Last time on NCIS, Palmer turned to Gibbs for advice when the birth mother of his child suddenly decided to keep her baby. Gibbs urged the young man not to give up after this loss and to fight for what is important to him — his wife and future children.
This week’s first of a two-part episode of NCIS, titled “Crescent City,” has Gibbs heading down to the Big Easy to assist the NCIS office there when a Congressman, and former NCIS agent, is murdered. This two-episode arc introduces the characters of the new NCIS spin-off. Let the good times roll!
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Call him the King
We kick off in New Orleans, where we meet Agent Dwayne Pride, played by Scott Bakula, on the dance floor. He follows a woman outside and introduces himself with a Southern drawl, telling her his nickname is “King.” Her name is Linda, and I have a feeling they already know each other.
I am correct! They are a long-term married couple interested in role-play. We also learn that they have a daughter together, but Pride lives in an apartment. It seems like he really wants to work things out with his wife, but it looks like his job is an issue, as we can gather from her exasperation when his cell phone rings.
A Matter of Respect
Pride rolls up at a crime scene by the river. He brings coffee for Agent Christopher Lasalle (Lucas Black), who seems cool and collected. The victim has a deep slash mark to his throat, and has been in the water for a while. Lasalle hesitates when Pride asks for the victim’s name, saying that he wanted to tell Pride in person. That can’t be good news for Pride.
The victim is Agent McLane, who was a retired NCIS agent and later became a congressman. Pride looks at the victim’s face and becomes emotional because McLane was a mentor and was like family. Although the FBI is on its way, Pride wants McLane brought to the morgue right away out of respect. Pride tells the younger man that he needs to talk with Agent Gibbs.
A Sad Reunion
Back at NCIS headquarters, Tony and McGee are watching Bishop trying to fix something under the hood of her car. Gibbs comes along and gets right in there with the probie, as they communicate about engine parts without knowing any of the actual names. Hilarious! Gibbs goes upstairs to meet with Vance and Pride.
Pride and Gibbs hug it out for a moment before discussing McLane’s death. McLane was in New Orleans for a “tiger cruise,” for campaign investors. Pride feels the murder is politically motivated since the congressman was running for re-election. Vance tells the two men that Secretary Porter wants this to be a joint investigation with the FBI, but Pride wants to head up the investigation on his terms. That isn’t going to happen since Pride apparently punched a superior.
The Fed Five
NCIS headquarters is abuzz that one of the original “Fed Five” members has arrived. Pride shakes hands with Bishop, Tony and McGee. Gibbs tells the squad that he trusts Pride with his life and has known him for 30 years.
Pride gets a call from Lasalle through MTAC. The FBI has taken custody of McLane’s body, and Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder) is madder than the proverbial wet hen. Agent Doyle of the FBI won’t tell Wade where they are taking him, and Gibbs knows the FBI is hiding something, but what?
A History Lesson
Pride and Gibbs meet with Fornell, and he gives us some backstory. McLane and Franks were part of the Fed Five, and were Gibbs’ and Pride’s bosses. McGee tells the dynamic duo that Lasalle found a way to connect NCIS with private street cameras in New Orleans. Tony makes a joke about watching drunk tourists, which prompts Bishop to share that she is unable to get drunk, and even tried in college. Tony adds this to the rather impressive list of things that Tony would like to ask Mr. Bishop.
McGee gets a hit and sees an image from the Carousel Bar of McLane with a woman. Pride recognizes her and says her name is Sally Hammond.
Where is McLane?
Back in New Orleans, Lasalle meets up with Agent Doyle, and she refuses to reveal where McLane’s body is. Lasalle and Doyle have chemistry to spare. I am sensing maybe they were romantically involved at some point.
Meet Sally Hammond
Since Pride is crashing with Gibbs, he decides to cook, and Fornell arrives just in time to eat. Isn’t that always the way? Fornell is ready to sing for his supper, and lets the men know that McLane’s remains are at the Jackson, Mississippi, morgue. Doyle wanted to do her own exam on the body, and Fornell states that FBI is willing to continue the case as a joint investigation as long as he is kept in the loop. McLane’s body is on the way up for Ducky to examine.
The New Orleans FBI office has been pulling old murder case files, but no one knows what they are looking for. Gibbs gets a call with the news that Sally Hammond was found in Virginia, and is on the way in to chat.
Pride is working the charm when he sits down with Hammond, who admits that she was paid by a man to talk to McLane and then leave town for a week. Pride shows Hammond a picture of McLane’s body, but she maintains that she doesn’t know who paid her. McGee is able to confirm Hammond’s story, and the team believes she is a distraction to throw them off the trail.
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Ducky Gets Mad
Gibbs meets with Ducky in autopsy, and Dr. Mallard is very unhappy. The first autopsy was so sloppy that Ducky isn’t even sure it was done by a doctor. Yikes! Ducky knew McLane, and he plans to work with Dr. Wade on the new autopsy to get her take. Pride heads down to see Abby and she is excited to see him again. She has discovered that McLane’s body had to be dumped further upriver in the wetlands.
The Interrogator Arrives
Once again, back in New Orleans at NCIS, Lasalle meets Special Agent Merri Brody (Zoe McLellan) who is the interrogator from the Great Lakes office. She is as buttoned-up and professional as Lasalle is cool and laid-back. Lasalle recognizes her name because she was the Agent Afloat on the “Moultrie” when it sustained a hit from a terrorist IED, and she certainly isn’t eager to talk about it. They head off to search McLane’s quarters on the ship Ulysses.
A Murderous Link
Bishop goes into research mode (her specialty) and finds out that Doyle pulled the files relating to Victor Lorta, who was convicted by the Fed Five as being the “privileged killer.” Pride and Gibbs were the probies on the case with Franks and McLane. Now that must have been a wild ride! Lorta killed public servants or military personnel that made him feel safe. Perhaps he could have just thanked them instead of killing them. Lorta professed his innocence until he died in prison.
Tony is back from lunch with his secretary friend, and he has learned that McLane was trying to stop a power plant from being built in North Caroline near a wildlife refuge. Tom Speakman, a lobbyist for a power company, tried to discredit McLane in DC. Although Speakman was not in New Orleans when McLane was killed, his nephew, Abraham Lycek, was serving onboard the Ulysses. Lycek is deeply in debt and has problems controlling his temper.
Gibbs and Pride catch up with the condescending Speakman at a luncheon. Speakman gloats about McLane’s death, and Gibbs makes way for Pride to toss Speakman over the hood of a car, and I personally think it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. In interrogation, Gibbs and Pride unnerve Speakman by playing a leisurely game of Go Fish while he stews. I love it!
Lasalle and Brody sit down with Lycek to ask him some questions. He says that he was drunk on his leave, and he makes the mistake of flirting with Brody and caressing her hand. She effortlessly slams his head down on the table. I guess that agents in New Orleans don’t fool around. Lycek finally says that he was getting a tattoo, and he let the prostitute pick out the artwork, which is a double rainbow with a pot of gold. He didn’t tell them sooner because he is married.
Hold the Elevator
Pride and Gibbs have a cozy elevator chat, and Pride remarks that stopping the elevator was his move. Since both Speakman and his nephew have alibis, Gibbs wants to discuss the “Privileged Killer.” Gibbs thinks that it is related to the other case because of the way McLane’s throat was slit. Ducky also finds two small stab wounds to the abdomen, and it is an exact match for the “privileged killer’s” modus operandi. The team thinks a copycat is on the loose.
In New Orleans, we once again catch up with Lasalle and Brody. Lasalle confides that Pride once saved his life, and that Pride got the nickname “King” because he cleaned up a whole neighborhood through his drug busts.
On a dark New Orleans street, Doyle gets in her car and is attacked from behind. Fornell confirms that Doyle was found dead with her throat slashed and two stab wounds to her abdomen. Gibbs asks Vance for permission to go back to New Orleans with Pride. Fornell needs McGee and Tony, so Bishop wins a trip to the Big Easy.
Getting to Know You
Pride is shocked when he goes into his office and finds it neat and clean. He asks the interrogator, Brody, if she has any news. Brody found unsolved murders in several states across the panhandle that fit the same pattern. The copycat has been working for a while. Gibbs and Brody also know each other, but how is classified. Bishop is trying to get comfortable, and asks if she can have some sugar and sit on the floor.
Pride asks Brody if she is running from something. Abby finds trace evidence from the back of Doyle’s car, and it leads them to an open air square somewhere in New Orleans. The group is being photographed, maybe by the killer.
I really liked this episode of NCIS, especially the local flavor in New Orleans. In fact, it is like the city is another character.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)