Dog Tags is the thirteenth episode in Season Five and also the 107th episode of the entire NCIS series.
During their attempt to arrest a Petty Officer and a suspected drug-smuggler at Pax River, McGee is left injured when the Officer's dog attacks him. As the team try to get to the bottom of the Officer's death while also trying to dismantle an ongoing drug ring at the Pax River Naval Air Base, Abby, believing that the dog is innocent puts both her career as a Forensic Scientist and her future at NCIS on the line as she seeks to prove that the dog is innocent and that someone else is responsible.
The peace and quietness of the Pax River Naval Base is shattered when two NCIS Dodge Stratuss carrying NCIS Agents Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Timothy McGee and also Anthony DiNozzo and finally Mossad/NCIS Liaison Officer Ziva David arrive outside the home of Petty Officer Kyle Hanson.
While McGee covers the back entrace, Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva head for the front door.
Through their comms, Gibbs asks for McGee's location.
McGee, now in the back garden and with his gun drawn tells Gibbs he's in position and that the back door's open.
As Ziva looks on and with DiNozzo ready, Gibbs bangs the door, yelling that they're federal agents and that they have a warrant but upon getting no answer whatsoever.
Upon hearing some glass shatter, Gibbs instantly sidesteps, immediately drawing his gun too while DiNozzo breaks the door down, giving the three access to the main area of the house.
At the back entrance, McGee's waiting but things change when a German Shepard emerges and begins attacking him.
As they both fall to the ground, McGee loses his gun as the dog continues digging its teeth deep into McGee's left arm.
Trapped, McGee tries to reach for his gun using his right hand as he continues to struggle against the dog.
Inside the house, Gibbs and DiNozzo search for any sign of an intruder but all they find is a body.
As they put their weapons away, DiNozzo remarks that they've got to stop serving warrants and also claims that ten bucks says McGee will "spill it" on this one, causing Ziva to wonder where McGee is.
Suddenly, the sound of a gunshot has Ziva racing for the back while Gibbs and DiNozzo follow her.
Outside, Ziva reaches the back and is stunned as McGee gets to his feet, his left arm and fingers bleeding from where the dog bit him.
As Ziva holsters her gun, Gibbs and DiNozzo join her where they glance at the German Shepard lying on the ground, bleeding from where McGee shot him.
It then cuts to DiNozzo and Gibbs who look at McGee.
With Petty Officer Hanson's house now on lockdown and also a crime scene, Medical Examiner Donald Mallard and his assistant, James Palmer have arrived to examine the remains but at the moment, both are busy examining the dog that McGee shot as well as McGee himself.
Palmer studies the dog, remarking that it looks like a flesh wound.
DiNozzo then remarks that it's a good thing that McGee isn't a better shot.
With McGee sitting in a chair, Ducky tends to McGee's wounds, wondering where did McGee last have a tetanus shot?
McGee then remarks that it was probably after that time that he and Dicky Newsome had a fight over the Galatic Hunt Obi-Wan Kenobi.
DiNozzo then believes that it was last year sometime.
Palmer just smiles.
McGee then tells Ducky that it was a while ago.
After examining McGee's bandaged hand, Ducky states that a trip to the infirmary is in order for McGee.
Ziva is now aiding Jimmy in holding the German Shepard and asks Gibbs if they should take the dog to the vet.
Gibbs wanders back, stating that the dog is going nowhere but back to the NCIS lab because it's covered in evidence.
DiNozzo then remarks that Abby will have a field day combing that for evidence.
Ziva snaps at Tony that the dog is not an "it" or "that" and that the dog is he and that the male dog is in pain.
Ducky then arrives on, holding a syringe and stating that what he has should alleviate that.
As Ducky gets ready to inject, Palmer tells him that the injection would be more effective in the back of the neck.
Ducky then moves to a new position, leaving Palmer to hold the dog down and as Ducky tries to inject, Palmer suggests that Ducky pinch the skin up so that the needle doesn't hit the muscle mass.
Impressed, Ducky asks Palmer where he learned that with Palmer telling Ducky that he spent two summers as a veterinary assistant during college.
Ducky injects the dog while remarking, "Wonderful".
Palmer tells Ducky that he should have no problem patching the dog up before stating, "Unless you would rather.." but Ducky tells Palmer to carry on because there's a body inside with which Ducky has to acquaint himself with.
"Not the only one", Gibbs remarks before summoning DiNozzo and Ziva.
As DiNozzo and Ziva head inside, McGee, still in the chair wonders about himself.
Gibbs simply flips McGee the keys, telling McGee to take the evidence (the dog) back to Abby.
In the house, the scene is being processed with DiNozzo taking photographs while Ziva reveals that the deceased is Petty Officer Kyle Hanson, a military-working dog handler with the Pax River Master-at-Arms Force, Drug Enforcement Unit.
DiNozzo then remarks that Hanson was enforcing everyone, but Hanson himself.
Ducky then states that given the prevalence of bite marks, torn flesh, puncture wounds, Ducky would guess that the Petty Officer was the victim of a dog attack.
As he and Ziva take notes, Gibbs remarks that Ducky is really going out on a limb there.
Ducky then states that his claim is further backed up by the presence of a dog at the scene of the crime.
Abandoning his photo taking for a moment, DiNozzo in a mock English accent remarks, "By cracky, Dr. Mallard, I believe you've solved the case".
This has Ziva and Gibbs glaring at DiNozzo while Ziva wonders if DiNozzo woke up in the right bed this morning.
DiNozzo then recovers and talking normally, wonders if Ziva means if DiNozzo woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, the answer is no but DiNozzo's mood soured when he walked in and saw that their chief suspect was dead.
Ducky then studies Hanson's watch and states that it appears that Hanson has been dead for at least 36 hours.
Ziva states that Hanson's death explains his disappearance and why he didn't show up for his dog-handling duties.
"Doesn't explain why his dog turned on him", Gibbs replies.
As Ziva heads off into the bedroom, DiNozzo remarks that it's just too bad because if NCIS had had more time, then they would've been able to bust Hanson and find out who was shipping drugs through the Pax River Base but now thanks to Semper Fido, Hanson is never going to roll over.
Unfortunately, DiNozzo making a joke about the tragic situation has pissed Gibbs off who simply glares at DiNozzo, causing DiNozzo to say, "Sorry, boss".
Gibbs simply stops DiNozzo by holding up his hand and advising his Senior Field Agent to "play dead".
Gibbs intends to head back outside but Ziva calls him, causing Gibbs to change direction and head for the bedroom with DiNozzo stating that he can help before apologizing as both men crash into each other.
In the bedroom, Ziva is looking for something underneath Hanson's bed. DiNozzo takes a photograph of Ziva's ass, remarking that it's a room with a view.
Gibbs however strongly disapproves and responds by giving DiNozzo a Headslap.
Ziva then finds the item and dumps it on the bed. It's a big package of something and judging from the hole at one end, it's already been bitten into.
As DiNozzo takes photos, Ziva then looks at Gibbs and wonders if it's cocaine.
"Well, you tell me", Gibbs replies.
As Ziva gets a sample from the package using a knife, DiNozzo remarks that it looks like someone was in a hurry to rip into it or "bite into it" according to Gibbs. DiNozzo then remarks the drugs would explain the dog going all Hannibal Lecter.
"Sorry, I know", DiNozzo replies after having the Gibbs glare turned on him again. "Movie reference".
Having gotten the sample, Ziva places into a small bag which Gibbs then takes and begins shaking. The sample turns blue, confirming Ziva's theory that the package has cocaine.
As this goes on, DiNozzo switches Hanson's drawer and finds some hundred dollar bills before remarking that if Hanson wasn't dead, they would have enough to arrest him.
McGee tells her that he was attacked by a vicious dog and as Abby examines the wounds, McGee tells her to be careful while Abby apologizes before wondering if McGee provoked the dog.
"Well, if you consider serving a warrant provoking", McGee replies.
Abby puts the bandage back on and wonders what happened to the dog with McGee gesturing to the car and then telling her that the dog was shot.
Abby instantly freaks, heading for the car and opening the back seat where she warms up to the dog.
McGee tells her to be careful because that's one vicious dog.
Abby then removes the muzzle while sarcastically remarking, "Yeah, McGee. He's really vicious".
As Abby examines the dog, McGee states that Ducky and Jimmy sedated the dog and that McGee himself is hoping that Abby can get some evidence off the dog.
Abby, however, simply cuts the ropes and wonders who would shoot this cute little dog.
However, Abby stops and then rounds on McGee after figuring out that McGee shot the dog.
McGee panics, stating that it was self-defence but it's no good as Abby is in full rant mode, angrily stating that McGee shot that cute little dog.
McGee protests, stating that the dog isn't cute or little and that the dog is vicious and large.
Abby is furious, wondering how McGee could shoot an innocent animal.
McGee states that the dog isn't innocent and that the dog killed someone.
Abby insists that dogs don't kill people and that people kill people.
"People with dogs that kill people kill people", McGee states.
Abby then heads back to the car and upon seeing the dog, remarks, "You didn't kill anybody, did you?".
She then responds by grabbing McGee's jacket and as she places it over the dog, McGee states that it's his Hugo Boss and doesn't Abby think that she's compromising the evidence with McGee's $500 jacket?
Once she's finished placing the jacket over the dog, Abby rounds on McGee again, stating that if he doesn't think that she can't distinguish the fibres on McGee's stupid jacket from the evidence on the dog, then McGee doesn't know her and right now, Abby doesn't want to know McGee.
Glancing into the seat, Abby pats the dog while stating, "Good dog". Once she's done that, she then turns back to McGee and snaps, "Bad McGee!".
It then cuts to McGee who looks at Abby who's busy tending to the injured dog.
As Gibbs heads down the hall, Director Jennifer Shepard emerges from the stairs, telling Gibbs that she just got a call from Pax River and that the base commander is talking like the case is closed.
Gibbs states that it's a dead end and that the case is still open.
Jenny states that the commander is claiming that NCIS got their man.
Gibbs remarks that they've got one link in a bigger chain and that they've still got five suspects.
Jenny remarks that from the commander's point of view, both the cocaine and the trafficker were found which means problem solved.
Gibbs wonders if that Jenny's point of view with Jenny stating that she can sympathize with the commander's impatience.
Gibbs tells Jenny that she can sympathize while Gibbs will keep on investigating.
But as he heads off, Jenny tells him that the suspect's dead, that Gibbs played his own hand and that the rest of the team closed up shop.
As she says this, Gibbs stops before turning around to face her again.
Jenny then states that she can't afford to waste resource if the trail's gone cold.
Gibbs then tells her that the only thing that's cold is that body in Autopsy and that the clock's ticking with Jenny saying that she'll inform the Base Commander that Gibbs and the team will be prudent in their disruption of the commander's operations.
With that, she turns around and heads off but upon sensing Gibbs still standing there, Jenny turns around again and asks Gibbs if he has something else.
Gibbs then turns around and walks off.
As this happens, McGee returns to the Bullpen after being treated for the injuries he sustained when the dog attacked him with DiNozzo wondering if they checked McGee for rabies.
McGee states that they didn't before wondering, "What?".
DiNozzo then makes a reference to "Cujo"- the movie which was based on the novel by Stephen King and involves a perfectly friendly Saint Bernard contracting rabies and it begins biting up everyone in the town it lives in.
As McGee sits down at his desk, DiNozzo continues about how people's brains start swelling up, leaking out of their ears with people even foaming at the mouth.
"Define foaming", McGee states.
Ziva tries to calm McGee by insisting that he doesn't have rabies before she tells DiNozzo that he's getting McGee all worried for no good reason.
DiNozzo then states, "She's right, McGruff" and that McGee should worry about is whether their dead petty officer whose blood was all over the dog might have had some disease like herpes or hepatitis or malaria.
"I hadn't thought about that", McGee states.
Gibbs then arrives in, wondering if any of them have thought how to pick up the pieces to this case. DiNozzo then unhelpfully states that the only piece they had, Petty Officer Hanson is now lying in pieces, thanks to a possibly rabid dog.
"Bad timing for us and for him", Ziva remarks.
Gibbs then calls on McGee who tells him that they knew that Hanson recently called a known cocaine trafficker, Diego Gallante in Panama and that Gallante has recently disappeared, leading Ziva to suspect that Gallante might be hiding while DiNozzo believes the trafficker could be dead.
Ziva then states that NCIS also knows that Gallante claimed that he had brided a flight crew and that he had access to Coco Solo Naval Air Station in Panama where C-130s make regular supply flights from Pax River every week.
McGee then reveals that when they crosscheck which flights match that pattern, they come up with....
"Suspects. One or more", Gibbs states.
McGee then hits a few buttons and five photos pop up.
Gibbs wants to know if any of the five contacted Gallante with Ziva telling him that it was just Hanson.
McGee states that Gallante would have ditched his cell by now.
DiNozzo suggests that they go lean on the flight crew but Gibbs tells him, "Not yet" before calling on McGee who replies, "I know".
It then shows McGee opening another disc case and as this happens, DiNozzo states that they've already been through all of this and that DiNozzo himself has no leads, Ziva's flirted with every officer on the Base and McGee's watched a hundred hours of Petty Officer Junction.
"A hundred and fifty actually", McGee corrects.
Gibbs ignores DiNozzo's complaining, instead suggesting that he and Ziva go back to Pax River and talk to the other dog handlers. DiNozzo then states, "To see if one of them barks, I know".
As DiNozzo and Ziva get ready, Gibbs then stops and asks McGee if he's okay with McGee assuring Gibbs that he's fine.
In the lab, Abby's busy examining the dog, telling him that he's a good boy and she tells him to be a good boy while she swabs the inside of the dog's mouth for DNA.
Once that's finished, Abby remarks, "Who's a good Jethro?".
Gibbs then arrives, stating that he's a good Jethro.
Looking up, Abby still rubbing the dog or rather Jethro, tells Gibbs not to be mad but be flattered because the dog is so strong, handsome and quiet so she named him Jethro.
Gibbs calls Abby but Abby ignores him, stating that "Butch" was too butch and she tells Gibbs not to worry because she has enough blood, hair and fibre samples before she cleaned him.
As she heads to the main area, Abby tells Gibbs that she doesn't have results for him yet but she knows how much Gibbs loves results.
Gibbs calls Abby's name again.
Kneeling down beside "Jethro", Abby then realizes that isn't what Gibbs is here to tell her and that she knows that Gibbs is here to tell her not to get too attached to the dog because he doesn't belong to NCIS and that they don't know where the evidence is going to lead them.
Gibbs remarks that it's good he doesn't have to tell her with Abby agreeing.
Gibbs then tells her that "Jethro" belongs in a kennel but Abby insists that the dog doesn't and that "Jethro" shouldn't be behind bars because he's innocent.
However, at Gibbs's glare, Abby gives in and guides "Jethro" over to the kennel.
And as she's shut the door, Abby rounds on Gibbs, stating that she's going to prove it to him because she took a swab from "Jethro" and a swab from the Petty Officer's neck and that when the results come back, she's going to show Gibbs that they don't match.
"We'll see", Gibbs replies before leaving.
Once he's gone, Abby opens the kennel door, hoping to let "Jethro" out but Gibbs shouts back into the lab that the dog stays in the kennel.
Abby then relents and closes the door again.
At the Pax River Naval Base, Ziva is busy interviewing dog handler, Colin Dixon while showing him photos of the flight crew that are under NCIS investigation.
Dixon isn't very forthcoming with information, claiming that he doesn't know any of the flight crew.
Dixon states that he works with dogs, not people while Ziva reminds Dixon that he worked with Hanson and Dixon's contant shrugging of shoulders has Ziva wondering if they don't like having NCIS here because it's cops talking to other cops or is it because they couldn't figure out who was smuggling and as such, NCIS has to do their job for them?
Dixon apologizes, stating that he didn't get to know Hanson all that well, causing Ziva to realize that's true and she then asks Dixon he surely must have noticed something about the man- Hanson.
Dixon tells her that Hanson was a showboat who liked to flaunt the cash.
Meanwhile, Tony's busy talking to Petty Officer Erica Perelli who tells him that Hanson was a friend of hers and that she doesn't like to speak ill of anyone, especially not someone who died a horrible death the way Hanson did.
Tony wonders if she's covering for Hanson because she knows of Hanson's guilt. Perelli insists that she isn't and that she's simply saying that Hanson couldn't keep complete control of his dog and that the dog in question got aggressive on her and others on occasion.
DiNozzo then wonders what would happen if a dog got a taste of some cocaine.
"Is that what happened?", Perelli states. "It would be bad, sir".
DiNozzo then remarks that dog handling must be a pretty rough job and he tells Perelli that he doesn't want to "dog" her with a lot more questions but if he needs to "sniff" around some more, is there a number he can call or...
Perelli states that the folks inside keep track of her pretty good and that DiNozzo can call them before she walks off, leaving DiNozzo staring after her.
In the morgue, Ducky and Palmer are examining Hanson's body, looking for a bite hold which they eventually find on the upper side of Hanson's right arm.
As Palmer begins placing some liquid around the wounds, Ducky remarks that a number of these puncture wounds are exceedingly sharp.
Palmer explains that certain breeds, especially shepherds have needle-sharp teeth that are capable of inflicting severe puncture wounds.
Ducky then gestures to Petty Officer Hanson's clavicle.
As the two men continue working, McGee wanders in with Ducky asking McGee if he got his shots. McGee states that he feels like a dartboard although he reckons that's probably better than being a chewtoy.
Ducky then states that if McGee's looking for his findings, that Ducky will be done momentarily but McGee's actually in the morgue to discuss the symptoms of rabies.
Ducky then states that he will yield the floor to Palmer and allow their resident dog expert to explain to McGee why he doesn't have rabies.
As Palmer begins talking to McGee, Ducky heads over to his desk just as the doors open and Gibbs comes in, asking Ducky what he's got.
Ducky tells him that he's got enough and tries to give Gibbs the folder but Gibbs tells Ducky that they need to to do this together.
With that, both men head for the elevator.
In the lab, as Nellie McKay- The Dog Song plays in the background, Abby and "Jethro" the dog are dancing together when both Gibbs and Ducky arrive in.
Abby then brings up the samples where it's shown that they're still being compared before she asks Ducky if he's met Jethro.
"Quite a number of years ago", Ducky replies.
Abby then states that it's not the human Jethro she's talking about but the dog Jethro. She then advises Ducky to say hello with Ducky stating, "Hello, Jethro".
Abby advises Jethro the dog to say hello to Ducky with the dog barking in response.
As Abby continues patting the dog, Gibbs tells her that Ducky has his initial findings.
Abby then stands up and looks at the two men with Ducky stating that Petty Officer Hanson was mauled and that he had a neck wound that severed his cartoid artery which made him bleed to death.
Abby just nods.
Gibbs approaches Abby and wonders if she understands what Ducky's saying to her.
Abby states that she does before explaining that Hanson was killed by a dog and that it doesn't mean this dog, ie, "Jethro".
Gibbs tells her to come on with Abby stating that "Jethro" is innocent while she tells them that she found pieces of Hanson's flesh in "Jethro" the dog's teeth. Gibbs sarcastically remarks that that sounds innocent.
Abby states that the flesh had hair follicles on it that were Hanson's arm, not his neck.
Ducky states that's hardly surprising because he and Jimmy found multiple perforating injuries on most of Hanson's extremities and that hardly suggests that the dog was innocent.
Abby then states that it shows that "Jethro" was trying to drag his owner and that the dog was trying to save Hanson.
"Or Hanson was putting up his arms to protect himself from a dog that was killing him", Ducky states but Abby again argues that they don't know that because there's still a lot of evidence that needs to be processed before explaining that there's the castings and the fact that she has gotten the DNA match on the dog's saliva.
The computer then pops up a positive match, confirming the match.
"Butch", Ducky says.
It then cuts to Gibbs who picks up the dog collar and hands it to Ducky while Abby simply stares at the screen.
In the bullpen, DiNozzo, McGee and Ziva are busy watching footage of the Pax River flight crew when DiNozzo tells McGee to stop and go back after realizing that Lance Tolliver handed something to Matthew Sanchez.
Ziva remarks that it's a small package and that it could be drugs.
As the camera fastens it on the footage, DiNozzo wonders what Sanchez is doing with Ziva remarking that Sanchez is opening it and that he's examining it before they realize that Sanchez is eating it.
"Looks like Funyuns", McGee remarks.
Gibbs then walks in, wondering what they've got with DiNozzo stating, "A sudden urge to hit the vending machines".
Gibbs then calls on McGee with McGee stating that beside eye strain, they don't have much.
DiNozzo then remarks that there's no pressure but he just got word that the Pax River Five are shipping out to Panama in thirty-six hours.
Ziva informs them that if that happens, then they'll lose access to the crew for a week, maybe two.
DiNozzo then suggests they bring the crew in but Gibbs again ignores the plan, stating that they will go to the crew directly and catch them off guard.
McGee then states that it's time to shake the tree and see what falls.
As he grabs his gun, Gibbs then tells DiNozzo and Ziva to follow him and as McGee wonders what Gibbs has in mind while DiNozzo and Ziva go get ready, Gibbs's phone rings.
It's Abby who tells him she's got something.
With that, Gibbs hangs up and heads for the lab before telling DiNozzo and Ziva he'll meet them in the car.
Now alone in the bullpen, McGee sits back down.
In the lab, Abby tells Gibbs to look in the microscope but Gibbs realizes that they found cocaine in the dog. Abby, on the other hand tells Gibbs to look in the mircoscope which Gibbs does.
Gibbs then remarks that it looks like a bug with Abby announcing that it isn't just a bug, it's a flea.
Abby then gives Gibbs a sheet and explains that Ducky found that flea on the victim with Gibbs going "Mmm-hmm".
Abby then proudly announces that she went over every inch of "Jethro" the dog and that he doesn't have one flea which means that he's totally clean and also innocent.
Gibbs then dampens her spirits by stating that the flea could have jumped off the dog and landed on the victim.
"That kind of wild conjecture would never stand up in court", Abby states.
Gibbs wonders if she read the rest of Ducky's report.
Abby then states that sometimes Ducky's wrong before stating that not often and adding in, "Maybe one time".
Gibbs then puts his coffee aside and grips Abby's shoulders before telling her that they've got to give the dog back.
Abby then tells Gibbs that he knows what that means with Gibbs telling her that she can't keep the dog.
Abby struggles for a few minutes before eventually accepting it but as Gibbs leaves, Abby states that she'll give him back after she's finished getting all the evidence off him.
Gibbs then turns around again, asking how much more does Abby need?
He then outlines the points: they found cocaine in the dog, the victim's flesh in the dog's teeth, the dog's saliva on the victim before finishing up with the dog even attacking McGee.
Kneeling down, Abby opens the door and urges Gibbs to look at "Jethro" the dog's eyes before asking, "Does he look like a killer?".
Gibbs eventually relents and walks away, stating that Abby's just making this rougher on herself.
Abby then glances at "Jethro" the dog who looks back.
Meanwhile, as Gibbs returns to the Squadroom, he spots Jenny and Ducky talking about something.
Upon spotting Gibbs, Jenny then escorts Ducky upstairs to her office.
In the bullpen, McGee is still examining the footage when Erica Perelli arrives in. She identifies herself as being a dog handler at Pax River and as McGee gets up, Perelli realizes that McGee's the one who shot Hanson's dog.
Perelli studies the wounds and remarks that it looks like the dog bit McGee pretty bad. McGee states that he's been bitter harder by dogs, that he loves dogs and that he's a dog person.
Perelli wonders what kind of dog McGee has but McGee tells her that he doesn't one, yet but he might and that he will soon.
Very soon because according to McGee, he just needs to find the right girl before stating that he likes girl dogs but he admits that he likes boys, though.
Gibbs then wanders in, stating, "Don't ask, don't tell".
McGee then introduces Gibbs to Perelli who is here to...
"To collect the dog, sir", Perelli explains. "I'm sorry to say he has to be put down".
Gibbs then stops what he's doing and heads over to Perelli who tells him that she wishes there was another way but it's Navy policy in fatal dog-mauling cases.
Gibbs continues staring at Perelli with McGee stating that he can take Perelli down if Gibbs would like.
Gibbs just abruptly leaves.
After a minute, the two then begin walking down with Perelli stating that McGee can call her "Erica" with McGee stating that she can call him "Timothy" as they leave the bullpen.
In the elevator, Perelli remarks there have been a lot of tough assignments over the years but this is one of the toughest. McGee then states that it's probably not going to get any easier because Abby, their forensic scientist has become a bit attached to the dog.
"How attached?", Perelli wonders.
Once the elevator's opened, McGee and Perelli head into the lab before they reach the final area to find that Abby has completely disappeared and that she's taken "Jethro" the dog with her.
Meanwhile, Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva arrive at Pax River to question the five members of the flight crew.
Gibbs identifies the three of them as being with NCIS while DiNozzo tells the crew or rather "kids" to gather around because they're going to have a little chat.
David Warfield is not impressed, stating that they've got a training mission with Gibbs stating, "Not anymore".
With that, the NCIS team split up with Ziva, DiNozzo and Gibbs interviewing the five members separately and they question the members, all of whom deny knowing anything about Gallante or the drug smuggling ring before stating that the punishment if any of the crew members are caught is life imprisonment.
Eventually, the interviews conclude and as they leave, Ziva asks Gibbs if they've rattled the flight crew and as they get into the car, Gibbs tells her that they'll see.
Meanwhile, Abby with "Jethro" the dog in tow, both of whom are in Abby's 1931 Ford Coupe Hot Rod arrive at the Pax River Naval Base where a Uniformed Guard stops her at the entrance, wondering if he can help her. Abby tells him that she's looking for fleas which leaves the guard confused.
Abby then shows him her NCIS ID and the guard agrees to let her in. She eventually parks her car near some houses and as she gets out, she tells "Jethro" the dog that they're here to gather evidence and that it's for the dog's own defence.
Almost instantly, "Jethro" hops out of the car and begins racing off down a path with Abby running after him, yelling.
She eventually catches up with the dog in a forest area where the dog's digging through some dirt.
As she puts the leash on "Jethro", Abby tells the dog never to do that again but the dog is growling over something. Just then. Abby's phone rings.
It's McGee who's demanding to know where she took the dog.
Abby reveals that she's at the Naval Base and that he and the team better get down here because Abby believes that they've got another body.
It then cuts to Abby who is still on her phone, looking stunned at the scene while "Jethro" sits by her side.
The small area is now a crime scene and it's also being processed with Ducky, Palmer, Gibbs and McGee have arrived. to do the necessary tasks required.
While Ducky cleans the main bones, he tells Palmer to be careful because they're supposed to be taking bones, not putting Ducky's in for which Palmer apologizes.
As this goes on, McGee photographs the scene while Gibbs takes notes.
When "Jethro" barks, McGee tells Abby that the dog should have a muzzle on it with Abby retorting that McGee should put a muzzle on himself because it's not like Jethro/Butch shot McGee.
At Gibbs's glare, Abby relents, stating that she knows that she shouldn't have taken him out without authorization but time was of the essence and besides, "Jethro" might have uncovered a really important clue.
"Or maybe it's another one of his victims and he's confessing", McGee suggests.
"Or maybe it's his lunch", Gibbs states.
Ducky then tells Gibbs that it was only if the dog was a cannibal, prompting the dog which has Ducky telling the dog that he wasn't talking to him and that "Jethro" might want to cover his eyes because the remains here aren't human.
With that, Abby covers the dog's eyes.
Back in the bullpen, DiNozzo remarks that criminal investigation is really an art and that it involves creativity and inspiration.
Ziva just laughs, telling DiNozzo that he found a clue and that it doesn't make him Picasso.
"I'm sensing a little frustration", DiNozzo remarks. "Envy. Counter-productive. Let it go".
Just as Gibbs and McGee arrive back in, DiNozzo tells Gibbs that he has something.
Apparently, Lieutenant Commander Warfield has a cousin stationed at Pax River, a Petty Officer by the name of Philip Granger who Warfield listed as his emergency contact and the interesting thing is that Granger was busted for cocaine possession two months ago but he failed to appear to face charges, meaning that Granger has fled.
McGee suggests that it might be a family business with Warfield supplying to his cousin.
"Maybe", Gibbs says.
Again, DiNozzo suggests that it'd be worth it to go have another talk with Warfield but Gibbs tells DiNozzo to keep digging while Ziva, on the other hand, announces that she has more on Lt. Commander Warfield.
Gibbs quickly looks through the file, glaring at DiNozzo who had been hoping for a peek before saying, "Fetch".
With that, Tony and Ziva grab their backpacks and leave the bullpen with Tony asking Ziva what she found.
"A little inspiration", Ziva replies.
As they head out, Erica Perelli arrives back in. DiNozzo tries to charm her but Perelli ignores him, instead heading straight for the bullpen and to McGee.
The fact that Perelli's on a first name basis with McGee has DiNozzo stunned with Ziva stating that it appears that Perelli prefers McGee's scent.
As they head into the lift, DiNozzo isn't too taken with that and laughs, stating that Perelli will eat McGee alive.
DiNozzo then tries to get a glimpse into the file Ziva's holding but she looks at him and tells him to let it go just as the doors close... before they reopen again to show McGee and Perelli heading into Abby's lab with McGee telling Perelli that he's sorry for the fact that she had to make two trips to NCIS.
Perelli states that she doesn't mind and besides the last thing she wants to do is put down a dog and as they head into the lab, they hear The Cure's "The Lovecats" playing over the speakers.
McGee heads for the lower area of the lab but surprisingly, the doors won't automatically open for him while, in the area, "Jethro" the dog continues growling menacingly at McGee.
McGee's knocking has "Jethro" springing to his feet and barking loudly with Abby telling the dog to pay no attention to McGee.
As this goes on, McGee tells Abby to open the door bt she carries on working despite McGee stating that "Jethro" has to go now.
When McGee calls her name again, Abby insists that she can't hear McGee who states, "If you can't hear me, why did you answer?". Abby gets up from her seat, turning the radio up even more louder.
She then faces McGee and Perelli, stating that she's not opening the door until "Jethro" is proven innocent. McGee advises Abby not to make a scene but Abby tells him that it's too late because she's in full scene mode.
McGee states that she can't stay in there forever.
Abby tells McGee that she's fully stocked up on both Caf-Pow and kibble before defiantly saying that she's good for at least a few days.
With that, Abby sits back down again while "Jethro" the dog begins barking at McGee, causing a shocked McGee to duck behind Perelli for protection while at her desk, Abby just smiles.
Warfield is in Interrogation and realizes that NCIS is trying to pick them off one at a time but for once, it isn't DiNozzo or Gibbs who's doing the Interrogation, it's Ziva who tells Warfield that it isn't about them, it's about Warfield himself.
As she sits down opposite Warfield, she tells Warfield that he's the one with a cousin who was busted with cocaine.
Warfield isn't impressed, stating, "That what this is all about? My loser cousin?" before stating that they're not even close.
Ziva then says that they're close enough for Warfield to give Granger some of the blow Warfield smuggled in.
Warfield insists that he didn't smuggle anything with Ziva stating that they know that their plane brought it in every three weeks for the past three months like clockwork.
Warfield then reveals that two months ago, he was in a sickbay in Panama and he didn't fly the aircraft back because he hopped on a transport a week later before stating that if Ziva had checked properly, then the records would prove that Warfield's right.
Ziva just chuckles, stating that records can prove one's guilt or one's innocence.
"Damn straight", Warfield says.
Ziva then shows Warfield a record of that sickbay in Panama and it then cuts to Gibbs and DiNozzo who are watching from Observation.
Back in Interrogation, Ziva tells Warfield that for three constructive days, he signed from 2 to 5pm in the afternoon/evening and she's guessing that Warfield wasn't too sick to meet with his supplier.
Warfield tells her that she's got it all wrong. Ziva then sits down beside Warfield, stating that with one phone call, she can get every record out of Panama, every single person on that base interviewed, every single step Warfield took retraced before stating, "You don't want me making that phone call, do you?" before asking Warfield where he was but when it becomes apparent Warfield will not break, Ziva tells him that she will make that call and attempts to leave.
As Ziva heads for the door, Warfield finally cracks, stating that he was seeing a woman whose name is Rosa and that she's a translator.
It then pulls back to show Gibbs and DiNozzo watching from Observation.
"I was helping her out", Warfield states.
"By sleeping with her?", Ziva says.
Warfield states that he cares about Rosa and that Rosa is a single mother with a six year old son who had a respiratory infection real bad so much so that the boy was drowning in his own lungs.
DiNozzo remarks that that's sad but Gibbs states that it's leverage.
Ziva then puts the story together: As such, Warfield went to the sickbay, complaining of a respiratory infection and that Warfield did to get drugs for the boy.
Warfield insists that if he hadn't, the boy could have died.
Ziva then reveals the charges against Warfield which include illegal transfer of prescription medication, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming before telling Warfield that she smells a dishonorable discharge in his future.
She has a question which is does Warfield like being a pilot?
She also states that she'll forget the charges if Warfield can remember who in his crew has been acting suspiciously.
When Warfield doesn't answer, Ziva can't believe that he's willing to give up his entire career for someone else's crime but Warfield admits that he isn't.
Ziva demands that Warfield give her a name but he insists that he doesn't have a name.
Ziva believes that Warfield's lying but Warfield insists that he doesn't know.
With that, Ziva leaves Interrogation, leaving Warfield alone. She soon arrives in Observation, stating to Gibbs that Warfield's telling the truth, causing Gibbs to remark, "Any way you translate it" before leaving.
A while later, Gibbs is in the elevator when Jenny comes in. She asks about the investigation with Gibbs telling her that it's moving along.
Eventually, Jenny shuts off the power, telling Gibbs that he looks like he's been acting like he wants to ask her something all week.
"Any health issues?", Gibbs wonders.
"I'm fine", Jenny insists.
But when Gibbs wonders if she's sick, Jenny brings the elevator back online, again insisting that she's fine and she tells Gibbs that his health could take a turn for the worse if he doesn't wrap up this investigation before she leaves the elevator.
In the lab, Abby's still working when someone begins knocking on her door. She tells McGee to go away but as it turns out, it isn't McGee.
Almost instantly, Abby hops to her feet, switching off the music and she looks at Jenny, wondering if they've got a problem but Jenny assures her that there's no problem. Jenny wonders if Abby could open the door which Abby eventually does.
Once the door's open, Jenny thanks Abby before heading it and remarking that "Jethro" the dog doesn't look very good.
Abby believes it's because "Jethro" knows that he's on Death Row which would put a damper on anyone's spirits.
Abby wonders if Jenny's going to order her to give the dog up.
"Is that what it's going to take?", Jenny wonders.
Abby insists that if she had more time, she could prove that "Jethro" didn't do it.
Jenny then states that Abby appears to be the only one who thinks so.
Abby states, "So what? So what if I am? You have to stand up for what you believe it. You have to stick to your guns until you can make a wrong right".
Jenny then tells Abby that sometimes, things aren't so simple, that sometimes you can't control and sometimes, you have to look at the reality in front of you and accept it.
Abby then states that she can't and that she won't before kneeling down beside Jenny.
"He really doesn't look good, does he?", Abby states.
McGee arrives back in the bullpen and sits down to watch something, only to get a shock when he sees dogs barking on the monitor which has him jumping up in shock.
At her desk, Ziva asks DiNozzo if he's finding inspiration.
"Whenever I can", DiNozzo replies before telling her that McGee is his personal McMuse.
McGee takes a look at the DVD and realizes it's called "When Dogs Attack" before sarcastically telling DiNozzo that it's very funny.
DiNozzo then laughs and sits down just as Gibbs comes in, remarking, "All back, no bite, like the rest of my team".
DiNozzo then announces that he has an email from Abby and that it's the lab results concerning the cocaine they found in Hanson's house.
DiNozzo then reveals that Abby's determined that the wrappings contained minute traces of hydraulic fluid.
Ziva then realizes that the crew member who comes into contact most often with hydraulic fluid is the flight engineer with Gibbs realizing that the flight engineer is Petty Officer Pete Bidwell.
With that, Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva grab their stuff and prepare to leave but as they do that, McGee calls Gibbs's name with Gibbs relenting and silently giving McGee permission to come along.
A while later, with Gibbs and McGee in one car and Tony and Ziva in another car, the team arrive at the plane to find it empty. As they get out, McGee states that Flight Operations said that Bidwell was working on a plane.
With that, Gibbs then orders Tony and Ziva to go check inside.
DiNozzo then heads into the plane, identifying himself as NCIS while, Ziva is in the main area of the plane, calling for Bidwell but there's no response. She stops upon seeing a pool of blood on the floor.
Ziva then climbs onto the big box and tries to walk across but trips, falling down. She then gasps and pauses upon seeing something or someone lying on the ground.
It's Petty Officer Bidwell who's lying on the ground, dead and a nasty head wound.
It then cuts to Ziva who's leaning over the edge of the big box, stunned at the sight before her.
The plane is now a crime scene with both DiNozzo and Ziva taking photographs of the scene while DiNozzo wonders if it was an accident but Gibbs doesn't think so.
McGee then states that that's the lever Gibbs is looking at is the lever that unlocks all the pallets.Gibbs agrees, stating that standard ops is lock as you load.
Ziva remarks that it was a jittery partner. McGee then remarks that they know that Bidwell brought in the drugs and that Hanson helped get them through the base.
"We don't know anything until we know everything", Gibbs replies. "You keep looking".
As soon as Gibbs leaves, DiNozzo gives McGee the NCIS Fingerprinting Kit, causing an outraged McGee to realize that DiNozzo wants him to dust the whole plane by himself. DiNozzo sarcastically states, "Just the flat surfaces when you can lift a print" before stating, "Yeah. The whole plane".
McGee just shakes his head, annoyed.
Abby bursts into the morgue, telling Ducky that she needs help.
This has Ducky and Jimmy springing from their seats with Ducky wondering what happened.
Abby tells him that she doesn't know because the dog was acting funny and then he started coughing up blood.
As he puts his coat on, Ducky orders Palmer to get the x-ray machine.
Abby wants to know if the dog is dying but Ducky tells her that he doesn't know.
Abby then snaps that that's not a good answer with Ducky telling her, "You must calm down".
Palmer eventually brings the x-ray in and helps Ducky set in while Abby silently worries. They then all stand so that Ducky can get a good x-ray of "Jethro" the dog's stomach.
A while later, Ducky and Palmer are studying the x-ray with Palmer pointing to something inside the dog's stomach with Abby wanting to know what it is.
"Something that doesn't belong", Ducky replies. He then tells Palmer to prepare to sedate and that Palmer should find everything he needs in Ducky's bag.
As Palmer heads off to grab, Ducky tells Abby that they have to operate.
Abby wants to know if the dog will be okay but Palmer tells that the inside of a dog's stomach is like a sewer and that survival rates aren't good.
Ducky states that as such, both his and Palmer's own expertise is going to be challenged.
Abby hopes Ducky knows what he's doing.
"Yes, well, the fact that he's breathing does put me somewhat out of my element", Ducky replies before remarking that they don't have a choice now, do they?
Abby then heads to the top of the area while Ducky asks Palmer what they need with Palmer stating the suture materials, metenbaum scissors while Ducky states they need hemostats and scalpels, number 10 blade.
Palmer then grabs the things and heads back over, handing Ducky a protective shield which Ducky thanks him for.
Ducky tells Abby that she might want to leave but Abby insists on staying.
With that, Ducky and Palmer get to work.
Ducky remarks that he needs to make an incision posterior to the xiphoid cartilage while Palmer is busy retracting the peritoneal fat.
Ducky spots a bleeder and tells Palmer to clip it with Ducky urging Palmer to hurry with Palmer insisting he has it.
In the corner, Abby is silent, obviously praying for a miracle.
Eventually, Ducky produces the object and Palmer wonders if that's what he thinks it is. As Palmer answers the phone, Ducky tells Abby that her "Jethro" might be the first to have survived a trip to the autopsy.
Relieved, Abby hugs Ducky with Ducky telling her that they're not out of the woods yet while Palmer continues talking before telling Ducky that the caller is Gibbs.
Ducky then receives the phone with Palmer agreeing to clean the knife tip and sow up the dog.
With that, Ducky talks to Gibbs.
At Pax River, just outside the plane, Gibbs tells Ducky that they need him at Pax River Air Station because they've got a dead petty officer.
Ducky agrees, stating that there's been an interesting development here and that the dog, "Jethro" swallowed something which Ducky tells Gibbs is the tip of a knife.
Ducky then tells Gibbs that there was a puncture mark on Hanson's collar bone that troubled Ducky and that Ducky now knows that the puncture mark was made by a knife, not a dog bite and that it's a perfect match.
Gibbs then realizes that it wasn't just the dog that killed Hanson: the dog according to Ducky had a human co-conspirator.
Ducky then asks about the remains of the "John Doe" which has Palmer confused.
Ducky then impatiently tells Palmer that it's about the dead dog with Palmer stating that the remains are in 206. Ducky tells Gibbs to stay with him and opens the locker before placing the tip end into the wound.
It's a match.
Ducky then confirms this, stating that if he were a betting man, he'd say the two crimes were related.
Back at Pax River, Gibbs agrees before hanging up and heading to the plane where he calls for McGee who wonders if they're going back.
DiNozzo springs up, stating that two people, one mothership and that this will take all night.
"Hope you brought a warm coat, DiNozzo", Gibbs yells before heading off.
McGee then gives DiNozzo the Fingerprint Kit, telling DiNozzo that it's just the flat surfaces where DiNozzo can lift a print.
With that, McGee walks off, leaving DiNozzo standing in the hanger, holding both the camera and kit.
A while later, Abby walks into the bullpen, stating that "Jethro" the dog is doing fine and that she's taking up a collection for flowers.
McGee wonders why would he give flowers to a dog that attacked him?
Abby states that maybe it's because dog is man's best friend or maybe because she's a forensic scientist and that she could boil McGee from the inside out and never leave a trace.
McGee eventually relents, placing some money in the box.
Gibbs comes in and McGee states that surveillance is a wash and that McGee himself has watched all the footage.
On the screen, it shows a Navy truck pulling up to the plane with McGee announcing that person is Bidwell's killer right there and that the other angle's even worse.
Gibbs then realizes that whoever killed Bidwell knew that the plane was under surveillance.
Abby then jumps in, stating that they don't know for certain that "Jethro" the dog attacked Hanson and that the dog could have swallowed the knife tip as he was licking Hanson's wounds which would account for the blood that was all over him.
She then realizes that Gibbs already thought of that.
McGee states that the dog tried to rip him limb from limb with DiNozzo announcing that McGee has that effect.
As this goes on, DiNozzo and Ziva arrive back in with Ziva stating, "Especially when you bail on our biggest crime scene ever".
McGee's retort dies in his throat when he suddenly states that he got a match before telling the group that the knife tip found in "Jethro" the dog came from a Navy-issue tactical boot knife.
Gibbs then tells McGee to find out who ordered a new boot knife from Pax River in the last 72 hours.
McGee tells Gibbs that he's already on it and that there are three people on the list with one standing out.
Gibbs then tells McGee to go to the Evidence Locker and get Log 421 before he and McGee head off.
A while later, at Pax River Base, again with the team taking two separate cars, Gibbs and McGee and DiNozzo and Ziva in the other, the team arrive to question Erica Perelli who's busy walking her dog.
Perelli wants to know what this is about with Ziva wondering if Perelli got the knife she requisitioned.
As the team round on her, Perelli is left stunned but she tells Ziva that she hasn't gotten it yet.
DiNozzo then wants to know what happened to the knife Perelli got issued three years ago.
Perelli states that she lost it but Gibbs tells it was lost in Hanson's body.
DiNozzo then remarks that they knew about the NCIS investigation and that both Perelli and Bidwell needed to pin it on someone.
McGee then states that she chose Hanson but was it because she was suspicious of him.
DiNozzo then states that Perelli killed Hanson and tried to frame him for the crime.
Ziva remarks that Perelli sent Hanson up by using his phone to call Galante and then Perelli planted cocaine and cash in Hanson's house for the NCIS team to find.
"Tried to make it look like he was killed by his own dog", McGee states.
Gibbs and DiNozzo then chime in that then Perelli killed Bidwell because she thought that Bidwell could crack.
It then cuts to Perelli who states that she's no lawyer but this sounds like an awful lot of conjecture to her and that the whole case is supposedly of her requisitioning a boot knife.
She then asks Gibbs if it's really going to hold up in court.
Gibbs just looks at her and smiles before stating, "No".
Perelli wants to know about the warrant with McGee stating that it's in his pocket.
Suddenly, a dog races over and begins barking at McGee, causing DiNozzo to tell McGee that he's still got that magic.
The other dog handler tells his dog to heel before saying, "Good dog".
McGee then produces something from the Evidence Log Number 421- cocaine which he gives to Gibbs who waves it front of the dog that Perelli has but the dog doesn't respond, simply turning away.
"Your dog don't hunt", Gibbs says.
As Perelli gets her dog into the van, DiNozzo realizes that Perelli killed her original drug-sniffing dog and replaced him with an attack dog.
McGee then states that it was because Perelli needed a dog that wouldn't react to cocaine.
Ziva approaches Perelli, telling her she's under arrest for the murders of Petty Officer Hanson and Bidwell.
And just when it looks like the dog's going to strike, McGee slams the door while Ziva drags Perelli to one side before hauling the disgraced dog handler off.
Meanwhile, DiNozzo tells McGee that he seems to attract all the sick puppies before DiNozzo leaves while McGee still stares at the dog inside the car.
A while later, McGee arrives in the lab to see Abby still attached to "Jethro" the dog.
McGee asks Abby what's wrong.
Abby tells him that Gibbs asked the base commander if she could keep "Jethro" and apparently, while the commander agreed, Abby's landlord said no.
Abby then states that she has to find "Jethro" a good home because he's a distinguished veteran.
She then gets up and approaches McGee before placing her hands on his shoulders and she tells McGee that he deserves to be happy.
McGee tries to get out of it but Abby tells him that he's been looking for a dog.
"That dog tasted my blood and I think he liked it", McGee says.
Remembering what Jenny said earlier, Abby tells McGee that he sometimes has to look at the reality in front of him and accept it before confirming that McGee's taking "Jethro".
With that, she drags McGee over to where "Jethro" is.
Once the two are together, Abby orders both of them to shake hands but neither obeys.
Abby then tells "Jethro" that he has to be the bigger man and as such, both eventually hold their right hands and shake hands while "Jethro" growls at McGee.
It then cuts to McGee who has his eyes raised to the ceiling as he starts to wonder what he's let himself in for.
- This is the second time a dog is named for one of the NCIS Agents after being taken into custody. Kate named a dog "Tony" in the Season 2 episode, Caught on Tape (episode).
- The song playing at the beginning of the episode as the team invade the Petty Officer's home is Daron Norwood- "Bad Dog No Biscuit" while the song playing while Abby is dancing with "Jethro" the dog in her lab is Nellie McKay- The Dog Song while later, on in the lab, as Abby and McGee get into a stand-off about "Jethro", The Cure's Love Cats can be heard playing in the background.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||NCIS 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.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||Mossad Liaison to NCIS and also a member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||NCIS Junior Special Agent and a member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Forensic Specialist, NCIS.|
|Jennifer Shepard||Lauren Holly||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner, NCIS.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Ducky's assistant.|
|David Warfield||Roger Cross||A man stationed at the Pax River Base.|
|Erica Perelli||Rachel Kimsey||A Petty Officer and the killer.|
|Matthew Sanchez||Jorge-Luis Pallo||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Colin Dixon||Brian Gross||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Lance Tolliver||Matt Corboy||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Scott Bowen||Derrick L. McMillon||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Pete Bidwell||Tripp Pickell||A man who works at Pex Officer and who is also the second murder victim.|
|Uniformed Guard||Brian David Jones||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Seaman (Dog Tags)||James Ryen||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Butch||Rowdy the Dog||A drug-dog the team take back to NCIS so that Abby can examine him for evidence. She later calls him "Jethro" in honor of Gibbs and McGee is later forced to adopt him.|