In the previous episode of NCIS, Gibbs figured out a way to help his friend, Fornell, deal with his grief over Diane’s death, and he also put an end to Sergei Mishnev. At a remote cabin in the woods, Gibbs let Fornell shoot Mishnev when Mishnev reached for his gun in a scene that was an almost an exact recreation of the Russian forest where the two first met. I must admit that I felt like the Mishnev storyline was a bit too long.
This episode of NCIS, “Blast from the Past,” finds the team investigating when a murder victim was living under an alias once used by Gibbs.
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Bringing Up the Ghost
The episode starts off with a man listening to his GPS, which has directed him to an unfamiliar location. Sadly for him, he pulls into a warehouse district before being shot through the windshield. At headquarters, Tony is shocked and amazed that Bishop did not cry during her first viewing of the classic Top Gun. Even more shocking than that is the fact that McGee is setting up a smart phone for Gibbs, which he has agreed to try. I am speechless!
The team is also a bit surprised that they have been called to a homicide scene for a civilian. The victim, Leland Spears, has a flag on his identification saying if he was arrested, dead or injured to “contact NIS.” Tony knows that the agency changed its name to NCIS in 1992. McGee and Gibbs arrive late to the scene because McGee tried to show Gibbs how his new navigation system worked. The phone, it seems, is now cracked.
Gibbs asks Bishop the name of the victim, and when Gibbs hears it, he asks if the victim was born on March 3, 1959. Bishop confirms that he was, and Gibbs tells Tony to tell the police that it is now an NCIS crime scene. When asked if he knows the victim, Gibbs cryptically responds, “Leland Robert Spears … that’s me.”
Tracking the Victim
Back when the organization was called NIS, Gibbs was issued a covert identity and worked dozens of cases under the alias Leland Spears. Understandably, the victim has kept a low profile under the alias. Tony goes to visit Abby, who is wearing old blue NIS coveralls rather than the fetching red ones that she normally wears. She wants to get in the spirit of the case, and even finds glasses belonging to Doc Ward, her predecessor. Abby has found some evidence. She discovered a sophisticated GPS tracking device, which is used only by domestic and foreign government agencies, under the hood. Abby and Tony believe that it was planted on Spears.
Ducky tells Gibbs that the victim’s fingerprints are not in the system, so they will rely on DNA to find his identity. Ducky asks Gibbs if he misses the excitement of working undercover. Gibbs responds that being under too long and losing sight of what is important was even more dangerous than the work itself. Ducky also reminds him of how he was sent to Prague with a lovely redhead — Jenny Shephard.
Video Game Heaven
Bishop and McGee check out the victim’s apartment. Bishop looks troubled when she learns that Tony went undercover as Tony DiNardo and even fell in love. The apartment is definitely weird. It is filled with video games and a black light. They do find a key card in the pocket of Spears’ coat. McGee hears something in the hall and opens the door to find Spears’ neighbor, Robbie Hale, who is looking for Spears. He didn’t see Spears the previous night, but heard him playing video games. Hale also explains that lately a steady stream of women have been coming to the apartment at night.
Abby finds out that the bullets that killed the victim came from a sniper’s rifle. The tracker on Spears car was installed a week before he was killed, and he had been to a burger place, his apartment, some strip clubs and a basketball game. He also spent about an hour out in the woods. Gibbs sends McGee and Bishop to check it out.
The Big Bang
Bishop and McGee pull up and see a small cabin. As they approach, Bishop quizzes McGee about if Gibbs would ever put her undercover since she is married, and what would happen if the mark put the moves on her. McGee tells her not to worry about it. As they approach, the cabin explodes. That was a close call!
As the team sifts through the debris, they find the remains of a computer that was shoved between the cushions of the couch. Gibbs also finds the trigger to a bomb. Abby discovers that the trigger was a vintage timer, which was attached to a pipe bomb.
Gibbs meets up with Tom Morrow, who was the previous director of NIS. He claims not to know what is happening, and he is trying to get information from Homeland. Gibbs is confused because Tom was supposed to have burned Gibbs’ covert identity when they closed the last case. Tom admits that the alias was delivered to him by Michelle Stark, also known as “The Architect” because of the intricate secret identities that she crafted. She created the Spears alias along with many others. Tom promises to forward her number to Gibbs when he finds it since she is now retired.
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Burning the Past
Bishop and Gibbs pay a visit to Michelle Stark, and she is the neighborhood “cat lady.” Gibbs asks about the Spears identity, and Stark remembers creating it. Stark explains that an old identity would be burned, except from the classified CIA network, but it shouldn’t be able to be retrieved at all.
Meanwhile, Tony chats with his lady love Zoe on the phone and lies to her about working that night so he can avoid meeting her parents. Abby and McGee overhear Tony fibbing to Zoe, and he confesses that he never had dinner with the parents of a woman he is seriously dating. I wish Tony would change his mind and man up for Zoe.
All about Gallium Nitride
McGee uncovers research that Spears was doing on his computer about gallium nitride, which is used in the aerospace industry. It is wanted by military agencies across the world, and not for altruistic purposes. It can be used for missile applications and anti-radar equipment.
Gibbs brings Tom to NCIS to be briefed on what the team has found, but it seems that Gibbs already has all the information. As Spears, Gibbs was investigating a company that was doing research on gallium nitride. Gibbs’ alias was stolen for this reason, and Morrow and Gibbs think it is time to resurrect the identity. Bishop and Tony ask Gibbs what his cover was. Gibbs wasn’t a hit man or a dealer; he was a computer technician. This information gives Tony and Bishop a case of the giggles. Gibbs as an information tech guy — hilarious!
Abby figures out that Spears was using Gibbs’ background information and posing as a tech support guy for Longview Technics. Longview Technics, which happens to deal with gallium nitride, will certainly not share their files with NCIS. So Gibbs is rejoining the work force as a computer nerd! McGee is stunned that Abby thinks Gibbs is a smarter choice for the assignment.
Abby and McGee watch as Gibbs, outfitted with a camera on him, accesses the building. When confronted by a security guard, Gibbs ignores everything McGee is saying through the ear piece and wings it. Once Gibbs gets to a computer, Abby and McGee walk him through computer basics.
Spears was stealing information from the company. The team goes to the house where Spears was sending the info, but they find it clean and nearly empty. There is a body on the floor in the kitchen and junk mail under the name Edgar Bron. This alias was used by Mike Franks. I am starting to think that the cat lady is making a little money on the side after her retirement by selling these aliases.
Gibbs looks at the pictures of Spears’ apartment with the stack of tattoo magazines and tells McGee to find out what he can about Miranda Flemming.
Gibbs goes to see Spears’ body, which has no obvious tattoos. Gibbs shines a black light on it and finds an ultraviolet tattoo in Serbian.
Gibbs meets with Michelle Stark and Tom Morrow. McGee interrupts the meeting and hands Gibbs a folder. Miranda Flemming was the alias that Jenny Shephard worked under on the same case with Gibbs and Franks. McGee found that Flemming has a flight booked to Argentina, but her photo on the identification shows a picture of Stark. Stark is upset that she was pushed out of the agency because of mandatory retirement. She was paid a lot of money for the two backstopped identifications. Gibbs tells Stark to e-mail the handler and tell them that Bron isn’t dead, but in the hospital.
McGee Goes Undercover
McGee is playing Bron in the hospital, restlessly waiting in bed, when the fire alarm on that floor sounds. Bishop stops Hale, Spears’ handler, from injecting McGee with something. Hale admitted to the team that he killed Spears and Bron because they had finished their mission. Hale claims to have diplomatic immunity from Serbia, but he actually doesn’t.
Before leaving for the night, Bishop gets up the courage to ask Gibbs about whether he would ever put her undercover. She wants to know if being undercover affected Gibbs’ marriage. Gibbs simply tells her to go home to her husband, Jake.
I did like this episode of NCIS, and I loved the comedic touches like Gibbs being a computer tech guy for his alias. I am not sure where Bishop is going with her questions about going undercover, but I predict that there may be some marital strife on the horizon.
NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)