Damned If You Do is the twenty-fourth episode of Season Ten of NCIS and the 234th episode of the entire NCIS series as well as the Season 10 finale episode.
With Gibbs having been arrested, the Department of Homeland Security's investigation into NCIS grows wider, ultimately placing the future of NCIS and its agents in jeopardy. While the NCIS team suspect that the investigating agent is looking to capitalize on Gibbs's arrest, they soon discover that there's more to the case than originally suspect and they soon find themselves investigating the case concerning a murdered Navy SEAL.
The episode opens with a recap of what happened in the previous episodes and ends with NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs telling Department of Defense investigative agent Richard Parsons, "What do you think?" after Parsons has confronted him with damning evidence over the fact that Gibbs has been obstructing justice for the last twenty or so years.
In a small lake area, Gibbs sits on a boat, fishing.
As he casts his line, a voice tells Gibbs that there's nothing out here worth catching.
Gibbs looks over and sees his dead mentor, former NIS agent Mike Franks smiling back at him with Franks stating that there's too much sun.
Franks explains that the cloud brings the tricky ones to the surface and they're smart that way.
"Sure you're talking about fish?", Gibbs wonders.
The two chuckle.
Franks states that he's talking about all sorts of bottom-feeders.
"Yeah, well", Gibbs says. "Never been much for catch and release".
"You and me both", Franks agrees before saying that there are some folks who don't understand that. He also mentions that some of the big ones would rather die fighting than get caught.
Franks realizes that he's got something as Gibbs casts his line out again.
As this goes on, Franks tells Gibbs that this one's got a lot of fight left in it.
As Gibbs grabs the rod, Franks then draws his gun and fires three shots into the water, causing Gibbs to remark, "Jeez, think you got him there, Mike?".
The two chuckle again.
Suddenly, Gibbs stops upon seeing a body float to the surface and as he calls Mike's name, he sees that Mike has gone which means that Gibbs is the only one rowing the boat.
As this happens, more bodies pop around the boat, startling Gibbs.
Gibbs then looks over and in the distance, stands NCIS Director Leon Vance along with NCIS Special Agents Anthony DiNozzo, Timothy McGee and Ziva David simply standing there, their faces expressionless.
It then cuts to an overhead shot showing the bodies surrounding Gibbs.
It then snaps back to the present where Gibbs is brought out of his thoughts by the sound of the door closing.
As that happens, Parsons arrives in, asking Gibbs if there's something on his mind.
"Fishing", Gibbs replies with Gibbs also coughing.
Parsons admits that it sounds like fun before admitting that he's more of a woodworking guy himself and that he likes to build things with his hands.
Gibbs silently nods.
Parsons smiles, stating that he knew that would get Gibbs's attention.
Grunting slightly, he then sits down.
It then pulls back to reveal that Parsons and Gibbs are sitting opposite each other in a room at the Department of Defense.
Parsons remarks that it's been almost a week since Gibbs came in here, keeping his mouth shut and that it's nice to hear Gibbs finally say something.
Gibbs states that he's got one question before stating, "All of this. Why now?".
Parsons remarks that it's because enough is enough. He then tells Gibbs that Gibbs has been pushing legal boundaries and sweeping things under rugs for 20 years.
He then goes on to say that his division of the DOD is like Internal Affairs and that Gibbs didn't think they noticed?
Gibbs just silently sits there.
Parsons states that Gibbs's actions have been inappropriate and that Gibbs's actions are Parsons's responsibility now. He states that the deaths of Eli David and Jackie Vance, they opened doors to an investigation and Parsons is happy that they did.
"You're happy, huh?", Gibbs wonders.
Parsons then leans forward and tells Gibbs that he believes in upholding the law before stating in no uncertain terms that he is tired of watching Gibbs break it.
Gibbs sits there, staring.
Parsons continues to say that there's no reason to make this harder than it has to be and that Gibbs should step up, take responsibility and that Parsons will leave Gibbs's people alone.
Parsons then states that all he wants is the truth.
It then cuts to Gibbs who just stares back at Parsons, not saying anything before Gibbs tells Parsons that he wasn't there.
- This is a deleted scene available on the NCIS Season 10 DVD:
The Office to the Director door opens and Ziva and Vance head out into the corridor.
As soon as the door's closed, Ziva tells Vance that Gibbs cannot be punished for her actions, that it is wrong and that she will not allow it.
Vance tells Ziva that Bodnar was just the straw that broke the camel's back and that Ziva knows that this is about more than that.
Ziva then tells Vance that she knows how much of this ultimately falls on her.
Vance states that she didn't do anything he didn't fully endorse.
"And yet, they're calling me a traitor as well", Ziva states.
Vance tells Ziva that as far as Vance himself is concerned, Ziva's personal life is just that.
It then cuts to Ziva who wonders if it is before telling Vance that Adam Eschel is her friend and that Eschel is not a threat to national security. She then states that her allegiance is to this country, this office and this team and that if they succeed in proving otherwise, then maybe it's really time for Ziva herself to move on.
- The traditional Foof sound is not heard at the end. Instead it's replaced by the sound of a gunshot, making this the first Season finale to have an ending that has not had a foof sound since the foof was introduced in the Season 2 episode, Lt. Jane Doe (episode).
- This episode also begins the Brotherhood of Doubt storyline that would expand into the next season of NCIS.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||Senior Special Agent and second-in-command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. Later resigns from the team to protect Gibbs.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||Junior Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. Later resigns from the team to protect Gibbs.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team. Later resigns from the team to protect Gibbs.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Medical Examiner Assistant.|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|A.J. Chegwidden||John M. Jackson||Former Judge Advocate General USN and Gibbs's legal counsel.|
|Tobias Fornell||Joe Spano||Senior Supervisory Agent with the FBI. Uncredited role.|
|Michael Franks||Muse Watson||Former NIS/NCIS Agent who trained Gibbs to become an NCIS Special Agent. Died in the Season 8 episode, "Swan Song" after being stabbed by Lieutenant Jonas Cobb and as such, Franks appears as a hallucination.|
|Richard Parsons||Colin Hanks||Investigator in the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Defense.|
|Thomas Morrow||Alan Dale||Homeland Senior Division Chief.|
|Judge Maddox||Natalia Nogulich||A woman who appears in the episode.|
|Emily McBride||Nicole DuPort||Chad McBride's wife.|
|Captain Dominick Wayne, USN||Allan Louis||A Captain in the United States Navy.|