On the last episode of NCIS, we saw the team racing to cure a mysterious outbreak sickening the children of military families. They solved the case just in time for Christmas. Abby, once again, put the “festive” in festivities with her Christmas spirit. The Christmas episodes never disappoint!

'NCIS' Recap: Gibbs and the Case of the Ex

This week’s episode of NCIS, titled “Kill Chain,” features the team working with the Department of Defense to locate a stolen drone. Gibbs also has the chance to work with his ex-girlfriend, Hollis Mann, played by guest star Susanna Thompson. Will they rekindle their romance?

The Famous Delilah Fielding

The episode begins with a woman and a man embracing in a park. The woman is upset, and when she hears the approaching whine of a plane engine, she tells him to run. Alas, he is too late and is shot.

Back at headquarters, Bishop obliviously shares an uncomfortable elevator ride with McGee and his girlfriend, Delilah Fielding. Bishop is so jazzed by her parking spot that she shows off her parking pass and cell phone pictures. That must be a seriously sweet parking spot.

When Bishop realizes who Delilah is, she explains to McGee that his girlfriend is a sort of celebrity in the world of analysts. We also find out from Tony all about McGee and Delilah’s disagreement because McGee accidentally phoned Tony, who of course had to listen to their private conversation. It turns out that Delilah is being awarded a fellowship from the Conrad Institute for her counter-terrorism work. Delilah wants to bring McGee to the black-tie gala, but McGee is hesitant.

Gibbs enters and Tony fills him in about Tim and Delilah’s big date, and when McGee hesitates again, Gibbs asks him if he actually wants to attend. So far, it seems that McGee isn’t enthused about it. Gibbs gets a call, and they are off to a case. Before they hit the road, Gibbs pulls McGee aside and says not to use him as an excuse to get out of attending.

Unidentified Flying Airships

The dead sailor in Rock Creek Park is identified as Petty Officer First Class Daniel Coyne. He is shot by a high-powered rifle, but the angle is weird. Tony interviews a witness who was walking his dog, who recounts his tale of a strange gray airship that shot the victim. Oh, and by the way, the witness also thinks that the CIA is recording his thoughts through microwaves. Well, consider this murder solved!

Tony calls Bishop over, but she has already sketched a picture of the aircraft, which was also seen by other witnesses. It is actually a US Navy surveillance drone.

Coyne was a drone operator, experienced in using the same type of drone that killed him. Meanwhile, in autopsy, Ducky lets Gibbs know that the victim has traces of an expensive woman’s perfume on his body and that he also had sex shortly before he died.

Coyne is a Good Man

Tony and Bishop talk with Lt. Commander Stone, who states that Coyne was the only member of the team who had actual mission experience, and he was also his top trainer. They learn that Coyne was seeing Petty Officer First Class Patrice Gates, who believes that she and Coyne were getting married, but she also doesn’t wear expensive perfume and lacks the knowledge to modify a drone. McGee went to interview the company who makes the drones, Reinhart-Carion, but he was sent away because the company is already being investigated by the DOD.

Revenge Plot

Vance summons Delilah and Gibbs for a sit-down. In retaliation for the murder of the previous Secretary of the Navy, the US led a drone strike against terrorist training camps run by the well-known terrorist Benham Parsa. Coyne was part of the “kill chain” that confirmed that Parsa was at the location. Coyne’s UAV went down because of mechanical failure, and now DOD thinks that Parsa, or his men, recovered it and smuggled it into the US to use against Coyne. Gibbs knows one thing for sure: that more attacks will follow.

Meeting with Another Ex

A nervous McGee interrupts the meeting and tells Gibbs that he has found the DOD investigator, and it is a blast from Gibbs’ past. Vance asks Gibbs if the attractive blonde standing in front of them is another one of his ex-wives. It is not an ex-wife, but it is an ex-girlfriend, Hollis Mann.

She is investigating Reinhart-Carion and reveals that their computer system was hacked a month ago. When Hollis asks who modified the drone, Gibbs refuses to answer until she gives them the names of the suspects in her investigation. She tells Gibbs that her primary suspect is Reinhart-Carion employee Erin Pace. Is this the mysterious other woman in Coyne’s romantic life? She is not at work or at home, and is more than capable of modifying a drone. Gibbs takes Hollis’ file and tells her he will get back to her. She goes above Vance’s head and now she and Gibbs are running a joint investigation, which is not what Gibbs had in mind.

Gibbs and His Many Ex-Wives

Gibbs and Tony educate Bishop about Gibbs and all his ex-wives with a formal presentation. Hilarious! Of course, no one knows anything about Gibbs’ second ex-wife, and there is intense speculation about why Hollis didn’t become the fourth ex-Mrs. Gibbs.

Gibbs goes to see Abby in the lab, and she asks Gibbs if it was awkward seeing Hollis again. Gibbs replies, “It is now,” and Abby turns to see Hollis. Abby went over the evidence that Hollis’ team collected from Pace’s apartment. Pace did indeed wear the expensive “Shalimar” perfume.

Abby also works her scientific magic and uncovers the DNA of Yusef Ryder on the orange juice. He is a felon convicted of past violent crimes, who converted to Islam during his last prison stay. Ryder dropped out of sight two weeks ago, and he was then seen on a surveillance tape robbing a gun store. Yes, you guessed it, one of the weapons was a high-powered rifle.

The Talk

The team locates Ryder’s van, and Tony and McGee head into the motel to check out the room where Ryder was staying. Hollis and Gibbs are alone in the car, and Hollis wants to talk. Gibbs refuses at first, but then asks about Hawaii. Hollis tells him that she needed to get back to work, and that she is married to a surgeon at Walter-Reed Hospital. Awkward!

Ryder’s room is empty, so the team moves in on the van. Pace is tied up inside, and she tells Gibbs that no one is safe. Pace was kidnapped by Ryder, and was held by Ryder and some Pakistani men. When she refused to modify the drone, they threatened her husband.

Pace was used to lure Coyne, her coworker, to the park. So who is the next victim? Pace hears one word about the next target: “acrobat.” Hollis tells Gibbs that “acrobat” is the secret service name for Joint Base Andrews.

Parsa is Here

Bishop shows Pace a picture of Parsa, and she identifies him as the polite, well-spoken man who is running the operation. The Secretary of Defense has meetings scheduled for the next day with several world leaders at Joint Base Andrews. While Hollis quietly relocates the meeting, Gibbs and his team will attempt to locate Parsa.

Delilah comes to see McGee at work and brings him a tuxedo. She has already had it altered, even though she knows he cannot leave because of Parsa. Her feelings are hurt that McGee didn’t want to attend the gala with her.

Tales from a Basement

Hollis comes by and finds Gibbs in the basement. She wants to apologize because she knew that she would never be able to get Gibbs to open up because of his past, so she left. Gibbs pours them a drink as they try to make peace.

McGee realizes that Parsa has to be fairly close by because the drone is not long-range. Abby scolds McGee for not wanting to go to the gala with Delilah and for being scared that the relationship will not work out. McGee finds a strange broadcasting signal, and they trace it to a storage building.

The Big Bang

The NCIS team spots Ryder, who fires on them before diving back into the building. The building explodes in flames after Bishop fires on it. Bishop confides in Abby how horrible she feels that she caused the building to explode and lost their best link to Parsa. Abby discovers a detonator, so Bishop is in the clear.

She joins Abby in trying to piece together debris from the explosion. McGee arrives all suave and handsome in his tux, and Abby is thrilled.

Abby realizes that the pieces are all spare and duplicate parts. Parsa wanted everyone to think the drone was destroyed, but it is still out there somewhere. Ducky discovers that Ryder has prison tattoos from several unsavory organizations, suggesting that he is a survivor and not ideological in his beliefs. So Ryder did not martyr himself in the explosion.

Show Her the Money

Tony and Bishop interrogate Pace, who hadn’t spoken or contacted her husband in months. Her husband’s gambling debts were Pace’s motivation to help Parsa and betray Coyne. Bishop realizes that the drone, which is loaded with explosives, is going to attack the Conrad gala.

At the gala, McGee answers his phone. He can’t hear Tony and tells Delilah that he will meet her inside. As McGee looks up at the night sky, he sees the drone approaching. Hollis and Gibbs head to the location of another weird broadcasting signal, and they surprise several men. Parsa narrowly escapes when a car pulls up.

Delilah is in surgery, hit with a lot of shrapnel. Bishop wants to go the hospital, but Gibbs orders her to start at the beginning and analyze all the information they have to locate Parsa.

I enjoyed this tense NCIS episode. I feel horrible for McGee about his reluctance to commit to Delilah. Hopefully, she will pull through.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Kim Stempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Kim has been covering television entertainment since 2013. She is addicted to Real Housewives, Pump Rules, Dancing with the Stars, and many more shows.