The previous episode of NCIS was a heavy one, to be sure. The team investigated the death of a Navy Ensign, Janine Wilt, who was a Cyber Warfare Engineer. Wilt was murdered after she blocked a chat room to protect a high school student, Layna Korkmaz, on the basketball team that she coached. Korkmaz was invited to join a chat room recruiting teens to find “their calling” and spewing messages of hate. The team located one of these students, Brad Simek, on a public bus with a homemade bomb. Gibbs had almost talked him off the bus when the teen ran toward the back of the bus and it exploded.

We will see the fall-out from this awful event in this episode of NCIS, “The Lost Boys,” as the team looks into an international effort by terrorists to recruit children through chat rooms and the Internet. What a scary, and timely, storyline.

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Who is That Boy?

It is a grim scene on the bus when the show kicks off. Bishop and McGee blame themselves because the whole incident could have been avoided if they had caught Simek at his house. Ducky is on the scene and notes that it appears that Simek has a mark, or tattoo, on his arm that the coroner finds vaguely familiar. As a crowd of on-lookers gathers, Gibbs spots a young boy who runs away after making eye contact with Gibbs. Gibbs pursues him, but the boy disappears.

Back at headquarters, Dorneget, played by guest star Matt Jones, is waiting outside MTAC, where he will be leading his first briefing. If Tony and McGee don’t stop messing with his head, it may also be Dorneget’s last MTAC expedition. Dorneget has the last laugh because he has already “transitioned” to his alter ego, Gilroy Libbs, which is why he is not stressed out by Tony and McGee’s comments. That is awesome!

A Terrifying Threat

Dorneget has found that Simek was linked to several anonymous recruiters working with one terror cell named “The Calling.” The group is located in Iraq, but they are making a push to recruit children through the Internet. The terror group is not only utilizing chat rooms, but also cartoons and video games to recruit children as young as 10 years old. Dorneget explains that the cell is like an evil Peter Pan recruiting an international band of lost boys to join him.  Now that is seriously scary.

In Paris, Commissioner Girard sends the team the picture of Matthew Rousseau, who is a leader of “The Calling” in France and handles their communications. Girard’s team intercepted some e-mails to him from the United States. While they cannot trace the e-mail, they were able to break the code, and the news is bad. Group members are looking for S-mines on the black market. 

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Bad Deal

Abby briefs the team on the S-mine, which was a type of land mine used by the Germans in World War II. Gibbs calls a meeting with Agah Bayar because he wants to know who is trying to get these S-mines. Gibbs offers Bayar the same pay that he makes when he works for the DIA. The two men shake on it. I have a bad feeling about this agreement.

Gibbs goes to autopsy, where Abby and Ducky are grooving to her “lab jams” music, which Ducky finds exhilarating. The mark on Simek’s arm is not a tattoo, but Simek drew it on himself with permanent ink. Ducky has seen the design before — on the arm of an American soldier who was radicalized in Syria and was involved with a plan to kill a visiting Imam. Randall White shot himself with a plastic gun printed from a 3-D printer. The second conspirator died in prison, but the third one, Sarah Goode, is due for a chat with NCIS.

Goode posed as a prisoner of a terrorist cell and was rescued. Surprisingly, she is ready to talk. “The Calling” started as part of the terror group that Goode joined in Syria. It became less about religious ideals and more about chaos and overthrowing the system. Goode would like them stopped, but not at the expense of young people who are being swayed back to her terror group. Bishop shows her the list of chat room names. Goode knows one — ‘SS-Builder-48.’ His name is Sadiq Samar, and he is a 25-year-old US citizen and engineer who has great skill at recruiting others. Goode makes one request, and that is if they find Samar to kill him. Bishop does some digging and finds that a Sal Roberts purchased a building in DC with funds from Samar’s bank account.

Cairo Bound

Meanwhile, Vance has decided that Dorneget and McGee will represent NCIS at an Interpol meeting in Cairo. Dorneget is particularly excited about this honor. Gibbs is less enthused when he finds out that the DIA has stopped Gibbs’ deal with Bayar since Bayar is already working on other operations for them.

Gibbs, Tony and Bishop go to the run-down building and find the bayonet that matches the weapon used to kill Wilt. The group hears noises and sees the same young boy from the bus stop cowering in a corner. He has a gun, but Gibbs is able to calmly take it from him. The young boy’s name is Luke Harris, and he was reported missing by his parents. Harris refuses to speak with Gibbs and sits in stony silence. Harris’ biological parents were from Iraq and later put him up for adoption. Harris was bullied by other students at school for being Middle Eastern.

Abby’s Report

Since Abby is involved in something else, Tony volunteers to read the information, complete with his best Abby impression: “Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs!” I love it! Harris was communicating with Samar and others on the dark web. Abby points out that these chat rooms are closed shortly after they are opened, and there is no way to trace them. Harris read about Simek in the chat room, and Samar told him to go to the building. It also turns out that Samar bought the building because it is connected to a bunker with tons of storage space. Abby begs to go to the bunker, along with Bishop and Tony. That seems like a bad idea to me.

In Cairo, McGee and Dorneget learn that Rousseau has been captured and is being held on an aircraft carrier. McGee wants in on the interrogation and calls to volunteer his services.

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Bonding over Breakfast

At his house, Gibbs bonds with Harris over a supper of cereal. Gibbs has a way of getting through to the young boy. Gibbs even tells him about his daughter, Kelly, and how she would sit in that same chair and eat cereal. Harris suddenly screams that he is nothing and begs Gibbs to kill him. Gibbs gives Ducky Harris’ belongings to help profile the boy. Ducky finds a handbook from Samar that urges recruits to destroy anyone close to them who is not a believer in “The Calling.” Harris wrote a letter to his parents that was terrible, but the kid didn’t complete it. Ducky sees some hope in that.

In the old building, Abby is super excited about the secret room. It appears that Samar has been testing S-mines in there, specifically by stringing two together. Abby figures out from the schematics at the bunker that six of the S-mines could be linked together by a virtual trip wire of sorts that is detonated by a pinpoint laser.

Gibbs tells Vance that they need Bayar, and they have evidence that Bayar’s mother is living nearby. Perhaps they can blackmail Bayar into helping them by threatening to deport his mother? Vance gives on this, warning Gibbs to be careful. Gibbs tells Tony to bring Bishop to meet with Bayar. Bayar definitely prefers talking with Bishop. He agrees to help because he despises how “The Calling” is exploiting and recruiting children.

A Broken Boy

Gibbs shoves the letter at Harris and tells him to finish it so he can give it to his parents. Harris finally crumbles and asks if Gibbs will bring him to see his parents if he spills what he knows about Samar. Samar told Harris to stay at the building and kill anyone who came inside. Isn’t that heartwarming? Abby has found another chat room, and in it Samar comments about Harris being a traitor to the cause.

Gibbs is on his way to bring Harris to see his parents. When they arrive, the front door is open. Gibbs tells Harris to stay in the car. Gibbs finds both parents dead, and Harris follows him inside. Gibbs cradles the distraught boy and pulls him from the house.

A Painful Sacrifice

On the USS Daniel Webster, McGee has his sit-down with Rousseau. Rousseau, shockingly, denies any knowledge of any S-mines. He also tells McGee that he is missing the “party” in Cairo. McGee gets a phone and calls Dorneget, warning him to evacuate the hotel in Cairo. As Dorneget frantically tries to get people to safety, he sees a suspicious-looking young man standing calmly. Dorneget sees the red laser light too late, and someone runs through it, causing the S-Mines to explode all around the hotel.

At NCIS headquarters, Gibbs is frustrated by the entire situation. He wants Samar, right away. Bishop, who is on the phone, gets news that no one wants to hear. Dorneget has died from his injuries.

Bayar has some information, and he wants to speak with Bishop. He has found three people trying to purchase S-mines for a coordinated attack in cities all over the world. Bayar doesn’t know when the attacks will take place, but Cairo was just a test. Suddenly, a car approaches and Tony pushes Bayar out of the line of fire. Bayar was shot anyway, but it looks like he will survive.

Dorneget has no family except for his mother, and she has been out of the country. When the plane comes in from Cairo, Gibbs assures Vance that the team will be there to meet it. McGee follows the casket out of the transport as the rest of the team waits. When Gibbs looks beyond the casket, he sees Dorneget standing with Mike Franks, Jenny Shepard and Kate. A moment later and the ghosts are gone. A car pulls up with Dorneget’s mother, CIA Officer Joanna Teague. She wants her son’s killers found and punished.

I found this episode of NCIS to be both moving and depressing. I am sad that Dorneget was killed off just as he was becoming a more complex character. The subject matter is dark, and thankfully there were a few light moments in the episode. The conclusion, and season finale, will air next time.

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.