Last time on NCIS, we saw Gibbs reunite with Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) when Congressman McLane, who was a retired NCIS agent, was murdered in New Orleans. Gibbs and Pride have a history because they were part of the infamous Fed Five, and Mike Franks and McLane were their bosses. We also met the rest of Pride’s team: Agent Christopher Lasalle (Lucas Black), Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) and Special Agent Merri Brody (Zoe McLellan), who is an interrogator from the Great Lakes office.
This week’s episode of NCIS, “Crescent City Part II,” continues with Bishop and Gibbs in New Orleans on the track of a killer who is copying the signature of Victor Lorta, who was put away by the Fed Five for being the “privileged killer.” So what is this killer’s motivation? Let’s once again enjoy our excursion to New Orleans and let the good times roll!
The New Orleans Way
We start off in New Orleans with Pride and Brody enjoying breakfast when they get a call that another body has been found. Gibbs and Bishop are on the way to the scene with Dr. Wade, who loves New Orleans so much that she came for a visit in 1997 and never left.
We see Lasalle at a bar drinking coffee with the pretty bartender. They are interrupted when a man comes in to rob the place at gunpoint. Lasalle is so cool that he just shows his badge and tells the perpetrator to put down his gun. When the criminal refuses, he slams him into the wall as Pride and Brody arrive. I really like the way they do things in New Orleans!
They find the body in a swamp, and the victim’s identification says his name is Henry Waynesgaard from Thibodeaux. The body has been there for two to three weeks, and the victim has a deep cut to his throat and two abdominal puncture wounds. Gibbs finds a tire track in the mud, and thinks that this is where McLane’s body was left before it floated down to the marina. He also thinks that Waynesgaard was killed because he saw the copycat killer.
Back at NCIS headquarters, Tony is delighting in a package from Bishop. His delight is short-lived when he opens it to find a voodoo doll that looks just like him. Bishop’s note says that it will bring him good luck, but Tony is taking no chances and tosses it in the trash.
Vance gives Ducky some letters written to Lorta in prison before his death. Could the killer be one of these fans? Ducky is eager to find out. He discovers that Lorta answered all of his mail and proclaimed his innocence. Lorta also claimed that Agent McLane manipulated the evidence to make Lorta look guilty. Ducky wonders if maybe the real “privileged killer” was never caught.
Legos and Labs
We also learn that Lasalle enjoys making buildings and sculptures out of Legos as a hobby. Gibbs and Bishop are at the Jefferson Parish Lab with Hobbs, who unwinds by playing blues on his electric keyboard. I am really enjoying this unique set of characters. The DNA from under the victim’s fingernails was useless, but there were military cloth fibers that were from a uniform that is nearly 70 years old.
Brody, Pride and Lasalle go back to the scene of Doyle’s death in her car. Brody has been receiving hang-up phone calls, and she think it is someone with a tip. A young boy comes up and, for a price, is willing to describe the killer. He didn’t see the killer’s face, but he was wearing a white uniform-style jacket.
The team finds a letter that was also sent to McLane and Joseph Hanlon, who was one of McLane’s biggest sponsors. McGee and Tony meet with Hanlon about the letter he received from Emil Titus.
A Likely Suspect
Back at headquarters, Tony gets a ferocious migraine, and is horrified to see his voodoo doll on his desk with a pin in its head. Hilarious!
Emil Titus is the grandson of Admiral Jonas Titus, and he was fascinated by the “privileged killer” case. He also runs a commuter plane company. He wrote to McLane and insisted that Lorta was innocent and he later made large donations to McLane’s campaign. Titus has been living at his home in the New Orleans Garden district.
A Frame Job?
Gibbs and Pride have a video conference with Vance and Fornell. Pride is insistent that there was a ton of evidence against Lorta, and that they got the right man. When they ask Gibbs if McLane could have been guilty of framing Lorta, Gibbs doesn’t respond, and that makes Pride furious. Gibbs maintains that people make mistakes, and suggests they go talk to Agent Felix Betts, who also worked on the “privileged killer” case. Pride reminds Gibbs that Betts isn’t the same.
They journey to Florida to talk to Betts anyway, and the men share a tender reunion. Pride shows Betts a picture of the Fed Five, and he asks why McLane didn’t come with them. Pride gently breaks the news to Betts that McLane is dead. When Gibbs asks him if he knows if McLane might have taken money to frame Lorta, Betts is unable to answer and instead offers sandwiches.
In New Orleans, the lab finds jet fuel in the tire tracks at the site where the body was dumped, as well as in Doyle’s car. It certainly looks like Titus is guilty. Pride pulls Brody aside to learn more about what happened on the “Moultrie” when it was attacked. She tells him that she pulled her weapon, but the terrorist detonated the device first. Pride doesn’t care about the past if she can do the job now. Brody confirms that she can. Pride busts out his “sweet Charmaine,” which is some sort of antique-looking handgun. I am not sure what is so special about this gun, or why it has a nickname.
They get a warrant to search Titus’ house and find him dead in a white uniform jacket. He died from a gunshot wound that Dr. Wade thinks is staged to look like a suicide. The team realizes that the killer has led them into another dead-end.
Bishop, Lasalle and Brody look for any new bank accounts McLane may have opened in the 1990s. They find several with large deposits. Pride is bitterly disappointed in his friend, and Gibbs replies that McLane was a good agent who made some missteps.
Both teams video conference again. It seems that McLane took a bribe from the “privileged killer” to frame Lorta. McLane, facing a re-election campaign, wanted to tell the truth. The teams realizes that Hanlon has companies up and down the East Coast, including in New Orleans. The companies are now run by Hanlon’s son, Spencer, who may be the “privileged killer.” Poor McGee had gone to Hanlon’s to warn him that the actual killer may still be out there. When McGee turns his back, Hanlon hits him on the back of the head.
McGee in Danger
Fornell and Tony head over to Hanlon’s, while Gibbs tries to locate Spencer in New Orleans. Tony and Fornell find Hanlon dead of a prescription pill overdose after he called to warn his son. McGee is okay except for the blow to his head.
Finding the Real Killer
Back in New Orleans, the NCIS team finds Spencer’s apartment, but he is gone. They do find a pressed white uniform jacket. Based on their hunch that Spencer will try to kill again, they fan out across the city to go to any bars where service members go. Spencer is at the bar chatting with a female service person when he spies Lasalle and Brody. He convinces the woman to go outside with him. He incapacitates her after a struggle.
Brody and Lasalle talk to the bartender, who says Spencer just left with a woman. Pride thinks he may be taking her to a nearby cemetery that is being rebuilt. Gibbs and Pride both shoot Hanlon as he is about to cut the woman’s throat.
A New Team Member
The next morning, Pride tells Brody that he has asked for her to extend her stay in the Big Easy indefinitely. She agrees, with one condition — she wants her own Lego sculpture. Lasalle presents her with a sculpture of the fleur-de-lis, which is the symbol of the city. Now that boy has talent!
While Gibbs waits for Bishop to return, the New Orleans team is called out to a crime scene.
I really liked this two-part episode. I loved the local color and the characters from New Orleans in particular. I think that NCIS may have another hit on its hands!
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)