If you want to be taught about NCIS, who better to learn from than Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and his team? Some young wannabes are assigned to them. Now wouldn't that bother you? Some kids under your feet? Isn't that the reason for sitters?
In "Worst Nightmare" it looks like a field trip when three student interns spend a week with the team. Gibbs allowing interns? Isn't that surprising? Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) thinks so.
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One young man is assigned to Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), a young lady with Ducky Mallard and Tim McGee offered to take another fellow under his wing. It's all about the teaching at NCIS until a young teen is taken from her classroom in Quantico. Lessons will have to wait.
Her fellow students have been the victims of some unknown gas. While they and their substitute teacher slept, Rebecca Mason was snatched. DiNozzo and McGee find the gas canister in the basement. This sets up the action for our episode. We have a crime. Now for the misdirection, character interplay, evidence and sleuthing.
My Tony comment of the night fell at the beginning. Upon seeing the interns with McGee, Tony asks Ziva David if they're being replaced by younger models. Ziva answers that she is a younger model. Ouch Tony.
McGee's intern Conrad Zuse (like Dr. Seuss only without a cat in his hat) doesn't seem interested in NCIS. He took the class because it fulfilled his public affairs requirement and wasn't on Friday. McGee gives him grunt work. Tony dubs him Mini-Gee
Abby is hosting Michael Seelus and sharing her lab with him, sort of. Michael is told to keep within her sight. He's given a list of rules to remember. She hands him a necklace of bells to wear so she knows where he is. He tells her he won't wear them. Oh won't you, Mikey?
To Tell the Truth
Rebecca's grandfather Nicolas Mason (the wonderful William Devane) is called in. He tells Gibbs he was looking forward to going fly fishing with his granddaughter. How could the kidnapping happen in the middle of a Marine base? A call comes in on his cell. Instead of being from Rebecca's dad like Mason said, it's the kidnapper. Tony tells Gibbs the parents are deployed to the Gulf and out of communication range. Now why would Mason lie to Gibbs?
Abby has found a boot print on the gas canister. The gas is a compound Abbs has never seen before so she knows their looking for a chemist.
Ziva can't reach Mason or the FBI agents at his house. Curiouser and curiouser. McGee plays back the call Mason received. They go to the ransom drop point revealed on the tape finding a dead man with extensive wounds from someone defending himself. Guess what piece of evidence his boots match.? That's right. The canister. He's one of the kidnappers and known as a hired gun.
By the way, Mason's background? It's all fake.
He calls through MTAC which he shouldn't have access to. Mason admits to killing the kidnapper in self defense. What kind of grandfather is this guy?
Jimmy Palmer returns from the dentist to find student Sarah Knox with Ducky singing "Scotland the Brave." The little usurper probably knows all the words to "Brigadoon" too. She's a Ducky-alike sharing stories and expounding that the dead have much to tell if you listen. Ducky seems enchanted. Palmer can't wait till she goes. Alas poor Jimmy. He feels disregarded and spends time under foot trying to 'help' the team.
McGee finds a computer CD in the dead kidnapper's car showing Rebecca alive. It has an imbedded number which calls NCIS. It's the original kidnapper on the line and he's displeased his man is dead. He ups the ransom from $500,000 to $1,000,000. McGee can't trace the call but Mason has a program that can. Trouble is if McGee can find the program so can the kidnappers. Gibbs and Ziva go to the address finding another of the men dead. Mason left a few prints behind. Who is this guy?
The Man Unmasked
When reached at sea Mason's son tells Gibbs his father kept a safe under the floor in his room. McGee sifts through its contents finding classified information but nothing to identify Mason. He sets up a program to find him if he uses a satellite phone. It turns out Mason was one of those secret secret secret operatives for the U.S.
"Jingle intern" arrives to tell Gibbs Abby has found something. Gibbs is bothered by the bells but Michael tells him he's more afraid of Abby than Gibbs. You know, I can see his point. Abby discovered what pharmaceutical company created the gas. Gibbs gives her his normal peck on the cheek. Michael hoping to get in on that approaches Abby. He's lucky to still have his bells.
The team finds Mason at the company beside, yes, a dead body. They try to arrest him, try being the operative word. He round kicks McGee's gun placing him in a headlock. He sends Ziva flying. But he gives up to Gibbs (I know I would) saying the kidnappers were playing all of them.
In interrogation Mason tells Gibbs he once had a team. They did specialized jobs within the law but not with the knowledge of any superiors. The project was canceled years ago leaving just three members who retired to civilian lives and were ordered not to make contact again. Mason asked his team for help finding his granddaughter. A killer picked off one of them. One more to go and Mason is last. Abby found the killer's fingerprints all over Mason's sabotaged truck with the help of Michael.
Rebecca's substitute teacher Walter Carmichael is the third member of the team. That mousey guy took a little time off to look up some old friends and stop them from breathing. He was also good at clearing out the men he employed to take Rebecca. This guy has a problem with what he and his old buddies had done. The sick puppy is into self flagellation desiring to punish himself for the sins of his past and seeking retribution upon his cohorts. He doth punish the wicked. He sees it as his responsibility before ending his own life.
Gibbs agrees to Carmichael's demands bringing Mason to a public place to exchange him for Rebecca. Mason makes an aggressive move and Ziva shoots him dead. A satisfied Carmichael tells Gibbs the girl is in his car trunk. She's rescued and Mason rises from the dead. It was a ruse using corn syrup blood and blanks. Just like in the movies! Carmichael needed to get out more.
All charges are dropped against Mason and Rebecca is reunited with her mother and father. Smiles all around.
Young Zuse thinks his NCIS gig wasn't so bad. McGee gives him an application. Gibbs even offers a pen. Ah gee. Earlier he had the temerity to ask Gibbs why with a reputation for not liking interns he had accepted them. What had changed? Gibbs shrugged. "I dunno know, maybe me."
I hope not. I like my Gibbs served regular. Hold the mayonnaise and no cheesiness please. Yes Gibbs is going to change after seven seasons and I'd better get used to a new menu. But I will never accept a Gibbs Lite. Give me a Gibbs Classic every time. What would you order?
(Image courtesy of CBS)