps herself to several latex gloves, much to Abby's bemusement.
McGee comes in with Fleming's finger prints. But Abby is too busy running DiNozzo's DNA from the toothbrush found at Arnett's apartment. Again they start to argue and talk over one another, and it's Abby who tells them to be quiet and she gets cross. Gibbs comes in.
Gibbs: "Take it easy, Abbs."
Abby: "No. It's late; I'm tired; overworked and taken for granted."
Gibbs: "Maybe you should accept that job offer."
Abby looks both hurt and angry at Gibbs's words and as a result DiNozzo gets a head slap, from Abby, and then Abby turns on Gibbs and says she can't believe he'd say that to her. How could he think that she'd think of leaving. That yes, she got mad, but they're family and that's allowed. She also points out she gets three or four job offers a year and never considers any of them. I always said that for Abby, NCIS was about the people, 'her' men, rather than the job per se. When asked why she was at the Carlton she mentions caviare and also that it was nice to feel wanted. She then orders them all to leave. They do and DiNozzo gets another head slap, this time from Gibbs (yes! I was missing Gibbs head slapping his team), for spreading rumours. Gibbs, McGee, DiNozzo and Nikki are in the lift as Abby yells:
"DiNozzo, get back in here."
DiNozzo: "Anyone want to come with me?" He gets pushed out by McGee.
Back in the squad room, Ziva announces that she has persuaded an executive officer from the Pentagon to meet with her the following day, but not at NCIS.
However, Abby and DiNozzo arrive: DiNozzo's hunch was right: the DNA on the toothbrush not only shows that Dana Arnett has a record, but that Dana Arnett is not her real identity. She is an undercover member of Al Qaeda's cell, with weapons and other similar training (DiNozzo compares her to Ziva) they had lost track of her and she had been given a new ID. She's set out to trap Arnett. When Arnett realised what his wife was doing, and how it was her who got the his contact killed he was driven to take his own life. And when she saw NCIS was involved she killed him.
McGee, DiNozzo and Ziva go into a well-honed routine saying what they are doing, calling the hotel, etc. and they are ready to leave. Nikki just watches and asks what she can do. Gibbs tells her the assignment is over, then comes back, writes something on a page of his notebook, gives it to her, she takes it very gingerly, and asks her to find him a number.
At Dana's hotel we learn she has checked out.
Gibbs sends DiNozzo and McGee to the top to work down and he and Ziva do the opposite.
Dana appears in her car, drives at DiNozzo and knocks him over the edge, he's clinging on with his fingertips. Gibbs yells at Ziva to hit the fire alarm and McGee to rescue DiNozzo, he takes off to the sedan. McGee is rushing to DiNozzo's rescue telling him to 'hold on'. Gibbs plants the car in the exit and Dana hits it; she is duly captured and Ziva, holding her gun says "Give me an excuse." Which makes Gibbs flash a little smile at yet another Ziva-ism
Meanwhile McGee does rescue DiNozzo and there ensues the second DiNozzo/McGee scene. They both collapse on the floor, pressed against one another and DiNozzo tells McGee he loves him, pats his knee and promises never to give him a hard time again.
McGee (clearly not believing DiNozzo, well none of us do, do we?): "Yeah, right." They share another pat. I can imagine the squeeing going on from DiNozzo/McGee fen.
Back in the squad room Abby appears with a bunch of black roses, looking for Gibbs. He's not there, but he'd left them for her for solving the case, DiNozzo tries to point out that in that case they should be his as he solved the case and they banter a bit.
Abby: "He still loves me."
Ziva: "Give it up, Tony, she will always be his favourite." (Squees from Gibbs/Abby fen, from me a squee but as father & daughter). Poor DiNozzo does look a little dejected at this comment.
Abby (giving DiNozzo a rose): "I still love you." (DiNozzo/Abby fen happiness).
Then we move away and see Nikki giving Gibbs a piece of paper with the number he wanted. He tells her good work and she smiles.
The final scene is Gibbs at his desk punching in a number: he's calling Rachel Arnett. It was a very touching ending.
I enjoyed this episode a lot. It was a good balance of case, humour, team interaction, some touching moments and generally felt like an 'older style' NCIS episode. I just hope this is the way the season is going to continue.
Lots of ship moments for quite a lot of pairings, which was fun.
As always it was great to see Jimmy, he really is good value, I'd love to see him in it more often; he and Ducky do work well together.
Once again limited Jenny and again when we did see her she was doing the right thing; she was being the director of NCIS. So that too was good. Still no resolution about The Frog', but . . .
And no Mann and no mention, hint, allusion to her (or to Shannon and Kelly).