Meltdown is the twenty first episode in the eight season of the television series JAG and the second part of the pilot for its spin-off NCIS with Ice Queen (episode) being the first part. This episode also marks the final appearances of NCIS Special Agents Vivian Blackadder and Don Dobbs respectively.
With Harmon Rabb facing life imprisonment after becoming the prime suspect in the murder of Lt. Loren Singer, it seems like an open and shut case but then Anthony DiNozzo, the second-in-command and senior agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team discovers that someone else may be responsible. As they struggle to solve Singer's murder, NCIS find themselves racing to stop a terrorist from carrying out another terrorist attack on an unidentified American ship and at a port but one team member's obsession with avenging a dead relative at all costs may jeopardize the operation and end the agent's career all at once...
The episode opens with a recap of the events from the previous episode and then the opening credits roll.
Following his arrest in the previous episode, Harmon Rabb is in the brig, awaiting his trial hearing. He's sitting in a lone room when the door suddenly opens with a guard saying hello to an unknown woman.
Seconds later, the woman herself appears and she introduces herself as Lt. Commander Faith Coleman, telling him that she's his legal team. Harm looks completely stunned as Coleman tells him how she caught a red-eye from San Diego to get to the brig to see Harm and that she had his files faxed so that she could study them while she was on the plane.
She also tells Harm that she has two lists of queries: secondary and primary before asking what set of questions he'd like to cover first. Harm tells her he wants to cover his first and then asks her why she's here. Coleman tells her she was detailed by COM Naval District, Washington.
Harm tells her that the last time he checked, he had the right to request his own military counsel. Coleman then asks Harm if this is a job interview with Harm telling her to call it a short list of queries. Coleman then states why doesn't she go through a summary of the legal arguments? before grabbing a pencil from her neatly-arranged suitcase.
Harm states that he's a lawyer too and that he's aware of the arguments with the only unknown (Coleman) sitting across from him. Coleman then backs down, asking Harm what he wants to know. Harm wants to know how many murder cases she's defended.
She tells him she's had nine homicides go to verdict and when Harm asks how many wins, she tells him nine.
"Well, it tells me you can count", Harm sarcastically replies which draws a smile from Coleman. He then states that the wins don't tell him if the cases she was involved in were slam-dunks or if when the going got tough, Coleman copped a plea. Coleman then asks Harm what is it that he really wants to know about her?
Did she get into her first choice of college? No, she didn't. Was she on the dean's list? Yes, she was. Did she go to law school with dreams of saving the world? She states, "No comment" before telling Harm that she's a damn good lawyer and that he could do worse.
Harm simply raises his eyebrows, stunned.
After a few seconds of silence, Coleman tells Harm she knows that he's not convinced and begins packing up her belongings. Harm tells her to stop and then tells Coleman he doesn't think he could bear watching her rearrange her suitcase again before stating that he hopes her legal arguments are as squared away as her briefcase, suggesting that he's finally accepted her as his lawyer.
Coleman smiles and gets to work.
On an unknown range, various Marines are demonstrating their shooting skills by firing at a numerous target. One Marine, Major Jack McBurney finishes his shooting just as Leroy Jethro Gibbs arrives, asking Burney if he's sharpening his courtroom skills.
After they've introduced themselves, Gibbs tells McBurney he's here to discuss Harm's case. McBurney wants to know if he should set up a target for Gibbs but Gibbs refuses, stating how long McBurney wonders the trial's going to last. McBurney then picks up on the fact that Gibbs has to go somewhere and asks him.
"Need to know, Major", Gibbs replies. "You don't" although it's already been revealed (to the audience) that Gibbs is leaving to interrogate terrorist, Bin Atwad given the grave possibility of another upcoming terrorist attack. Suddenly, a man on the PA announces for the Marines to stop shooting and for them to clear and lock all weapons before they check their targets.
With that, the shooting stops as the Marines go to check on their targets, McBurney among them with Gibbs following them. While walking, McBurney tells that how long the trail goes depends on how well they do the stand and assumes that Gibbs's people are prepped.
Gibbs asks McBurney for his opinion. McBurney tells him the case looks like a slam-dunk before realizing that Gibbs disagrees. Gibbs remarks that Harm's a smart lawyer and that if he is the killer, then he made some dumbass mistakes and that Gibbs only nailed him because Harm was protecting his brother.
McBurney then tells Gibbs to do him a favor: not show that kind of doubt in court because the trial could last a longer than they want and that Gibbs is the one who needs to get out of town. Gibbs then throws something at the paper target while asking McBurney wondering if he always aims for the head.
"Cuts down on appeals", McBurney replies, smiling.
A while later, McBurney and Coleman have been summoned to A.J Chegwidden's office where he's asking them if they're aware of the sensitivity of their assignments. McBurney admits that they are and Coleman then tells Chegwidden that since many of his key staff are witnesses for the prosecution, then it's necessary for everyone at JAG to keep an arm's length.
"Including me?", Chegwidden asks.
"Yes, sir", Coleman replies. "You, most of all".
McBurney then tells Chegwidden that respectfully, neither side wants their case compromised. Chegwidden tells them that he has no intention of interfering with the case before sitting down in his seat. Coleman assures him that she has every confidence of that but on behalf on Harm, she needed to make her position clear.
"Well, you certainly succeeded, didn't you?", Chegwidden replies before announcing that they're a little short on space. He assigns Coleman to go to Manetti's office while McBurney gets Rabb's office although McBurney expresses some discomfort, stating that he's never had the office of a man he was trying to send to Leavenworth.
Ignoring McBurney's feelings on the subject, Chegwidden tells him to make do and the two nod. They then stand there for a while before Chegwidden eventually shuffles some papers and then dismisses them.
Chegwidden emerges and Bud talks to him, asking him if those people are the lawyers in question. Chegwidden admits that they are and Bud tells him he's been thinking about the case and that he has a few ideas but Chegwidden orders him to do nothing.
Chegwidden's barely left Bud before Coates confronts him, asking she could consult with Sturgis Turner on how to shape her testimony to Harm's advantage. Again, Chegwidden stops her by refusing. Sarah MacKenzie appears and barely has time to say anything before Chegwidden shoots her down too.
He then tells the group he knows what they're all thinking and tells them not to get involved in this beyond their participation in the courtroom. He then tells them that Harm stuck his nose in and look what happened then before asking his people if they're clear on the matter before heading off again.
McBurney enters Harm's office, only to find that the whole place is completely empty given how NCIS thoroughly cleaned the place out, looking for any evidence in their investigation into Lt. Singer's death. He then sits down at the desk and begins examining everything in sight.
In her temporary office, Coleman is busy unpacking her neatly-arranged suitcase and gets out the items she needs for her work including two glasses marked "In" and "Out" as well as a packet of pencils and an automatic pencil sharpener. She then places one pencil in the sharpener and once it's finished, she blows on it before placing into the "In" glass.
Back in Harm's office, McBurney who brought nothing with him except for his suitcase is still taking stock of what's available and it appears his options are limited. Suddenly, Coates walks by the open door, retrieving or looking for something and McBurney hails her. Coates tells him she's not permitted to engage in him given his ties to the case. McBurney tells her it isn't a proposal: it's a request and asks Coates for a pad, a marker, a stack of 5 by 8s and some of that "weird sticky spitball" stuff posters are held with.
"Poster gum, sir?", Coates asks.
McBurney agrees and Coates tells him she guesses that's allowed. McBurney thanks her and as Coates heads off to get the requested items, McBurney pauses for a few seconds before heading back into the office. In her temporary office, Coleman is busy dividing her pencils between the "In" and "Out" glasses before she picks one from the "In" and begins various things scribbling on a pad while making sure that it's neatly arranged thanks to a ruler.
McBurney's finally gotten his items and is using the poster gum to stick cards concerning details of events prior to Lt. Singer's death onto a see-through board. Coates then pauses for a second, glancing at the board before wisely resuming her work and moving on again.
McBurney then sits on the desk, trying to find how all the events on the card he found as well as the bar, "Benzinger's" are connected.
Up in MTAC, it shows footage of terrorist Bin Atwad being interrogated and a single agent is heard asking Bin Atwad if he'll confirm the facts for them. From his position on the floor, Bin Atwad tells them Allah will give them their answers and that it'll be soon.
As the man demands more information, it shows Director Thomas Morrow along with a few other people glaring intently at the screen just as Gibbs arrives in and joins Morrow who tells him that the boys up the river (aka the CIA) have taken over the interrogation.
Gibbs then states that they'll probably break Bin Atwad in a month or two. Morrow then tells him that they know that Bin Atwad passed money to Hussan Mohammed, some time during the ten days that they lost him between Cairo and Nice with Gibbs realizing that if they do that, then they've got a chance of finding the money trail.
Morrow tells Gibbs that he needs him in that room. He tells Gibbs that NSA encrypts suggest that once the money's been passed, the attack could happen anytime before ordering Gibbs to wrap up the JAG case and that he's needed out there to interrogate Bin Atwad.
With that, Morrow leaves as Gibbs looks at the live feed of the CIA interrogating Bin Atwad, only for Bin Atwad to tell them he doesn't know where Mohammed is.
A while later, Gibbs is heading down from MTAC and is just about to reach the last few steps when Vivian Blackadder arrives, smiling about something.
However, once Gibbs tells she's going back to the FBI, Viv stops smiling and begins wondering why.
Gibbs wants her to go get all the information they've got on Bin Atwad.
Scrambling to catch up with Gibbs, Viv agrees and Gibbs announces that in addition to that, he also wants transcripts of previous al-jihad interrogations mentioning Bin Atwad or Mohammed. Viv protests, stating that it's going to take her weeks to get that stuff but Gibbs gives her just two days, telling her that if she can't get done by then, then she shouldn't bother coming back before grabbing some coffee.
In the brig, Coleman's arrived with some Chinese food for Harm who thanks her for bringing in dinner. She tells Harm she figured he'd be tired of brig chow. Harm tells her that if she's going to be his counsel, then she should forget about the "sir", at least in the brig.
Coleman agrees before taking a drink.
Harm jokingly wonders if she's gotten a file in one of the Chinese food packets in case he needs to escape. Coleman tells him the only file she bought in was with the disclosure of the government and that it's full of evidence and witnesses. Harm wonders if she has a defence but Coleman tells him it's her turn to ask the questions before asking Harm what happened at Benzinger's Bar.
Harm tells her that he met with Lt. Singer, that they argued, she left and Harm then followed her outside. In Singer's car, they argued some more. Coleman wonders if that was the time when Harm rang Sergei using his own cell-phone? Harm admits that he wanted to be there where Singer told Sergei that the baby wasn't his and that Harm wanted to look into her eyes.
"Because you didn't believe her?", Coleman asks.
Harm tells her that he rarely believed anything Singer said. Coleman nods before telling Harm she read his interview with Gibbs and she wants to know why he didn't tell the NCIS Special Agent what he told her. Harm states it's because he was protecting his brother.
Coleman agrees, stating that when they told him that the murder happened in January, not six weeks ago, Harm knew his brother couldn't be involved so why didn't he co-operate? Harm tells her that by then, he looked guilty and that he decided to trust Navy justice instead of Navy cops before telling Coleman that there are enough holes in the case to raise reasonable doubt.
Coleman picks up on that, telling Harm there's enough evidence to tie him to the murder along with a string of witnesses and that Harm's own JAG colleagues will testify to angry words between himself and Singer right up to the time of her death.
"Well, it could be worse, I guess", Harm admits.
"How?", Coleman asks.
"I could not have an alibi", Harm replies.
Coleman's hopeful that he has an alibi but unfortunately, her hopes are dashed when Harm admits that he doesn't and then starts drinking from one of the cartons.
The next morning, McBurney has arrived into NCIS and is down in the lab, talking to Abigail Sciuto. He tells her that it's a very nice lab and compliments her on her photographs, stating that they're interesting Martha Stewart on LSD touches around the place too.
Abby insists that it's just a hobby and McBurney then looks at one before titling his head, realizing that the photo's upside down and that the duodenum's heading north which suggests that this was where the body was found, a move that greatly impresses Abby who tells him it's nice to meet a lawyer who knows his stuff before she tells him it's forensically speaking.
McBurney then nods and points to Lt. Singer's plane ticket. Abby admits that it is and that she's got the date nailed 100 percent. McBurney then asks about the cover. Abby tells him she's still doing a fibre analysis on it but she found this ID tag in the visor before holding it up to some light.
She tells McBurney that she sees a butterfly but the only thing McBurney sees is more work for him to do and that the key to winning this case is tying Harm to Singer the night she died which means all the evidence including the stomach contents, the bar napkin as well as the forensics have got to be tight.
"Well, duh", Abby says. McBurney gives her a look which has Abby then coughing and changing her sentence it to "Definitely".
McBurney then advises Abby to buy a suit, something in color and that he wants her to wear her hair down so that the spider-web tattoo on the left side of Abby's neck will be covered before advising her to go get herself some glasses.
Abby protests that she doesn't need glasses but McBurney tells that the case isn't about her before asking Abby what's wrong. She tells him he'll probably think she's a freak but she gets really nervous when she has to testify in front of all those military uniforms.
McBurney then suggests that she try an old trick which is to picture all the jurors naked.
"Including you?", Abby asks.
It then cuts to the courtroom where Abby, wearing a suit is now on the witness stand where she's being cross-examined. McBurney's first and asks her if she tested the silver found in the head of the victim. Abby admits, "Yep" before changing her reply to, "Yes, I did" and it's quite clear that she's struggling to restrain her energetic self while she's in the courtroom. She tells them that the tests suggested ferrous metal which is the same material that was found at the railing of the bridge of the overlook.
McBurney asks her about the tests she ran on the blood found at the crime scene.
Abby tells him that she did and that the blood was an exact match between that and the blood of the victim. She starts to go off-topic but McBurney restrains her by ordering her to wait for the question and Abby agrees to calm down. McBurney then asks her if she ran tests on the plane ticket found on the body.
Abby admits that she did and that the Lt. was on a flight scheduled to leave at 6am on January 6. McBurney asks her about the napkin Abby tells him that she ran a slew of stuff on that before McBurney asks her what she found on it. Abby states that she found a phone number on it and that the handwriting matched that of Commander Harmon Rabb before telling them that the logo was that of Benzinger's Bar.
McBurney wants to know about Singer's stomach contents. Abby announces that it was a bar mix and starts something along the lines of whacked before telling the court that Singer died within two hours of ingesting the bar mix. McBurney then turns to the jurors and tells them that based on the evidence, Singer was at Benzinger's the night before her scheduled flight with Rabb two hours before her death?
Coleman objects and McBurney withdraws before announcing that there's nothing further.
As he sits down, Coleman gets ready to talk to Abby. She shows the Scientist the report and when she tries to show it closer, Abby turns away, stating that if Coleman does that, then Abby's going to get sick before apologizing to the judge who tells her she doesn't need the glasses.
Abby then removes them, placing them on the top of her head and as she does, her spider tattoo is exposed. Coleman tells that it's nice body art and Abby thanks her. Coleman then begins expressing doubt over Abby's findings, stating that isn't there any way that Singer could have been whacked way later than the two hours after her feast at Benzinger's?
"Way later?", Abby replies. "No way".
With that, she drops all stiffness and in true Abby mode, begins pointing out three things to the court: 1- Ice rules as a preservative, 2- Food doesn't stay in the stomach long and it's two hours tops and 3- Given technology, they can nail that window pretty tight before stating that Singer got killed and turned to ice, all within two hours.
"You say pretty tight?", Coleman asks.
Abby nods, standing her ground.
Coleman then turns around, stating that it doesn't look like "beyond a reasonable doubt" to her.
Back at NCIS, Viv's arrived back at the FBI and gives Gibbs a CD of everything concerning Bin Atwad while stating she did it in a day.
Gibbs examines it for himself and considering that it shows information regarding Bin Atwad's life such as his education, isn't pleased because he was hoping for an insight into the man.
Viv defends herself, stating that Bin Atwad is a terrorist and what more does Gibbs want? He tells her he wants personal information like what's Bin Atwad's favorite food, what wine does he enjoy? Viv tells Gibbs that Bin Atwad is a Muslim and that he doesn't drink.
"He drinks. He eats. He cheats. That's how we caught him in Nice", Gibbs states and in no uncertain terms, gives Viv the CD while bidding her a farewell which means that she's going back to the FBI.
In the JAG courtroom, it's Ducky turn on the stand and McBurney is questioning him in regards to the autopsy Ducky performed on Singer's body. Ducky then tells McBurney and the courtroom that Singer's body was discovered on April 22 but that the victim was trapped in winter ice and she thawed with the spring. He also guesses that she died three and a half months previously.
McBurney then realizes that it would be early January and Ducky agrees with that before stating that Singer was twenty weeks pregnant when she died. McBurney then asks Ducky about Singer's injuries. Ducky states that Singer had suffered severe blunt-force trauma to her skull and numerous fractures as she floated down the river, going over Head Falls.
McBurney wants to know if it was the head injury that killed Singer but Ducky states that it wasn't and that Singer died due to the fact that she drowned before stating that Singer was alive when she hit the water and that he found traces of water residue in Singer's lungs.
When McBurney questions Ducky, the M.E gets a bit distracted by revealing that Singer had the tattoo of a stalking leopard on her left buttock and goes into a story concerning a woman in Buenos Aires before McBurney gets him back to the subject at hand. Ducky then tells them that he found a metallic sliver in the wound around the skull fracture which matches with her head hitting on the railing on the walkway bridge over the falls before she hit the water. McBurney then wonders if Ducky's findings would suggest that someone caused Singer's injuries and then in a panic, threw her still-living body into the water?
Coleman objects, stating that the topic goes beyond speculation and that they're telling bedtime stories. The judge states that it's sustained. McBurney then tells them that he has nothing further and thanks Ducky.
As McBurney goes to sit down, Coleman emerges and asks Ducky if it's possible that Singer's injuries were the result of an accidental fall?
Ducky tells her that it's unlikely given that the railing in question is very high but it could happen if Singer's body levitated and dropped over the side. Coleman thanks him and cuts Ducky off, ending the talk just as he looks like he's about to start rambling yet again.
A while later, Gibbs has arrived to talk to Harm who's wearing the brig jumpsuit. Harm tells him that he thought the interrogation was over or is Gibbs simply here to gloat? Gibbs tells Harm that something's been bothering him and it's not what is in the file, it's more like what's missing from it.
Gibbs remarks that after Harm got word of Singer's death and the death of the foetus Harm thought his half-brother, Sergei was the father of, Gibbs assumes that Harm made a phone call to Russia but there's no record of that from Harm's office, his cell-phone or even his home phone.
"Well, that's what phone booths are for", Harm replies.
Gibbs tells Harm that he went to a lot of trouble to eliminate his brother, Sergei as a suspect with Harm remarking, "That's how you got your man".
"I know", Gibbs admits.
The next morning, it's Gibbs's turn to take the stand at last. McBurney starts by asking him where Singer's body was found. Gibbs tells them that it was on the banks of the Potomac River, 1.3 miles below Great Falls and that they did locate her vehicle which was towed from a parking lot next to the falls.
McBurney asks if the car got dusted for prints. Gibbs tells him that it was and that only two sets of fingerprints were found in the car: Lt. Singer's and Harm's. Gibbs also tells the court that Harm said that the last time Singer and Harm had met one another was at Benzinger's Bar the night before her scheduled flight.
McBurney points out that according to his statement, Harm claimed that he'd spoken to his brother that same night and was any reason ever given for this? Gibbs tells them that there wasn't. McBurney then wonders if Harm knew that Singer had been pregnant.
Gibbs admits that Harm did it but when it comes to who the father, Gibbs states that Harm wasn't sure. McBurney then brings up Gibbs asking Harm for a DNA sample with Gibbs admitting that Harm refused to give them his DNA. The next question is did Harm co-operative during the investigation?
"No, he was generally uncooperative", Gibbs states.
Harm sits forward, looking stunned as McBurney finishes his questions. Harm quickly scribbles something to Coleman but as she's getting up, she either ignores it or reads it before heading over to Gibbs, telling him that the only thing they have is a car with the commander's fingerprints.
Gibbs tells her that the car was found less than 100 yards from the murder scene and when Coleman asks more questions, Gibbs tells them that the blood at the scene suggests that she hit her head on a bridge railing. Coleman remarks that it sounds like an accident which unsurprisingly has McBurney objecting.
Coleman withdraws her last remark and as McBurney sits back, she asks Gibbs if he has anything to tie Harm directly to the crime scene. Gibbs admits that he doesn't.
Coleman tells him that the only things he has are circumstantial evidence, coincidences from which he's manufactured a case against Harm.
"Do I even need to object to that, Your Honor?", McBurney asks.
"Sustained", the Judge announces before telling Coleman to refrain from supplying testimony.
With that warning in mind, Coleman changes her game plan and then asks Gibbs if he submitted a request to the M.E for Harm's DNA profile? McBurney looks up, stunned.
Gibbs admits that he did but that it didn't go through.
Coleman admits that the ACLU might have been a problem before asking Gibbs what was his intent? Gibbs then pauses for a second before telling them that he believed for a time that Harm was the killer and that his intent was justice.
It then cuts to the writing pad where Harm's original message is but unfortunately, it can't be seen due to his writing.
Coleman, however gets the gist of it and asks Gibbs if he still thinks that Harm is the killer.
McBurney objects, stating that the whole thing calls for an opinion but the judge overrules him, stating that because Gibbs is the lead investigator on the case, Gibbs is therefore entitled to an opinion and the judge grants Gibbs permission to answer the question.
Once McBurney has returned to his seat, it reveals that Gibbs's second-in-command, Anthony DiNozzo is sitting in the crowd, watching his boss testify. Coleman prompts Gibbs to answer and he tells her, "Going with my gut, no. I'd say the Commander's not the killer".
With the trial having been adjourned, the court breaks up and as Gibbs and DiNozzo head for the lift, DiNozzo asks Gibbs if he really does believe that Harm isn't the killer. Gibbs states, "Don't you?" with DiNozzo wondering what they're going to do but Gibbs tells DiNozzo that he has to go interrogate Bin Atwad and that DiNozzo is now the ranking team member on the case.
DiNozzo nods and heads off.
Unsurprisingly, an extremely pissed-off McBurney's in Gibbs's head-space now, angrily asking about the request for Harm's DNA. Gibbs tells him that it didn't go through. McBurney tells him that he crossed the line with Gibbs stating that the so-called line shouldn't even exist and that they should all have access to a suspect's DNA.
McBurney tells Gibbs that it isn't his call and states, "Circumstantial cases, I can handle. Screws-ups and flip-flops on the stand, I cannot".
Coleman then emerges, thanking McBurney for his honesty and declares that they should begin talking about having the charges dismissed. McBurney's interrupted by his cell-phone ringing and backs off to answer it before telling Abby on the other end that she's the girl of his dreams.
He then hangs up and rejoins Coleman and Gibbs, informing them it was Abby. Gibbs is stunned by that. McBurney remarks that it's because they were separated at birth and that she's invited them to the lab to see what she's found before telling Coleman that she should come too to partake in the wonders of silence and he heads for the lift.
However, it cuts to Gibbs who is looking really pissed off that Abby called McBurney, not him. Coleman then smiles and joins McBurney.
A while later, the three are in Abby's lab where she found some partials which AFIS can't match but she advises them to check it out anyway. She then uses a program to clean up the sample and shows them that the handwriting. Gibbs asks her if she can examine it further and Abby then confirms it's Harm's handwriting.
McBurney wants this logged into evidence and that he'd like the members to see the genuine article before telling Coleman he thinks he has an offer to counter her original offer of dismissing the charges against Harm. But as they prepare to leave, Abby tells them, "If the hat does fit, you can't acquit" which has the two lawyers looking at her, stunned.
Abby defends herself, stating that one of them would have said before they thought of it first.
Once they've both left, Gibbs tells Abby, "Good job" which leaves her thrilled. However, Gibbs then tells her not to go calling lawyers and that she should call him the next time.
It then cuts to Abby whose bubble has been burst by the words and she silently nods in agreement.
Gibbs heads back into the bullpen where DiNozzo after giving him some papers, informs Gibbs that there's a plane waiting for him at Norfolk and that Gibbs will soon get a helo to Naples that's going to bring him out to the Chattanooga where Bin Atwad is being held.
Viv then shows him what she's gotten from her second time at the FBI and she informs him about Bin Atwad's family as well as his wives and mistresses before telling Gibbs that the terrorist loves great food and goes to five-star restaurants with his favorite dish being Moroccan and his favorite wine is Chateau Boulmont. She then gives him the list and Gibbs tells her, "Good". Viv wants to go with him but knowing how emotional she'll get if she sees Bin Atwad, Gibbs tells her maybe she can put her suit back in mothballs and stick around for a while before leaving the squad-room.
A while later, Gibbs soon arrives on the Chattanooga, identifying himself as NCIS to Agent Dawkins who tells Gibbs that he heard that someone called the cops.
Dawkin believes that since NCIS took Bin Atwad down, then they deserve a chance at cracking him and they've fulfilled the requests which was to give him a nice dinner.
There's a problem which concerns Gibbs giving Bin Atwad the alcohol, though which is against regs and Dawkins makes it clear that the CIA doesn't want any impaired testimony being tossed out of court although Gibbs tells Dawkins that he is not interested in court.
As Gibbs heads to interrogate Bin Atwad, Dawkins looks puzzled for a minute before heading off.
The next morning, as Tony glances at the plasma, Viv arrives in, armed with her suitcase and coffee. She greets him and then tells she thought the investigation was wrapped up before wondering if Tony's falling into Gibbs's line of thinking: that Harm isn't the killer.
"Think outside the FBI box for a sec, Viv", Tony states. "It's too perfect. I'm a cop. It just doesn't suit right".
"Sits right from where I am", Viv replies, producing files from her suitcase and as she gets to work, Tony then states that Don Dobbs found Harm's cover upriver, near the bridge where Singer died but her body floated down all the way to where they found it.
Viv doesn't buy it, stating that the cover probably got caught up in some branches.
"I don't think so", Tony mutters.
"You really are sounding like Gibbs", Viv says.
Back at the courtroom, with NCIS having given their testimony to the court, it's now time for Harm's JAG colleagues to step forward. First up is Bud. McBurney asks that the day before Singer was presumed murdered, if Bud saw a confrontation between her and Harm.
Bud admits that he overheard a conversation with McBurney wondering what he heard. Bud then states that Harm simply wanted to meet Singer after work to talk and that at first, she refused. It then cuts to a flashback from one of the episodes which shows Singer telling Harm she doesn't have the time and Harm suggests they have dinner before grabbing her arm. As this happens, Bud walks in on the scene.
Back in the present, McBurney wants to know if Harm made it a practice going around grabbing junior officers. Unfortunately, Bud gets all tongue-tied, forcing Coleman to object as she believes that McBurney is badgering Bud. The judge tells her that Bud is a Naval officer and a JAG lawyer before ordering Bud to answer the question.
Bud then nods and tells the court that Harm doesn't make it a habit to grab anyone, that it was a one-off because he was agitated but that it wasn't unusual around Lt. Singer.
McBurney then withdraws, stating he has no further questions and Coleman's just too busy, sharpening a pencil to even bother saying anything.
At NCIS, the room's presumably full as everyone including Morrow, Viv and Tony watch as Gibbs finally interrogates Bin Atwad through a live feed. After a lengthy talk concerning food and women, Morrow then realizes they've got a location: Toulon which was where Bin Atwad was before NCIS captured him. He then asks Tony and Viv what they're still doing here before ordering them to get on it.
"Yes, sir", Tony replies and with that, they both leave.
Gibbs emerges from the room, telling Dawkins that they can have Bin Atwad back and stays mum about the information, stating that the only thing he got was a good restaurant in Toulon before leaving.
"Cops", Dawkins mutters.
Back in the courtroom, it's Coates's turn to take the stand and McBurney's asking her about the night she was in Benzinger's which also happened to be the same that night that Harm was there with Singer. She admits that she was and that she was in the next booth but that she didn't hear all the words of the talk but she did get a grasp of it. She then states that Singer was pregnant and Harm thought his brother, Sergei might be the father. When McBurney asks what Harm wanted Singer to do, Coates states that Harm wanted Singer to call his brother, Sergei in Russia to give him a say in the child's future before stating that Singer had told Harm that the baby wasn't Sergei's.
When McBurney asks Coates if Harm believed Singer, Coates admits that Harm didn't. She then recalls that Singer told Harm that she was giving up the baby for adoption. It then cuts to a flashback from (unnamed JAG episode) where Harm told Singer, "This isn't over".
In the present, McBurney remarks that it does sound like a threat but Coleman objects with McBurney withdrawing his last remark. Coates then remembers that after Singer took off, Harm followed her out. McBurney then ends his questions with Coleman taking over who instantly asks Coates if Harm's shown any kind of anger towards her or even grabbed her. Coates admits that he hasn't and Coleman sits back down.
Seconds later, McBurney then requests to resume his questioning which the judge agrees to but when he asks Coates if she's ever seen a man strike a woman in anger, Coates clams up before finally gathering herself and then admitting that she saw her father strike her mother.
When McBurney asks Coates if she saw that kind of anger in Harm when he was at Benzinger's, Coleman objects, stating it calls for speculation. The judge overrules her, stating he'd like to hear the answer.
McBurney asks the question again and Coates freezes, glancing at Harm who silently nods. She then states "Yes" and McBurney ends his questions.
Back on the Chattanooga, a Senior Officer tells Gibbs that they've got a call from the Washington MTAC. It's Morrow who tells Gibbs that ten days ago, 5 million was sent from a hawla money broker in Toulon to a hawala in Tunis. Gibbs wants to know if they've got anyone in Tunis. Morrow admits that they don't but that their friends up the river (the CIA) do and that the CIA's going to be taking credit for this. Gibbs tells him that it doesn't matter who gets the photo opportunity with Morrow remarking he'll remember at their next hearing but Gibbs is right before ordering Gibbs to use whoever he has to stop that attack from going ahead.
Tony and Viv have arrived in Abby's lab where she tells them what she's found concerning the hat that Dobbs found.
Tony then realizes that Gibbs's gut was right all along and they've got the wrong guy which means whoever killed Lt. Singer is still out there.
On the Chattanooga, Gibbs meets Dawkins out on deck and informs him about the upcoming terrorist attack with both men agreeing that the CIA will get credit but only if they help NCIS stop it. A Female Petty Officer then emerges, telling Gibbs he has a call on the VTC.
It's Tony and Viv who tell him that Abby's confirmed that the hat Dobbs found was a plant and that Sergei, Harm's brother isn't the father of Sergei's baby before they announce that they've got a possible suspect and they're going to be put together a sketch to Harm who can confirm if it's the guy they're looking for.
Gibbs then tells them to go back over four weeks of security footage from JAG and they're probably looking for someone with an axe to grind against Harm. Tony agrees to do it and Gibbs tells him to nail the guy fast and that he needs his ass out here.
"Alone?", Tony asks.
"Bring whoever you need", Gibbs replies.
With that, Tony and Viv then leave MTAC.
The next morning, Tony and Viv along with McBurney arrive at JAG to talk to Harm despite Coleman stating that she's advised Harm against this interview. The three then tell Harm that they've found evidence suggesting that the cover that originally implied him is actually a plant and that Harm's off the hook.
Harm believes it's his brother, Sergei but Tony states that they've got a possible suspect and then slides a photo over towards Harm who recognizes the person. Having gotten what they were looking for, Tony and Viv leave the room with Harm telling them to remind Gibbs that he owns him.
McBurney then eventually leaves with Coleman smiling at Harm.
In Interrogation, Tony's busy unpacking evidence while yet again recalling a story from when he was at Baltimore. It's shown that the suspect in question is none other than Theodore Lindsey, an enemy of the entire JAG team who sits at the desk, looking unfazed. Tony continues on with the story which revolves around a stripper.
In Observation, Viv rubs her head, obviously suffering from a headache or just out of despair at listening to one of Tony's stories yet again.
Back in Interrogation, Tony tells of how a gynecologist went to a strip club, met one of the girls and having developed a likeness for her, started taking her out. Things got ugly because the stripper began blackmailing the gynecologist with said stripper threatening to tell the gynecologist's wife so the gynecologist paid two guys to kill the stripper.
"I'm not really one for jokes, Agent DiNozzo", Lindsey says.
After much dancing around, Tony produces a series of transcripts which were taken from Lindsey interviewing JAG personnel (which happened during the JAG Season 8 episode, "Fortunate Son") and Tony notes that during seven hours of talking, Lindsey mentioned Singer's name about fourteen times which showed Lindsey had an unusual interest in her.
"I was just doing my job", Lindsey states.
While leaning back in his seat, Tony then states that the night Singer died, Lindsey cashed a five-thousand dollar cheque at E-Z Al's Cheque-Cashing and the next day, Lindsey deposited the money minus the a hundred-dollar charge back into his account which unsurprisingly pisses Lindsey off but Tony stops him by stating that he did have the warrant needed.
Tony soon realizes that the cash was actually hush money because Singer was going to tell Lindsey's wife about their affair. Lindsey wants to know if the joke's off because it wasn't very funny. Tony tells Lindsey to bear with him and it will be before telling that the gynecologist had the stripper whacked and he thought the problem was solved but the gynecologist got nervous and set up to look like a doctor at his practice was responsible for the stripper's murder. He then finishes by stating that the gynecologist got caught before using his index finger to drag the bagged cover to Lindsey's side of the table before informing the JAG officer that Harm was supposed to have lost his cover during the fight with Singer, meaning that the hat would have been out there for four months.
But NCIS's tests revealed that the cover was actually out there for four weeks. Tony mentions that he checked the JAG security logs and lo and behold, Lindsey was on them. In a move unusual for him, Tony starts singing technology's praises, stating that it's a wonderful thing and that they can pick stuff that a year ago would have gone undetected before concluding that the joke's over.
Lindsey panics and goes on to tell Tony that Singer threatened him, threatened his family and tries to brush off the blame on himself by insisting that the whole thing was an accident. Tony tells Lindsey that it's a good story but there are a few problems and then begins mercilessly tearing it to shreds by telling Lindsey that they found the blood on the railing where she "slipped".
While he's saying that, it shows a flashback of Singer falling to the ground and hitting her head on the railing. Thinking she's dead but she was actually stunned or unconscious, Lindsey decides not to call for help and proceeds to throw Singer's body into the river.
Back in the present, as he finishes the story, Tony grimly tells Lindsey that because of that, Singer drowned which means the whole thing was no accident. He then finishes by stating that they checked the baby's blood type against Lindsey's service record and after a heartbeat reveals that Lindsey wasn't the father either before leaving the room.
It then cuts to Lindsey who looks taken aback by the news.
On the Chattanooga, as the last preparations for the anti-terror operation go underway, Gibbs and Agent Dawkins are talking about the money Bin Atwad forwarded which was picked four days ago and that the signature was K. Zahari before asking if the person is Hussan Mohammed.
As they head down to the main room, Dawkins tells Gibbs that his "packages" have arrived, looking a bit jet-lagged. Once they're inside, it's revealed that the "packages" are Tony and Viv who true to Dawkins's word, look exhausted. Gibbs tells them that news of Lindsey pleading got to him with Tony revealing that Lindsey was charged with involuntary manslaughter which got the disgraced JAG officer eight years in Leavenworth. Tony then reveals that Abby finally got the destination of Singer's plane ticket and that she wasn't heading to San Diego.
She was actually going to Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland.
Gibbs wants to know why Singer was planning to go to Ireland but Viv believes she was probably going to see the baby's father given that it wasn't Lindsey. Or Harm or his brother, Tony chimes in and they still don't know who the father is. Gibbs, on the other hand doesn't care.
A Senior Officer announces that he has Morrow online with Gibbs ordering him to put it up. Morrow then comes online, informing them that Khalil Zahari, listed as the director of an institution of oceanography in Tunis and that they've got no assets except for a 30-year old fishing trawler although a few days ago, they bought an unnamed submersible with five million dollars as the asking price. He also reveals that it took delivery 58 hours ago in Sorrento.
With that, Gibbs requests a list of all ports with naval assets within 58 hours of Sorrento. Dawkins suggests Naples and Cannes but Gibbs dismisses it, stating both areas are too secure. Gibbs then orders a list of all research vessels leased in the last year be run and that it has to be ninety tons or more. They soon get a match on the same oceanography institution Morrow mentioned and realize that the name is "Deep Blue Explorer". Gibbs wants a man check with the coastal cops to see if a navigational plan has been submitted.
And sure enough, it has with Viv revealing that the ship's charted for Cardiz and Gibbs notes that it's in Rota at the moment, on its way home from the Gulf before asking Tony how his Spanish is.
Tony simply smiles.
A while later, at the Deep Blue Explorer, the men who are not fishermen or oceanographers in any way are busy loading up items, some of which contain C-4 onto the ship.
A truck pulls in and in it are both Gibbs and Viv dressed in work clothes with Gibbs ordering Viv to get close on everyone and tell him when she's gotten a match.
As Gibbs gets out and starts a talk with one man in Spanish, even smelling a fish, Viv has her camera trained on the Explorer's crew and the photos she takes are being sent back to MTAC where they're being run through the ompared to the photo of Hussan Mohammed but the first two are negative.
Viv then films the ship's captain and in MTAC, a tech then announces they've gotten a match, confirming that the ship's captain is indeed Hussan Mohammed.
Using her comm piece she then tells Gibbs that Mohammed's the captain.
With that, Gibbs gives the order to move in.
Tony gets out and begins talking to some men in Spanish, only for the two to pull their guns on him.
"Get ready", Gibbs urges.
However, it's clear that Viv's struggling. She's focused on Mohammed despite Gibbs warning her to look at him before realizing that it's too late.
Unfortunately, in that moment, all Hell breaks loose. Mohammed slips into the main engine room, intending to escape but once Gibbs has gotten rid of the two men annoying Tony, he, Tony and Viv run for the ship, ducking behind some boxes as one of the men on board begins shooting at them.
Thankfully, the Spanish Police are there, providing back-up.
Gibbs tells Tony to secure the submersible which Tony does. More gunfight continues and Gibbs who's finally managed to get on board guns down on the terrorists before coming face-to-face with Mohammed who has armed himself with a grenade and it's clear that he's not going to go down without a fight.
Mohammed drops the grenade just as Gibbs fires two into the rogue terrorist, killing the other man.
Just as Gibbs retreats, the grenade explodes seconds later, destroying the engine room while sending Gibbs flying backwards as well as creating a lot of smoke.
On the dock, Tony and Viv have their guns drawn and are searching for any more terrorists.
However, they're surprised when Gibbs emerges from the boat, alive and walking down the stairs much to Tony and Viv's relief. The two agents then holster their weapons and rush to meet Gibbs who despite having survived, unharmed or without a single scratch looks unhappy.
"I'm sorry I almost blew it", Viv says.
"Almost?", Gibbs repeats coldly before walking off.
"I still like you", Tony replies.
It then shows that the police are rounding up the last of the remaining terrorists who weren't killed during the gunfight and presumably taking them into custody with many of the terrorists in handcuffs.
It then cuts to Gibbs who emerges from the side-stairs, looking annoyed.
- Lt. Faith Coleman is introduced for the first time and it's revealed she's defending Rabb who's been placed in custody after being charged with Lt. Singer's murder.
- It's implied that Coleman probably suffers from OCD given how she likes everything neatly arranged.
- DiNozzo reveals that he worked as a Homicide cop in Baltimore.
- It's also revealed that Tony is fluent in Spanish.
- Although it is not shown, it's implied that Blackadder was either fired from NCIS for good or she later chose to return to the FBI after jeopardizing the undercover anti-terrorist operation in Rota.
- While Abby and Major McBurney are discussing the photos in her lab, "Frozen" by Collide is heard playing in the background.
- The song playing when both the JAG lawyers come to the lab with Gibbs to get the results from the tag in the hat is "Monochrome" by Collide.
- This episode also marks the final appearance of Special Agent Vivian Blackadder played by Robyn Lively. Due to overwhelmingly negative feedback from test audiences in regards to her, Blackadder was written out of the show and Lively was also released from her contact. As a result, the character Caitlin Todd was created and she was also Blackadder's replacement in terms of being both an NCIS Special Agent and Tony DiNozzo's partner. When NCIS first aired as a solo series in October 2003, Blackadder was shown to have been removed from the show altogether to this day no reason has been given as to where she ended up although many suspect she could have been fired from NCIS or simply returned to the FBI.
- On the Region 2 DVD, the recap of the previous episode was removed and as such, the episode cuts to the opening credits instead.
Series Regulars Edit
- Season One 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.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist, NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner, NCIS.|
|Vivian Blackadder||Robyn Lively||Special Agent, MCRT, NCIS who is presumably fired or returns to the FBI after this episode for messing up the anti-terrorist operation.|
|Thomas Morrow||Alan Dale||Director of NCIS.|
|Commander Harmon Rabb||David James Elliot||A JAG Officer.|
|Colonel Sarah MacKenzie||Catherine Bell||A JAG Officer.|
|Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden||John M. Jackson||Judge Advocate General of the United States.|
|Lieutenant Bud Roberts Jr||Patrick Labyorteaux||A JAG Officer.|
|Sergei Zhukov||Jade Carter||Harmon's half-brother.|
|Lieutenant Loren Singer||Nanci Chambers||A JAG Officer and the murder victim.|
|Lieutenant Commander Faith Coleman||Alicia Coppola||Another JAG Officer tasked with defending Harmon Rabb.|
|Senior Officer||David Haskins||A Petty Officer assigned to the Chattanooga.|
|Merchant Seaman||Joseph Hodge||An officer presumbly stationed on the Chattanooga.|
|Petty Officer Jennifer Coates||Zoe McLellan||A JAG Officer.|
|Major Jack McBurney||Michael Muhney||A JAG Officer prosecuting Harmon Rabb.|
|Judge||Paul Norwood||An JAG Officer presiding over Harmon Rabb's trial.|
|Female Petty Officer||Krystal Pertsch||An officer assigned to the Chattanooga who informs Gibbs he has a teleconference call.|
|Dawkins||Vyto Ruginis||A agent with the CIA.|
|Commander Theodore Lindsey||W.K. Stratton||A JAG Officer and also the one responsible for murdering Lt. Loren Singer while attempting to frame Rabb for the crime.|
|Amad Bin Atwad||Faran Tahir||A terrorist NCIS captured and who the CIA are interrogating.|