Red Cell is the twentieth episode in Season Two as well as the 43rd episode of the entire NCIS series.
During a night of hazing at Waverly University, a young college student finds the body of a dead Marine whose neck has been broken and the team believe they've gotten a suspect for the death. However, when the suspect too turns up dead, having suffered the same fate, the team discover that the two victims were part of an illegal and mysterious college group. In the process of getting to the truth, the team find that someone they've already spoken to is not only responsible for the deaths but for also raping a young college shipman.
The scene opens on a field at night where six college freshmen who are wearing nothing but their underpants are busy going through the final stages of a pledge required to join a college society.
The leader is dressed with a red cloak complete with mask and his fellow students are guarding the freshmen complete with torches.
Once the leader gives the signal, the freshmen head off into the night.
Once they're gone, the leader, Donny Potter remarks that he loves Hell Week.
The freshmen are heading for a designated area and one, Fredrick Pippin trips over a large tree truck, losing his glasses in the process.
When he sees the mysterious figure lying opposite him, Pippin begins screaming as the camera closes up on the other man, revealing that he is dead.
It then cuts to the body.
It's early morning and Timothy McGee is busy playing one of his online games. He's preparing to launch an attack when the sound of something at his door interrupts him.
McGee tells his friend, David that he'll have to call him before removing the headset.
As Kate and Tony enter the apartment, Tony smugly informs Kate that he knew that McGee was a boxers guy. Kate isn't impressed, stating that she was certain McGee was a tighty-whitey man before giving Tony some money. Tony collects the money and tells McGee to get dressed and that they don't want to keep Gibbs waiting.
McGee can't believe it, stating that they did say 0900 but it's only 7:30am.
As Tony plays with a pincer-like object, Kate remarks to McGee that they thought they'd observe McGee in his natural environment which Tony jokingly puts down to watching National Geographic before stating, "We watch as the McGee moves slowly from the watering hole trailed by hyenas" to Kate's amusement.
Realizing there's no reasoning with them, McGee begins putting his trousers on.
Tony then stops upon seeing that a section of McGee's apartment has a chair, a table and a typewriter on it before wondering if it's the History Channel room.
While McGee finishes putting on his trousers, Kate continues exploring the apartment while Tony sits down to examine McGee's typewriter.
With a pipe in his mouth, Tony mockingly pretends to be typing before stopping, having spotted a book with the name, "L.J Tibbs" which has him wondering who Tibbs is.
McGee tells him that it's personal and as Tony throws a dart at the dartboard hanging on the back of McGee's front door, Kate reveals that McGee eats dinosaur cereal.
Tony does a dinosaur impression while Kate laughs, causing an extremely annoyed McGee to grab the cereal box out of her hands much to Kate's disbelief.
McGee then orders both Tony and Kate to wait by the door.
Kate, on the other hand is giving McGee the evil eye while Tony's going through McGee's records.
McGee eventually rescues the record and puts it aside while remarking that it's bad enough having to work on a Sunday without Tony and Kate ransacking his apartment.
Tony remarks that it was very inconsiderate of that Marine sergeant to die on a weekend.
As McGee heads for his room, announcing he's going to get his gun while telling Kate and Tony not to touch anything else, Tony heads over to Kate who's busy opening a can of Coke. She also gives Tony a bar.
While this happens, Tony remarks that someone like George Clooney could not get laid in a place like this.
McGee emerges, having gotten his clothes and shoes.
Once she's taken a sip of some Coke, Kate remarks to McGee that his place needs a lot of help with Tony remarking that at least, McGee isn't building a boat in his basement.
Already annoyed, McGee urges them out the door before closing the door himself.
A few seconds later, the toliet flushes and a young girl emerges, calling for McGee but to no avail.
Meanwhile, the man on McGee's headset is chirping, asking McGee if he copies.
The girl then puts the headset onto her right ear before asking the guy at the end if he copies.
While Gibbs takes photos of the scene, Ducky studies the body and reveals that based on the rigor resolving itself, it appears that the Sergeant has been dead for at least thirty-six hours.
As he prepares to take more photos, Gibbs tells Ducky that he wants to know how it happened.
Ducky then states that it looks like the sergeant took a tumble down the hill and broke his neck upon hitting the ground before remarking to the corpse that they never place too emphasis on the obvious.
As he edges closer, Ducky gets a sniff of something and pulls away in disgust.
He then produces a beer can which Gibbs photographs while stating that it's remarkable that these college hangouts all smell the same: stale beer, tobacco and vomit.
Gibbs tells Ducky that it came from the guy who found him and it then cuts to Pippin who's wrapped in a blanket with the local sheriff, Daryl Bello who's busy talking to Pippin while one of Bello's men gets a statement from another unidentified college student.
"Any idea why the young man is half-naked?", Ducky wonders.
"Must be a college thing", Gibbs remarks and heads back up the hill, passing by Ducky's assistant, James Palmer just as Tony, McGee and Kate arrive on the scene.
Gibbs wants to know where they've been with Tony telling him that they stopped for coffee.
Gibbs takes the coffee and informs the team that the victim has been ID'd as Marine Sergeant Joseph Aaron Turner who was found dead at 0200 by a drunk college student. Tony remarks that it sounds like Hell Week which has Gibbs confused.
Tony expands by explaining that Hell Week was the worst week of his life followed by the best four years.
"Yeah, you were running around in your skivvies, DiNozzo?", Gibbs wonders.
"Technically", DiNozzo replies. "But back then, they made us wear them on our heads. I think it was a sort a character-building thing".
"It certainly explains a lot", Kate agrees.
While Tony and Kate engage in a glaring match, Gibbs tasks McGee with finding out what Turner was doing on campus.
As McGee heads off, Sheriff Bello comes over and wonders if they can let Pippin go home and dress more appropriately. Gibbs tells him that Pippin after one of his Agents has interviewed Pippin and tasks DiNozzo with doing that.
As before, DiNozzo unsurprisingly tries to get out of the interview by stating that talking to Pippin might be up Kate's alley.
"Maybe but you two have so much in common", Gibbs states before ordering DiNozzo to go which DiNozzo does.
Once DiNozzo's left to go talk to Pippin, Gibbs then grills Bello for more information.
Bello informs them that the area is popular with students and that it's used for all sorts of extracurricular activities and that there have been bonfires, paternity pranks.
"Hazing?", Kate asks.
Bello tells them that they've had their share of incidents which includes broken bones, alcohol poisoning and he believes that the death isn't the first accidental death they've seen.
Gibbs then removes his cap and while going through his hair, remarks, "Who said anything about an accident?".
Bello is stunned, asking Gibbs if he wonders if this is a homicide.
"Until I find out it wasn't", Gibbs replies.
McGee arrives, informing Gibbs that he had Turner's SRB- (Service Record Book), that he's an NROTC- (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps) attached to the Waverly University campus and that he lived in the dorms.
As Gibbs heads off, he wonders if McGee has an address.
McGee tells Gibbs he's getting on that and he's going to radio Turner's unit.
It then pulls away to reveal the crime scene and even shows Ducky and Jimmy along with two members of Sheriff Bello's team emerging from the hill, carrying the bag with Turner's body in it. ]
Gibbs and McGee are in examining Turner's room and are busy talking to Captain Daniel Lemay.
As they examine the room, Gibbs remarks that he thought college kids were poor.
Lemay then remarks that most of his midshipmen wouldn't know how to survive without at least 200 channels and a DSL- (Digital subscriber line) hook-up.
Gibbs wants to know how long Lemay was Turner's Marine Officer Instructor.
Lemay tells him he's been that since Turner enrolled last year and then states he's expected to lose men in combat but not on a college campus before demanding to know what the Hell happened to Turner.
"We're working on it, Captain", Gibbs states.
Lemay wants to know what he can do to help. Gibbs tells the Captain that he can start by telling them about Turner.
Lemay remarks that Turner was one of his best midshipmen and that Turner came to them straight from Fleet after two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gibbs asks how Turner took to college life.
Lemay admits that there was a fair amount of culture shock on Turner's part but like any good Marine, Turner adapted.
Gibbs wants to know if Turner had any problems.
Lemay then reveals that they have students activists on the campus.
Gibbs believes they're protesting about the war but Lemay tells him that they're protesting about anything military. He then reveals that their unit was vandalized and that there have been rallies outside their offices before stating that when word got out that Turner was a vet, he took some heat.
Gibbs wants to know about the heat but Lemay states that it was mostly name-calling and that he handled it like most Marines.
"Not well", Gibbs remarks.
While McGee works on Turner's laptop, Lemay tells Gibbs that five members of Turner's squad died in Iraq and that Turner handled it the best he could. Lemay praises Turner, stating that Turner was a damn fine Marine.
McGee then praises Turner by remarking that the guy was intelligent too before revealing that Turner was working on graduate level mathematics and theoretical calculus.
Lemay remarks that Turner was on the advanced track when it came to maths and physics and that he was a real asset to the Corps.
In the morgue, Ducky and Jimmy are studying Turner's X-Rays. When Ducky realizes that something has Palmer's eye, Palmer tells him that the break is too clean to be the result of a fall. Ducky agrees, stating if Turner had landed on his neck, then it would be jagged before remarking that it's too precise.
Palmer heads back to where Turner is lying on the slab and tells Ducky that it looks like Turner took quite a beating. Ducky nods, stating that there are bruises around the eyes and Turner's knuckles are grazed.
Ducky then reveals that what caught his attention the most was the welts or wounds on Turner's body with the coloration suggesting that they're recent and that they were inflicted on Turner before his death.
Palmer wonders if they know what caused them but Ducky tells him that they don't, yet and then goes on to say that this reminds him of an English earl who was abducted and asphyxiated with every bone in his body being broken.
Palmer wants to know what happened but the story is interrupted by Gibbs heading into the morgue, asking if they know what killed Turner yet.
Ducky reveals that Turner was involved in a nasty fight that resulted in a broken neck while also confirming Gibbs's suspicions that the death is actually a homicide. While Palmer swabs Turner's fingernails, Gibbs's interest turns to the welts on the body with Ducky stating while the welts were painful, they didn't do any internal damage and that it was mostly surface.
Gibbs wonders if Ducky's thinking what Gibbs himself is thinking.
"I'm afraid so, Jethro", Ducky says.
Gibbs tells Ducky to call him when he finds out and leaves.
Palmer wants to know what they're talking about and Ducky reveals that there's the slight possibility that Turner was tortured before his death.
Palmer then realizes that what was must have happened to the English earl but as it turns out, Ducky doesn't remember the story at all.
In the lab, Abigail Sciuto is looking through Turner's equations and remarks that Turner was brilliant. She believes it's homology but McGee disagrees, stating it's cohomology.
McGee reveals that he did his study on advanced string theory so he thinks he knows. Abby realizes that McGee's playing the MIT card again and calls him on it.
The two then respond by sticking their tongues out at each other with the moment being interrupted when Gibbs comes in, sarcastically remarking that he's so glad to see that the two of them don't need adult supervision.
Abby then tells Gibbs that McGee was annoying her again and rather unfairly, Gibbs calls McGee out on it despite McGee trying to defend himself.
Gibbs wants to know what they got from the crime scene and Abby reveals that Turner's toxicology report shows that his blood alcohol level was .07 and that while he wasn't drunk, Gibbs notes that he wasn't exactly sober either.
As they head for the main area, Abby notes that there are foreign blood samples on Turner's face and knuckles. She also reveals that there was a series of chemicals on his skin with the chemicals being dried paint, turpentine and bleach. She even remarks that it looks like Turner was partying in a janitor's closest.
Gibbs then asks about Turner's laptop. McGee then proceeds to go into a long and very confusing explanation about Turner's mathematics. Gibbs impatiently wants to know if it's anything connected to his death and McGee admits that he hasn't found anything yet.
Abby then states that she didn't go to MIT but she thinks she's found something. This has Gibbs smiling in amusement while McGee rolls his eyes, annoyed. Abby then reveals that Turner had a private container which is a vault inside the hard drive where you can hide files.
Gibbs wants to know if Abby can open it and after Abby goes into a long explanation about how her nickname is "Vamperstein" although she wants to be called "Five Fingers Sciuto".
Gibbs calls Abby on it and she apologizes, abandoning the Caf-Pow and remarking that she's had too much caffeine.
She then hits a few buttons and announces that they're in.
As she and McGee approach the plasma with the photo loading, Abby reveals that it's an encrypted email and that he received it on Friday. Gibbs realizes that Friday is also the same day that Turner died.
It then shows the photo of Turner being marked as a target for something and above the photo are the words, "Turner, today is the day you die".
It then cuts to Abby, McGee and Gibbs who are staring at the photo.
The next morning, Gibbs and Kate arrive at Waverly University and are on the football field, witnessing young midshipmen of both genders being put through their paces with some rigorious training, all under the watchful eye of Captain Lemay.
As they walk through the students, passing a group of cheerleaders doing a toss, Kate is left stunned by the sight.
Leeka then states that if they pull the same stunt again, then they can both kiss their scholarships goodbye before dismissing them.
Gibbs and Kate approach Leeka, identifying themselves as NCIS Agents and Leeka apologizes for the outburst.
Kate wonders what the shouting was all about and Leeka tells her that the dyed hair isn't regulations.
Gibbs tells Kate that isn't. Leeka is in disbelief at the color of purple and orange, remarking that he sometimes feels like a kindergarten teacher with Gibbs even remarking that he's familiar with the sentiment which has Kate glaring at him.
As they walk up the pitch, Gibbs and Kate ask Leeka about Turner.
Leeka remarks that Turner put most of the current midshipmen to shame and that he would have made one hell of a Marine officer.
When Gibbs brings up that Turner had problems with protesters, Leeka remarks that one of the protesters spit on Turner's uniform but Turner soon cleaned the spitter's clock.
Kate wants to know if the protester Turner beat up is the type to look for revenge. Leeka soon realizes that Turner was murdered and Kate confirms it with Gibbs wanting to know why. Leeka then yells for Simmons and tells her to bring Midshipman Finnegan Blake double time.
As Simmons heads off to do that, Leeka tells Gibbs and Kate that Blake and Turner are tight and that Blake was the one who pulled Turner off the protester before the campus cops arrived.
Gibbs wants to know who Turner was tight with but Leeka tells him that Blake will know and that they're the only two enlisted men in the entire unit.
Simmons arrives back and reports that Blake didn't report to formation this morning. Her words cause Captain Lemay to approach the group and Leeka remarks that Blake's never been U.A, not since Leeka himself started.
Lemay then approaches and states that he's the one, not Leeka who's telling Gibbs that Blake is missing and that no-one's seen Blake since Friday night.
Tony and McGee are in the dorms, preparing to search Blake's room with Tony remarking that he misses going to college. Simon Frankel then tells the two Agents that Blake isn't there with Tony remarking to McGee, "I didn't know you had a brother".
McGee is not impressed and then asks Frankel about Blake. Frankel admits that he has no idea and that he hasn't seen Blake for a few days.
McGee then unlocks the college dorm door and he and DiNozzo head in to explore with Frankel trying to come along for the ride.
Once inside, Frankel, having realized they're not campus cops believes that they're FBI but DiNozzo corrects him by stating that they're actually with NCIS with Frankel stating that he already knows what it stands for. Frankel has also figured out that they're here because of Turner and admits that he knew Turner because the two were in the same NROTC unit.
Unsurprisingly, McGee and Frankel get along with their love of technology much to DiNozzo's annoyance.
Frankel then tells them that they should be wearing gloves because they're compromising the integrity of the crime scene. DiNozzo states that it's not a crime scene, it's a dorm room.
Eventually, Frankel's ramblings get too much for Tony who assigns Frankel to be the gargoyle guarding the entrance to the dorm room.
Inside the room, Tony realizes with dismay that Blake listens to folk music while McGee soon uncovers something far more disturbing: a rag covered in blood.
Tony tells McGee nice work and the two soon discover some blood underneath the duvet, leading the two to wonder if Blake is injured or dead.
Back in the bullpen, Gibbs, Tony and Kate compare notes.
It's shown that Blake got the same threatening message as Turner and that Blake got his on Saturday.
Gibbs wants to know who sent them.
Tony informs him that McGee's working on it and that no-one has heard from Blake from Friday.
When Gibbs asks for more information, Kate tells him that Abby states that the blood on the bed and rag matches Blake's type.
Gibbs gets to his feet, remarking they've got two enlisted men on their hands, one of whom is missing and the other who's dead before asking what they've got in common.
Kate tells him that the Coalition Alliance Team for Peace hate both men with Tony remarking that it sounds like CAT-P which isn't very attractive.
Taking the remote from Tony, Kate reveals that the group is led by Hunter Huxley who's a Waverly senior. She also reveals that Huxley has been arrested five times for disturbing the peace and he's majoring in political science.
Tony then pipes up that Huxley is minoring in anti-government subversion and sticking it to the man before revealing that he once dated a girlfriend like that in college and that it wasn't so bad until she stopped shaving her armpits which has Kate disgusted.
Tony states that the girlfriend is owning a car dealership.
Kate gets back on track by stating that Huxley's been leading the anti-war protests on campus and that the previous month, during a peace demonstration, he began spitting on midshipmen.
Gibbs then states that was how Turner dropped him.
Kate agrees, stating that after that happened, Huxley made Turner his personal target and began harassing Turner regularly.
Tony wonders if Huxley could have taken it to the next level.
Gibbs simply dispatches Tony and Kate to the college so that they can find out.
As they head to their desks to gear up, Tony tells an annoyed Kate to turn that frown upside down because they're going back to college.
Kate tells Tony that his problem is that he's never left.
A while later, Tony and Kate are heading through the Waverly University campus with Tony going through another period of remembering what it was like when he was in college.
Kate is not impressed, stating that Tony's glory days have passed him by and that he should retire the beer-bong.
"Ouch, Kate. Ouch", Tony says sarcastically.
Kate however stops him when she sees Huxley who unsurprisingly is leading another protest and is stating through a microphone that the U.S President is the puppet of corporate America and that this is an immoral act before chanting "No more war" which his protesters pick up.
Tony and Kate approach Huxley and introduce themselves as NCIS before showing Huxley a photo of Turner. Huxley then states that he's pressing charges against Turner because the fascist (Turner) nearly broke Huxley's jaw. Tony and Kate then tell Huxley that Turner's dead which has Huxley stunned.
Huxley is even more shocked when he realizes that NCIS believe he's the one who killed Turner despite Huxley insisting that he was out of town at the time and only got back today.
Tony and Kate then ask Huxley about Turner's friend, Blake but again come up empty.
Huxley then stirs the pot by telling his group that NCIS aka the goons have come to silence the movement and it cuts to show Tony and Kate engaged in a silent stand-off with Huxley and his protesters.
Back in the lab, McGee's amazed at the amount of student organisations that Waverly has to offer while Abby plays with a skull toy.
Gibbs arrives in, wondering if it's connected to Turner's death and McGee reports that he hacked into the servers, looking for someone who might have had a web account but unfortunately, he didn't find anything.
However, the mood changes when McGee and Abby realized that the IM message originally meant for Turner is actually for NCIS.
While McGee works at narrowing down the location, Abby tries to get the person to open up a bit more but it proves fruitless although McGee does find an address.
A while later, Gibbs, Tony and Kate descend on the address.
Gibbs tasks Kate to cover the back while he and DiNozzo take the front.
A scream prompts Gibbs and DiNozzo to invade the house but they get a shock when they discover that the house contains a room full of girls.
Tony assures Kate that they've got it covered while Gibbs states that he's going to kill McGee.
It then cuts to Tony who's smiling.
The next morning, in the lab, McGee wonders if Gibbs is going to kill him.
Tony and Kate try to cheer him up but because McGee sent Gibbs and the team on a late-night panty ride, Kate tells McGee that Gibbs is going to kill him.
Unsurprisingly, Gibbs storms in, demanding answers with his first one being where Abby is.
McGee states that Abby's on a run to the Evidence Garage but Gibbs ignores him, forcing Tony to repeat the sentence.
Gibbs wants to know if they've got anything on the hacker.
Tony and Kate don't know what to say so McGee fills in by stating that he was on a wireless connection, that the house they hit the previous night was set up for Wi-Fi and that the guy was probably sitting somewhere outside on the night.
McGee then finishes by stating that he's working on tracing it right now.
Gibbs then tells him to tell Abby he wants her.
"Oh, Gibbs, I never knew!", Abby calls and rushes into the lab, bringing a tray of items. She then reveals that Ducky asked her to help him figure out where the welts on Turner's body came from and she plans on starting with the ball-peen hammer, the stun-gun and Garden Weasel before realizing that Gibbs is in a really bad mood.
"Spending the night in a room full of crying women tends to do that to me", Gibbs says, giving McGee the evil eye.
Abby then tells them that she got the results back from the blood she found on Turner's body. As it turns out, it belongs to Blake which has Tony stunned.
Abby then states that she ran the bloody bag that Tony and McGee found in Blake's room and that of the blood of it is Blake's while the other parts isn't.
Kate then realizes that it's Turner's blood while Tony believes that Blake and Turner got into a fight.
Kate also states that one (Turner) turns up dead while the other (Blake) hits the road.
Gibbs then grimly reminds Kate that both Midshipmen could have been killed together at the same location.
They're interrupted by another I.M message coming through and McGee states that it's the same hacker.
The message is "NCIS, if you want the truth, be at Unity Quaid at 1000 hours today" which has the team realizing that the hacker is online and at the campus right now.
Gibbs then orders Tony and Kate to go with him to investigate while McGee is to trace the location with Gibbs ordering to get an exact location this time. Once they've gone, McGee begins working while Abby asks him if he can get a location. McGee's positive but is doubting himself once again.
As Tony and Kate walk around the campus, McGee updates them from MTAC and states that the hacker's signal is coming from Node 5.
Unfortunately, everyone in sight is using a laptop or a hand-held device which makes finding the hacker that much harder.
Gibbs is in on an upper level of the building overlooking the campus area and he orders the team to keep an eye out for him or her and they're all communicating via hidden headsets in their ears.
Tony suspects he's got something but the lead turns out to be a guy looking at the Scarlet Secret website.
Once the guy's gone, Kate states that it's 10:45 and that the hacker's playing with them.
Refusing to give in, McGee tells her that the hacker is here after all and to look for something abnormal.
Kate tells McGee that he's going to have more specific.
McGee's advice proves to be true as two guys soon emerge with one in a black-ski mask chasing a guy wearing a blue-striped t-shirt. Tony and Kate take one look at the scene before jumping into action as they follow the two guys.
Tony updates Gibbs who then tells Tony and Kate that he's moving to intercept.
Unfortunately, Tony and Kate's quest gets temporarily stopped by a group of big guys who are hanging around with some cheerleaders but the NCIS agents get past them and continue their chase.
The guy wearing the blue-striped t-shirt pauses in front of a metal gate just as the ski-mask guy approaches.
The ski-mask guy draws a gun and fires with the shots sending the other man to the ground.
Upon realizing that the ski-mask guy has a gun, Tony and Kate draw their own guns, identifying themselves as federal agents.
However, Gibbs emerges, stopping Tony from firing and as the ski-mask guy asks what's going on, Gibbs tells him to shut up while calling him a dumbass.
Gibbs picks up the paintball gun while Kate produces the ski-mask guy's ID and reveals that he's Kyle Zorin, a midshipman with Gibbs nodding in agreement.
Suddenly, Gibbs's cell-phone rings and he answers it.
It's Abby who tells him she's finally figured out what the welts on Turner's body came from.
"We know. A paintball gun."
He hangs up, and Abby slams the phone down, remarking that she really, really hates it when he does that.
The theme from Peter Gunn then plays while she aims the paintball gun and accidentally shoots one of her dolls which hits the ground.
It then shows that it has a big red paint blot on its forehead.
Abby turns away, remarking "Oops".
In the office, Leeka is unsurprisingly chewing out Zorin and Frank Smith (Red Cell) for the fact that they were playing illegal games on campus.
Thankfully, Captain Lemay interrupts the ranting by stating that Gibbs will take it from here.
Leeka withdraws and Lemay then tells Zorin and Smith that he expects that they answer Gibbs's questions truthfully.
Gibbs then orders them to sit down which they do and the interview begins.
Gibbs asks them where Blake is and Smith tells Gibbs that they don't know.
Gibbs then changes tact by wondering how many midshipmen are in this paintball club of theirs but when the guys start silent, Gibbs realizes that they're turned in, then they're going to end up getting kicked out of school just like Zorin and Smith.
Gibbs remarks that it's admirable that they're protecting their friends before showing them a photo of Turner and remarking that Turner is lying dead on a slab with a broken neck.
Gibbs then remarks that he believes that Blake was the one who put Turner there.
Smith insists that Turner and Blake were best friends. Gibbs wonders if they were buddies, then why were they beating each other up Friday night?
"You were there!", Gibbs roars.
Zorin admits that he was there but it's not what Gibbs thinks before stating that Turner and Blake were exchanging punches but they broke it up.
Zorin remarks that an hour later, the two were drinking beer and laughing about it.
While Leeka casts a glance at Lemay, Gibbs shows Zorin and Smith a photo of Turner while informing that that Turner's neck is snapped in half.
The scene stuns Zorin and Smith who tell Gibbs that Turner wasn't like that when he left.
Gibbs asks them what the fight was back. Zorin admits that it was because Turner had never lost a paintball game, Blake decided to change the rules.
Gibbs believes it was by killing him but Zorin disagrees. He then tells Gibbs that they play one-on-one but Friday morning, they all got Turner's target photo in their e-mail and they ambushed him.
Smith remarks that it was supposed to be funny.
Gibbs then gives Smith a pad and tells them that he wants the name of everyone in their paintball club before stating that if they do that, then they can talk about their futures.
Smith asks what will happen if they refuse. Gibbs tells him that he won't do well in prison.
Back in the bullpen, with the target photos of the group including Turner and Blake on the plasma, Kate remarks that they call themselves the Red Cell and that they claim that the last time they saw Blake was on Friday night after the fight.
Tony believes that they were protecting Blake.
Gibbs wonders who else knew about the rest of the group.
Kate believes that according to the other members, no-one did and that only the Red Cell members did.
Tony then makes a reference to the movie, "Fight Club" and promises to rent it out for Gibbs with both Kate and Gibbs glaring at him.
Kate then states that they're either lying or one of them is the hacker that led them to the group.
Gibbs then demands that the hacker be found just as McGee enters the bullpen.
Still heading out of the bullpen, Gibbs, without stopping asks McGee if he's found the hacker yet and continues walking on when McGee tells him that he hasn't.
Tony and Kate jokingly wonder if McGee needs a group hug.
McGee then announces he found Blake.
This causes Gibbs who's walking up the stairway to stop and acknowledge McGee for the first time.
McGee smiles and then leaves.
Down in the lab, McGee explains that while he was searching Blake's room, he realized that the missing Petty Officer had a docking station for an Axim X5 handheld computer but the unit itself wasn't in Blake's room.
Abby then points out that the computer costs $2,000 dollars and that Blake probably brought it with him when he pulled his disappearing act.
Gibbs wants to know why it matters and McGee explains that it had wireless built in, meaning that it automatically connects to the nearest Wi-Fi and according to the log, he's online at Waverly University, Node 3 and it looks like Blake's been hiding there since Saturday morning.
Gibbs tells McGee "Good job" and then leaves to go investigate.
As Gibbs leaves Abby singsongs, "See. I told you he likes you" which has McGee smiling before he leaves the lab too.
Back at Waverly University, Kate's asking McGee who's using a machine to track Blake's signal if he's right this time. McGee assures her that he is.
Remembering what happened the last time McGee messed up, Kate tells him she hopes he's right for his sake.
McGee then insists that he's right.
As they stop at a junction, McGee examines the machine he's using to get a read on Blake's signal and tells them that the Petty Officer is in the building behind the Student Center.
The team then head on although judging by Gibbs's face, it's clear that he has his own doubts.
Unfortunately, as it turns out, the supposed building is in fact actually a construction site.
Despite the team's obvious mistrust, McGee still insists that Blake's here before pulling the gate to one side and heading into the site, forcing the others to follow him albeit rather reluctantly.
As they walk across the site, it starts to rain and Kate puts her umbrella up as McGee continues searching for Blake, knowing that the signal's getting stronger.
McGee insists that Blake is still here and then realizes that the signal's coming from blow.
He then puts his Pocket PC into his pocket and begins digging at the dirt just as Tony and Kate remark that the hacker's screwing with them again.
Upon seeing a pair of runners, McGee then shouts that he's found something and realizes that it's a body.
As McGee begins digging more frantically at the ground, Kate and Tony look on while Gibbs puts on some gloves.
McGee then remarks that if the body is lying face-down, then the head should be where he's digging at.
McGee attempts to remove the hood but Gibbs stops him, informing the younger man that this is now a crime site.
Wearing gloves, Gibbs then removes the hood, revealing that it's none than the missing Petty Officer, Finnegan Blake who like Turner is also dead.
"He's not lying face down", Gibbs states.
It then cuts to Gibbs and McGee who are staring at Turner's remains while Kate and Tony, both underneath Kate's umbrella look on from a distance.
In the morgue, while Palmer studies the X-rays, Ducky tells Gibbs and Tony that Petty Officer Blake was killed early Saturday morning, just hours after Turner died.
Heading over to study the x-rays, Ducky remarks that the killer they're looking for is not only extremely powerful but methodical given how Blake and Turner had their necks broken in a violent and identical fashion.
Ducky believes that whoever killed them was using their bare hands. When Palmer asks about the technique, Ducky wants to demonstrate on him.
However, Gibbs volunteers to do it instead.
Tony, thinking that Palmer's going to get the technique remarks that it's going to be good, only to get a shock when Gibbs tells Tony that he's going to be the subject instead.
"Is that really necessary?", Tony wonders.
Gibbs then drops Tony to the floor and performs the technique which involves a Marine putting one hand behind the head and another on the neck before snapping with all their might.
The force of the snap causes Tony's eyes to go back into the head of his head and as he gets up, he remarks that Gibbs could have been a chiropractor.
Gibbs then realizes that they're looking for someone who knows how to kill.
Ducky agrees and voices his concern at the fact that the two victims, in order to receive such a killing blow would have to been face-to-face with the person responsible which means they were either ambushed or they knew their attacker.
Tony wonders if it's another midshipmen because midshipmen teach combat courses at the NROTC.
"Maybe. You find my hacker yet?", Gibbs asks.
"McGee's upstairs working on it", Tony replies.
"I didn't ask McGee", Gibbs states. "I asked my Senior Field Agent. I want that damn hacker!".
As he leaves, Tony asks Palmer if he saw that. Palmer then believes that Tony saw that Gibbs looked pretty upset.
Tony corrects him by stating that Gibbs finally called him the Senior Field Agent of the team before leaving.
As Palmer looks on, Ducky chuckles in amusement.
Up in the lab, McGee voices his concern that the hacker might be getting the better of him. Abby tries to cheer McGee up by assuring him that they're better.
McGee states that he doesn't believe he can track that guy just as Tony and Kate enter the lab, Tony carrying a Caf-Pow while warning McGee to make sure that Gibbs doesn't hear that statement.
Tony gives Abby the Caf-Pow and as she takes a drink, she informs Tony and Kate that they're just in time for McGee's crisis of faith before stating that McGee's starting to realize that there might be someone on the planet who's smarter than him.
Kate tells them that she's looking at one right now.
Unsurprisingly, Tony believes that it's him, stating that he is the Senior Field Agent and that it's more of an experience thing. Kate cuts him off by stating that she was talking about Abby and calling Tony a dodo-head.
Abby thanks Kate for the words while Tony looks on, stunned.
McGee then starts considering his options about tracking down the hacker but Tony interrupts by asking about Fight Club with Abby even playing along. Abby then realizes that the hacker is either a member or they know a member who Kate realizes are all midshipmen.
Tony then states that if the hacker's giving McGee a run for his money, then he has to be smart before asking McGee what his GPA in college. McGee confesses that it was a 3.9 and once everyone begins looking at him, he explains that it was because he failed a fencing class sophomore year.
Tony voices that he's sure that they checked the NROTC records to make sure that there's no computer genius in the unit. This has Abby and McGee looking at one another.
Up in the bullpen, Kate remarks that it was a pretty smart idea just as Gibbs comes in, wondering what the idea was.
Kate tells him and Gibbs remarks that it's Tony's job before stating, "Do you think I keep him around for his personality?".
This causes Kate to head back her desk, smiling while Tony stops smiling, the wind having been taken out of his sails.
While this goes on, McGee tells Tony that there are 22 midshipmen in the unit with only having a 4.0 before asking Tony if the person looks familiar.
"You want to bring him in with me?", Tony wonders.
"Considering he embarrassed me, almost got me fired and ruined my weekend. What do you think?", McGee replies, getting up from his desk and heading out with Tony following him.
In the lab, the hacker comes back online and Abby tells it that they might be smart but her geek carries a gun. She then begins typing out a message, "Hello, you twisted piece of s**t" just as the screen cuts to the Waverly campus. Tony and McGee have already entered the area and are busy looking around while the blissfully unaware hacker types away, his message being "Red Cell is just obvious. You have to ask?".
McGee posing as Turner sends a message, "Knock, Knock".
"Who's there?", is the hacker's reply.
It then shows McGee who looks extremely pissed off. On the screen, comes the next message, "I'm right behind you, dirtbag" followed by "Turn around". It then shows that the hacker is none other than Simon Frankel who has Tony and McGee standing before him.
Frankel barely has time around before Tony grabs him, stating "Howdy, Urkel" and McGee cuffs him. As this happens, Frankel complains that they're hurting him, a statement which both Tony and McGee ignore.
As McGee drags Frankel off, Tony grabs the computer and identifies himself as a Federal Agent before urging the students who were looking at the scuffle to have a nice day.
Back at NCIS, Tony gets to Interrogation, only to find Frankel standing in the corner instead of sitting at the desk. Frankel wonders if they call Interrogation the box, coffin or sweatshop?
Closing the door, Tony tells Frankel that it's just Interrogation before guiding the hacker over to the desk as Frankel begins wondering about the interrogation techniques they're going to use on him.
Tony then urges Frankel to sit.
Meanwhile, Gibbs looks on from Observation.
Tony then states that he'll be honest with Frankel and states that Frankel didn't do this. It then cuts to the folders which Tony dumps on and it shows that they've been labelled "Background Check- Frankel, Simon L". Frankel knows it's reverse psychology.
Walking over to the window, Tony tells Frankel that his boss (Gibbs) needs to close the case.
"Brass wants answers", Frankel replies.
While going through his teeth, Tony then tells Frankel about Kate who he describes as a severe looking thing.
In Observation, Kate unsurprisingly is outraged.
Tony then remarks that Kate has no sense of humor and that she built the profile on Frankel before returning to the desk.
As this goes on, McGee demands to know what interrogation technique that was.
"The DiNozzo method", Gibbs remarks. "Not pretty but it's effective".
This has Kate stunned while in Interrogation, Tony remarks that Frankel is the geek's geek and that he's the last one to be picked for the team with Frankel insisting that it isn't true.
Tony then states that Frankel broke a few federal laws such as interfering with an ongoing murder investigation.
Frankel insists that he was trying to help NCIS but Tony doesn't buy it, stating it's the way that Frankel did it that looks suspicious.
Frankel then states that the last thing he needs to be pegged as a rat in the unit and that the guys would have killed him.
Tony wonders if Frankel was out for payback because they didn't let him join their club.
Frankel dismisses it as being crazy.
Tony then grimly states that what's really crazy is him nearly putting a bullet in a kid's head because said kid was playing paintball.
Frankel is stunned by that, stating he didn't want anyone to get hurt, that he was trying to help and that Turner was a friend.
"So you thought sending us cryptic e-mails was going to help us find his killer?", Tony wonders.
Frankel then remarks that he thinks he knows who killed Turner and voices his belief that it was Blake. Tony wonders why. Frankel then explains that there's this girl in the unit named Ashley Simmons who dated Blake but they broke up.
Tony wonders if Simmons began dating Turner.
Frankel isn't too sure but admits that Turner did like Simmons. Tony then states that Turner liking Simmons isn't a strong enough motive for murder. Frankel then remembers that he saw all three of them in the quad the previous week. Frankel states that Ashley was crying and Blake and Turner began arguing with each other.
Tony wants to know but Frankel doesn't know as he couldn't hear but he remembers seeing Blake push Turner but they didn't fight.
Turner left with Simmons and when Frankel asked him about it later, Turner just said that it was personal and it was something between the three of them.
Tony states that it's an interesting theory before telling Frankel that Blake's dead which has Frankel stunned.
Frankel wants to know who did it and Tony believes that it was someone who wanted to frame him for the murder of his best friend before leaving Interrogation as Frankel sits there, shocked.
In Observation, Gibbs orders Kate and McGee that Midshipman Simmons be found immediately and the two leave to do just that.
In the office, Leeka's asking Simmons who's scrubbing the floor why her hair is still purple.
Simmons tells him that it takes a few days to wash out. Leeka hopes that the time Simmons has spent field-daying is starting to sink in and approaching her, he tells her that he owns her until the day she graduates.
Simmons agrees, stating that it won't happen again.
Leeka kneels down in front of her and wonders if she'd like to give orders some day before stating that she needs to learn how to follow them. From his point of view, it's shown that Gibbs has arrived and the Agent makes his presence known by remarking that it's good advice.
This has Leeka getting to his feet and asking if they've found Blake while Simmons looks on. Gibbs tells Leeka that Blake is why they're here. Leeeka insists that they talk about this in his office before telling Simmons she missed a spot.
However, as it turns out, they're here to talk to Simmons and as Gibbs says that, Tony and Kate arrive in.
As the two Agents get Simmons, Gibbs tells Leeka that Blake is dead and that they believe that Simmons might know something about it. Simmons protests that she doesn't. Kate then tells that she won't mind answering a few questions. Gibbs orders the three of them to head out to the sedan and that he'll be right out.
Simmons is dragged away, still insisting that she doesn't know anything.
Once they've gone, Gibbs asks Leeka about Simmons.
As Leeka closes the door, he admits that Simmons is a screw-up but she's not a bad kid before wondering if Simmons is involved in this. Outside, Simmons states that she doesn't understand and that she thought it was Blake who killed Turner.
As Tony and Kate bring Simmons to the car, the two Agents tell her that Turner was murdered and that it wasn't pretty given how Turner nearly had his head twisted clean off.
Simmons however leans against the car and remarks, "Oh my God. He did it".
Back inside, Leeka remarks that he's getting too old for this crap and ROTC was supposed to be easy before asking Gibbs if he wants a cup. Gibbs refuses, stating that he'll pass.
Leeka remarks that it's a good call before wanting to know how Blake was murdered.
Outside, Simmons tells Kate and Tony that she went to them for help last week and that he wouldn't leave her alone.
In the office, Leeka's stunned that both Turner and Blake had identical neck-breaks. Gibbs remarks that they believe that the killer has military training while outside, Simmons remarks that he was forcing her to sleep with him. She also tells Tony and Kate that Blake and Turner were going to talk to him, make him stop and that he killed them.
Kate wants to know who.
Leeka then tells Gibbs that he'll have everyone in this unit standing by tomorrow and that Gibbs can question them at the same.
Gibbs appreciates that and then states, "I said Blake had been found dead. You said murdered".
Upon hearing those words, Leeka locks the door while Gibbs's cell-phone begins ringing.
Leeka wants to know if Gibbs is going to answer that but Gibbs isn't, stating he's pretty sure he knows what they want to tell him.
Gibbs then draws his gun, ordering Leeka to put his hands up, confirming that Leeka is not only the one responsible for killing Turner and Blake but also the one who's been raping Midshipman Simmons.
However, Leeka doesn't go down too easily, opting to kick the gun out of Gibbs's hands and with that, all Hell breaks loose as the two men engage in a fight.
Gibbs's first punch leaves Leeka bleeding and Gibbs advises Leeka to give up because it's only going to get worse.
Leeka instead opts for throwing Gibbs over the table, knocking a lamp as the two men hit the ground.
As the fight goes on, Tony and Kate hurry inside.
Inside, Gibbs manages to get away after headbutting Leeka and Gibbs attempts to grab his gun but Leeka stops him from doing that with the two continuing to exchange blows to one another.
In the hall, Tony and Kate reach the office, their guns drawn with Tony remarking, "I think he knows".
"You think?", Kate retorts.
Tony then tries to break the door down but to no avail.
Inside, the fight's still raging but it's obvious that Leeka is now getting the upper-hand. With one move, Leeka flips Gibbs, sending Gibbs to the ground while outside, Tony's still trying to get in as Kate impatiently waits.
Inside, Leeka attempts to perform the same neck-breaking technique he used on Turner and Blake.
Leeka then arrogantly claims that the old man (Gibbs) should have stayed out of this.
Outside, Tony gives up on breaking the door down and instead opts for shooting the lock.
They soon realize that Gibbs has managed to get the better of Leeka although judging by the scene inside, both men are looking a bit worse for wear but despite this, Gibbs orders that Leeka be cuffed.
As Tony and Kate holster their weapons, Gibbs reaches for his gun and picks it up.
Tony draws his cuffs, preparing to handcuff Leeka as he and Kate keep on talking about college.
Gibbs, on the other hand cannot stand to hear anymore about it staggers back and then states that the next person who mentions a spring break, a frat party or college will be fired before wondering if they're clear.
Tony and Kate assure him that they are.
Gibbs states that it's good before leaving the room.
It cuts to Kate and Tony who look at one another as Gibbs leaves the room.
- Tim McGee's sister, Sarah McGee, is introduced for the first time.
- Tony refers to Simon Frankel (the geeky dorm occupant) several times as Urkel. Steve Urkel is the name of a nerdy character from the show Family Matters.
- The music that is playing when Abby plays with the paintball gun before shooting one of her toy dolls is the theme to the TV show Peter Gunn, which was used in the feature film The Blues Brothers.
- The music playing in the lab where the team have gathered after accidentally raiding a female fraternity house the night before is "Satellite" by solamingus.
- When Abby is replying to Creepy Voice in their last conversation, when it's reveled to be Simon Frankel, her first reply to him is "Hello, you twisted piece of crap." However, when the scene is cutting from the lab to the student lounge, the first letter of the last word is "s".
- Season Two Cast
|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.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||An NCIS Special Agent previously assigned to the Norfolk Naval Base who is now the Junior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Gerald Jackson's temporary replacement as the Assistant Medical Examiner.|
|Sarah McGee||Troian Bellisario||Tim McGee's younger sister.|
|Leeka||Jeff Wincott||A Gunnery Sergeant who is also a rapist and murderer.|
|Daniel Lemay||Sherman Augustus||A Captain and the C.O of victims Joseph Turner and Finnegan Blake.|
|Daryl Bello||Matt DeCaro||A local sheriff.|
|Simon Frankel||Jon Wellner||A hacker.|
|Hunter Huxley||Judd Trichter||A student protester.|
|Frank Smith (Red Cell)||Kaj-Erik Eriksen||A Waverly University college student and a member of the illegal group, "Red Cell".|
|Donny Potter||Billy Aaron Brown||A student at the college seen hazing the freshman at the beginning of the episode.|
|Kyle Zorin||Chase Ryan Jeffery||A Midshipman and a member of "Red Cell".|
|Ashley Simmons||Maria Delle Grazie||A Midshipman and an NROTC student who Gunnery Sergeant Leeka is raping.|
|Liza Taylor||Amy Tipton||A woman who appears in the episode.|
|Fredrick Pippin||Jesse Heiman||A drunk college student who discovers Joseph Turner's body.|