In the previous episode of NCIS, we saw Bishop and Gibbs travel to Afghanistan to hunt for a terrorist. In a telling moment, Bishop, who was still haunted by the death of her co-worker Taj, questioned Gibbs’ order to drive a jeep into the terrorist’s compound. Gibbs promised he would have her back, and he did. Gibbs shot the terrorist while Bishop shot a guard. I still have mixed feelings about Bishop not wanting to follow Gibbs’ order and about her being more comfortable as an analyst than a field agent.
This episode of NCIS, “Troll,” features the return of Ned Dorneget, played by guest star Matt Jones. Dorneget is with NCIS cyber operations. I am excited that he is back and has found his niche. This episode also features guest star Jamie Bamber as NSA attorney Jake Malloy, who is not only Bishop’s husband, but also pals with someone else on the team.
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The episode starts off with a man proposing to his girlfriend at a diner. Not only does she decline his proposal, but a car careens into the diner, narrowly missing them.
At NCIS, Bishop and Jake arrive after carpooling and Jake wants to say hi to the team. Tony is acting particularly hostile about this and tells Jake that his BFF, Gibbs, hasn’t arrived yet. Both McGee and Tony are floored that Gibbs and Jake speak on the phone daily. Hilarious! Gibbs arrives and tells the team that they have a crime scene.
The deceased woman in the car that is now inside the diner is 25-year-old Navy Ensign Janine Wilt. Ducky can tell that her cause of death was a deep neck gash that severed her carotid artery. McGee discovers that the Navy lists all of her information, except for her address, as classified.
Tony discovers a shirt from a nearby school, Gorton Poly High School, in the back seat. It is in the opposite direction from where Wilt lived. Bishop and Gibbs go to the school and meet with the coach of the girls’ basketball team. Wilt volunteered and helped coach the girls’ team. In fact, Wilt was at the high school the night before until 11pm. The coach doesn’t know what her friend did for the Navy, only that she worked with computers.
McGee digs up some more information on Wilt. She was working for the Office of Naval Intelligence as a Cyber Warfare Engineer. Her file “went dark” two weeks earlier, and Gibbs wonders if whatever she was working on resulted in her murder.
Ensign Wilt’s commanding officer briefs Vance and Gibbs on what a special person she was and how she was an expert in code-breaking. Wilt was working on Espada de Satanas, or “Sword of Satan,” a Columbian drug ring that had been smuggling drugs through US ports. Her commanding officer is convinced that her protected status ensured her safety since all the known members of the ring were captured. Gibbs isn’t buying it and thinks someone was able to track her back.
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Tony is still fascinated by BFF’s Gibbs and Jake, and he is startled to learn that Gibbs and Jake meet for racquetball on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
McGee and Tony check Wilt’s apartment, and there’s no sign of a struggle. McGee has her laptop, but it has so many firewalls that he can’t get inside. McGee calls NCIS Cyber, and they send over Special Agent Ned Dorneget. Meanwhile, McGee is inundated with e-mails from ONI about Wilts and her operation. Bishop uncovers Wilt’s car running a red light 20 minutes before her death. Even though the camera angle is bad, you can clearly see both of her hands on the wheel, so she hadn’t been injured yet.
During the autopsy, Ducky finds that Wilt was killed by a wide blade and it looks like the killer held the knife to her throat before slashing it.
A Link to the Case
Dorneget is impressed with Wilt’s laptop, but he thinks she may have been a bit paranoid. More likely she was afraid of Alfredo Montez, a paroled drug trafficker who created a secure messaging system for the cartel. Montez had a bunch of aliases, so tracking him down probably won’t be easy.
Bishop and Tony locate Montez, who believes that they have been bought off to kill him. His boss said that Montez was off the night of Wilt’s murder, but Montez states that he was home. Someone backdoored Montez’s server, and he doesn’t know the identity of the hacker.
Abby has been examining the car and finds a glove print that means that someone was in the back of Wilt’s car, forcing her to drive with a knife to her throat. Dorneget finds evidence that Wilt used her laptop to gain remote access to a home computer. The computer’s owner is Adem Faruk Korkmaz. McGee and Bishop pay a visit to Korkmaz, and his teenage daughter opens the door. Korkmaz states that his computer is used for business and that he doesn’t know Wilt. Since NCIS doesn’t have a warrant, he refuses them access to his computer.
Korkmaz emigrated from Istanbul in 1998 and became a US citizen in 2003. He runs an import and export business, but I wonder what product he is dealing in. Well, we won’t find out anytime soon because the application for the warrant is denied. Vance receives a call from someone at the NSA; they hold a FISA warrant to monitor Korkmaz’s communications with Turkey. Bishop asks who called, but Vance brushes aside her question. Vance tells the team that they can’t do anything until he speaks with the head of the NSA in the morning.
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Bishop goes to meet with Jake and asks what the NSA’s interest in Korkmaz is, and she lets her husband know that she is aware that he has the information. Bishop continues to press for the intel, and Jake responds that she is different and never acted like this before. Bishop takes a deep breath and reveals that she shot and killed a man in Afghanistan the week before. Jake is stunned that his wife didn’t tell him about the shooting. Bishop asks him one last time to let go of Korkmaz’s computer. He refuses and reminds her that everything in their marriage changed when she decided to leave the NSA for NCIS. Yikes! I wonder if these two will even stay together after that brutal exchange.
A Change of Heart
The next morning, Jake arrives to Bishop’s stony gaze and heads up to meet with Vance. Gibbs advises Bishop to stay in her seat and he runs up to the meeting. Jake is still refusing to override NSA jurisdiction. Gibbs is not happy and tells Jake that his job “sucks.” I love it — you tell him, Gibbs! Jake agrees to turn over the computer and offers to take any consequences that come his way. Jake even gives an SSD drive to his BFF, Gibbs.
Bishop asks how Gibbs got it, and McGee advises her to let it go. Dorneget and McGee are going through the files and find some folders that are using the same distinct firewalls that Wilt used on her laptop. All that remains in the folder is a deleted e-mail account and a list of names from a chat room. Bishop brings the list of names from the chat room into the interrogation room. Korkmaz denies ever going into a chat room, but he spots something familiar — the screen name ‘Scout99,’ which belongs to his daughter. Gibbs asks if she goes to Gorton Poly High and plays for the basketball team. The answer to both questions is yes.
Layna snuck onto her father’s computer and joined a chat room. She was later invited to join another chat room filled with people who hated everyone and everything and asked if she knew what her calling was. She quit both chat rooms and started to receive threatening messages to come back. Layna told Wilt and she accessed Layna’s father’s computer in the middle of the night and blocked the chat room. Layna recalls that ‘Hellbent427’ was the screen name of the person who asked her to join the other chat, and he was really angry when she quit.
A Curious Weapon
Abby has some additional information from Wilt’s neck tissue. Abby thinks that the weapon was a bayonet, but the mold fungus dates from Vietnam. There is a local collector of Vietnam-era memorabilia named Peter Simek. Bradley Simek is listed as using the screen name ‘Hellbent427.’
McGee and Tony head to the Simek residence and learn from Brad’s mother that he is fond of his late father Peter’s weapons collection. Brad also has a 3-D printer in his room. He pulls out of the garage and drives off. They find that Brad is into dark web stuff. He attended the same school as Layna, but Brad is a loner. He is a member of a type of terror group, and SS Builder-48 is particularly hostile to Brad. Ducky believes that Wilt was murdered for interfering with the recruitment of Layna Korkmaz and that Brad murdered Wilt to prove his worth to the group.
Abby tells Gibbs that Brad had gun powder on his computer and printed a bomb detonator with his 3-D printer. Brad’s phone coordinates show that he is on a bus filled with passengers. Gibbs has the bus driver pull over and the teams surrounds the bus. Brad has the bomb, and Gibbs holds Brad at gunpoint. He asks Brad if he murdered Wilt, and he says no, but it was his knife. Gibbs almost has Brad talked off the bus when the teen spots the police and dives back on the bus, detonating the bomb.
This was such a heavy episode of NCIS, and I really appreciated the lighter moments with the BFF’s. The conclusion airs on May 5.
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NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)