Semper Fidelis is the twenty-fourth episode in Season Six and also the 137th episode of the entire NCIS series.
While playing poker at SECNAV Phillip Davenport's house, a security breach occurs which also results in the death of an ICE agent which prompts the NCIS team to be called in to investigate the crime scene. They soon begin investigating with assistance from both ICE agent Julia Foster-Yates and FBI agent Tobias Fornell with evidence soon emerging that the supposed poker game was in fact a top-secret intelligence summit while Tony finally comes face-to-face with Ziva's former partner and boyfriend, Michael Rivkin with their meeting leading up to an explosive confrontation and vicious fight between the two men, one that threatens to throw the entire NCIS team into disarray once again.
The episode opens with a recap detailing what happened in Legend Part 1 (episode) and Legend Part 2 (episode), primarily focusing on Ziva and her Mossad partner, Michael Rivkin with the recap ending with Ziva lying in bed with Rivkin, suggesting that the two slept together.
Hutch then places some chips onto the table while all the others wait patiently.
Suddenly, there's a loud thump that has Hutch looking back.
It then cuts to the outside of the house and on a garden.
Hutch then asks his colleagues if they heard that.
Davenport remarks that they can't hear anything with Hutch splashing the pot.
Reaching for the walkie-talkie, Hutch asks Len Gregory, the head of ICE who his girl on point is while wondering if it's Foster-Yates.
"Yeah", Gregory replies.
Getting up, Hutch then calls for Foster-Yates with Foster-Yates stating, "Yes, sir. Is there a problem?".
Hutch tells her that they heard a noise on the patio.
Meanwhile, Hutch heads over to the window and pulls back the curtains just as someone slams against the window.
Hutch calls Foster-Yates's name with Foster-Yates telling him that she's on her way.
As this happens, Hutch attempts to get out of the house, only for Foster-Yates to tell him to get back inside and he should stay director.
Meanwhile, Davenport and the others get to their feet, wondering what's going on.
Foster-Yates calls for a secure perimeter.
As Davenport wonders what's going on, Foster-Yates is heard telling someone five through eight, coverage on SECNAV's residence.
As she leaves, she yells that they've got an agent down as one agent tells them to lock down the perimeter while another shouts, "Secure the doors".
Meanwhile, Foster-Yates is busy performing CPR and shouts for an ambulance, now.
It then cuts to ICE agent Thomas Sherman who lies on the ground, unconscious, his eyes open and staring at nothing.
In her lab, as McGee produces evidence while logging it all down onto a single clipboard, NCIS Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto is stating that it wasn't like the killer left one trace behind and that he left exactly one trace: the bug before she goes on to say that someone in their infinite wisdom decided to stomp the bug into a hundred bugs.
McGee insists that the bug wasn't transmitting.
Abby believes that they could have tracked the signal, maybe gotten a lead.
In the morgue, with Gibbs, Fornell and Vance in attendance and as Tabal's body lies on a slab, Ducky reveals that the cause of death for Tabal was potassium cyanide poisoning and that they found a residue of silica and polyisoprene between Tabal's first and second premolars.
Gibbs realizes that he bit down on a suicide pill.
Fornell states that that happened just a few hours ago.
Ducky agrees, adding a "Yeah".
Fornell states that there's no signs of forced entry at the motel or any indication of a struggle.
Vance then comes to the conclusion that Abin Tabal killed himself.
As he glances at Tabal, Gibbs remarks that Tabal is supposed to be invisible.
Fornell remarks that that's Tabal's primary asset as an operative and that Tabal loses that when Tabal accidentally kills an American agent and Tabal's usefulness is gone.
Gibbs believes that they close of all exit routes.
"We close off all exit routes", Gibbs remarks.
Vance then pipes up with Tabal deciding to take the only other way out.
Ducky who's been listening in nods.
Vance wonders if Ducky backs this psychology.
Ducky nods, stating that if Tabal was a true believer and if Tabal believed himself to be a threat to the cause, then exposure becomes his enemy and that if Tabal removed himself, then he removes the problem too.
"After he's passed on all the intel he's managed to accumulate", Vance states.
Fornell states that Tabal wiped his computer.
Gibbs tells them that Abby's shifting through it.
Vance wonders if Abby already connected it to the electronics and listening device.
Gibbs silently nods.
Fornell then looks around at everyone.
Nodding again, Vance reveals that it's a smoking gun.
As he leaves, Vance announces the case is closed and that they should write it up.
Up in the bullpen, Ziva tells McGee that she thinks he's already packed up.
At Tony's desk with McGee standing there, Tony reveals that McGee is delaying his departure to coincide with someone else.
Outside the bullpen, Jules breaks away from Gibbs and Fornell who are talking and arrives in, telling McGee, Tony and Ziva it was nice working with them with Jules thanking them for everything.
"You too", Tony and Ziva say together.
McGee states that he'll walk out with Jules.
As they leave, Tony and Ziva get back to work.
And as McGee and Jules head for the lift, McGee wonders what Gibbs and Fornell had to say.
Jules tells McGee that both men were apologizing for implying that she might be a murderer.
McGee's in disbelief at that, stating, "You're kidding? They were?".
Jules tells him "yes" as she summons the elevator.
"The both of them?", McGee says.
Jules wonders if that's so shocking.
As they both head into the elevator, McGee admits that it might take a while to fully grasp the significance of that and as she hits a button, Jules tells McGee to explain it to her and that she's got no plans.
As Jules looks up at the ceiling, smiling, McGee asks her if Gibbs actually said the words, "I'm sorry".
With that, the elevator doors close.
Back at the desk, Ziva glances at Tony before wishing him a good night with Tony saying "Night".
With that, Ziva grabs her jacket and handbag before she leaves the bullpen.
As she goes, Tony sits there, staring after her, deeply lost in thought.
Gibbs who has finished talking to Fornell and arrived into the bullpen tells Tony Rule Number 11.
As this happens, Fornell appears.
Tony remarks to Gibbs that he'd never date a co-worker, trust him and why would he even...
He then stops.
It shows Gibbs who is now smiling.
Tony realizes that that was Rule 12 and Eleven before revealing that Rule 11 is ""When the job is done, walk away".
Fornell tells Tony that the case is wrapped and in a nice little bow.
Tony wonders if that works for Fornell, crazy terrorist kills himself?
Fornell states that they can't understand that mentality but that doesn't mean Fornell can't accept it.
With that, Fornell leaves.
Once Fornell's gone, Gibbs asks Tony what's on his mind.
Tony then reveals that Rivkin's been in town.
Gibbs nods while stating that he knows.
"With Ziva", Tony says.
Gibbs states that the guy (Rivkin) doesn't listen.
Tony wonders if that bothers Gibbs on a professional level or a personal one?
Gibbs will tell Tony this: Gibbs is having trouble untangling the two.
"So you are bothered?", Tony says.
"Oh, yeah", Gibbs replies.
Suddenly, Gibbs looks up and sees Vance walking past on the upper area.
Gibbs turns back and remarks that it bothers him before telling Tony to stay on it.
With that, Gibbs walks off as Tony says "Yep".
Later, in the basement, Gibbs is busy polishing a boat when SECNAV Davenport is heard asking Gibbs how'd Gibbs would know what Davenport himself likes to drink?
Davenport reveals that his older brother gave him his first bourbon before Davenport himself was even as a teenager.
As this happens, Davenport suddenly appears in front of Gibbs, having walked down the steps to the basement and as Davenport puts a bottle up on top of the boat Gibbs is working on, he remarks that his brother liked to mess with his head.
Gibbs remarks that his grandfather had a still and that it blew up once.
Gibbs then takes the bottle and examines it.
As he heads into the corner, Gibbs reveals that his grandfather ran back inside to rescue his sour mash.
"It is a living thing", Davenport replies.
Emptying the glasses, Gibbs blows on them and gives them a quick clean while Davenport wonders if it's safe to talk here.
"Safer than your house", Gibbs replies.
Davenport just laughs and sits down on a stool, remarking that there was a point of pride with his brother, though and that the brother would say he'd never hit Davenport and that he preferred psychological warfare.
Gibbs simply pours some whiskey or alcohol into the two glasses.
Davenport wonders if Gibbs is an only child.
Gibbs turns around and heads while stating that the Corps and that strangers become brothers in a fox-hole.
Davenport wonders if that why's Gibbs has been digging dirt, trying to get closer to Vance?
Davenport then takes a sip of his drink.
Gibbs remarks, "No" before heading out to a drawer and producing the file that Trent Kort gave him during Dead Reckoning (episode) with Gibbs believing that he never asked for this and that he never opened it.
Gibbs simply holds out the file to Davenport who looks stunned.
Davenport gets to his feet and takes it before wondering what the CIA's got on Leon Vance.
As he examines the files, Davenport remarks that he thought that they shredded all of this before wondering how does this thing keep finding itself into the open before revealing that the file isn't even real.
Gibbs silently looks at Davenport.
Davenport remarks that it's lucky that Gibbs didn't read this and that it wouldn't give Gibbs the whole picture anyway.
With that, Davenport takes another sip of his drink while Gibbs wonders if Davenport will.
In the lab, Tony is asking if that Tabal's laptop with Abby agreeing.
Abby also reveals that before Tabal killed himself, he wiped all the sensitive information.
Tony then wonders if there's nothing useful on it.
Abby remarks that Tabal did fail to erase the laptop's network-location memory.
She then states that it's a log that records all previous network connections so that someone can access them easily in the future and all that's going to tell them is where he's used the Internet before.
Tony spots something and tells Abby to bring that up.
On the screen, it's shown that the address is 3558 Volta Place, NW, Washington.
Tony remarks that he knows the address with Abby stating that she does too before revealing that the address is Ziva's.
Abby then looks at Tony who's still staring at the screen, a look of disbelief on his face.
In her car, Ziva takes a deep breath as she scrolls through her contacts before settling on the name, "Hadar". She hits the name and suddenly, the phone is heard beeping, revealing that it's on speaker.
Ziva then drives off.
In the basement, Davenport is examining the file, remarking that there a lot of black bars covering Vance's career. Once he puts the file down, Davenport remarks that Vance was born for counter-intelligence.
Gibbs shakes his head.
Davenports wonders if Gibbs didn't peg Vance for a life-long bureaucrat.
Gibbs admits that he didn't and that he figured that Vance worn a few hats with Gibbs mentioning that he'd heard a whisper or two.
Davenport then admits that there isn't a second of Vance's life that Davenport himself can't account for.
Davenport then says he might hit Vance with a stick every now and then but Davenport didn't leave Vance out of that poker game because Davenport doesn't trust Vance.
"You were discussing how to use him", Gibbs says.
Davenport then admits that he knows and that since Director Shepard's death, Gibbs has been concerned with the danger in having the wrong person at the top.
As he sits back down, Davenport tells Gibbs that he's not the only one and that Gibbs isn't the only one looking out for the integrity of NCIS.
Davenport then takes a sip as Gibbs looks on.
Davenport tells Gibbs that Vance is going to be point man on a major operation.
Gibbs leans forward, wondering who the enemy is.
Davenport admits that's the problem and that it's their friends.
With a half smile, Gibbs realizes that it's the Israelis.
Davenport remarks that it's top priority, even since Shepard created that unorthodox position of liaison officer.
Startled, Gibbs realizes that Davenport is talking about Ziva David.
"He died in this room, didn't he?", Davenport says. "At your hand".
Gibbs looks up at the stairway.
Davenport then remarks with disbelief that Ziva works with him every day with Davenport even laughing, remarking, "What a family" before he takes another drink.
Meanwhile, Tony has arrived at Ziva's apartment with the number labelled "234" and is knocking at her door, telling her to open up and telling Ziva that it's Tony.
Suddenly, the door's opened but not by Ziva but by Rivkin instead.
Tony stands in the corridor, coolly acknowledging Rivkin, stating Rivkin's here.
Rivkin then tells Tony that Ziva isn't and that she should be back soon before telling Tony that he's welcome to come in and wait for her.
As Tony heads in, Rivkin then wonders did Tony really expect Rivkin to leave Ziva because Tony threatened him?
As Rivkin takes a drink, Tony closes the door while stating that he had his hopes.
Rivkin then remarks if they include Tony coming here late at night, maybe finding Ziva in an emotional state with Tony helping Ziva pick up the pieces?
Tony then reveals that he's here about a case and that an American agent was killed the night before.
Tony also states that all the evidence points to a terrorist named Abin Tabal with Tony believing that Rivkin is familiar with Tabal.
Rivkin turns around and faces Tony who states that of course, Tabal killed himself before they could catch up to him.
"Zealot?", Rivkin wonders.
Tony admits that that's the theory before saying that it's a little too clean for him.
Rivkin states that it does not sound clean at all and that the further someone digs, the messier it gets.
Tony then heads further into the apartment, telling Rivkin what can he say? Tony also states that the events of the past year have made him a little suspicious.
"Even the people closest to you?", Rivkin wonders.
"Oh, especially them", Tony says before revealing that they pulled information from Tabal's computer and that it says that soem point, the Internet was connected here in Ziva's account.
Rivin wonders if Ziva's tied to the dead terrorist and who is obviously duplicitous, practiced in the art of misinformation and as Tony steps down to come face to face with Rivkin, the other man wonders if Tony's here to question Ziva, all because of a seires of numbers on a terrorist;s computer?
Tony admits that he was, until Rivkin opened the door.
Rivkin just takes another sip.
In the basement, Gibbs and Davenport clink glasses with Davenport saying "Semper fi" and once they've both drunk the last of the alcohol, Davenport tells Gibbs that Gibbs and Vance gotta play nice.
As Davenport leaves, taking the file with him, Gibbs wonders if Davenport is ordering him to trust Vance?
"Just to trust him", Davenport replies before getting his coat and as he turns around to face Gibbs, Davenport remarks that they don't hit their brothers.
With that, Davenport heads back up the steps as Gibbs looks on.
In the apartment, Tony remarks that as soon as Rivkin's done with his drink, Rivkin is under arrest for the murders of Abin Tabal and federal agent Tom Sherman and as he says that, Tony then draws his SIG-Sauer.
Rivkin sarcastically remarks, "Good luck with that".
Losing patience, Tony gestures, the handcuffs in his left hand and the SIG-Sauer in the right.
Almost immediately, Rivkin lashes out, his leg striking Tony's right hand and causing Tony drop his SIG as a vicious fight between the two begins.
Tony rams himself into Rivkin's stomach and chest but Rivkin who's taller and stronger gets the upper hand, sending Tony to the couch.
Tony quickly recovers and heads off, unknowingly knocking over a framed photograph of young Ziva, Ari and Tali which lands on the ground, the glass shattering.
Outside, Ziva has arrived back at her apartment and as she emerges from her Mini Cooper, she sees both Tony and Rivkin's shadows fighting in her apartment.
In the apartment, Tony and Rivkin are exchanging punches with neither man backing down.
Tony attempts to launch some punches at Rivkin's chest but misses while Rivkin manages to get the advantage, his kicks striking Tony.
The two men then attempt to bear-hug each other with Tony fiercely hanging on.
Tony then lashes out, causing Rivkin to let go.
With Rivkin now temporarily stunned, Tony heads off with Rivkin giving chase and as Rivkin edges closer, Tony cleverly uses the small door of Ziva's freezer to send Rivkin staggering back.
Seeing the opportunity, Tony then attempts to launch a pain but Rivkin quickly recovers and then gets Tony's left arm in a vice grip before Tony screams in pain as Rivkin breaks Tony's left arm with a sickening crack.
Now dazed by the attack, Tony stands there, struggling as Rivkin gets Tony into a choke-hold, obviously intending to strangle Tony.
Despite his left arm having been broken, Tony uses his right arm to send Rivkin staggering back into a wall.
Upon realizing that he's on the verge of choking, Tony then sends himself and Rivkin crashing to the ground, Rivkin taking the full brunt of Ziva's glass table shattering.
The fight apparently over, Tony staggers to his feet, his left arm broken as he relays on his right arm for support while Rivkin lies there, dazed.
Still using his hand to crawl across the floor, Tony tries to reason with Rivkin, Tony yelling, "Enough!".
Rivkin gets to his feet and it's shown that there's a small shard of glass piercing the right side of his body.
Tony just lies there, exhausted and hurt, his right hand holding his SIG-Sauer.
Ignoring the pain, Rivkin digs the blood-soaked shard of glass out of his body and grips it, intending to use it as a weapon.
Still on the ground, Tony tries to talk Rivkin out of it, telling Rivkin not to do it.
Consumed by pain, Rivkin then lunges forward.
In that moment, Tony raises his SIG and fires off three or four shots which has Rivkin kneeling before Rivkin collapses to the ground, unconscious while Tony lies there, exhausted with the fight now finally over.
Seconds later, though, Ziva bursts in, her gun drawn and sees Rivkin lying on the ground, unconscious with Tony aiming his gun at Ziva.
Ziva breaths heavily, her gun still in front of her as she struggles to decide what to do.
It pans over to Rivkin who's on the floor, still unconscious and blood on his lip.
Ziva just stands there, still deeply conflicted.
It then cuts to Tony who lies on the carpet, sweating and exhausted as he stares back at Ziva, his own gaze full of despair.
- It's revealed that Callen is in critical condition after being shot at the end of Legend Part 2 (episode).
- Abby reveals that she's an expert in poker.
- Tony and Michael Rivkin meet each other for the first time.
- The episode's title, Semper Fidelis (motto) is Latin for "Always faithful" with the term also serving as the official motto for the United States Marine Corps.
- On the Region 2 DVD, the "Previously on NCIS" recap is removed and as such, the episode goes straight to the poker game instead.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||NCIS Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo||Michael Weatherly||Senior Special Agent and second-in-command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||Mossad/NCIS Liaison Officer and a member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||Junior Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Forensic Specialist associated with the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner associated with the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Tobias Fornell||Joe Spano||Special Agent with the FBI.|
|Michael Rivkin||Merik Tadros||Mossad Officer who is Ziva's corrupt partner and boyfriend. Is later left unconscious and badly wounded after getting into a fight against DiNozzo.|
|Phillip Davenport||Jude Ciccolella||Secretary of the Navy. Davenport holds a meeting with Vance, Gibbs and Fornell in Vance's office to discuss recent events while Davenport later arrives in Gibbs's basement to talk about Vance.|
|Director Barry Hutchins||William Allen Young||Director of the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI).|
|Director Roger Kirkwood||Steven M. Gagnon||Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).|
|Assistant Secretary Len Gregory||Tom Kemp||Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and also the assistant secretary subordinate to the Secretary of Homeland Security.|
|Agent Julia Foster-Yates||Jaime Murray||Agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Head of the security for the meeting.|
|Agent Thomas Sherman||John M. Adrian||Agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement who is part of the security for the meeting and also the murder victim.|