Cracked is the sixth episode in Season Eight of NCIS and the 168th episode of the entire NCIS series.
While the team investigate a Navy researcher who died after being struck by a bus, Abby becomes fixated on a series of patterns of mysterious codes written on the victim's body but the team soon begin to worry that Abby is becoming too obsessed with cracking the codes rather than helping them find who is responsible for the victim's death.
The scene opens with Lieutenant Clea Thorson heading through a street in downtown D.C. Her behavior is so unusual that she keeps bumping into strangers who shout at her.
While this goes on, Thorson keeps mumbling to herself that she has to keep on moving and that she can't let them get her.
She eventually comes to a traffic junction and is waiting rather impatiently for the light to go green.
Unfortunately, when she tries to race across the road, a bus slams into her, sending her sprawling to the ground which kills her instantly while numerous by-standers look on in horror.
NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo arrives into the bullpen on his cell-phone, asking someone to tell him.
As he heads for his desk, he assures the caller, an unidentified woman that he doesn't get embarrassed and when the woman tells him something, Tony remarks that she's a little vixen.
This grabs fellow Special Agent Timothy McGee's attention and as he dumps his bag, DiNozzo tells the woman that it's only if she warms that up first.
As DiNozzo sits down, the third and final member of their team, Special Agent Ziva David stops eating her breakfast and looks at Tony, obviously interested in what's going on.
DiNozzo then removes his sunglasses, telling the woman he's gotta go and that he'll pick her up tonight at around eight. He tells her that it's great before hanging up.
McGee takes a sip of his coffee and as he gets back to work, asks DiNozzo who the "lucky little vixen" is.
As DiNozzo grabs some files, he tells McTween (his newest nickname for McGee) that it's adult relationship stuff and that McGee wouldn't understand.
"Adult relationship? You?", Ziva pipes up, still eating her breakfast.
McGee then tells Ziva that Tony's probably dating one of those late-night chat girls again but DiNozzo tells them that the girl he dated was a student putting herself through medical school.
Ziva then abandons her breakfast, claiming that she's lost her appetite. DiNozzo tells them that Ethel is different and that she's special.
"Special Ethel", McGee states while Ziva remarks that it's good that DiNozzo is finally dating within his own age range.
DiNozzo just smiles, stating that it happens to be a family name and that he happens to like it because it sounds strong and distinguished with McGee stating that it means "I've fallen and I can't get up".
This has Ziva cackling with laughter and DiNozzo giving McGee the evil eye. DiNozzo tells his teammates that they can laugh all they want because he honestly believes that he and Ethel have something.
McGee states that there are antibiotics for that.
DiNozzo states that Ethel has even started before pausing for a second and realizing that he can share this before announcing that Ethel has even started talking about role-playing.
Ziva wonders if DiNozzo is taking a drama class but McGee tells Ziva that that isn't what DiNozzo's talking about before he warns DiNozzo not to show up tomorrow wearing a diaper and carrying a whip.
Ziva finally catches on before she asks DiNozzo what Ethel is into.
DiNozzo however insists that Ethel is keeping it a secret until Halloween, claiming that it's going to bring their relationship to a whole new level.
Ziva wonders what if Ethel wants DiNozzo to dress up as a ballerina. DiNozzo just smirks before stating that Ethel could get Gibbs into a tutu and leotard if she wanted to.
DiNozzo states that he's certain that Gibbs would never wear a leotard although if Gibbs did, DiNozzo is certain that Gibbs could pull it off which unsurprisingly has Gibbs glaring at DiNozzo who instantly tells Gibbs that he's going to grab his gear.
Gibbs remarks that that's a good idea and they've got a dead Navy Lieutenant before ordering his team out of the bullpen.
With that, McGee stands up and prepares to get ready.
A while later, the team have arrived at the crime scene and are busy processing it while taking photographs of the victim's body.
DiNozzo grimly remarks that it's one heck of a way to catch a bus while McGee arrives to tell Gibbs that the police believe it was an accident with the bus driver even claiming that the victim tried to run the red light and missed.
Gibbs wonders if McGee has an ID. McGee remarks that he has, stating that the victim is Navy Lieutenant Clea Thorson and she was twenty-nine years old, also a chemical engineer and that she completed two tours overseas before joining the Reserves in 2006.
Ziva states that she has a witness that says that Thorson was acting paranoid prior to the collision while McGee remarks that police have another saying that Thorson was mumbling about trying to get away from someone.
"Mental problems?", DiNozzo wonders.
Ziva, on the other hand believes that Thorson really was running away from someone.
As this happens, NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Donald Mallard and his assistant, James Palmer arrive on the scene with Ducky greeting everyone before wondering to whom do they have the privilege of examining today?
Gibbs then tells Ducky and Palmer the victim's name with Ducky remarking "Pedestrian verus bus. How unfortunate".
"Walk on the green but not in between", Palmer says which has everyone glancing at him and Palmer quickly apologizes before helping Ducky who states that the victim has severe trauma to her head which is consistent with the collision.
Ducky also states that the impact threw Thorson 12 to 15 feet, making the speed of the bus at the time of the collision.
Palmer struggles with Ducky replying, "Fifteen to twenty miles an hour". Ducky then wonders if those are scratches on Thorson's hands with DiNozzo quickly taking photographs.
As they study the body, Palmer remarks that Thorson would have naturally extended her arms to protect herself before he spots something on her elbow. He then rolls her sleeve down to reveal a series of math calculations covering the lower side of her left arm.
This has everyone curious and Gibbs then orders Palmer to check the other arm which Palmer does.
As Palmer rolls up the sleeve, revealing more of the same numbers, DiNozzo takes a few photographs.
Ducky then rolls up the victim's shirt which it's shown that more of the numbers are scrawled onto the victim's body.
McGee wonders if it's some kind of chemical symbol while Palmer remarks that it looks like his cheat sheet from his eighth grade math final.
Ducky then tells Palmer that whatever this is, Ducky is certain that Palmer did not learn in eighth grade.
It then cuts to Gibbs who looks grim-faced.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||Senior Agent and second-in-command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||NCIS Probationary Agent and also a member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||Junior Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Jimmy Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Assistant Medical Examiner.|
|April Ferris||Meredith Monroe||Engineer at Gen-1 Biotech Inc and also responsible for Clea Thorson and Martin Stillwell's murders.|
|Martin Stillwell||Brennan Elliott||CEO of Gen-1 Biotech Inc and Thorson's boss. Later dies from poisoning.|
|Lorrain Thorson||Robin Pearson Rose||Victim's mother.|
|Rupert Kritzer||Raphael Sbarge||A man who had been secretly paying the victim after she was fired from her job at Gen-1 Biotech Inc.|
|Dr. Daniel Redner||Steven Anderson||Victim's college mentor.|
|Lieutenant Clea Thorson, USN||Erica Piccininni||Victim.|