Last time on NCIS, former British spy and escaped prisoner Jacob Scott was intent on avenging the death of his wife, Nika Razin. She was also Scott’s Russian buyer and tried to purchase American nuclear intelligence from her husband. She was killed during a joint operation between MI6 and NCIS called Juniper Strike. Scott obtained a hit list of the six NCIS agents involved. Scott killed his first victim, Homeland Senior Division Chief Tom Morrow, who was head of NCIS at the time of the operation.
This episode of NCIS, “Homefront,” features First Lady Michelle Obama, who meets Gibbs during a “Joining Forces” discussion with military spouses. Let us also not forget that this episode is the first in the trio that will usher out our own “Very Special Agent” Anthony DiNozzo.
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Breakfast is Important
At the diner, Abby, McGee, Bishop and Ducky are grabbing a bite following Tom Morrow’s funeral. Gibbs has sent Tony on a mission to England to find Jacob Scott. Gibbs arrives to let Bishop and McGee know that they have a case. It is a home invasion. Abby insists that Gibbs take something for breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day. So what does he select? You guessed it — coffee.
A 14-year-old teen, Henry Marshall, is found by police crouching in his bedroom closet with a gun. NCIS is called in on the case because Henry’s father, David, is a Marine who is serving a six-month tour of duty in Iraq. Henry states that he was getting ready for school when he saw someone enter the home with a knife. Henry took a gun from his father’s safe and shot the intruder. Bishop finds a bullet in the wall, so the perpetrator was most likely grazed by the bullet. Henry’s mother was at work at the time of the break-in.
London is Calling
Vance meets with Gibbs and FBI Special Agent Fornell about the hunt for Jacob Scott. Tony is in London working with MI6, and now Tony is headed to Russia to check out a lead. With just three episodes left with DiNozzo, I want to actually see DiNozzo in this episode.
Anyway, Scott only has the list of the NCIS agents involved in Juniper Strike. The head of MI6, Jessica Terdei, redacted the names of the MI6 agents, so even more people are in danger. Terdei has been flying under the radar, but Tony left some information on her possible whereabouts with an MI6 contact in England. Gibbs and a reluctant Fornell head out of the office, but Vance reminds Gibbs that he still has a case here. With that, Vance puts his go-bag on the desk. Yes, that’s right — Vance and Fornell are hitting the road together.
A Family’s Struggle
The blood found at the Marshall family’s house belongs to Mickey Doyle, who has amassed an impressive resume as a violent offender. Doyle lives in his RV, and it matches one seen on the Marshall family’s street. Bishop has some information on the Marshalls. They lived in California before moving to West Virginia eight months ago. Anne Marshall was an Assistant District Attorney in San Diego. Master Sergeant David Marshall has been involved with training Iraqi troops, and his tour was extended due to a security issue. Bishop wonders if something in Anne or David’s past may have come back to haunt them.
McGee and Bishop sit down with Anne, Henry and baby Cora. Anne is working as a receptionist and not an attorney because she would have to pass the West Virginia Bar exam to practice there. Although Anne is a military spouse, there are no special waivers and the rules can vary from state to state. Anne is working during the day and studying for the state’s bar exam in the evening.
Henry asks McGee if they know the name of the intruder. McGee shows Henry a picture of Mickey Doyle, and he recognizes him as the knife-wielding man who broke into their house. Henry swears that he has never seen the man before, but he is really worried about the possibility of Doyle coming back. McGee has made arrangements for an officer to be posted outside their house. Henry pleadingly asks McGee to find out when his father is coming home. Communication to the base has been down, but McGee promises to do his best. It seems like McGee and Henry are forming a bond.
The Odd Couple
Meanwhile, across the pond in London, our own NCIS “odd couple” of Vance and Fornell are waiting to meet with DiNozzo’s contact. Fornell is hungry because he didn’t get a good meal on the plane. People in first class, like Vance, don’t have to shoulder that burden. A man walks over and states a phrase, and once Vance gives the proper response, the man hands Vance a briefcase. Vance opens the case, which contains guns and Jessica Terdei’s MI6 paperwork. DiNozzo has highlighted the section for her emergency contact. She has an uncle named Hugo Radcliffe, and he resides in Warwickshire. Since there is no mention of any relatives in her personnel file, Vance and Fornell are left to wonder what Tony’s information means.
Fornell and Vance go to a pub and talk to the bartender, Radcliffe. When Vance and Fornell show their credentials, the testy man behind the bar pulls out a shotgun and demands that they leave. Vance lets the man know that his niece knows the name of other agents that could be in danger and that she might even be in jeopardy. Hugo tells the men that they are taking a drive.
They drive out to a secluded farm where Fornell and Vance meet Jessica Terdei. She also has a shotgun and a short temper. When they tell her about Jacob Scott, she tells them to talk to Morrow. When she finds out that he is dead, she invites them in and she spills the beans on Juniper Strike. The teams used one of Scott’s phones to get Razin out of the embassy in Istanbul. Razin was killed by an unidentified sniper. Someone obviously leaked the information about the operation to whoever killed Razin. Terdei cleared all of her operatives, so there must have been a mole in NCIS. She maintains that she gave that information to Morrow, but he swept it aside.
Their cozy chat is interrupted by the sound of sheep bleating near the cottage. A sniper fires into the cottage, and everyone inside returns fire. Vance calls Gibbs and tells him that he believes that Jacob Scott followed them to Terdei’s farm. There has to be a mole somewhere because only a small number of people in the FBI, NCIS and MI6 knew that Vance and Fornell would be in London. Someone must have tipped off Scott, but who?
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Back at the lab, Abby has been deeply affected by Tom Morrow’s funeral and has decided that people should celebrate others while they are living. She is calling her movement #LivingRocks. Abby is stunned when Gibbs uses a hashtag to ask her what she has found. Can you believe that Gibbs is using hashtags? Abby explains that the safe where the gun was kept uses a timestamp when it is opened or closed. Henry actually removed the gun one day before the break-in. McGee wants to be the one who talks to Henry since McGee has experience with his father serving in the military. McGee tells Gibbs that “Serving on the home front, it’s a very different thing.”
McGee takes Henry to the diner for a chat. It is really sweet how McGee is able to bond with Henry about their mutual experience of having a parent deployed. Henry finally gives up the truth. He was out late one night and walked past an alley. He saw Mickey Doyle stab another man. Henry went home and took his father’s gun out of the safe. Henry is terrified that Doyle is going to kill him next. The teen is sure that he wasn’t followed, so it’s unclear how Doyle found his house. The morgue has two unidentified males who died from stab wounds, but neither body was found in an alley. Could the body have been moved?
Bishop stops Gibbs to express how unfair it is that Anne Marshall can’t practice law in West Virginia. She wants to contact “Joining Forces,” a group that supports veterans and their families. No to worry, Bishop — Gibbs is already working on it.
Gibbs talks to Anne about the link between the murder that Henry witnessed and the break-in at their house. Gibbs explains that they need to put the family in protective custody and that they need Henry’s help to locate Doyle. Gibbs and Henry meet with Detective Swanson at the police station. Henry looks at crime scene photos of both victims, and neither is the man that he saw Doyle stab. Abby and Bishop check out the alley where Henry saw the man being attacked. There is no trace of blood where the stabbing occurred.
Henry is anxious and unable to sleep because he has dreams of the last time his father said goodbye before leaving for Iraq. Suddenly, Henry sees a familiar face on the television screen. It is Doyle’s victim, Wayne Woods. Woods’ body was pulled from a river. He was a drug dealer who was partially responsible for the spike in drug-related activity in the area. Woods’ body is sent to NCIS, and Ducky confirms that he was murdered by a blade with a serrated edge. Abby figures out that it is a combat knife, and Doyle’s DNA is found under Wood’s fingernails.
Dead on Arrival
Henry’s mother is worried that Doyle is going to come after Henry. She tells Gibbs that they aren’t safe anywhere. Henry is standing around the corner, listening to the conversation. The team gets a sighting of Doyle’s RV, and they head to the scene. They find Doyle dead inside, and the serrated combat knife is there, too. Gibbs gets a call stating that the agents guarding Henry can’t find him. McGee suspects that Henry is looking for Doyle, and he finds the teen crouched in the alley with a baseball bat. Henry promised his father that he would protect his mother and sister. McGee finally persuades him to go back to Gibbs’ house.
Helping on the Homefront
Gibbs meets with Navy Captain Andrew Hubbard about Anne Marshall. Hubbard explains that it is complicated to process certifications from state to state. Hubbard is going to do what he can. Anne Marshall goes to a “Joining Forces” roundtable discussion at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama. Gibbs even gets a thank you from the First Lady. Anne and Gibbs have somewhere else to be. They go home and tell Henry that the security breach at his father’s base has been lifted. Henry’s face lights up when his father walks in.
A Surprise Attack
Abby finds out that the alley was expertly disinfected. Surveillance cameras caught Henry leaving the alley and going home. The footage was accessed by someone in the police department. Gibbs arrests the female officer who originally found Henry in his closet. She is a dirty cop getting money from the local drug gangs.
Fornell and Terdei wait for Gibbs at Gibbs’ house. Fornell notices a shoe print by Gibbs’ fridge. He knows that someone is in the house. He casually makes a reference to Terdei about her sheep. They both draw their weapons, but both are shot by an unknown assailant. Fornell tries to reach his phone as his daughter calls.
I think that this was a good episode of NCIS. I liked the topical points that it addressed about what military families deal with on the home front. I must admit that I am a bit disappointed at the lack of DiNozzo in this episode.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)