This episode also marks the final albeit uncredited appearance of SECNAV Clayton Jarvis.
Tragedy strikes when an explosion at a hotel in Washington D.C. claims the life of a figure well-known to NCIS. As the NCIS team launch a search to find those responsible for the bombing, a new terrorist group called the Brotherhood of Doubt emerges and their main targets are Gibbs and his former team...
The episode opens with a recap of what happened in the previous season of NCIS and ends with NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs aiming a sniper rifle at FBI Special Agent Tobias Fornell with Gibbs pulling the trigger seconds later with the sound of the gunshot echoing into the night.
Four months previously, at a hotel, numerous people are arriving for a big event.
Parons approaches Morrow with Parsons telling Morrow that he needs a moment.
Morrow simply tells Parsons or "Richard" to go with Morrow figuring that Parsons would be drowning his sorrows by now.
Parsons remarks that he knows that SECNAV, Clayton Jarvis is inside and that he'd like five minutes with both men to discuss NCIS.
Morrow simply tells Parsons that this is not the place.
Parsons remarks that his job was to clean up the Navy's investigative branch and that he's been sidelined by some half-assed classified mission because they want Gibbs to play cowboy.
Morrow then guides Parsons and remarks that Homeland isn't the only agency authorizing this and that Secretary Jarvis, the Director of the CIA, both agree that the mission takes precedence.
Parsons argues that his case was a political slam dunk and that Gibbs is being given a Get Out of Jail Free card before Parsons states that it's wrong.
Morrow tells Parsons that what's wrong is Morrow himself continuing this conversation one more minute and that Gibbs has a job to do and that Parsons's tunnel-visioned stubborn determination is getting in the way.
Parsons wants to know what's so important that one assignment can trump a career of rule-breaking.
Morrow, on the other hand tells Parsons that the less Parsons knows, the better and that Morrow is doing Parsons a favor.
Parsons vows to get to the bottom of this.
Morrow tells Parsons that there's a line in the sand and that Parsons shouldn't cross it.
With that, Morrow heads back over to the hotel entrance, leaving Parsons alone.
Reluctantly, Parsons starts to walk away but seconds later, a huge explosion erupts, completely destroying the hotel and engulfing everything in smoke while also setting off many car alarms.
It then cuts to Parsons who looks horrified at the scene.
In the Bullpen, as ZNN cover the bombing while revealing that Jarvis is one of the fatalities of the bomb blast, Medical examiner assistant James Palmer remarks that this is so weird.
Pacing up and down, NCIS Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald Mallard states that "weird" is but one of the many adjectives he could apply to these circumstances.
NCIS Forensic Scientist Abigail Sciuto remarks that only if that "creep", Parsons hadn't been pushing his witch hunt, then none of this would have happened.
"That creep as you call him, Abby did not bomb the hotel ballroom", Ducky corrects.
Abby then tells him that Gibbs and the others would have still been here and that they could have stopped this. Ducky simply states that they have a long night ahead of them.
As Ducky sits at Gibbs's desk, Palmer remarks that he didn't known SECNAV but he heard that SECNAV was married and had kids.
"Yeah", Abby agrees. "He and Director Vance were really close".
She then wonders why they didn't do more to stop Parsons's investigations like a sit-in or a hunger strike of some sort. Palmer states that he's no good at hunger strikes and that he gets really light-headed around four o'clock if he doesn't have a snack
Ducky remarks that what they must do is to stop feeling sorry for themselves.
As Abby and Palmer glance at him, Ducky tells them that there is work to do and right now, those responsible have the upper hand.
Ducky also mentions that Secretary Jarvis and those who have fallen are counting on them.
On cue, Gibbs arrives in, startling the three.
Abby remarks that GIbbs is here unless she's seeing things.
Gibbs simply walks by, remarking if they've got work to do.
"Yes, we do, Jethro", Ducky replies, standing up. "And we are eager to do it. Shall we?">
With that, the three leave the Bullpen.
Vance tells them that that was the Secretary of Defense and that in addition to Jarvis's death, Tom Morrow was just rushed into surgery and that he might lose a leg.
Wayne wants to know if anyone has claimed any responsibility yet.
Vance tells Wayne that the Secretary of the U.S. Navy is dead and that he doesn't believe there would be anyone fool enough to welcome that death wish.
Gibbs wants to know about the response.
Vance states that the White House wants answers by any means necessary and that intel thinks that this is just a warning shot across the bow and that the main event is still to come.
As Vance sits down, Wayne believes that it's something to look forward
Vance tells Gibbs that this may be related to Lieutenant Chad McBride's murder.
Wayne picks up by stating that they believe that the Lieutenant got too close to identifying a terrorist cell and that if they combine the bomb tonight and McBride's radioactive remains, it's...
"What can I do?", Gibbs wonders.
Vance remarks that JSCO will be handling its own investigation but no-one would suspect Gibbs's involvement while Gibbs is under close DOD scrutiny.
He then tells Gibbs that McBride's mission originated in Iran and that finding McBride's killer would be a start.
Wayne tells Gibbs that they've got an informant in Abyaneh and that he can try reaching out.
Gibbs simply nods.
Vance tells Gibbs that no-one's forcing him to do this.
"Doing my job, Director", Gibbs states.
Ziva tells him to wake up before it stops.
"Ziva", Tony whispers, having been startled.
With that, he gets to his feet and heads over to his laptop, discovering that he has a missed video call. As he sits down, Tony curses, remarking, "Damn it".
He then pulls up an IM window.
There's a message from Ziva which says "Sorry I missed you".
"You didn't miss me", Tony says aloud. "I'm right here".
He then types in "Where are you?".
Seconds later, Ziva replies with "On a bus to Tel Aviv".
"So much for a face to face", Tony grumbles.
He then sends "Tel Aviv? Exploring your roots?".
Ziva sends him back a IM saying, "Something like that. Reconnecting. Thinking".
"Thinking", Tony states. "That's dangerous".
He sends her another message saying "Thinking of..?".
Ziva replies with "At the moment, you".
This leaves Tony stunned.
She then sends another IM saying, "You and a million other things. I heard about SecNav".
Tony then replies with "They haven't called us in" before adding "Want some company?".
Seconds later, Ziva responds with "Yes. :-)".
As he reads the message, Tony smiles before he types in, "Count to a million. I'm on my way".
With that, he sends the message.
Seconds later, the online chat ends.
Tony looks puzzled for a second before he brings up a window and starts booking a flight to Tel Aviv. He then remarks, "This is good".
In a cafe, former NCIS Special Agent Timothy McGee is reading an online article of Jarvis's death on his iPad.
As he reads it, his girlfriend, DOD agent Delilah Fielding comes up and tells him that she knows he likes surprises.
McGee looks up and greets her before admitting that he's still recovering from last night's surprise.
As Delilah joins him, McGee remarks that he should be at work and that he can help but Delilah reminds him that he can't, not until he's reinstated.
McGee remarks that this isn't right and there are agents working around the clock before stating that he should call Vance with McGee believing that maybe Tony's heard something.
Delilah remarks that she could get into a trouble for telling McGee this but..
"But what?", McGee wonders.
Delilah remarks in a whisper that more than one source of intel says that the device used wasn't Middle Eastern: it was American which has McGee stunned.
McGee wants to know if it was a single individual or a group but Delilah admits that she doesn't know.
McGee remarks that he needs to go.
Delilah reminds him that he doesn't have a badge.
McGee states at least he can talk to Abby.
Suddenly, Abby arrives, saying, "OK, McGee, let's talk".
McGee then greets Abby and wonders if she's met Delilah with Abby admitting that she has.
Delilah wonders if Abby wants a coffee, espresso?
Abby then tells McGee that she came down after last night's horror show to make sure that he's OK. and that she had a feeling he wouldn't come in.
McGee tells Abby that he's not an agent anymore.
Abby tells McGee that he'll always be an agent and she also wanted to tell McGee that Gibbs is headed out of town.
"Out of town where?", McGee wonders, startled.
In a stage whisper, Abby wonders if Delilah can be trusted.
Delilah remarks that she has a higher security clearance than anyone else including both McGee and Abby.
"So did Mata Hari", Abby says.
"Abby", McGee states.
Abby then states that she's gotta get back to work and that she's got a ton of evidence from last night to go through but it was nice to see both McGee and Delilah.
With that, Abby leaves.
As she leaves, Delilah says "Awkward" in a sing-song tone.
McGee, however is just wondering where Gibbs would be going.
At his house, Gibbs is busy packing when Vance arrives in with Vance stating that he was on his way to work and that he thought he'd drop in to see Gibbs before Gibbs left.
Gibbs remarks that Vance doesn't drive this way to work.
Vance then remarks that the President of the United States, Barack Obama said that he'd be calling Clayton Jarvis's wife this morning and that Vance wanted to get there first.
Gibbs silently nods before stating that Jarvis did the job proud.
"He was a good boss", Vance replies. "Better friend".
As Gibbs continues packing, Vance states that he's not sure how much more of this he can take.
Gibbs tells Vance to drive to school and that he should go hug his kids.
Vance states that he's more concerned about Gibbs's trip and that after what happened to SECNAV, Vance is tempted to ground Gibbs.
"After what happened to SECNAV, how can I stay?", Gibbs wonders.
Vance nods, stating that Captain Wayne's informant knows that Gibbs is coming and there's a C-130 fueled, standing by.
As Vance goes, Gibbs wonders if Vance wants anything from the Tehran gift shop.
Vance just chuckles before telling Gibbs to watch his six.
Both men look at each other and nod before Vance turns around and leaves.
Gibbs just smiles.
A while later, at a marketplace in Abyaneh, Iran, numerous men and women go about their business.
Gibbs arrives, wearing a scarf, hat and coat and as he walks around, he takes everything in.
Suddenly, Gibbs does a double-take and sees a man standing there, leaning against a car.
Gibbs is so caught up in the other man that he accidentally bumps into an old man with both presumably apologizing in Farsi.
Gibbs also side-steps to let a robed woman go past.
Eventually, as he ends the near end of the market, Gibbs look up at the ceilings, wary before he ducks into a corner, having spotted three men talking.
The three spot him and stop talking while Gibbs glances at his watch, obviously waiting for Captain Wayne's informant who hasn't arrived yet.
Gibbs looks out and find that the man who was leaning against the car has seemingly disappeared.
Realizing something isn't right, Gibbs draws his SIG-Sauer P228.
He attempts to sneak a peek, only for the man to emerge, holding a gun while firing at Gibbs with Gibbs ducking for cover and as a woman screams, Gibbs then fires back but misses due to the man ducking.
This causes everyone in the market to begin fleeing.
Suddenly, Gibbs flinches upon hearing shots and as it turns out. another man on the ceiling area of the market is firing at Gibbs.
Springing forward, Gibbs produces his back-up weapon, a SIG-Sauer P232 from the holster attached to his left leg and duel-wielding them, begins firing back at the man on the ceiling with Gibbs's shots paying off and killing the man.
Suddenly, the man from earlier arrives in, striding towards Gibbs.
Gibbs leans against the railing, intending to fight.
The other man intending to kill Gibbs is gunned down seconds later, stunning Gibbs.
As this goes on, a jeep pulls up with various armed men around it.
Gibbs stands there, his guns drawn and hesitating.
Suddenly, Parson emerges, telling Gibbs to get in and to come on.
Gibbs takes a chance and heads over.
As he slips into the jeep, Gibbs wonders what Parsons is doing here with Parsons stating that he had miles about to expire.
As they all get ready to head off, Gibbs asks Parsons if these are friends of his.
"Till my money runs out", Parsons says.
It then cuts to the jeep which speeds down the street as various passers-by look on.
- Delilah Fielding, McGee's girlfriend and a Department of Defense employee is introduced for the first time.
- This is the first episode of the entire NCIS series that has Executive Producer Gary Glasberg's name appear in the closing credits which occur seconds after the final Foof. Glasberg is now credited alongside Donald Bellisario and Shane Brennan.
- Despite being in the opening credits, Cote de Pablo does not appear in this episode, making this episode the first official episode she has not appeared in since the Season 3 episode, Mind Games (episode) although de Pablo/Ziva's voice can be heard when she attempts to contact Tony for an instant messaging chat.
- Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the phonetic spelling of the abbreviation WTF, a well known abbreviation for What The F*ck.
- The song playing in the last few minutes of the episode is Enya- If I Could Be Where You Are.
|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 who is now a civilian, having resigned in the last few seconds of the Season 10 finale, Damned If You Do (episode). Eventually regains his badge and returns to the agency, officially rejoining Gibbs's team.|
|Ziva David||Cote de Pablo||Junior Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team who is now a civilian, having resigned in the last few seconds of the Season 10 finale, Damned If You Do (episode). Later goes into hiding after discovering that she and her former NCIS colleagues/friends are targets of a shadowy militia group called the Brotherhood of Doubt.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team who is now a civilian, having resigned in the last few seconds of the Season 10 finale, Damned If You Do (episode). Eventually regains his badge and returns to the agency, officially rejoining Gibbs's team.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perrette||Chief Forensic Specialist of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Assistant Medical Examiner.|
|Leon Vance||Rocky Carroll||Director of NCIS.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||Chief Medical Examiner of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Thomas Morrow||Alan Dale||Senior Division Chief, Department of Homeland Security who was also once Director of NCIS. Is left badly injured in a hotel bomb that kills SECNAV Clayton Jarvis.|
|Tobias Fornell||Joe Spano||Senior Supervisory Agent with the FBI.|
|Clayton Jarvis||Matt Craven||Secretary of the Navy of the United States who later dies in a hotel bomb. Final albeit uncredited appearance.|
|Young Ziva David||Gabi Coccio||Ziva as a young thirteen year old girl.|
|Young Eli David||Ben Morrison||Eli as a young man, possibly in his thirties.|
|Adam Eshel||Damon Dayoub||A friend of Ziva's.|
|Richard Parsons||Colin Hanks||Investigator in the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Defense.|
|Captain Dominick Wayne, USN||Allan Louis||A Captain with the United States Navy.|
|Tomás Mendez||Costas Mandylor||A businessman.|
|Delilah Fielding||Margo Harshman||Department of Defense employee who is also McGee's girlfriend.|
|Victor Cheng||Ivan Shaw||An intruder caught exploring the NCIS morgue. Is later subdued by Ducky and interrogated by Vance.|
|Lieutenant Eric Kagen, USN||Jared Ward||Naval officer attached to JSOC.|
|Murray Hines||Will Harris||An NCIS Special Agent.|
|Iranian Man||Alex Lorre||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Basket Woman||Shirin S. Neshat||A woman who appears in the episode.|