This NCIS: Los Angeles episode sees Joelle Taylor pop up in Callen’s life again, this time with claims that she was kidnapped and he’s the only one she can trust. But can he trust her?
“Fool Me Twice” sees the team refuse to be played by Joelle yet again, but as they learn once the truth comes out, something they thought was over for them may not be.
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A woman with a hood over her head attacks her interrogator. Two guards come in to chain her to the floor. But as the interrogator cleans up, he realizes he’s missing a collar stay. When he gets back to the room, the guards are dead and the prisoner is gone. That prisoner is Joelle, who goes to Callen and tells him she needs his help.
Joelle claims she quit the CIA and didn’t know everything the rogue group was doing. To her displeasure, Callen just puts Kensi and Deeks on overwatch with her family. He doesn’t trust her, but there’s a kid involved. While he says that whatever trouble she’s in has nothing to do with him, she disagrees, saying, “It has to do with national security.”
Joelle tells Sam and Callen that she let her guard down and got into a routine a couple months out of the CIA. She was grabbed at a stop sign after dropping her kid off at school, and she thinks that someone drove her car away. She never saw their faces; they put a hood on her right away. Based on what she was asked by someone with an American accent, she’d say he worked for a foreign intelligence agency. She gave them the intel she had, but it was six months old. She tells them how she escaped and where she was held, but she doubts they’re still there and worries they’ll go to her house.
Once alone, Callen asks his partner what he thinks. Sam says Joelle would be the perfect target (former CIA, falls into a routine, history of corruptibility), but maybe she’s too perfect. They can’t ignore the threat, especially not with video of her kidnapping (but was it staged?), Mosley says, but warns them, “She fooled you once, boys. Don’t let it happen again.”
Her husband, Nick, knows enough not to ask questions, Joelle tells Callen. But when they get to her house, Nick reluctantly accepts that she’ll explain later when she sends him and their son with Kensi and Deeks. While she wants to stay at home, Callen refuses to give her home field advantage and takes her to Sam’s boat.
Meanwhile, Sam and Harley check out the warehouse where Joelle was held. But just as he notices a camera on in the corner of the room where she was held, a steel door slides shut, closing them in as a fire starts. Sam breaks through a wall and gets them out of there, but he’s really worried about his boat now. He doesn’t trust much when it comes to Joelle, especially since, as Harley points out, she played them for years, which no one has done before.
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It must’ve been meant for her, Joelle says when Callen informs her of what happened and continues to insist she’s not lying. But when she goes to leave, he warns her that if she does, her family goes back home. She stays.
Kensi questions Nick about an affair he had, but he tells her that it ended three months ago, she’s not a threat and his wife knew the entire time and just didn’t stop it. It killed him when Joelle slept with other men for her job, but he couldn’t do anything about it. She could’ve stopped him and didn’t, making him wonder if everything was based on a lie.
After finding out from Sabatino that Joelle lied about leaving the CIA and is still active, Sam and Callen confront her. She didn’t think Callen would help if he knew the truth, she says, admitting that she was kidnapped by the rogue CIA group to which she used to belong. They took them down, they argue. No, not the man behind the curtain, she reveals, and he wants to rebuild. Join or die, he told her, but she’s done with them. She doesn’t need them to trust her. She just needs them to keep her family safe. That’s what gets them to believe her; she’s been consistent about wanting to protect her family. Then cameras in Callen’s house pick up men who look like Joelle’s kidnappers.
They’re gone by the time LAPD and agents get there. Mosley wants to turn it all over to the CIA, claiming it’s not their problem. But Sam argues that if the rogue group is still active, they’re a threat to NCIS. He buys the team two hours when he points out that they have to investigate the kill room in the warehouse that almost took out him and Harley, and a burned router inside leads to an international mining company that did business with the corporation that owned the warehouse.
The team sets up at the company, with Kensi and Deeks going around the office with 3D microphones so Joelle can listen to voices to see if the man who interrogated her is inside. While waiting, she calls Callen out on not approving of her having a family and her job, even bringing up Sam being in the same position and what happened to Michelle, but Callen points out that Sam’s wife knew the risks. Does Joelle’s husband?
Joelle recognizes the voice of her interrogator. He’s Colton Leach, the VP of Operations of the company, but there’s no indication that he’s CIA. The company has interests in the Middle East, where the rogue group did their wet work, but it’s not enough for them to move on him. Then more masked men show up and box in the food truck that Callen and Joelle are in. While everyone starts shooting, Joelle runs inside to go after Leach after Callen gives her a gun.
When Kensi tries to stop Leach from leaving, even showing her badge, he chooses to go with his own men, and Callen ends up finding him and Joelle on the roof. Leach has been shot in the stomach, but he warns Joelle that he’s not it. He’s part of a group called the Syndicate, and they’re not CIA. They just own a piece of the agency, but it turns out that the CIA isn’t good at securing the Middle East.
They want Joelle to be part of their new, better plan. But just as she’s lowering her gun after he tells her the CIA doesn’t understand that she’s not made for civilian life, Leach pulls a gun. Callen shoots him, but Joelle is shot — and Sam tells the team when he returns to the office that she didn’t make it.
As for how the men found Joelle, Harley discovers that there was an app running in the background on Nick’s phones, tracing his calls, and Callen had let Joelle call her husband. It leads back to the woman with whom he was having the affair, and she’s MIA. She was keeping an eye on Joelle through Nick.
Speaking of Joelle … she’s not really dead. She just believes that her family will be safer if they believe she is while she hunts down the Syndicate.
Are you disappointed that there’s another piece to that rogue CIA group? Do you want to see Joelle again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
NCIS: Los Angeles season 9 airs Sundays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)