While at a country bar, a Marine disappears under mysterious circumstances, prompting NCIS to be called to investigate. The case then takes an abrupt turn when the team learn that several other fellow Marines from the missing Marine's unit have also vanished without a trace. When skeletal remains of one of the Marines who disappeared are found chained in a sewer pipe in Old Town Alexandria, Gibbs and the team begin to suspect that the unit's C.O is the one responsible for the disappearances and eventual deaths. But when Tony goes missing after having been at the same country bar that the missing Marine was at, Gibbs and Kate with McGee, Abby and Ducky's help race against the clock to rescue him and find the missing Marine before it's too late. However, an unlikely figure emerges as the true mastermind behind the crime and they're concealing a horrifying secret as to what really happened in the Philippines in 1991 which is also connected to the missing Marine and his unit....
It then cuts to a table where Bill Atlas is being interviewed by a journalist, Carol Powers. She's in disbelief at the possibility that he might be next given that two of his Marine colleagues have vanished under mysterious circumstances.
The waitress gives Atlas a drink despite Altas insisting he didn't order anything.
She tells him he must have a secret admirer before leaving. Atlas downs the last of his whiskey and leaves the bar.
Outside, he's busy smoking a cigarette when he mumbles that he should have told her but he falls to the ground, unconscious before he can finish his sentence.
He soon awakens in a cell and finds that he has a decayed skeleton for company.
His screams then echo up through a pipe before they head out onto a street where his cries are simply swallowed up by traffic going by in both directions.
In the NCIS squadroom, NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd arrives back in the bullpen, carrying some folders where her partner and fellow NCIS Special Agent, Anthony DiNozzo is busy playing a game that involves shooting at Osama Bin Laden.
She then berates Tony for his actions and remarks that he still hasn't returned to puberty while warning him that their boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs catches him playing a game while on the job, Tony's going to be unemployed.
Gibbs then arrives and after a quick distraction, tells the team that a Marine Gunnery Sergeant didn't show up for duty this week.
As they head for the lift, having gotten their belongings, Gibbs hints that if the game's still on Tony's computer in the morning, then Gibbs will be piercing Tony's ears himself.
The team arrive at Hammersmith Country Bar and interview the waitress, Vanessa who tells them she probably figured out Atlas, the guy who's disappeared probably got out lucky and went home in a different car.
Tony, unsurprisingly flirts with her and once he and Gibbs are gone, Kate assures her there's nothing going on between herself and Tony as they're just colleagues.
Outside the bar, Gibbs and Tony are wondering about Atlas although Gibbs believes that since Atlas was a Marine with a twenty-year pension, he didn't walk away. T
hey then spread out to look for more evidence although Tony is distracted by taking photographs of the waitress much to Gibbs's chagrin.
Gibbs then finds Atlas's Zippo lighter, remarking that no Marine would leave a Zippo like this behind and Tony soon finds an unsmoked cigarette which Gibbs orders to be bagged.
When Tony asks what Gibbs is thinking, Gibbs grimly believes that wherever Atlas is, his luck's running out.
It then cuts to the cell where Atlas is sitting on the floor. He suddenly freaks and begins lashing out before screaming. He then sits back down again, drained.
Outside the bar, a trow truck has gotten Atlas's truck and Kate informs Gibbs that she's got a rough sketch of the woman Atlas was having an affair with.
Gibbs then wants Atlas's phone records.
Kate tells him she's requested it.
When Gibbs looks over and sees DiNozzo getting comfy with the waitress, he states that DiNozzo's a step from vanishing himself.
He yells at DiNozzo and once DiNozzo's said goodbye to the waitress, he rejoins Gibbs and Kate before telling them that the woman's name in question is Carol Powers and that she's a reporter for the Post.
Gibbs compliments Tony before walking off.
Tony remarks that pushing it is what he loves about the job as well as the beautiful women.
Back at NCIS HQ, Carol Powers has arrived and Kate's busy interviewing her.
Once the team drop hints of Powers's affair with Atlas, she tries to leave only for the team to stop her.
In Interrogation where Powers is insisting that she and her husband had nothing to do with Atlas's disappearance.
Powers then tells Gibbs that Atlas believed that someone in his unit was after him.
It then cuts to Gibbs who looks grim-faced.
In the Observation Room, Kate believes that Powers is telling the truth although Tony disagrees about that, stating that some guys will say anything to get into bed.
During their talk, Gibbs finishes his interview with Powers and leaves Interrogation.
When Tony tells her if she honestly still believes that she looks twenty-five, Kate states, "Not anymore".
Up in the squad-room, Gibbs is accompanying Powers to leave.
Powers still wants to know her husband will remain unaware of her affair but Gibbs disagrees and even tells her he doesn't read the Post.
Before she leaves, though, Powers tells Gibbs that regardless of what he thinks of her, she hopes that they find Atlas and that he's still alive.
In the bullpen, Kate remarks on how Gibbs was hard on Powers.
Gibbs tells her that Powers reminded of all his ex-wives. Powers's husband is innocent too which means they're at a dead end.
Gibbs then states that he wants to know why someone's kidnapping EOD personnel and when Kate suggests terrorism, Gibbs looks at the photo of the unknown gunman.
Kate then tells him she's found a new lead in the form of Major Joe Sacco whose record is clean except for a caution when he got into a fight with a few enlisted men in 1991, the missing Gunnery Sergeant Bill Atlas being one of them.
Gibbs's cell-phone then rings and once he's hung up, he tells them Abby's found something.
As they head for the lift, Tony states that because there's been no ransom note and that five days have passed since Atlas went missing, the odds are looking increasingly grim.
Back in the cell, Atlas awakens when he hears something. He then asks his captor who they are and what the name of their organization is, only to get a shock when his captor releases honey bees into the cell which begin attacking him.
Atlas starts screaming and helplessly defending himself.
The team arrive in the lab where Abigail Sciuto informs them that she's found traces of bron on the cigarette Atlas used before he vanished.
When Kate asks about bron, Tony tells her it's a mixture of speed and codeine and that while it's illegal in the U.S, it's available in over-the-counter in the Philippines and Okinawa, Japan.
Kate then realizes that Sacco's last duty station was in Okinawa. Gibbs wants them on the road but Tony declines, saying that it's rush hour and that it's a real bad idea to get on the road.
However, Tony changes his tune and heads off. Kate tells Abby "Good job" and Abby thanks her.
Once they've left, Gibbs asks for Abby's help on something and gives her more helpful hints on Gallipoli.
Sure enough, a while later, the team are caught in rush hour.
Gibbs is being more distant than usual, Tony is slurping very nosily on a drink and Kate's on the phone with someone.
Tony's slurping eventually gets too much for Gibbs and he throws the drink out the window with Tony stating that's littering although Gibbs sarcastically retorts with "Fine me!".
Kate then hangs up. She tells Gibbs that Major Sacco's in the field right now and according to his office, he's disarming a bomb.
It then cuts to a field where two Marines are trying to disarm a bomb, only for the timer to stop working and blow up in their faces.
Major Sacco appears, telling them that if the bomb were real, they would be washing them off the streets right now and to never assume timers are right because the bad guys watch movies too.
The team soon arrive to interview Sacco and get the impression that Sacco has a grudge against Atlas.
Once the interview's over, Gibbs tells Kate and Tony a little too late to cover their ears because of the bomb going off.
The shockwave sends Kate and Tony and they're stunned while Gibbs simply walks off.
Back in the car, it's proving to be a bumpy ride as Gibbs is on one of his usual "shortcuts".
Abby rings with the news that three other Marines from EOD units have gone missing in the last eight years and that because they were listed as deserters after thirty days, NCIS didn't pick up on it.
She also tells Kate to tell Gibbs that they all served in the Philippines in 1992 and their platoon commander was Joe Sacco.
With that, Gibbs turns the car around.
In the cell, the bees are still buzzing around and Atlas is in pretty bad shape with a lot of stings visible on his face. He tries in vain to fight them off before sinking helplessly to the ground.
It then cuts to an overhead shot of Atlas lying on the ground as the bees continue flying overhead.
In the bullpen, Kate is showing Gibbs and Tony the other Marines who in addition to Atlas have disappeared without a trace.
She tells them that because of their disappearances, the men were considered deserters and that until now, no-one's ever connected them.
Tony then suggests picking up Sacco, a statement Kate agrees on because they've got a potential serial killer but if it isn't Sacco, then there's the chance he's the next one on the missing list.
Gibbs takes a sip of coffee before announcing his decision. He orders every single piece of information on that EOD team from 1992 while Kate is to pick up where Abby left off and Tony is to focus on Sacco and dig through his life history.
Once Gibbs has gone, Tony asks Kate about the good old days.
"What good old days?", Kate wants to know.
"When Gibbs would confide in us and treat us like peers", Tony replies.
"No", Kate states and storms off.
"Good. I thought I was the only one", Tony says.
In MTAC, Gibbs is watching the gunman shoot out the camera again and again before he has a flashback to his encounter with the terrorist.
Once it's over, Gibbs subconsciously touches his left shoulder which is where the terrorist shot him the last tie they met.
Kate arrives in Abby's lab and is informed about Corporal Mark Cohen. Kate believes he's a suspect but Abby tells her that she hasn't been able to find any record of Cohen after he got a bad conduct discharge for assaulting his company commander. Abby then begins getting ready to go out, telling Kate that she has a party to go to.
Kate expresses disbelief over that.
The next morning, Tony and Kate have fallen asleep at their desks when Gibbs comes in. He wakes Tony up and orders him to get Kate up too because Gibbs wants a full debriefing in twenty minutes.
Kate and Tony soon awaken, Kate having fallen asleep at her desk and begin getting themselves ready for another long day with Kate stating that she feels like Hell.
In the cell, once the door has shut, Atlas's eyes snap open and he sees a silver cross in the ground. He then begins telling his captor that he didn't know as the voices of screaming women fill the air.
In the bullpen, Kate and Tony are telling Gibbs what they found during their all-nighter.
Unsurprisingly, Gibbs isn't impressed, stating that he wanted more. Tony eventually gets permission to trail Sacco and leaves to do so but not before Kate tells him to be careful. She claims it doesn't mean that she cares for him, but just that she doesn't want to be left to work only with Gibbs.
Tony starts to defend Gibbs, but is interrupted by Gibbs storming back into the bullpen and asking DiNozzo what he's still doing here.
"Then again you may be onto something", Tony tells Kate as he leaves.
Down in Abby's lab, she's found Corporal Cohen but he can't be a suspect since he's dead.
She tells Gibbs and Kate that Cohen was found last year in a sewer system in Old Town Alexandria, chained to a wall and that the locals are sending them copies about the cold case although Gibbs remarks it's not so cold anymore.
She also expresses doubts about Tony, but Gibbs says "He can take care of himself", and when Kate suggests the party might have affected Abby's perceptions, she admits of having had eighteen Red Bulls.
Gibbs rings DiNozzo to inform him of the development and Tony tells him that he's after Sacco. Gibbs correctly guesses that Sacco's heading into Hammersmith Country Bar and Tony then goes in after him.
In the bar, it's all hustle and bustle, and as Tony gets ginger ale from the bar, Vanessa, the waitress from before, begins flirting with him.
Back at NCIS, the evidence from Corporal Cohen's murder has arrived and Gibbs and Kate are busy going through it. In the process, Gibbs finds a silver cross although Kate tells him that Cohen was Jewish and Sacco's a Baptist.
Back at the bar, Tony is still slurping his drink when Sacco leaves suddenly. Tony seeks someone to use as cover, and manages to avoid being spotted.
Once Sacco is gone, Tony heads out into the parking lot after him and calls Gibbs.
As he walks around, Tony starts to get dizzy as he has been drugged.
He falls to the ground, unconscious.
It then shows a single hand taking Tony's gun away before dragging him off too while Gibbs helplessly shouts into the phone that they're coming for him.
Tony eventually awakens in the cell and meets Atlas who tells him, "Welcome to Hell".
It then cuts to an overhead shot showing Tony and Atlas in the cell together.
The area around Hammersmith Country Bar has become a crime scene.
Gibbs enters the crime scene and studies the areas where Tony's cell-phone is. He picks it up and dials a number which sets off his own cell-phone.
Kate then arrives, stating that she's interviewed everyone in the area but no-one saw Tony after he left the bar.
Gibbs now believes it's Sacco. Kate tries to assure him by telling him it's only a matter of time before they get him.
"Yeah, well, time's the only thing we don't have", Gibbs says and then produces his own cell-phone before making a phone-call to someone. He requests the Director and then begins walking away, leaving Kate standing by Tony's car, alone.
In the cell, Sacco's amazed to learn that he's been missing for only a week because in his mind, it feels like it's been months.
Tony is still searching for a way out and when Atlas doubles over, Tony asks him to save his strength. Atlas asks, "For what?" and Tony gets a glimpse of the skeleton before telling Atlas it's for when he gets them out of here.
Tony tries to assure Atlas that he has a plan and resumes searching for an exit. He then produces a knife and begins working on the door, telling Atlas it's one thing at a time.
Back at the bullpen, Kate's composed a profile of the serial killer whom the team now believe to be Sacco. She tells Gibbs that the killer is patient and that he spread his kills out over an eight-year period.
She also mentions that if Cohen's case is anything to go by, then the killer makes them suffer.
Gibbs reckons that Tony was targeted because he saw something the killer didn't want them to know.
Norfolk Special Agent Timothy McGee rushes in, asking for news on DiNozzo but Gibbs simply tells McGee that he's late and orders Kate to bring him up to speed.
Once Gibbs has left the bullpen, McGee asks where to sit and Kate suggests Tony's desk.
When McGee asks if Tony will mind, Kate grimly tells him that Tony's probably got other things on his mind at the moment.
McGee doesn't say anything and instead heads for the desk.
Back in the cell, Tony's working on escaping.
Atlas simply looks at the silver cross he found earlier and tells Tony that he deserves this before confessing that he and his men killed four girls.
Atlas also states that Sacco was in love with one of them which has Tony leaning against the wall.
Gibbs enters the morgue where Donald Mallard is busy going over the autopsy of Corporal Cohen. He tells Gibbs that Cohen's body had high traces of insect venom from honey bees and that Cohen starved to death.
Tests also found that it happened to Cohen over a period of weeks and months.
Gibbs remarks that it's the first good news he's heard all day and tells Ducky that there's a chance that Tony and Atlas are still alive.
When Ducky tells Gibbs that he'll find them, Gibbs wants to know if that's a prayer or a statement before leaving. "A little bit of both, I'm afraid", Ducky remarks.
In the cell, Tony's making progress on escaping. Atlas tells Tony that the base was closing down and that they all had girlfriends on the base but the Marines didn't want to leave them.
Tony believes that they killed them.
Altas agrees, remarking it would have better off if they had. He goes on to say that instead they tried to smuggle the girls back to the States inside shipping containers. However, Sacco who was a Lt. changed the orders at the last minute. He split them up and put them on different ships and that the guys assumed that they were with the girls.
"Oh my God", Tony whispers.
It then cuts to a ship sailing through the ocean.
Inside a shipping container, three girls helplessly pound on the door, screaming while one simply holds the silver cross around her neck and begins praying.
In the present, Atlas states that everyone thought that they had stowed away themselves but it was his unit's fault as they're the ones who killed those girls.
When Tony asks about Sacco's girl, Atlas agrees, stating that she dumped Sacco and went for Atlas himself instead. He then mentions that this is probably why Sacco saved him for last.
Outside, Sacco arrives, gets out of his car and armed with a gun and a flashlights, heads into the tunnel.
In Abby's lab, she and McGee are working while taking turns to drink from the Caf-Pow. Gibbs and Kate arrive in and Abby tells them that she got a fingerprint from Cohen's body but it's not a match to Sacco.
In fact, it's not in any database.
Abby then tells Gibbs that she's found a match but they don't know who it is.
When Kate asks, Abby tells them it's from the reporter's credit card receipt from the bar.
"She wasn't after a story. She was working with Sacco", Kate replies.
Gibbs's cell-phone and once he hangs up, he informs the group that Manassas P.D has located Sacco's car. He then demands an arrest warrant for Carol Powers and McGee goes to get it.
Abby tells Kate to bring him back and the other woman nods in agreement before leaving.
Back in the cell, Tony's efforts sink like a stone but Atlas is believing he won't make it and given that he's falling unconscious every few minutes, it's looking grim.
Outside, a local Police Officer meets Gibbs and Kate. He then tells that the plates came back stolen and it's probably been abandoned.
Despite him urging the two Agents to wait until the dog unit gets there, Gibbs and Kate choose to go into the tunnel with Gibbs remarking that they don't get lost.
With their guns drawn and armed with flashlights, Gibbs and Kate enter the sewer.
It then cuts to Sacco who comes across the cell, only to discover that Tony and Atlas are free. He then begins yelling for Atlas.
Meanwhile, Tony and Atlas are heading through the sewer although it's becoming increasingly clear that Atlas is so weak even staying awake is a struggle.
Gibbs and Kate are exploring the tunnels where they hear Sacco's voice calling for Atlas. Kate's relieved and when Gibbs looks at her, she tells him, "Who else do you know who pisses off people like that?".
They then continue on.
Atlas states that he has to stop and they do.
Tony marks an X so that he can remember if they've passed by already. When he tries to get Atlas, the Marine refuses and Tony states that if he has to, he'll carry him.
Thankfully, their echoing gets to Gibbs and Kate who are on the opposite end of the sewer.
Tony then states that they're winging it and that Atlas is in pretty bad shape.
Gibbs urges him to stay put and that they'll get to him but given that Sacco's behind them, Tony refuses to take that chance.
While Kate keeps watch, Gibbs then urges them to keep going and that they'll be behind him.
With that, Tony and Atlas set off yet again.
They soon get to an entrance where the sun is shining and after Tony remarks that his father's right about him ending up in the gutter, he produces a knife but it's too late as Sacco has reached them.
When he states that they've got to get him, a sudden gunshot rings out, hitting Sacco in the back and he hits the floor, dead.
Finally, Vanessa emerges, her gun trained on Tony and she urges him to lose the knife which he does, dropping it to the ground.
She then asks Bill if he recognizes her and Atlas mutters her name weakly.
Vanessa then tells him that they told she was dead, they all did except for Sacco.
She reveals that Sacco was the one who found her half-alive.
A flashback shows Sacco opening the door to the container and taking in the sight before him. He checks two girls before the third with the silver cross around her neck begins stirring.
As such, Sacco takes her into his arms and brings her to safety, closing the door.
Back in the present, Vanessa still has her gun trained on Tony and Atlas. She tells them that at first, she was grateful for Sacco saving her life but then he wanted to control her.
As she speaks, Gibbs and Kate have finally caught up with Tony.
Kate gets a quick glance.
When Tony asks her if she's the one who killed those Marines, Vanessa tells him not yet and she makes a move for Atlas, only for Tony to act like a human shield.
Kate has seen enough and informs Gibbs that it's the waitress from the bar.
Gibbs tells her they're going to go slow but if there's even the slightest hint she'll shoot, Kate is to take Vanessa out.
Kate silently nods and the two slip into place.
Tony tries to reason with Vanessa but she tells him she's been doing this for eight years. She also reveals that she was the youngster of the group, that they gave her their food and that she saw each of them die before her eyes.
Tony tells her that they can't let do this.
Kate emerges, ordering Vanessa to drop the gun.
Just as Vanessa turns around, Tony moves, grabbing her as the gun goes off.
"My friends", Tony whispers.
Gibbs and Kate emerge, their weapons trained on Vanessa and Kate breaths a sigh of relief.
In the lift, Tony's examining his wounds and wants Gibbs to admit that he was worried.
They eventually reach the floor and once the door's opened, the team make their way to the bullpen with Tony still nagging Gibbs.
"Tony, as far as I'm concerned, you're irreplaceable", Gibbs states.
They then reach the bullpen and Tony's stunned to see McGee sitting at his desk, even ignoring the pat on the back from Kate.
Tony then looks at Gibbs, puzzled.
It then cuts to Gibbs who just smiles in amusement.
- Abby reveals that she drank eighteen cans of Red Bull. According to the warning label on the back of Red Bull cans, no more than 2 cans (500mL) should be consumed per day. If more than 5 cans are consumed (1.25L) then possible side affects include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pains, gas, light green urine color, sleeplessness and/or fatigue when caffeine effect wears off.
- Derek Webster, who played Major Joe Sacco would later reappear in the Season 4 episode, Dead and Unburied (episode) as Marine Capt. Stengel.
- When Tony's pulling the knife from his pocket after he and Atlas have reached the entrance, there's a ring visible on his left hand.
- When Kate figures out that the truck belonging to Bill Atlas has been in the car park for five days given that Atlas disappeared on a Friday, the case presumably takes place over two days: Wednesday and Thursday.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||An NCIS Special Agent in charge of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||The Senior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team and also the second-in-command.|
|Caitlin Todd||Sasha Alexander||A Secret Service Agent previously assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail on Air Force One and who is now an NCIS Special Agent as well as Tony DiNozzo's partner.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perette||A Goth who is also the Chief Forensic Scientist and who also works for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|Special Agent Timothy McGee, NCIS||Sean Murray (actor)||NCIS Agent stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base.|
|Bill Atlas||Steve Rankin||A Gunnery Sergeant who goes missing without a trace.|
|Vanessa||Alex Meneses||A waitress at the Hammersmith Country Bar and also a serial killer.|
|Joe Sacco||Derek Webster||A Major in the Marine Corps.|
|Carol Powers||Jenya Lano||A journalist who's having an affair with missing Marine Bill Atlas.|
|Mark Cohen||Jacobi Wynne||One of Vanessa's victims.|
|Jackson (Missing)||Cole Griffin||A Corporal in the Marine Corps.|
|Bartender (Missing)||Michael Goetz||A Bartender at the Hammersmith Country Bar.|
|Police Officer||Robert Floyd||A local officer who meets Gibbs and Kate at the entrance of the tunnels.|
|Attractive Girl||Dayna Devon||A woman who appears in the episode.|
|Agent Mark1||Vladimir Rajcic||An Agent who belongs to an unidentified agency.|