NCIS are called to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a Navy Commander who seemingly burst into flames which raises the theory that it might be a case of spontaneous human combustion. However, the team soon discover that the Commander in question was anything but respective to his ship-mates on the USS Kennedy and that he had a very long list of enemies, a young ensign among the list and who soon becomes the prime suspect. But once the Ensign is cleared although he is shot dead in a stand-off with Kate and Gibbs, Ducky begins to suspect that the doctor who performed the surgery might know the truth...
The scene opens on a clock inside a Naval Hospital. A Navy Corpsman is busy making his rounds, checking on the patients. He checks on Commander Michael Dornan and finds that everything's fine. In the corridor, Doctor Dooley asks the Corpsman if the patient's asleep.
He assures her the patient and that Doctor Janice Byers took care of that before she left for the night. Dooley isn't impressed, remarking that if she were Byers and that if Dornan had called her in at 2am, she would have killed him herself.
As soon as the words leave her mouth, an explosion in Dornan's room erupts and both she and the Corpsman run towards the room, only to find Michael Dornan engulfed in flames.
In his basement, with the radio blaring, Leroy Jethro Gibbs is busy working on his boat while his female friend, the Mysterious Red-Head sits in the background, reading a blue print of a boat. Gibbs's morning work is interrupted by a call from his second-in-command, Anthony DiNozzo who tells him about the explosion at Bethesda Naval Hospital and then informs him that the dispatch people want NCIS to check it out. Gibbs then hangs up before asking his female friend if she could drop him by Bethesda.
She looks at him, amused.
A few hours later, DiNozzo and Timothy McGee have arrived on scene with the Major Case Response Team van. They're in the process of unloading the gear from the truck when Caitlin Todd joins them. When Tony asks her where she's been, Kate tells him she was at home, asleep.
"Asleep, maybe. But not at home. I got you on your cell", Tony states.
Kate urges him to drop it. Tony refuses, stating for her not to make it a challenge because he will find out. Their banter is interrupted by Gibbs arriving, having gotten a lift from his redhead friend. He gets out of the car, bids her goodbye before leaving the car.
As he does so, Kate walks off while DiNozzo remarks that he and McGee were the only ones flying solo.
"Speak for yourself", McGee says and heads off. DiNozzo then raises his eyes to the sky before closing the van's door and then goes to join the others. As Gibbs heads for the entrance and is finishing putting on his windbreaker, the other three join him and together, they head into the hospital where DiNozzo gives the highlights of the call-out.
As they make their way to the victim's room, DiNozzo gives Gibbs the victim's name, Commander Michael Dornan and tells him that the victim was Safety Officer on the USS Kennedy which got back from the Gulf the previous Friday. Apparently, Dornan had been complaining of chest pains and he'd had open heart surgery four days ago.
Edging ever closer, Gibbs produces his ID while DiNozzo informs them that the doctor who operated on Dornan is on the way in. Gibbs mistakenly believes that the doctor's a man but DiNozzo corrects it, stating that the doctor is actually a woman named Commander Janice Byers.
They then reach the room which has been taped off. Gibbs heads into the room while DiNozzo holds the tape up for Kate but not for McGee who sighs heavily in dismay before heading under the tape. DiNozzo then urges McGee to come on.
In the room, Donald Mallard, NCIS's Medical Examiner and James Palmer, his assistant have arrived. While Ducky studies the body, Palmer's busy photographing the victim. As they head into the room, DiNozzo states that the fire had to hurt while Kate is just disgusted.
Gibbs asks Ducky where the fire started. Ducky tells him that the source appears to be internal and that the majority of the damage involved is confined to the torso. Kate then realizes that Dornan was receiving oxygen through a nasal cannula. Ducky remarks that the fire would have needed a source of ignition and he seriously doubts that it could have caused this kind of damage.
Kate then finds two packets of cigarettes and wonders if the victim could have been smoking in bed. DiNozzo who's on the phone reports that a Navy Corpsman saw him ten seconds before the explosion and that Dornan was out cold. McGee then takes photos of the cigarettes and then asks Gibbs about a possible theory he has.
Gibbs impatiently demands McGee get to the point and McGee suggests spontaneous human combustion. Gibbs looks either confused or just plain annoyed before asking where the surgeon is. DiNozzo helpfully points out that Commander Byers is in the waiting room and that she just got there. Once Gibbs has left, DiNozzo begins berating McGee for his theory, stating that spontaneous human combustion is an urban myth.
Thankfully, Ducky tells DiNozzo that they shouldn't disregard that because stories of spontaneous human combustion go way back to the Bible until Ducky remarks it wasn't popularized until Dickens. Palmer realizes Ducky's talking about Charles Dickens, the British author.
Ducky soon informs them that Dickens used spontaneous human combustion to kill off one of his characters, Mr Krook in the novel, Bleak House which caused a minor uproar. Dickens was accused of perpetuating the age old superstition. DiNozzo remarks that he saw that movie.
"The silent version or the British mini-series?", Ducky asks.
"They were talking", DiNozzo replies.
Kate who's bagging evidence just snorts in amusement while McGee begins taking more photos.
Outside, Gibbs who's writing everything down is busy interviewing Doctor/Commander Byers who tells him that Commander Dornan was complaining of pain and that he insisted the night-staff call her in.
When Gibbs ponders further, Byers admits that the Commander liked to throw his weight around, especially with the junior nurses and the corpsmen. The post-op pain was normal and to appease him, she gave him an echo-cardiogram and he was fine. She even gave him some Percocet so that he could fall asleep.
Suddenly, Ducky emerges and Gibbs asks him if he's heading back to NCIS. Ducky stops and admits that he is. Gibbs then introduces Byers and Ducky to one another. When Gibbs tells Ducky that Byers was the one who operated on the victim, Ducky, in an unusual gesture removes his hat with Gibbs remarking that Ducky is a man of few words although Ducky usually isn't.
Gibbs concludes the interview and thanks her for her time before heading back to the room. Ducky then asks Byers about the procedure and Byers tells him that it was an aortic value repair. She even admits that it went well and had hoped that Dornan would be back on active duty in two months.
Ducky thanks her and as she prepares to leave, runs after her, informing that he might have a question or two to ask her after the autopsy. Byers then states that she'll give him her numbers and it's become very clear or rather obvious that they're attracted to one another.
Back in the room, Kate tries to cover her yawns but Tony has spotted them and smugly informs her that it's too bad she didn't get to bed at a sensible hour although he states that it was sleep because she was in bed. Kate tells him she gets it. The body has been removed for transport back to NCIS. Gibbs then enters, informing McGee to stay in the hospital and meet with the engineers and plant manager as Gibbs wants the oxygen system completely checked out.
Gibbs then orders that everything in the room go back to Abby. Kate's puzzled for a second but once she sees Gibbs giving her a look, she changes her tune and agrees as well. Gibbs then orders her to background the victim before leaving the hospital room once again.
"This is the beginning of a very long day", Kate says, kneeling back and grabbing some bagged evidence.
"Yeah. Too bad you had such a short night", Tony replies, patting her on the shoulder.
Kate gives him a sarcastic look but Tony smiles.
Back at NCIS, Ducky's busy performing an autopsy on the body while talking to it. He admits that he was intrigued by Commander Byers but he's not sure why. Palmer, carrying a bin comes up and remarks that it looks like the victim burnt from the inside out.
Ducky agrees and then points to the victim's stomach remains before ordering Palmer to give them to Abby for content analysis. Palmer's about to head up to Abby but he stops and asks Ducky if it helps that he talks to them. Ducky tells him that the victims are still human, that what they do is very invasive and impersonal and helps him establish a relationship with them.
Palmer nods before leaving while Ducky removed another organ from Dornan's body.
Gibbs arrives in the Evidence Garage and finds Abigail Sciuto going through the victim's bed. She remarks about his refusal to believe in spontaneous human combustion and then spends the next few minutes trying to convince Gibbs about it but Gibbs refuses.
She then takes the Caf-Pow from Gibbs and tells him what she's found. She tells him that all the equipment from the hospital is perfect working order and that they don't seem to be the source of the explosion. She then points out that someone went a bit postal with the fire extinguisher which complicates finding any kind of trace evidence on the monitor.
Gibbs remarks that the victim was barbecued at the time and believes that whoever wielded the extinguisher wasn't concerned with forensics. Gibbs then asks her about the explosion. Abby puts in spontaneous human combustion but it's obvious that Gibbs isn't buying that for a second.
As he leaves, he tells her to get with Ducky and maybe the two of them will solve the case. As Gibbs heads for the lift and opens it via the iris-scanner, Abby agrees, stating that once Ducky's finished slicing and dicing, then they'll go bang heads.
"Don't cause any sparks", Gibbs warns her before heading into the lift.
Up in the bullpen, Kate finishes interviewing an unnamed Doctor and then hangs up, resuming her work. DiNozzo then tells them that he thought of becoming a Doctor. Kate's in disbelief at that and wonders if his medical career of choice was a gynecologist.
DiNozzo tells her it wasn't and that he wanted to become a dermatologist given that the hours are normal, there's big money involved and no-one ever dies from a zit although McGee comments that he had a terrible of case of acne as a kid. DiNozzo doesn't believe it.
Once Gibbs is in the bullpen, McGee, standing up informs him that the plant engineer has said that oxygen is supplied to the rooms through a central system. They did a complete check and everything was in order. DiNozzo then pips up, stating that both the night-shift and day-shift agreed that Dornan was a pain in the ass.
Just as Kate then up and informs him that Dornan was divorced ten years ago and has no kids, her phone starts ringing. Unsurprisingly, DiNozzo edges to Kate's desk to see who's calling her. She then continues stating that Dornan's ex has remarried and is living in Santa Fe. She then states Dornan's parents are retired, that he has one sister and that they're all being notified by CACO before heading back to her desk.
DiNozzo has grabbed Kate's phone and informs them of the name, Harrison. When he refuses to give her the phone, she elbows him and he grudgingly returns the phone. Kate answer it while DiNozzo tells McGee it's Harrison before heading back to his desk.
Gibbs just smirks.
It then cuts to night-time in D.C. and in the lab, Abby's computer is busy building a 3D mock-up of the Commander's room. Ducky tells Abby that he never ceases to be amazed by her skills and that when he was a young M.E, they recreated crime scenes using interns.
"You also used to listen to records and do the jitterbug", Abby informs him.
Ducky agrees with that and then begins dancing although he soon accidentally bumps into Gibbs and the team who are heading into the lab which causes some embarrassment for Ducky. Thankfully, Gibbs brushes that aside and asks to see the explosion which Abby then shows him.
DiNozzo isn't impressed but Abby goes 180 degrees and plays it in slow motion again.
Kate asks what caused the explosion and Abby tells them what she and Ducky found. McGee soon figures out that it was matches which has Gibbs realizing that someone struck a match and ignited the oxygen although DiNozzo tells him that according to the Corpsman, the Commander was asleep at the time.
"This was no accident, Gibbs", Abby tells him. "Barbecue Boy. He was murdered".
It then cuts to the plasma screen where another play of the oxygen igniting across the Commander's chest and torso is shown.
The next day, Gibbs sends McGee back to Bethesda Naval Hospital so that he can review their security tapes and as they head into the bullpen, Gibbs tells McGee to find out how someone got in the room and then managed to get without being seen. Gibbs also wants McGee to start a timeline and go back twenty-four hours before the explosion to determine every doctor, nurse, orderly and visitor that went into the hospital room.
Gibbs then tells Tony and Kate that they're heading to Norfolk to the USS Kennedy which Dornan had spent the last nine months. DiNozzo tells them that he's going to go get the car. Kate wonders what he's so jazzed about.
As the team get ready to go, Gibbs tells Kate that the first person they're going to be seeing when they get on the Kennedy is the NCIS Agent Afloat who happens to be Special Agent Paula Cassidy.
Kate's amused by that.
Tony tells her that Cassidy was re-assigned there.
McGee's in the dark so Kate tells him that Cassidy is a rather attractive agent that DiNozzo drooled all over last year when they were at Gitmo. Tony then tells Kate that that is enough talk and then uses some breath-spray before telling her, "Let's go".
The two soon get onto the USS Kennedy where yet another argument about their skills on a ship erupts. Kate tells him that the last time they were on the ship, Tony was the one who got lost. DiNozzo insists that he wasn't lost. He was just momentary disorientated.
"Like you were with Paula in Gitmo", Kate wonders.
Tony assures her that he's not the type to kiss and tell. Kate remarks that it's unusual for Tony to be discreet and she then realizes that Paula must be something special. Tony then brings up the subject of Harrison and the two then reach a crossroads with both insisting that they're going the right way.
They head off down their chosen ways although seconds later, Kate changes her tune and rejoins Tony, suggesting that she was going the wrong way all along. Once they've reached Cassidy's quarters, Tony asks Kate to go check in with the XO and to do that because he outranks her.
"She is something special", Kate admits before heading off.
Bracing himself, Tony then knocks on the door and Cassidy tells him he can enter. He does so, closing the door behind him as soon as he's gotten inside and once Cassidy turns around and gets a look at him, she stops. She tells him she was expecting Gibbs.
DiNozzo asks her if she's disappointed before greeting her and telling her that she's back for a week but that she hasn't called him. Cassidy tells him she's been gone months and that she didn't get any emails. DiNozzo tells her that he figures she was too busy to reply given that she was at sea with 5,000 men.
Cassidy tells him that she had trouble choosing with DiNozzo remarking that he's a hard act to follow. Once she's placed some folders on a table and sat down, Cassidy tells him she was afraid of making the same mistake. DiNozzo wonders if they can start the whole talk over again but Cassidy states it won't change anything.
DiNozzo closes the door and they then get down to the case. Cassidy admits that Safety Officers are generally disliked because they have the authority to stick their noses into anyone's department and no-one can say a word. DiNozzo remarks that it sounds like Gibbs before realizing that Dornan had lots of enemies.
"Made an art of it", Cassidy replies.
"Definitely sounds like Gibbs", DiNozzo repeats.
Cassidy gets up from her seat and informs DiNozzo that she was busy pulling files of all the people Dornan put on report although DiNozzo seems more interested in her. Back at the morgue, Gibbs is wondering how pure oxygen could accumulate in Dornan's chest cavity.
Ducky doesn't know either and tells Gibbs that the fire began outside the lungs, in the cavity.
As he puts Dornan away, Commander Byers comes in and Ducky remarks that she's early. Byers tells him that there was no traffic and hands him an envelope containing copies of Dornan's medical records. Gibbs then gets the hint and leaves the two alone.
Ducky then asks why she chose to perform a valve repair instead of a valve replacement. Byers admits that it was a close call but Dornan was insisting on the valve replacement and that if they'd replaced the valve, Dornan wouldn't have been able to go back on active duty, a statement Ducky agrees with.
Byers then admits that everyone agreed that the valve was repairable and that they did that. She then admits it's ironic that they saved his life, only for him to die in a freak accident. Ducky while putting on his jacket tells Byers that it wasn't an accident.
McGee and Gibbs are heading back into the bullpen where McGee tells that he's reviewed the footage and that five people can be ID'd as hospital personnel. Gibbs asks McGee if he's eliminating the hospital personnel. McGee assures Gibbs that he isn't and that he's going to check them out which has Gibbs smile a little in amusement.
McGee heads to his desk, telling Gibbs that he's going to run them against the face-recognition system and to give him a second and then the photos will be up on the plasma. Tony and Kate have arrived back and this time, Cassidy is accompanying them.
She and Gibbs exchange greetings before DiNozzo informs Gibbs that Cassidy pulled files of everyone Commander Dornan put on report.
"Not a people friendly guy", Cassidy admits.
Gibbs tells her they'll get into that and asks McGee if he's ready. McGee tells him he is and uploads the photos onto the plasma before telling them he'll be running the photos against military personnel and government employees. Cassidy tells him she can save him the trouble and IDs one as Ensign Evan Hayes who is in the engineering department on the Kennedy and that Dornan rode Hayes's ass.
"More than any young officers?", Gibbs asks.
Cassidy agrees, stating that Dornan didn't like Hayes but she doesn't know why. However, things got so bad that Hayes verbally threatened Dornan. Gibbs wants the report of investigation but Cassidy tells him that there isn't one because Commander Dornan asked her not to write one up and that he would handle it himself.
Gibbs then angrily tells Cassidy that NCIS agents aren't supposed to look the other way because they're asked to.
Cassidy defends herself, stating that she felt sorry for the kid. Hayes didn't deserve the abuse. She then states that some people could handle it but Hayes couldn't and she didn't think it should show up in Hayes's record. Gibbs orders her to bring Ensign Hayes into NCIS and sends DiNozzo with her to make sure she does it right.
As DiNozzo and Cassidy, Kate looks to see that Ducky is giving Commander Byers, Dornan's surgeon a tour of NCIS and she's stunned by what's going on. Gibbs, on the other hand tells her that Ducky's older, not dead. Cassidy and DiNozzo have arrived back at the USS Kennedy where they're being escorted to Dornan's quarters by Chief Velat who tells them that Dornan put Hayes on rivet watch which meant that Hayes was restricted to the ship. Two days ago, Hayes walked off. They've put out calls but they can't find him.
While Cassidy and DiNozzo search Hayes's quarters, Velat tells them that the current scuttlebutt is that Dornan was murdered and that Hayes was responsible. Cassidy tells Velat that he's been in the Navy long enough not to listen to scuttlebutt. Velat agrees and tells them that Dornan rode Hayes the minute Hayes set foot on the ship.
DiNozzo ponders further and Velat tells them that both he and Dornan served under Ensign Hayes's father, Captain Hayes and at the time, Dornan was a young Lt. who needed to be put in his place and that Hayes's father did it. Plain and simple, the cruise was payback time for Dornan.
DiNozzo then thanks Velat and tells them he's got to go topside and make a phone call.
In Abby's lab, she's busy giving Ducky the last seven minutes of Dornan's vitals before his death. As it turns out, Ducky's bringing Byers out on a date although he simply tells Abby he's going to show Byers something that's part of who he is before remarking that if she gets turned on too, then they haven't wasted their time.
It then cuts to a gun being fired and as many men begin swimming, Coach Morgan examines a stopwatch. He then glances around and sees Ensign Hayes standing in a doorway. Upon being spotted, Hayes abruptly disappears with Morgan stating that he'll right back before going after the young man.
Outside the complex, Morgan asks Hayes what he's doing here and that Hayes promised him he'd go back to the Kennedy. Hayes tells him he can't and that it's more than a two-day absence. Morgan then suggests that Hayes call his father but Hayes refuses, stating that Dornan put him through Hell because of his father.
Morgan insists that Hayes can't blame everything on his father and that Hayes has to take responsibility for himself. Hayes insists that he never wanted to be in the Navy but Morgan tells him that he is and begs him to return to the ship so that things can be set straight.
Just there, another swimmer comes out, informing Morgan that they're ready. Morgan assures him he'll be right there before telling Hayes he's going back. Hayes nods and Morgan then leaves but not before Hayes thanks him.
Once Morgan's gone back in, Hayes heads down the steps but not before producing a gun from his jacket.
It then cuts on a close-up of Hayes's hands as he removes the magazine or rather round of bullets from the gun before slamming it back in again as he walks away from the pool.
Back at NCIS, McGee reports that Ensign Hayes was recorded on the hospital security tape at 0203 and that the explosion that killed Commander Dornan didn't happen until 0317 before pondering where Hayes was in between those times. Gibbs then tells McGee that if he finds Hayes, then he can ask him.
McGee then tells Gibbs there's been no hits on his cell phone or credit cards.
Gibbs then turns to Kate who tells him that Dornan punished Hayes with port watch and that most of the other personnel on board the Kennedy had scattered. Gibbs remarks that they were away for nine months. The few people that Kate tracked down haven't heard from him.
As she gets up from her desk, PDA and a file in both hands, Kate tells them that Ensign Hayes was a typical Navy brat and that his family moved around a lot when he was young. He went to high school in Alexandria when his father got assigned to the Pentagon.
When Gibbs asks if she's spoken to Hayes's parents yet, Kate states that she's spoken to Hayes's mother and that when Captain Hayes retired, they moved to Scottsdale. Apparently, Hayes's mother is very concerned about her son as he hasn't contacted her since the Kennedy made port.
Gibbs asks for Hayes's photo to be sent to the locals but McGee informs him it's already happened and that Hayes's photo has been sent to D.C, Virigina, Delaware and Maryland. Back on the Kennedy, DiNozzo and Cassidy are flirting with each other again although Cassidy insists that they're both game players who would drive each other crazy.
As they head upstairs, Cassidy uses a folder to cover her ass. DiNozzo simply smirks before following her.
Back in the lab, McGee drops in on Abby where she informs him she's working on Dornan's stomach contents. She then tells McGee that something that should be here is missing before abruptly leaving which has McGee more puzzled than ever.
In the morgue, Palmer attempts to talk to a corpse for the first time, only for Abby to give him the shock of his life. After berating her for her trick, Palmer tries to get Ducky on his cell, only to discover that Ducky's left it behind which means that wherever Ducky is, he doesn't want to be disturbed.
It then cuts to the Smithsonian basement where Ducky and Commander Byers are having their "date". Byers is puzzled by the choice of location but soon discovers that Ducky's arranged for a romantic dinner for the two of them to be held there which gets underway as the two clink their glasses.
In the bullpen, Kate's bringing a bin around to McGee and Gibbs's desks so that they can get rid of any rubbish. McGee's up first and as he does that after quickly putting his rubbish in the bin and thanking Kate, his phone rings. He answers it and Kate heads over to Gibbs who throws his own rubbish and thanks Kate before asking what she wants.
Kate wants to know why he's being so tough on Cassidy although Gibbs remarks he hasn't done anything to her yet.
"You made her spend the day alone, with DiNozzo", Kate states.
Gibbs tells her that Cassidy survived and that they're on their way back before heading over to give a folder to a young woman in the corner of the bullpen. McGee then hangs up, informing Gibbs that Hayes made a charge on his credit card which is to a hotel in Braddock Road, Alexandria.
Gibbs then orders DiNozzo and Cassidy be contacted in regards to the new information and that they meet Gibbs and Kate. McGee, on the other hand is to stay behind and man the phones. As he grabs his coffee, Gibbs asks Kate to go and she joins him.
A while later, the two arrive at the hotel where their attempts to get up to the hotel room Hayes are temporarily stopped by a receptionist who also happens to be a law student at Georgetown. However, once they've crossed that bridge, Gibbs and Kate are granted access.
Upstairs with music blaring from the room, Gibbs gives out assignments. He and Tony will go into the room, Kate is to seal off the hallway while Cassidy gets the elevator. As the two women leave to do just that, Gibbs and DiNozzo stand outside the door where Gibbs tells Tony they'll announce themselves and then head in.
Once Gibbs has put his badge in his jacket pocket so that it's visible, he gives the signal and DiNozzo puts the card in the lock, causing the door to open. Inside, a group of teenagers, some of whom are dancing while others are kissing are having the time of their lives but they get a shock when Gibbs and DiNozzo burst in, announcing themselves as NCIS. DiNozzo then switches the music off with Gibbs announcing that the party's over.
The teenagers are in a line-up and are puzzled when Gibbs asks about Ensign Hayes, a guy they've never heard of. Tiffany (Heart Break) urges her friend, Jonathon to give them the card which he grudgingly does. Jonathon and Tiffany tell them of how they were hanging out after swim practice and that a strange guy (Hayes) wanted to use the pool. He then gave them his credit card, telling them that he didn't need it anymore.
When Gibbs asks where the pool is, Jonathon informs him that it's at Alexandria Central High. Gibbs then prepares to head to the pool but not before assigning Cassidy and DiNozzo to "babysit" the teenagers until their parents arrive and that their car keys should be collected.
Jonathon complains but DiNozzo tells him that no-one likes a whiner. As he collects the key, DiNozzo tells Cassidy that he knew they'd end up in a hotel room tonight.
Cassidy just rolls her eyes, unimpressed.
A while later, Gibbs and Kate, wielding their guns as well as some flashlights invade the Alexandria Central High swimming pool when they spot Ensign Hayes sitting in a corner. Gibbs identifies himself as NCIS and orders Hayes to get down on his stomach and spread his arms and legs.
Hayes refuses, stating he's down taking orders.
While Gibbs orders him to do it, he finds Hayes has a gun trained to his head. This prompts Gibbs and Kate to rush closer to Hayes but still maintaining a distance while Gibbs tries to talk him out of it but Hayes tells them to put their weapons down.
Gibbs insists that he can't because he has to cover his partner.
Kate agrees. Hayes is in disbelief over a woman being at the scene and states that he would never hit a woman.
Hayes eventually lowers his gun and for the next few minutes, with Kate's gun aimed at Hayes, Gibbs puts his gun aside and tries to reason with Hayes in hopes of getting the young Ensign to surrender without any blood being spilled.
However, Hayes tells Gibbs it's too late to talk.
"Don't do it", Gibbs whispers.
Hayes ignores him and gets to his feet, ready to strike. At the some moment, Kate responds by firing her gun and Hayes then collapses to the ground, dead, bleeding from the single gunshot wound to his side. Gibbs, thankfully has drawn his gun again and looks over.
It then cuts to Kate who looks stunned at what she's done.
Coach Morgan has arrived at NCIS and positively identifies Evan Hayes's body with Palmer, Kate and Gibbs in attendance. Morgan states he knew that Hayes was troubled but he had no idea that Hayes was also suicidal. Gibbs then tells Morgan that they suspected Hayes of murder.
Morgan disagrees and Kate tells him that they think he killed a superior officer at Bethesda Naval Hospital. When Morgan asks, Kate tells him that it was Tuesday morning 0300 but Morgan tells them that Hayes was with him. As Gibbs begins taking notes, Morgan then goes on to say that Hayes called them, a call that woke Morgan and his wife up but Hayes wasn't making any sense. Morgan recalls how he got Hayes from the hospital at 2am. Kate begins disagreeing, so much so that she very nearly gets in Morgan's face.
As such, Gibbs is forced to interver and orders Kate to leave the morgue and head back upstairs. She does so albeit grudgingly and once she's left, Gibbs resumes the interview. Morgan tells Gibbs that he and Hayes sat up, talking all night. They spoke about his father and how Hayes had a lot of problems with him.
Morgan then tells Gibbs that Hayes went to the hospital to confront someone (Commander Dornan) who was giving him a hard time but he lost his nerve. Unfortunately, it gets too much for Morgan and he breaks down, sobbing while the camera focuses on Hayes's lifeless body.
Up in the bullpen, Kate's sitting by herself while Cassidy and Tony have descended on McGee's desk. Gibbs comes back in and Tony's figured out that the dead Ensign has an alibi. Kate asks Gibbs what's going to happen and when he says nothing and that she did everything by the book, she tells him she killed an innocent man.
"It was suicide by cop, Kate. Get over it", Gibbs snaps, getting to his feet before telling them that they all focused on the wrong guy. DiNozzo heads back to his desk while Kate is left flustered. McGee then points out that no-one went in or out of Dornan's room between the time the corpsman checked on him and the explosion.
When Gibbs asks about the corpsman, McGee tells him that their paths never crossed until Dornan came in for surgery. McGee then announces that he's cleared three figures on the video although one is still unknown and that he'll get right on it. Once he's left, Gibbs orders Cassidy back to the Kennedy to look over the files again. She attempts to apologize but Gibbs tells her because she didn't file a report, two naval officers are dead and would it have mattered? They'll never know.
With that, Cassidy grabs her coat and prepares to leave while Gibbs asks DiNozzo to go down to the lab and go over all the physical evidence from the hospital. When DiNozzo asks what he's looking for, Gibbs gives him a look and DiNozzo tells him he'll figure it out.
It then cuts to Kate who closes her eyes and then hangs her head in dismay.
Ducky arrives into the morgue in an unusually good mood but his mood takes a nosedive when he sees Evan Hayes's body on the slab and realizes that Kate is the one who shot the Ensign. Ducky then heads over to his desk while Palmer shows him something that Abby wanted Ducky to see as soon as he got in.
Ducky takes one look and then orders that Dornan's remains be brought back onto the table. He then calls Kate and asks how she's doing in regards to the shooting before requesting a service record from her.
Abby's working a report in her lab when DiNozzo walks in, playing musical chairs. He accidentally hits one machine which has it beeping like crazy so much so that Abby temporarily abandons her work and comes to fix the machine while ordering DiNozzo to stop playing with her equipment.
DiNozzo remarks that he hasn't had a woman say that to him in a long time before a single glance from Abby has him apologizing. As she heads back in, she tells DiNozzo that if he breaks anything, he's dead meat. She tells him she's working on an evidence analysis report.
Abby's techy about DiNozzo being here and when he still refuses to budge from glancing at the computer screen while insisting he's a great speller, she tells him she really needs to finish the report which has DiNozzo finally moving away. DiNozzo then glances at the evidence and remarks that in addition to having heart problems, Dornan was blind given that he wore glasses too which raises a little smile from Abby. He then glances at the bag containing the two packets of cigarettes and asks Abby if she found any ash.
"In an oxygen fire?", Abby asks but she then has a brainstorm. She leaves her desk and tells DiNozzo that she found something that could be a cigarette filter.
"Abby", DiNozzo tells her. "I think I know how the oxygen was ignited".
Ducky and Palmer are busy working on Dornan when Kate comes in with the service records. She gets sidetracked by Hayes's body but Ducky gently orders her to leave so that he and Palmer can get back to working again.
In the lab, Abby and Tony are copying each other which gets interrupted when Gibbs asks Abby what she has.
Abby tells him she doesn't have anything for him but DiNozzo.
In the Ballistcs Lab, DiNozzo shows them how the oxygen was ignited by running a single smoking cigarette through a fliter which then causes it to explode in a haze of sparks. When DiNozzo informs them it took about 12 minutes, Abby then tells them that the killer placed it next to Dornan's side under the tented sheet next to the open oxygen line and then he left the room.
Gibbs wants to know who was there 12 minutes before the fire.
McGee realizes it was Doctor Byers and as they leave, Abby and Tony high-five one another but the thing grounds to a halt when Ducky informs them that Dornan wasn't murdered and that he died as a result of his surgery with Byers disguising his death to resemble a murder.
When Gibbs asks who Byers was trying to frame, Ducky tells him she wasn't framing anyone. She was just covering her mistake. In 1995, she was the subject of a malpractice investigation on a heart valve repair almost identical to the one she did on Commander Dornan.
When Abby asks how he knew Dornan was dead before the fire started, Ducky tells her he compared Dornan's EKGs to the last reading taken before his death. The heartbeat didn't belong to him. Gibbs insists that Byers still could have murdered him but Ducky disagrees before asking if Gibbs is willing to trust him on this before leaving.
At the Naval Hospital, Byers is giving a patient peace of mind when Ducky and Gibbs enter. In a hospital room, she tells them that Dornan was in pain and that he demanded to see her. She did an echocardiogram and realized that not replacing the valve was a mistake because it was failing.
When Ducky asks about not operating immediately, Byers tells them that Dornan became hysterical and went into cardiac arrest. She tried to bring him back but it was too late. He was already dead. She then remarks that a second failed valve repair would have ended her career and cost her a chance of her job in New York so she panicked and that she tried to cover up.
It cuts to a flashback of Byers drawing curtains shut while Dornan's monitor beeps. In a voiceover, she tells Ducky and Gibbs that she put the EKG sensors on her chest. She turned off the alarm, cleared the date and then reset the time/date stamp ahead 15 minutes while removing the oxygen tube from his nasal cannula before placing it into Dornan's incision so that the oxygen could build in Dornan's chest cavity. Then, she lit one of his cigarettes by using a match book before placing it on the bed and leaving the room.
Byers then sits down, drained and tells them that on her way out, she stopped at the nurses station and told them that she'd sedated Dornan and was resting with orders to check on him in half an hour. Ducky tries to assure Byers that she didn't kill him but Byers has accepted the fact that she did by not replacing the heart valve in the first place.
Back in the bullpen, Tony's calling Cassidy, only to get her answering machine. He tells her that just because she's pissed at Gibbs, it's no reason for his calls to go unanswered and then tells her to call him back because he's got the number before hanging up.
"Sometimes you've just got to know when to let go, Tony", McGee says.
"You really don't expect me to take advice about women form you, do you?", Tony states.
"I could stay and argue the point but I have a date", McGee replies.
As it shows DiNozzo mocking McGee, it then cuts to the stair-well where Gibbs and Ducky are heading back downstairs. Ducky has no idea what's going to happen but he's got two tickets to the ballet. He offers Gibbs who flatly turns him down and as they reach the bullpen, Ducky asks for Kate but DiNozzo lies, stating he doesn't know where Kate is.
In the morgue, Kate drags out a slab and it then cuts to her glancing at Ensign Hayes's lifeless body.
- McGee suggests to Gibbs that a Navy Commander's death might have been caused by spontaneous human combustion.
- Palmer is seen taking photographs of the body for the first time.
- Kate is seen wearing necklaces for the first time as well.
- Ducky reveals that talking to the corpses helps him establish a relationship with them.
- Abby reveals that she wrote a master's thesis on spontaneous human combustion.
- Tony reveals that he once intended to become a doctor.
- McGee reveals that he had terrible acne as a child.
- It's revealed that a year has passed since the events in Minimum Security (episode).
- Gibbs explains that Paula Cassidy is now Agent Afloat on the U.S.S Kennedy, having been reassigned there.
- Ducky begins developing romantic feelings for the doctor who treated Commander Dornan, the victim who died after having surgery performed on him.
- Cassidy arrives at NCIS Headquarters to help out on the case.
- It's hinted that Tony and Cassidy are in some sort of a romantic relationship.
- Kate later shoots Ensign Evan Hayes and begins experiencing guilt over his death while Gibbs tells her to get over it and that it was suicide by cop.
- Tony leaves Paula a message telling her to call him despite the fact that she's not returning his calls.
- Stacy Edwards, who plays Commander Janice Byers in this episode, was on "Chicago Hope", a famous drama show also starring Mark Harmon.
- The hotel room where the team finds the teenagers at about halfway through the episode looks really similar to the room used for "Under Covers" (3x08) episode. It is almost certainly the same room with a few items moved around make it less recognizable.
- The ring tone on Kate's cell phone is a remixed, ring-tone version of the show's theme song, originally performed by Numeriklab.
- In the NCIS office on the carrier, the Chief Petty Officer says he served with Captain Dornan - but everyone else in the episode referred to him as Commander Dornan.
- Season Two Cast
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||Special Agent in charge of the Major Case Response Team, NCIS.|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||Senior Special Agent, MCRT, NCIS.|
|Caitlin Todd||Sasha Alexander||Special Agent, MCRT, NCIS.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist, NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner, NCIS.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray||Junior Special Agent, MCRT, NCIS.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Gerald Jackson's temporary replacement as the Assistant Medical Examiner.|
|Paula Cassidy||Jessica Steen||Agent Afloat on the USS Kennedy.|
|Mysterious Red-Head||Vivienne Bellisario||Unidentified female companion of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.|
|Janice Byers||Stacy Edwards||A Commander and a Navy Doctor. Killed the victim by malpractice.|
|Evan Hayes||Nathan Wetherington||A Petty Officer on the Kennedy.|
|Morgan||Michael Dempsey||A Swimming Coach.|
|Velat||Billy Brown||A Chief Petty Officer on the Kennedy.|
|Navy Corpsman||Derrex Brady||A man stationed at the Bethesda Naval Hospital who was tasked with keeping an eye on the patients there including Michael Dornan.|
|Tiffany (Heart Break)||Tyler Kain||One of the teenagers partying in a hotel room with the use of Ensign Evan Hayes's credit card.|
|Dooley||Mary Wickliffe||A doctor at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.|
|Jonathon||Ben Ziff||Another one of the teenagers partying in a hotel room with the use of Ensign Evan Hayes's credit card.|
|Spencer (Heart Break)||Matthew Ness||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Party Guy||Brent Lydic||Uncredited role.|
|Michael Dornan||Frank Saverino||The victim. Uncredited role.|
|NCIS Season Two|
|See No Evil ♦ The Good Wives Club ♦ Vanished ♦ Lt. Jane Doe ♦ The Bone Yard ♦ Terminal Leave ♦ Call of Silence ♦ Heart Break ♦ Forced Entry ♦ Chained ♦ Black Water ♦ Doppelgänger ♦ The Meat Puzzle ♦ Witness ♦ Caught on Tape ♦ Pop Life ♦ An Eye for an Eye ♦ Bikini Wax ♦ Conspiracy Theory ♦ Red Cell ♦ Hometown Hero ♦ SWAK ♦ Twilight|