Tonight's NCIS episode has a "Short Fuse." It starts with a bang.
Marine Sergeant Heather Dempsey shoots an intruder in her home. There she was entertaining a deputy assistant director of the FBI and someone breaks in. She grabs her gun, tiptoeing down the stairs in her nightie. Did I mention she was "entertaining" Gary Tolin of the FBI? Nudge nudge, say no more.
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Tim McGee and Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) come to work and find cameras clicking at Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly). This has to be Tony's favorite dream besides having full access to a film archive. The director wants Tony on the cover of the NCIS recruiting brochure. Is it just me or does he squint like Sean Connery?
The intruder has three well aimed slugs in his chest. He's difficult to identify given his fingerprints have vanished. He also has nothing in his pockets. And presumably nothing up his sleeves. Heather stated she was home alone but Tony is skeptical to this old trick. She gets a call and disappears, reporting to the USS Barry a ceremonial ship. There's a bomb threat, and Sgt. Dempsey's a technical demolitions expert.
Abby Sciuto is trying to get information from the intruder's gun but is interrupted by McGee and Tony. Abby is in some kind of mood. I don't know why but it doesn't improve when Tony accesses her email account. He says McGee gave him her password which he denies. Why would she have given her password to McGee? (I always live in hope of McAbby. I'm probably the only one who does.) Abby filters through the vocals from Dempsey's 911 call finding a man's voice in the background. Tony is very pleased with himself. He knew she was lying about being alone.
Sgt. Dempsey has a reputation for boat rocking and a couple of disciplinary marks against her. She doesn't have a boyfriend. So who was the guy on the call and why did she lie about it?, Tony asks again. McGee does his techno thingy and reports a cell call the evening of the shooting.
Tony and Ziva go to find her on the USS Barry. After the robot bomb detonator can't maneuver to pick up a possible bomb, Sgt. Dempsey rushes in the way fools do. She opens a backpack finding the bomb with a timer ticking down. She runs. It blows. She gets hurt, remarking it was a dumb thing to do. See? My "fools rush in" comment was valid. Dempsey is very cool under fire. She has an ice chip on her shoulder. (I don't charge you for the puns. They're free.)
Ducky gives us our forensic medical moment. For you boys and girls who don't have a chemistry set at home, we learned you can remove your fingerprints with pineapple juice. Just prick your fingers in several places and submerge. Your fingerprints will disappear. By the way, this hurts like hell so be very sure you kiddies want to commit crimes or go into the spy business. Incidentally why does your nose always itch when your hands are covered in gak? I've always wondered.
Ducky is visited by Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) telling him the dead man was 50-ish and had a liver transplant. Jimmy Palmer takes what the autopsy revealed to Abby. Jimmy hangs around until Abby sends him back to "the duck pond." (Well, I laughed.) The facts are the guy had the transplant 15 or so years ago when they weren't that common. Plus, he fractured a vertebrae in his neck. They have height, blood type and eye color as well. OK, Abby. Do your thing.
Gibbs is home ironing while watching a western in black and white. The way television was meant to be seen -- in the '50s. Tobias Fornell enters bearing food. I once called these two ex-wife-in-laws. They're the only "couple" on NCIS. Gibbs irons and tells Fornell he was supposed to have been there an hour ago. Kind of sounds like home. Fornell brings Indian food, curry and rice. They try it and then both reach for bowls and cereal. Tobias haltingly tells Gibbs the cell phone McGee tracked belonged to Deputy Tolin, head of the criminal investigations department of the FBI. Really?
Under questioning Sgt. Dempsey says she met Tolin at a seminar and took him home for maneuvers. Tony doesn't buy it. The guy is older and she is young, cool and hot.
Abby discovers the dead intruder is Glover Reece, a hit man from Baltimore. Didn't Tony work for the P.D. in Baltimore? I'm sure he did. Anyway, his fingerprints were found at the site of two suspected hits.
Tolin grabs a bag and leaves without his wife or the FBI knowing where he's gone. He told her it was bureau business. Hmm.
Tony tells Dempsey the guy she shot was a contract killer. She says he must have been after Tolin not her. Tony can't see why she would be attracted to Tolin. I'm with him. What the heck?
Like any good agent Fornell has managed to get Tolin's files. The car Reece used was found a couple of blocks from Sgt. Dempsey's. Tony's gut tells him Dempsey and Tolin are lying. My second LOL moment occurs here when a full-sized cutout of Tony is brought into the office. Tony, Ziva and Fornell see it. Tony tries to be anywhere but where he is, fearing the minute Gibbs sees it too. Walking by Gibbs gives it a smack on the back of the head. Tony reacts as if he received it himself.
Abby has found a camera in the vehicle Reece used. The pictures are of Sgt. Dempsey and not Tolin, as was assumed. You know what they say about assumptions? Right! It makes donkeys of you and me. (This is a family-rated recap.) Tony is still convinced that Tolin and Dempsey are up to something. McGee tracks Dempsey's cell to McLean, Virginia. I've been there and it's beautiful. I'm envious of any of you readers who live in that part of the country. But I digress.
Heather Dempsey has gone to visit her brother Judd who is confined to a wheelchair after he was caught in crossfire between two rival gangs fighting over drug territory. He's a nice guy who was helping at a homeless shelter. Now he's stuck in a wheelchair. This happened while Heather was deployed in Afghanistan.
The shooter was identified as Gene Abbott. Abbott secured a plea deal and avoided jail. He went into witness protection on the recommendation of, surprise, Executive District Director Gary Tolin. Who would have guessed? All of you? Yeah, me too. Here Tony makes a reference to the movie Body Heat, which I'm ashamed to admit I never saw but it apparently dealt with a woman who wanted revenge. Dempsey started the association with Tolin to finagle information from him. They seem to have had an Affair to Remember. That movie I saw.
Dempsey goes missing; however, Tolin turns up. He confirms Heather used him for information. He gave her Abbott's real name and location. Tolin resigns from the FBI. Didn't this guy see any old spy movies? Does the name Mata Hari mean nothing to him?
The team finds Heather in a barn with the terrified Abbott. He's tied in a chair with a bomb on his lap. That's the type of thing that can ruin your week. McGee offers to call the bomb squad, but Gibbs thinks that's unnecessary seeing as they have an expert with them. He's in no hurry to free Abbott. He asks if Abbott put out the contract on Heather? Abbott isn't in a divulgeratory mood so Gibbs offers to get him a lawyer -- tomorrow. The guy has spent a couple of days with a finicky bomb in his lap and several more hours don't sound good. Gibbs steps back from the nervous Mr. Abbott as the device has a radius of 20 feet. Safety first. Abbott comes to the decision to tell Gibbs he put out the hit on Heather before she had a chance to get him. Well sometimes these things work out for you. Sometimes not so much. Gibbs has his confession and tells Heather to remove the bomb. She says he can do it himself. It's a fake. Abbott has just spent time in a chair just like her brother is forced to do every day. Poetic justice.
Back at NCIS, Tony is looking forward to seeing his likeness on the recruiting brochures. But he's told the director wanted someone with authority, integrity and leadership. He wanted someone like, someone like ... Gibbs. At least Tony got his shoulder in the shot.
At Gibbs' place, Tobias is cooking Italian. He has an apron on and insists on hand washing. He tells Gibbs he's cooking to curry favor. Get it? "Curry" favor. Hey, I didn't say it.
I thought Heather Dempsey was guilty. She was the ice queen. She was cold and calculating. She showed no emotion at all. But I was wrong. She had a very long fuse and in the end never went off. That made this an interesting episode. It definitely wasn't a bomb.
(Image courtesy of CBS)