'NCIS' Recap: Halloween Tricks
'NCIS' Recap: Halloween Tricks
Kim Stempel
Kim Stempel
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Last week, NCIS showed us a sleep-deprived Tony flashing back to his days on the beat in Baltimore when he recognized an old suspect at a new crime scene. We also saw the effect that Ziva's departure has had on Tony.

This week's NCIS episode, "Oil and Water," finds the team partnering with the Coast Guard Investigative Service for a case.

Who is Pranking Who?

The show opens with a vessel seemingly under attack. It turns out that it is just a drill, but moments later there is an explosion on board. At NCIS headquarters, Abby and McGee are dealing with a mystery of their own. Who is performing pranks? McGee finds every inch of his desk and equipment covered in plastic. Abby is not unscathed, as someone has moved her work table (gasp) three inches to the right. The horror of it all!

McGee is quick to blame Tony, who denies that he is the culprit. McGee continues to interrogate Tony, trying to find out what time Tony left the office the night before. Gibbs lets McGee know that Tony was at the office until at least midnight.

Welcome Back, Borin

The team heads out to Virginia Beach, but they are stopped as the area is on lockdown. So who is in charge? Special Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal.) The explosion on an off-shore oil platform has resulted in one dead marine. They cannot get to the crime scene until the platform is found to be structurally safe. On the up side, there are 59 witness statements, and Borin wastes no time giving the job to Tony and McGee.

Borin tries to discuss Ziva's departure, but Gibbs wants to get right to the dead marine, named Marv Hebner. Hebner was running the controls. Jonah McGuire, the operations officer, tells Tony that Hebner wasn't the type of guy to make mistakes. A moment later, Hebner's wife, Paige arrives and hears the bad news from Jonah.

A local cargo freighter saw a motor boat, with its lights off, near the platform last night. Fearing terrorism, Homeland Security puts all oil installations on heightened threat level.

The Secretary of the Navy and City Line Oil

While McGee finishes unwrapping his desk, Tony comments that pranking Gibbs would be "a feat for the ages." McGee asks if he has a death wish. I would love to see Gibb get pranked!

Gibbs is not happy when he is pulled into a meeting by Secretary of the Navy Porter and City Line Oil. The CEO and City Line lead counsel, Mr. Creevy, toured the platform the morning of the explosion.

Where is that Beeping Coming From?

Meanwhile, in autopsy, Ducky is explaining the history of All Hallow's Eve to the deceased marine. His lecture is interrupted by both a faint beeping, and the arrival of Agent Borin. Ducky has deduced that Hebner died from sustaining a blow to his head which rendered him unconscious, and that he in fact drowned. Ducky is still confounded by the beeping noise that he cannot locate.

Hacking In

McGee heads out to visit Abby and finds a small fire burning in a container. Abby is not concerned, as she was actually burning sage to rid her environment of negative energy from the Halloween prankster. She also discovered that someone hacked into the oil rig's systems remotely, and could have caused the explosion without raising any alarms.

McGee and Tony track down the hacker--a student named Danielle Benton. She says that she designed the computer program as a thesis project, and that she doesn't know anything about the explosion. Of course, she is not too broken up about it, either. She reveals that the program is not capable of causing an explosion as it is used to gather information.

Why the Bridge?

Meanwhile, Gibbs and Borin discover a detonator on the platform. It appears that Hebner was targeted as the bomb was placed on the bridge. City Line Oil CEO Davidson and lead counsel Creevy strongly object to the idea that one of City Line's employees bombed the platform. Creevy does recall a disagreement that Hebner had with his operations officer, Jonah McGuire. Since McGuire was cited for a recent safety problem, Hebner and City Line Oil were finalizing the paper work to terminate his employment. That sounds like it could be a motive, doesn't it?

Tony and McGee decide to have another chat with McGuire. According to McGuire, it was Hebner who had the safety violation, and McGuire offered to take the hit and protect Hebner's job.

When Borin goes to see Abby with Abby's favorite caffeinated treat, she scores a hug from the excited Queen of the Lab. Abby's magic mind has figured out that the bomb was positioned on the one place on the bridge where it would not cause a chain reaction and damage the rest of the rig.

Suspect on the Run

McGee learns that the food service employees on the platform were hired by another vendor, so they didn't go through City Line's background checks. One name stands out-- Lenny Machaca, who did time for transportation of explosives and possession. The presence of the Secretary of the Navy at NCIS headquarters is starting to rattle the team.

Well, McGee has a new best friend--Porter. They hit it off while reminiscing about both attending school in Boston. Gibbs is not pleased by this fact. When Porter hops in the elevator, Gibbs follows and stops the elevator. He asks Madame Secretary if she is only at NCIS regarding this case. She responds by saying that her presence is specific to this case, and that as long as she continues to see results, Gibbs is in charge of his team.

Tony and Borin track down Machaca, who tries to make a run for it, but is knocked down by Borin wielding an oar. I sort of like Borin hanging with the NCIS team. Machaco says that he is innocent, and only used to blow things up for fun, with his friends. Well, that sounds a lot better, then. Borin is not amused and gets in the suspect's face and is unable to hide her anger. Gibbs pulls her out of the interrogation room. Borin is haunted by the loss of three Marines in an explosion, one of whom was her lover. When Borin wants to withdraw from the case, Gibbs refuses.

A Reasonable Explanation

Tony learns that the schematics for the platform were accessed by the same person who designed the malware found on the oil rig's computer system--Danielle Benton. They locate Benton at a marina in a boat filled with drums of black powder. Back at NCIS headquarters, she tries to proclaim her innocence, but McGee tells her that they found security codes and surveillance pictures of 10 bio-tech labs along the East Coast who were hit by the same arsonist. In glee, McGee calls "Boo-Ya!" which startles and confuses Tony. Benton maintains that she was planning to board the City Line rig in the future for a protest.

The Suspect Gets Greedy

Abby finds a piece of sturgeon leather and a piece of metal shrapnel that came from an expensive briefcase. It belongs to Creevy, and he caused the explosion to make money after he short-sold his City Line stock. Gibbs hands the interrogation to Borin. Creevy admits that he left the briefcase on the platform with the bomb inside.

Your Secret is Safe

Tony bristles at the fact that Ducky accuses him of attaching the beeping device inside Ducky's lamp shade. When Tony denies it and tries to storm off, he trips over a weighed-down gear pack. Borin goes to visit Gibbs in his basement and she believes that he is the prankster, which he denies.

Gibbs asks her if she is interested in making a career change, but Borin isn't finished with CGIS. Gibbs leaves the door open if she changes her mind. I love the chemistry with Gibbs and Borin, and I hope she pays another visit to NCIS in the future.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8 pm on CBS   

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(Image courtesy of CBS)