Abby Sciuto knows a secret.
That's not good for her hero Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
There was a murdered Marine who was an assassin for hire killing drug runners. In turn the owner of a biker bar who dealt the drugs killed the Marine. The drug runners had their feet removed and their bodies dissolved in acid. The Marine was killed for killing the others. Gruesome. But for this episode the murder is secondary.
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Abby has been invited to Mexico to teach a class in forensics. She is given a cold case going back 20 years. It's the murder of a drug dealer. She deduces he was shot in the head with a high-powered weapon. He was not shot close range as the police report stated.
Paloma Reynosa head of her late father's drug cartel arrives. She gives Abby a bullet from the necklace she was wearing. Abby traces the bullet to a sniper's rifle. The dead man killed Shannon and Kelly Gibbs twenty years ago. Abby knows Gibbs was the assassin. She is devastated to realize that she must choose between her love for Gibbs and her duty.
"What I really need to know Gibbs, is if you're going to love me no matter what," Abby asks painfully.
This was a hard episode to watch. The last three episodes were foretold to be thorny for Gibbs. "Borderland" is the tip of the iceberg. Some things stood out to me.
Thank goodness for Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). If not for him this episode would have been very grim indeed. Poor Tony was trying to meet a girl, any girl, online. He would be his charming self but was 'nexted' within ten seconds. It was a blow to our boy's ego and amusement for his colleagues. Tim McGee admitted to setting Tony's computer to log off after ten seconds.
McGee escorts Abby (Pauley Perrette) to Mexico. He was bound to mess up and get sick there. If he wasn't eating unpasteurized yoghurt then he was brushing his teeth with the water from the faucet. I mean really? What was he thinking? Way to go McMontezuma.
Sometimes the 'Ew!' factor on NCIS out does itself. Tony and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) find a truck with feet hanging from meat hooks. Dr. Mallard tells Gibbs they've been preserved with salt. Foot jerky with toe jam, I may have nightmares for weeks. Pass that bottle of pleasing pink Pepto McGee.
I had high hopes for McAbby. Tim being sent to escort her to Mexico was promising. Then they had to share a room together. The suggestion that they shared the same bed was tantalizing. That didn't happen. But I loved the look they passed when contradicting each other about who slept on the couch in Paris. Was it Tony or Ziva David? Hmm...
Why that particular cold case for Abby's forensic class? Agent Alejandro Rivera invited Abs to teach the class and Director Leon Vance agreed to send her. But who chose the 20-year-old murder of a drug dealer for Abby to review? Rivera said it could have been someone in his office. Or maybe it was someone outside? Who else has ties to Mexico and might want Gibbs in a difficult situation?
"Borderland" is the beginning of the end. Where the story goes and who gets lost along the way is a source of speculation. I hope the first episode of next season sees everyone back again. But I'll have to wait. For right now it's a secret.