Last season on NCIS, Gibbs, Torres and McGee traveled to Paraguay to locate a missing Navy SEAL. A chopper flew in to rescue the men and some children that had been kidnapped by rebels. Gibbs and father-to-be McGee decided to be heroic and stay behind to fight the rebels. To say that they were heavily outnumbered would be kind. 

The season 15 premiere of NCIS, titled “House Divided,” deals with the consequences of that mission. We pick up right after the season 14 cliffhanger. Torres orders the helicopter pilot to turn around, but he does not have enough fuel. Torres shoves a gun into the man’s neck, but he doesn’t change his mind.

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A Hellish Existence

It is now two months after Gibbs and McGee were captured by the rebels. Back at headquarters, the new boss — Bishop — is maybe even tougher than Gibbs. I can’t believe that Bishop is in charge. Reeves was up all night working on a lead on Gibbs and McGee’s location in Paraguay. When someone hears them talking, Reeves makes it a point to say that the DOD has decided that no one from NCIS will be working on the case. Anyway, the lead is a dead end.

Torres is being grilled at a congressional hearing about the mission. The Revolutionary Armed Council rebels disappeared, and no one found any clues to McGee and Gibbs’ whereabouts. Well, the RAC was involved in selling black market uranium, and this little jaunt has set back the CIA’s operations. Torres scolds the Congressmen and Congresswoman for not doing more to find the missing NCIS team members. The Congresswoman wonders if McGee and Gibbs are even alive. 

Bishop, Reeves, Ducky and Palmer are working an unusual crime scene. The victim, who is dead on the street, was the victim of a drive-by shooting and also has clumps of hair falling out. We learn that Quinn is on leave taking care of her mother, who has dementia, and Delilah is a wreck because of her husband’s capture. The victim was actually calling NCIS from a phone booth when he was shot. Torres arrives late and returns Reeves’ tie that he borrowed, complete with a brand-new mustard stain. 

Come Meet Jefe

In Paraguay, McGee and Gibbs are in a prison cell, and they look awful. They have obviously been beaten and look malnourished. I can’t stand to see them like this! Gibbs uses part of a can to try and open the cell door, but he fails. McGee, meanwhile, is fantasizing about a lovely meal, a smartphone and a hot shower as he divides up beans for their meal. Soon, some new people arrive, and a man wielding a bat tells them that Christmas has come early and that they are going to meet Santa. Why do I have the feeling that this is not the same jolly, happy Santa that will take their wish list and give them gifts? It is the head of the organization, Jefe, that wants to meet with Gibbs and McGee. Wherever they are in Paraguay, there are men in hazmat suits working with chemicals, probably the uranium, in a locked room. That is not a good sign.

Jefe, who is well-dressed and sports a wide-brimmed hat, asks his guard what has happened to his two prisoners. When the guard confesses to mistreating McGee and Gibbs, Jefe shoots him and apologizes. He is willing to put aside the fact that the NCIS agents killed some of his men — for a price. Gibbs asks what the price is, and Jefe wants to sell information that Gibbs has to recoup the money that Gibbs and McGee cost him. Since the men are unwilling to cooperate, Jefe decides to “persuade” them. Jefe asks Gibbs when his birthday is, and when he refuses to answer, he is waterboarded. McGee, who is tied up, pleads with Jefe to stop. It is so upsetting to watch. Jefe is pure evil.  

McGee Gives In

McGee is told to troubleshoot a printer set-up. He refuses to help them and poignantly explains all the things that he has missed at home, including baby classes with his pregnant wife. McGee finally breaks down and reveals his birthday just so he can eat a piece of bread. McGee is returned to the cell after fixing the computer, and a disappointed Gibbs asks McGee what else he told them. McGee tries to give Gibbs some raisins that he got for him. 

For Gibbs, there is no compromising to stay alive; they are dealing with terrorists. Gibbs punches McGee, and guards come in to break up the fight. One guard hits Gibbs over the head, and when they take McGee away and Gibbs is alone, he looks at the knife that McGee smuggled in. 

The same sympathetic guard who gave McGee the food comes to visit him in his new cell. He gives McGee a medallion with Nicholas, the patron saint of children, on it. It had belonged to his daughter, but his family died in an uprising. That is when he joined the RAC. McGee urges him to quit, but the man points out that you can never escape Jefe, though he would like to be rid of him forever. Just then, Gibbs shows up and springs McGee. They have worked out a plan to escape, even if McGee wasn’t able to get the blueprints for the ship from the computer. 

As Jefe relaxes from a long day of torturing Gibbs, the agents come in and pull a gun on the unsuspecting terrorist, and Gibbs asks him when his birthday is.

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Cause of Death

The victim from the street is Zachary Brooks, who is 35 years old and has convictions for being a drug mule. Brooks may have died from the gunshots, but he also had radiation poisoning. Bishop calls for “floor time” and makes Reeves and Torres sit on the floor with her and spitball ideas about the case. Remember Tony DiNozzo’s “campfire” chats when he took over for Gibbs? I still miss Tony. Abby finds out that Brooks was poisoned by uranium — and the exact type that the RAC has. The team believes that Brooks called them with information about McGee and Gibbs. 

Back at the hearing, Vance tells the committee that the agents were there on a humanitarian mission to rescue the children. Vance also wants Gibbs and McGee found. He wants to help look for his agents, but NCIS has been forbidden to go near the Paraguay investigation. Palmer arrives and passes Vance a note about the uranium, just as the Congresswoman states that any information about Paraguay must be given to the DOD. Vance tells them that the note is about a personal matter, not about Gibbs and McGee.

Vance meets Bishop and Ducky. Brooks has been to Paraguay recently and apparently smuggled the uranium out in his intestines. Yikes! The team also identifies a smiley face stamped on the man’s hand, and Palmer recognizes it as a hand stamp for the Club Mouth. Meanwhile, a worried Delilah calls Bishop, anxious to hear news about her husband. Bishop clumsily reminds Delilah that NCIS is not able to follow up on any leads themselves. Just as Bishop and Torres arrive, they find a female bartender, Jezebel Poppins, dousing the inside of the club with gasoline. Jezebel identifies a photo of Brooks as her boyfriend. 

It’s All About Location

Brooks was working for her boss at the club, smuggling what he thought was drugs, when he realized that he was actually smuggling in uranium from Paraguay. Brooks told his girlfriend that he was putting an end to his involvement, but he was killed before he could talk to NCIS. She was going to burn down the club to get revenge, and Torres tells her that they need to find her boss. She points to a crime scene picture and identifies a spectator as her boss, Mickey Clark.

Clark is a trafficker of drugs, people and now uranium. Reeves and Bishop go to Abby’s lab, where Delilah is waiting. She knew from Bishop’s tone that NCIS had a lead. Abby and Delilah notice charges on Clark’s phone for several dating services. These dating apps tell you how far you are away from each of the people that you are matched to. They locate Clark and scoop him up. Abby examines his burner phone, which only has one overseas number in it. When Abby can’t trace the number, Bishop calls it, and McGee answers. 

Rescue Mission

Gibbs tells Bishop to order the chopper and that he and McGee will get to the top of the ship. Bishop has a major problem, since the request for the chopper must come from the DOD. Vance gets a call from Bishop, and he tells the committee members that the team has located Gibbs and McGee. The hearing is adjourned, and the cameras are turned off. Vance is told to order the chopper from the Paraguayan military. McGee can’t use the GPS on Jefe’s satellite phone, and they are not sure where they are. Bishop decides to add a dating application to Jefe’s phone so they can determine where McGee and Gibbs are. That is genius!  

A chopper will be there in 20 minutes, but Gibbs and McGee must make it topside in time. Gibbs wears Jefe’s hat and hits Jefe, who has a hood over his head and a gag in his mouth. They make it quite a distance before they need to start shooting guards. Suddenly, an alarm goes off, and the men scatter. McGee and Gibbs deliver Jefe to the sympathetic guard along with a knife. He cryptically says that he will handle it. 

McGee and Gibbs make it to the deck just in time. At home, outside of his apartment, McGee hesitates before knocking. Abby opens the door and hugs McGee. He is also hugged by Torres. I must admit that I cried when McGee surprises Delilah and kneels and puts his head in her lap. 

At headquarters, Bishop is finishing up some work before joining the others. She finds Gibbs and hugs him. Gibbs tells her that he is proud of her for keeping the team together. Gibbs doesn’t want to join the others, so he goes to his desk. He puts on what looks likes his father’s POW bracelet. Tears come to his eyes, and you just know that he is a changed man.

I liked this epsiode of NCIS, though I feel like the torture scene was very difficult to watch.

What did you think of this episode? How has Gibbs changed? Did Bishop do a good job leading the team? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

NCIS season 15 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Want more news? Like our NCIS Facebook page.

(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.