Last time on NCIS, we saw McGee and Delilah at a critical relationships crossroads when Delilah decided to take a job in Dubai, derailing McGee’s plan to ask her to move in. Thankfully, these crazy kids are determined to make their long distance relationship work, and Delilah still scored the keys to McGee’s place.
This week’s episode of NCIS, “Alleged,” spins around a female Navy officer’s assault. Oh, and McGee and Tony embark on a cleanse to purify their bodies. This duo takes “bromance” to a new level!
Cleansing the Body
The episode starts off with a distracted driver accidentally driving over a male Navy officer. Back at NCIS, Bishop offers Tony and McGee some actual breakfast, but they must decline because of their cleanse, which has been going strong for two whole days. There is also a disagreement over whose idea it was to purify their bodies. They are not pleased when Palmer lets it slip to Gibbs about the cleanse.
The victim is 23-year old Ensign Lester Tate, and he was assigned to the USS Soteria out of Norfolk. Ducky is on hand to announce that the ensign was already dead when the car drove him (thank goodness, I guess). He was also apparently in an altercation before his death.
Gibbs and Bishop head to the ship and meet with Commander Wexler about Tate, who is on leave until the next day. Wexler asks about Ensign Thomas Burke, Tate’s good friend. They are such good friends, in fact, that they rented a place in town during their leave. Burke also did not report this morning.
The team goes to the place that Burke and Tate rented, and find a man inside proclaiming that he is innocent. The interesting thing is that no one has asked any questions yet. When they do start questioning him, Burke laments leaving Tate behind at the Silver Leaf, a bar located nearby. When Tony asks what Burke did not do, he stammers and asks for a lawyer.
The Bartender’s Tale
At the bar, Bishop and Tony confirm Burke’s story that he left the bar at about midnight, but Tate stayed longer. The bartender also reveals that he tossed Tate and another man, who was short with dark hair, out of the bar for sparring over a girl.
In autopsy, Ducky narrows down the cause of death to blunt force trauma and thinks that Tate’s killer smashed his head against the concrete. Meanwhile, McGee revels in the glorious taste of his fresh salad, while Tony stares down Bishop and her lunch. I love it!
McGee is surprised to find that Tate called the NCIS information line several times before his death. The calls actually went to the Family and Sexual Violence division.
Protecting a Friend
Gibbs and Vance meet with Special Agent Maureen Cabot, played by guest star Kelli Williams. Gibbs and Tate have crossed paths before, and they have definite chemistry. Tate isn’t a rape suspect — he reported an assault for a friend, who is a fellow junior officer who is now denying the rape. Tate’s friend admitted she was attacked after being drugged, but neither she nor Tate knew the assailant. The victim knows that the assault occurred after a night out drinking with Tate and some other junior officers. Burke also denied being involved in the assault.
Afraid to Come Forward
Gibbs and Cabot return to the USS Soltaria to speak with Ensign Holly Farrell, who denies the assault, but Gibbs trips her up when she admits to only telling Tate. Farrell finally tells Gibbs that she was with six other officers in Key West, including Tate and Burke. She felt intoxicated during her second drink and headed back to her private quarters on the ship. She awoke the next morning feeling physically beaten and ashamed. She tried to pretend that it had never happened.
When Tate asked why she was upset, she confided in her friend, and now fears that his death is her fault. Abby pops into the room and Gibbs asks her to step outside. Gibbs asks if it is possible to find out what type of drug Farrell was given right before Farrell charges out of the room and confronts Gibbs for telling her secret. Farrell refuses to go forward with looking into her rape, even if it could lead them to Tate’s killer.
Abby later speaks to Farrell and explains how upset she is about her situation, and that she can trust Gibbs. In a moving moment, Abby embraces the other woman. Farrell breaks down and confides that she went to a NAS clinic and filed a restricted rape report in Key West. She also had a rape kit done before she showered. Farrell agrees to make a report and Abby sets off to get the kit.
Vance calls in Gibbs and Cabot to see if they believe that a rape actually occurred, so that one false claim doesn’t shed doubt on legitimate cases. They both agree that Farrell was raped. Vance softens when he shares that his daughter wants to join one day and become a Navy officer, and Vance wishes that this problem could be eradicated once and for all.
Chili Cheese Fries with a Side of Insults
McGee is able to confirm Burke’s alibi for the time that Tate was murdered. Tony and Bishop think that the bar fight was about Farrell, and they want to show the bartender pictures of Tate’s fellow junior officers.
At the bar, Tony and Bishop show pictures of Tate’s fellow officers to the bartender. When Bishop’s chili cheese fries arrive, Tony becomes irate in the face of such delicious temptation. Bishop tells Tony that he and McGee are okay in the looks department so a cleanse is not necessary, but when an inebriated patron asks Tony if he can dance with his daughter, Tony’s humiliation is complete. The bartender returns and points out a familiar face — the man who was in the fight with Tate.
The Test Results
The suspect, Eddie, is an ex-con and not in the military. He admits to having a fight with Tate because his advances toward a woman at the bar were not welcome. He claims that he didn’t know Tate was dead and returned to the bar the next night hoping to mix it up with him again.
Abby gets the rape kit results, and although there is no DNA evidence, there is evidence that Farrell was drugged with ketamine.
Searching for Evidence
Gibbs and Cabot meet with Wexler and the captain of the ship, who are eager to help with Farrell’s case. The captain orders Wexler to look for ketamine while Cabot and Gibbs meet with the remaining four suspects who were with Farrell in Key West. One suspect has a time-stamped photo of the four suspects in their bunks. I have a hunch it may be Wexler.
Ducky also thinks that Tate died from a slow bleed and may have been able to walk for a while before dying. Palmer also shares that Abby found grease from vegetable oil along with bits of concrete in Tate’s head wound. Bishop and Tony speak with the bartender again, and he reiterates that he pushed Tate towards a dumpster in the alley. So the bartender is responsible for Tate’s death when the victim hit his head against the dumpster.
Farrell agrees to let Cabot and Gibbs interview everyone on the ship, but she is not sure she can continue being in the Navy. Gibbs urges her not to give up. Abby and McGee find that another Navy officer, Monica King, was treated at a San Diego clinic three years earlier and also had ketamine in her system. She left the Navy two months later.
A Familiar Suspect
The team talks to Monica in MTAC, and she relates her story. She did tell her superior, Captain Rundy, who said that there was nothing he could do if she didn’t know who attacked her. McGee cross-checks the names of personnel on Monica’s ship and the USS Soteria, and there is only one match — Wexler.
Wexler is a real jerk and scoffs about the nine women who were raped in the same manner during his career. When Wexler jumps out of his seat, Cabot gives him a smack as Gibbs cuffs him.
Tony stops by McGee’s desk, and he smells actual food. The mighty McGee has fallen to pepperoni, and Tony refuses to accept a piece in disgust. He instead wants a steak, and Bishop is thrilled to join the party as they head off for some actual food.
Gibbs and Abby speak with Farrell before she heads off for Tate’s ship-board memorial. Farrell hugs Abby and salutes Gibbs before heading off with Burke.
I thought that NCIS did a great job handling a ripped-from-the-headlines issue in a sensitive manner, particularly while conveying the emotional and physical trauma of sexual assault victims.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)