Gibbs and McGee head to Moscow, Russia to bring Kevin Hussein, a member of NCIS's I.T. department who is also connected to classified intelligence safely back to the United States but things soon take a turn for the worse when the helicopter all three are in along with three United States Navy members is shot down by a surface-to-air missile which leaves the three men stranded in a small area close to the border that Russia and Finland share. However, the three NCIS personnel soon find themselves stranded and also fighting to survive in an unknown area laced with danger at every turn as they also attempt to avoid a mercenary group led by a mysterious man who has a grudge against Gibbs while back in Washington D.C., Tony and Bishop with help from Ducky, Palmer, Abby and Vance having learnt of what's happened use every asset and contact at their disposal to find and save both Gibbs and McGee as well as Kevin before it's too late.
The episode opens on a lone street with a single tram and various cars driving by.
As the camera pans down, it lands on a huge building, presumably an Embassy while also revealing that the city in question is Moscow, Russia.
On a lone street, a Mercedes with two Russian flags on either side drives into a parking lot of the same big building as it continues to rain.
Inside the lone dining room area as classical music plays in the background, Sergei Mishnev puts down the kettle before heading back to his table.
As this happens, a lone man, presumably a bodyguard arrives in, scanning the area as Russian Counselor Anton Pavlenko waits outside.
Seconds later, the bodyguard as Anton arrives in.
Upon seeing Anton, Sergei raises a cup.
Not one to wait, Anton gets straight to the matter by asking Sergei in Russian what is his allegiance today?
Sergei just lowers his cup.
As Anton heads over, he wonders in Russian what language should they speak?
He then slams a folder onto the table.
And as he sits down, occupying the chair right next to Sergei, Anton pushes the flower pot before wondering if it should be Russian? Farsi? Chinese?
Sergei then states in Russian that they should go with English just as a waiter arrives, placing a cup in front of Anton.
In English, Sergei tells Anton that he spends so much time sucking up to Americans, by all means Anton should be comfortable.
Anton smiles and tells Sergei that there's a word for him in English: scum, scum supporting terror with finance, intelligence, weapons.
As he says those words, Anton quickly produces a series of photographs before showing a photo of Osama Bin Laden. He then reveals a photo of deceased terrorists Benham Parsa and Ari Haswari.
"Although", Anton remarks. "Intelligence may not be the right English word since you have lost so many treasured clients in recent years".
He then points to the photo of Ari Haswari.
Sergei then picks up his cup.
Anton then realizes that Haswari was more than a client to Sergei and that Sergei considered Ari his friend.
Sergei tells Anton that he has many friends.
Anton remarks that Ari's death left Sergei, how shall he say an unhealthy interest in the American agency, NCIS.
As Sergei looks away, Anton tells Sergei that his sources have told Anton himself that an employee of theirs is here in Moscow and that Sergei and his people have been following the NCIS employee in question.
Sergei remarks that he knows nothing about that.
Pissed off, Anton slams the table with his right hand and snaps at Sergei to stay away from NCIS before saying something in Russian.
Sergei tells Anton or Counselor to calm himself.
As Anton looks on, Sergei remarks that he wouldn't dream of implicating Mother Russia. He also goes on to say that his interests will remain personal.
He then produces a photograph of the NCIS team of NCIS Special Agents Timothy McGee, Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Anthony DiNozzo along with former NSA analyst Eleanor Bishop at the scene where Bishop's fellow NSA colleague Chad Flynderling was murdered which took place during the Season 11 episode Gut Check (episode).
As Sergei examines the photo, he states that it will be deeply personal.
It then cuts to show Sergei producing another photo which this time has Gibbs in it.
- Twenty Klicks, the title of episode is military parlance for the distance of twenty kilometers or approximately 12.4 miles. It is also the approximate distance from the crash site and the relative safety of the Finnish border.
- This is also the first episode to have Gary Glasberg and Donald P. Bellisario credited as Executive Producers while Shane Brennan has been removed from the credits due to the fact that Brennan worked as the current showrunner for the NCIS spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles before Brennan stepped down as showrunner for NCIS: Los Angeles in July 2016.
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||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.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Assistant Medical Examiner for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Eleanor Bishop||Emily Wickersham||NCIS Probationary Agent.|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Ari Haswari||Rudolf Martin||A former Mossad spy and double agent who nearly ten years ago was responsible for the death of NCIS Special Agent Kate Todd and who caused psychological damage to members of the NCIS Major Case Response Team, particularly Leroy Jethro Gibbs before Ari's death at the hands of his control officer and half-sister, former NCIS/Mossad Liaison and former NCIS Special Agent Ziva David. Appears in the episode in a photograph.|
|Kevin Hussein||Ethan Rains||NCIS System Administrator for the I.T. department who previously appeared in the season 10 episode "Canary". He is later arrested after being exposed as an accomplice to a cyber-terrorist attack on the NCIS servers.|
|Anton Pavlenko||Lev Gorn||Russian Counselor.|
|Sergei Mishnev||Alex Veadov||International Mercenary. A former friend of Ari Haswari and thus holds a grudge against Leroy Jethro Gibbs for his role in Ari's death.|
|Hannah Banks||Alison Haislip||Navy Lieutenant Commander.|
|Joseph Hagen||Beau Wirick||Navy Lieutenant.|
|David Smith||Regi Davis||Commander.|
|Yuri||Konstantin Lavysh||A member of Sergei Mishnev's mercenary group.|
|Dimitri||Vaz Andreas||A member of Sergei Mishnev's mercenary group.|