NCIS tackles two mysteries in “Day in Court”: A murder investigation and Jake’s secret. While the former ends predictably, the same is not true of the latter.

A petty officer, who had been arrested for killing his ex-girlfriend, gets off on a technicality, due to the warrant not being signed until after the key piece of evidence was found. However, because everyone thinks he’s guilty, his life is hell. His lawyer is none other than Carrie Clark, who goes to Gibbs with an out-of-the-box plan.

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Meanwhile, Jake and Bishop’s marital problems not only reach a boiling point, they take a sharp turn, do a 180, do a backwards somersault and then land on their head. It’s really the only way I can describe what happens between them considering how Jake — and his and Bishop’s marriage — has been written and how Jamie Bamber has played him.

Out of the Box Thinking to Get Gibbs to Investigate

Carrie meets Gibbs at the diner to steal his bacon and bring him a case. Her client is Kyle, a petty officer everyone thinks killed his ex-girlfriend, Joy, and while the charges were dismissed due to that technicality, that doesn’t matter to the people in his life. His wife has left him and threatened to deny him access to their child. His shipmates are harassing him and think he’s guilty. (No one believes that he was two hours late reporting back to his ship due to an accident on the expressway.) “I’m innocent,” he swears, but no one believes him. If NCIS arrests him for murder and he is court-martialed, it opens a door for them to investigate.

Considering Kyle and Joy’s past (they dated in high school, she had an abortion and they once had a violent argument which Kyle was arrested for abuse) and the texts and phone call between the two the day of the murder, it’s not looking good for Kyle. Furthermore, the evidence that was thrown out is a syringe found in his car with traces of her blood on it. Kyle says he can’t explain it and that he hasn’t seen her in years.

When Tony and McGee stop by Baltimore PD, it’s nothing but praise for the DiNozzo, as he’s apparently known there. (Side note: I absolutely love this because it’s so easy for Tony to be pushed into the “class clown” role and for people to forget that he is a seasoned investigator.) Yes, the buck naked bust is true; Tony was undercover at a nudist colony at the time.

As for the current case, Detective Malone, the lead on it, and Assistant State’s Attorney Alan Wyner, the lawyer responsible for the problem with the warrant, give them access to the case files and catch them up. Joy was found on October 8. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. While her body was moved and dumped, they haven’t been able to determine where she was killed or find the weapon.

Kyle’s wife has moved back in with her parents. Kyle never told her about his past, and because of that, she can’t help but wonder if he did kill Joy. When Kyle shows up wanting to see her, Gibbs stops him in the driveway. A confrontation is not going to help his cause, the agent warns him.

After pulling Joy’s phone records and seeing the texts and call with Kyle (the call lasted four minutes) the police never looked for anyone else. She also spoke to someone on a burner phone, but they have no luck tracing it. McGee joins Tony in heading back to Baltimore to see if she could have been speaking to her pusher. One of Tony’s snitches (or “paid information consultant,” as Cheech wants to be called) tries to run at first before telling them that the rumor was that she was looking to buy a higher grade of heroin and was seeing a suit into S&M.

The bills found on Joy’s body are all relatively new, with sequential serial numbers, and so Abby puts in a call and finds out that they were printed 62 days ago and distributed at Norfolk. Banks like to use new bills in ATMs so that nothing jams, and checking the security footage reveals that Kyle is the one who withdrew them the day before Joy’s murder. That means Kyle lied about not seeing her in years, which means that he has to face Gibbs who has been lied to, which is not something anyone should ever want to do.

Did Kyle Kill Joy?

A couple of slaps from Gibbs and questions from his lawyer later, Kyle admits that he caved when Joy called about seeing him because she threatened to call his wife and tell her about his past. At first he didn’t tell the police because he didn’t know she was dead, and then when he did, he didn’t want to change his story. Why did she need the money? All she said was that she got into trouble and needed to get out of town. (Obviously the suit into S&M didn’t want that getting out, meaning the rest of the case becomes very, very predictable. Also, obviously the suit into S&M is Wyner.)

Though Gibbs tells Kyle that he’ll be charged with murder tomorrow, it doesn’t mean that the team has stopped investigating. Abby tests the residue inside the syringe found in Kyle’s car. It’s a cheap, low-grade form of heroin, which doesn’t match with Cheech’s story that she was after the high-grade stuff. A more detailed tox screen reveals that the narcotics found in Joy’s tissue sample are the more expensive heroin, not the one found in the syringe. That couldn’t have been a syringe she used recently, so it had to have been planted in Kyle’s car.

It just so happens that two years ago, Joy was busted in Baltimore, off a tip from Cheech, and was found with a needle in her arm. The evidence has been in storage, untouched until a few weeks ago, when it was accessed by none other than Wyner. Malone is sure he was just being thorough, looking for something related to her murder, because he’s a good guy. Hey, he even spoke for her at her parole hearing. Sure, and there’s a perfectly valid explanation for why the syringe in the evidence box from that bust is actually from a batch manufactured three months ago and has never been used.

Yes, Wyner’s the suit that Joy was involved with, and having it get out that he was into S&M would not have been good for his career. He admits that he screwed up the warrant on purpose so that Kyle wouldn’t go to jail, so he doesn’t understand why he went to NCIS if he was free.

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Is Jake Guilty of Something?

Things haven’t been right between Jake and Bishop for a while now, especially since Dubai. Their first night out since the bombing that could have killed him if he’d been there isn’t an entirely pleasant one. When she asks him why he wasn’t there, all he says is that the agency has been asking him the same question. There was a threat assessment before the conference and a cover-up, and they suspect that he had knowledge of it. Did he, she asks, and he only says, “Come on, Ellie.” So where was he? He still doesn’t answer except to bring up how things used to be when they could talk because she had NSA clearance.

Jake admits that he still goes to the same lunch spot almost every day by himself that they used to sneak off to, so Bishop decides to surprise him one day. However, when she gets there, she sees him having a heavy discussion with a woman. She leaves and has Abby pull up the cab footage of Jake in Dubai. The same woman was in the cab with him. Bishop knows her: Taylor Matthews, NSA’s version of Internal Affairs. Bishop is worried that her husband is in trouble.

Bishop tells Tony and McGee about the crisis at NSA. Jake’s packing a bag, but he’ll be back tomorrow, so he can’t be going far. When Tony comments that she wanted to marry a spy, she reminds him that Jake’s a lawyer. (But is he? Or is there more to Jake’s job than we — and maybe even Bishop — know?)

To Gibbs’ surprise, Bishop shows up at his house after midnight, seeking marital advice, and he has to point out the irony of this. Jake hides everything behind a veil of secrecy, she says, admitting that she thinks he’s being investigated by Internal Affairs about a leak in the agency. The only thing Gibbs can tell her is to make him talk to her, get him to at least tell him how he feels if he can’t share any details.

So Bishop takes the morning off work and is waiting at home when Jake returns from his overnight trip. She tells him that at first, she thought that he was having an affair, but now she knows he’s in trouble at work. She saw him at lunch with Taylor. However, that’s when he stops her and tells her that he is having an affair with Taylor, that at first it was just an office flirtation, but then after the bombing in Dubai … Bishop stops him there. She doesn’t want to hear anymore, and as she leaves, he tells her that he hates himself for what he’s done. Was he with her last night? He doesn’t answer.

When Bishop arrives at work, she’s clearly upset. When she tells the others about Jake’s affair, McGee’s reaction is pretty much exactly mine: “You sure?” Confusion. Pure confusion from everyone because this seems to be coming out of nowhere. Yes, she’s sure. Jake told her. Abby wonders if Jake has lost his mind, and frankly, if you had asked me even yesterday if NCIS would write that Jake is having an affair, him losing his mind or a Jake replacement would have been higher on my list of possibilities.

Tony and McGee are the perfect protective older brothers when Jake shows up at the office looking for his wife, and Gibbs tells him to leave, escorting him to the elevator. When Jake argues that Bishop is his wife, Gibbs tells him to treat her like one. Jake never wanted this to happen, he insists. “Get your head out of your ass,” Gibbs tells him before making sure he leaves.

When Jake gets home that night, the apartment is empty, and Bishop has left him a note: “Jake, I’m in a bad place. I hurt a lot. I’m going home to Oklahoma. Don’t contact me. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.” The last shot is of a photo of Jake and Bishop happy.

NCIS season 13 airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.