Did you hear the one about the radio talk show host who was shot while on the air? It was No. 1 on the charts ... with a bullet.
In "Dead Air," radio host Adam Gator and his guest are gunned down during a live broadcast of Gator's show. Some guys will do anything for ratings.
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In what has to be an NCIS first, Tim McGee and Tony DiNozzo show up at the office in complete agreement over a topic. Ziva David can't believe her ears. But Tony and Tim are united on America's pastime. They both wanted to be ball players when they were young. Hell, so did I. Diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs dispatches his team to investigate the shooting. While in the station's booth, Tony plays part of the show's recording that includes two gunshots. Apparently Gator was about to blow the whistle on the activities of a certain group. He received threats and requests for publicity for causes all the time. One group even claimed to have a bomb. The guy had a lot of pinheads and patriots listening to him.
Gator kept letters and recordings from all of his shows and telephone calls. Maybe his concerns weren't out of line. Anyway all the tapes go to Abby Sciuto. She figures out the type of hunting rifle used just by listening to the show's recording. Do I have to tell you how impressed I was with Gibbs and his reference to a drum solo from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?
Going through Gator's "fan" mail, McGee finds a copy of Benjamin Franklin's political cartoon "Join or Die." It came in an envelope with no postage and delivered to the radio station's P.O. box. Its signed Matt L. A postal worker perhaps?
In Dr. Mallard's lab we see, one, two, three victims. Three? Did I miss a shot? Possibly I did. But I could swear there were only two. But my TV did have a little hiccup about that time so maybe I missed it. Let me know if you heard a third shot.
Yup the cartoon was sent by Mr. Postman. But he seems to have been somewhere else when the shooting occurred. Ah, well, they can't all be neat and clean.
Abby plays a recording for Gibbs asking Gator to reevaluate his stand on the caller's group activities. Instead of going along with this guy, Gator threatens to expose the group M.A.H. (Military at Home) on his next broadcast. In retrospect possibly not the healthiest career move. Abby does a McGee thing with phone records and tracing, finding the call came from a ritzy gated community in the D.C. 'burbs.
Gibbs sends Tony door to door at the Royal Woods community to get sample voice recordings from its residence. He poses as a potential buyer who would like information about the neighborhood. His interviews with the residents are abridged, but he gets what he's after. I love when he was flustered by one desperate housewife who invites him to soak in her Jacuzzi.
One of Tony's recordings matches the voice on the call Abby was tracking. Mr. Arthur Haskell doesn't seem the type to be a terrorist. He's a forget-to-show-up-at-his-daughter's-softball-games kind of guy. Mr. Haskell is in the market for a bomb. He is to meet with Deeter Johanson a man known to Homeland Security. Gibbs has Johanson picked up prior to his meeting with Haskell and substitutes a certain Mossad officer. Ziva meets with Haskell and assures him she can provide what he needs.
Did Tony refer to Ziva as "more" sexual five years ago? McGee asked if Tony and Ziva were putting on a show while they were undercover. It was a show, right? Cough. Cough.
Tony tried to interrogate Deeter but he loses his voice, which makes him lose his edge and Gibbs takes over. Haskell employed Deeter to create a bomb. It needs a specific type of trigger and doesn't detonate under 400c. Haskell now has the bomb.
Poor Tony. Ducky has checked his throat and he mustn't talk for at least 24 hours. Ducky is cruel enough to use a variation on a "Top Gun" quote. When Ziva identifies it as being from "Gone With The Wind," Tony can't take it and croaks out the film title.
Ziva goes to Haskell's home and he shows her the bomb in a freezer. He's checked her out and is satisfied she is who she claims to be. He invites her to the backyard where a barbeque is in full swing. The neighbors are all there. They seem to know she is working with Haskell. They talk up the cause, which is to make the government spend more money on crime prevention and other inherently yuppie issues. They want less spent on defense overseas. Mr. Postman AKA Matt L. for Lane is manning the grill.
Ziva gave Haskell a dummy account number for the purpose of doing business. He is using a dummy account number linked to dormant accounts belonging to Al-Qaeda. Take from terrorists to front homegrown terrorists. Or are they patriots? I get confused on this point. Were our founding fathers terrorists or patriots? It all depends on what side of the Atlantic you were standing on during the revolution. In this case the Royal Oaks folks see themselves as patriots.
The team goes to the Haskell home and finds him unconscious on his garage floor. His freezer is missing one bomb. Haskell's daughter tells Ziva that her dad couldn't have fired the shots in the radio station because this one time he took her to her game and stayed to watch. She also tells Ziva that her dad went hunting with Mr. Nelson, a neighbor. Zach Nelson believes in being armed to protect his family from invaders. Gibbs fools him into thinking they have his rifle and had searched his home. He falls for it and they then know what to look for. But he isn't the one who stole the bomb from the freezer.
Haskell is brought in. He tells Gibbs mailman Matt Lane was suppose to plant the bomb on the Norfolk Naval Base to destroy communications. This was the group's way of making a statement. Lane went a little nuts when he found out the funds for their little operation were coming from Al-Qaeda. Pseudo-patriots, go figure.
Lane was supposed to put the bomb on base in his mail truck, but he has called in today. He usually uses his off days to umpire softball. One of the teams playing has daughters of high ranking people in government. The team rushes to the field and picks up Lane who tells them they won't find the bomb in time. But, of course, they do locate it in a chained super heating barbeque. The field is cleared in the nick of time, and we are treated to Ziva tackling Tony to get him out of the way of the blast. She lands on top of him and he tells her it's nice. He's missed the old Ziva. She remarks she can tell. He tells her not to flatter herself. That's his knee. Tony!
The episode ends with Ziva grabbing a mitt and playing catch with a grinning Gibbs. Who taught her how to throw and catch? Like so many of us, her father. I'll bet you knew we would get back to baseball didn't you?
I went most of the way through this episode forgetting about the initial crime. I just didn't think it was necessary. Of course I know a crime is needed, but it just seemed so peripheral.
(Image courtesy of CBS)