Last week on NCIS, we learned more about Tony’s new life. He has been changing things up lately, from riding the bus to attending a men’s group meeting at a church. Tony wants to change his life since Ziva’s departure, and it seems that he is searching for something.
This week’s NCIS episode, “Gut Check,” introduces us to a new character: Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop (Emily Wickersham). Bishop is an NSA analyst who accurately predicts a security breach before it occurs. So how will she fit in with the NCIS team?
Ring the Alarm
The show opens with Secretary of the Navy Porter giving a presentation to US defense companies. McGee is surprised when the computer system sounds an alarm before shutting down due to an internal threat. That is a bit awkward for the four defense contractors in the room with McGee, Porter and NCIS Director Vance.
Meanwhile, Tony wants to chat about his date the previous evening with a tennis pro, but Gibbs tells Tony they have a breach. Apparently, someone brought a bug into the room. When everything comes up clear, the defense contractors can leave. Once Porter tries to exit, the alarms sound again. Poor Tony has to give her what I imagine must be the most awkward pat-down in history in front of Vance and Gibbs. Tony removes a pen from her pocket, and it contains a bug.
Who is Bugging Us?
Porter and Gibbs discuss the situation in the elevator. Gibbs believes Porter when she explains that she used the pen to sign a permission slip for her daughter that morning, but doesn’t recall where she got the pen. The news goes from bad to worse when she remarks that she had three classified DOD meetings at off-site locations the previous day where she discussed deployment strategies. Abby finds out that the pen has been recording for about 30 hours. Whoever planted the pen has to download the information.
Tony finds a paper written by someone at the NSA from two years earlier that directly mirrors the breach. Tony and Gibbs are greeted at NSA headquarters by NSA Special Agent Chad Flynderling. He takes them to meet the author of the paper who is, apparently, a “reclusive data freak.” The author is seated on the ground, looking through papers while listening to music on her ear buds.
NSA analyst Ellie Bishop likes to do her unclassified research there, and Flynn is not supposed to sneak up on her. Bishop tells them that she wrote the paper on her third day at the NSA. When Tony tells her that her scenario is coming true, Bishop is at first excited that she was correct before the implications sink in. When another bugged pen is discovered, Gibbs lets a reluctant Bishop know she is working with them.
Meet the Team
Bishop is pretty unhappy to be hanging out in autopsy with Ducky and Gibbs. Another listening device inside a pen was found in the personal effects of Claude Sherman, who is an accountant for United Equinox Electronics, which was one of the companies at the presentation that morning. Sherman died of a heart attack, and his body was sent over from the DC morgue with his effects for chain of custody reasons.
Unfortunately, the pen is not with his belongings as someone from the FBI had come by to take his effects. When Ducky calls to confirm the information, the FBI is in the dark. Bishop is intrigued and makes herself comfortable by sitting on an autopsy table to read the file. I like her style!
A Married Woman?
Tony and McGee catch up with Bishop sitting on the floor amid piles of papers. Tony wants to know what someone would do with the intelligence, and Bishop asks if he read her paper. He is even more surprised when he sees a gold band on her finger. Bishop states that the culprit has three options: releasing the information for full disclosure, selling it to the enemy or selling the information back to the US government. Bishop feels that extortion is the most likely scenario, and she is right.
Someone contacts the Secretary of the Navy’s office and threatens to release the information unless he receives $10 million wired into an off-shore account within an hour. Bishop thinks they should pay the money and then trace it. Gibbs wants to follow his gut and see what else the terrorist may want. Bishop cannot understand why the team is against her more logical approach.
Follow the Money
Secretary Porter summons Gibbs and Vance. She has approved Bishop’s plan, and Gibbs is not thrilled. The head of United Equinox Electronics, Marc, is also in the meeting with Ward from Berringer Marine. Marc thinks that Ward is guilty of treason. Porter tells Vance and Gibbs she is adding NSA to the case along with NCIS.
Meanwhile, Bishop finds her way to Abby’s lab. Bishop fed a sketch of the fake FBI agent through the NSA data base, and finds a name — Rudolph Stalin. Stalin is an American with strong ties to Russia and a background in espionage.
At the money drop, Agent Flynderling goes to follow up and receives three gunshot wounds to the chest. Bishop shows up at the crime scene and is devastated when she sees a copy of her report in Flynn’s pocket. She tells Gibbs that he was right all along. It turns out that Stalin never took the money out of the account. Bishop thinks that he demanded the money to murder a federal agent and thus show the accuracy of his information.
Abby determines that Stalin downloaded information from the pen when Porter was having dinner with her daughter. Abby pulls a piece of camera footage of Stalin in his car outside the restaurant.
The team tracks Stalin to a movie theater, and when Stalin goes outside, Bishop follows her gut and hits him with her car. It’s too bad that the team was trying to flush out Stalin to follow him. Bishop wants in on the interrogation action and decides to let the suspect think that she is his lawyer. Stalin maintains that he did not extort the government or murder Flynn. He says that Edward Gracy was trying to sell the information and supplies Gracy’s address.
Bishop is called back to NSA headquarters while the team goes to Gracy’s office. There they find his bug-making tools and also charity flyers that he mailed, along with the pen, to Secretary Porter. Bishop becomes curious and does more research into Gracy, which leads her to a post office where the rest of the team is waiting for Gracy. Bishop tackles him when he comes out of the store.
Gibbs isn’t happy that she almost cost them getting Gracy. Bishop thinks that Gracy is trying to impress his boss. Pens had been sent to all the companies at the meeting with Porter except for one — Berringer Marine.
A Reason for Treason
Gibbs meets up with the head of the company, Ward, who mentions that he was offered the Secretary of the Navy job, but turned it down because he hadn’t served, and he thinks that Porter should have done the same.
Bishop goes to see Gibbs and tells him that she isn’t a team player. He found her NCIS application from before she joined the NSA and offers her a joint duty assignment.
I really like the newest member of the NCIS team, and I think she is a good fit. Welcome aboard, Bishop!
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)