18x11 - Gut Punch

Previously on "NCIS..." MCGEE: Is he hurt?

She's been shot.

RUTHANN: Is that a kennel?

Good Lord.

Your neighbor wasn't fishing with his dogs.

He was drowning them.

Who the hell are you?

[GRUNTING]

TORRES: Gibbs, Gibbs, let go.

- Not like this.

Not like this.

- Let go.

Tell me you regret what you did.

- Can't do that.

- In that case, I have no choice but to suspend you.

Indefinitely.

I believe in America.

I believe in the working man.

The tired single parent and part-time volleyball coach.

And I believe in his right to take a break from all of that and drive miles to see his favorite musician.

The Boss.

Who we both know is about to play an acoustic set to a very small group of VIPs.

And I deserve to be one of them.

Please.

Let me in.

No.

I didn't want to play this card, but...

I have his face tattooed on my...

Sir, if you drop trou, I will use my stun gun.

[UNZIPS]

[WHIMPERING]

Uh, joke's on you, pal.

After the third time, it didn't even hurt.

EMCEE [IN DISTANCE]: Hello, Washington, D.C.

[CHEERING, APPLAUSE]

Are you ready?

We've got an awesome show for you tonight.

- With no further ado...

- Boss.

I'm coming.

I give you, the live tour, the Emperor of E Street,

- I give you The Boss.

- [CHEERING, APPLAUSE]

Aah!

[GRUNTS]

[GRUNTING]

Oh...

That's not my blood.

Aah!

[PHONE RINGS]

PAMELA: Director, I have Secretary of Defense McClane for you.

On what line, Pamela?

He's not on the phone, sir.

[DOOR OPENS]

Director Vance.

Mr. Secretary.

- Welcome.

- My apologies for the surprise.

I'm, um, I'm squeezing in face time with agency heads when and where I can.

Lieutenant, give us a minute, please?

Plus, I just wanted to see if what they tell me is true.

That Leon Vance has gained ten pounds and lost his right hook.

You son of a bitch.

- [LAUGHS]

- Come on, I'll show you.

Come here.

It's more like pounds.

Yeah, right?

Right, it's good to see you, man.

- It's good to see you, too.

- Yeah.

Surprised?

What, that Congress approved your waiver or that the Senate actually confirmed you

- to be the secretary?

- [BOTH LAUGH]

Seriously, congratulations, Moses.

- Thanks, Leon.

- You also have my sympathies.

That job is one tough hill to climb.

Oh, well, I like those.

It's why the Marine Corps gave me four stars.

And why my doctor just gave me new stress meds.

You always go for the knockout.

Oh, you better believe it.

Starting with...

hosting the Yemeni foreign affairs minister at my house later this week.

Forget the knockout, Mose, you going for the title belt.

The Yemenis agreed to sit down?

Which brings me to why I'm really here, Leon.

Now, I understand one of your agents was recently been suspended for, shall we say, conduct unbecoming?

Gibbs.

I didn't realize that that incident made its way so far up the ladder.

Well, normally, it wouldn't, but a reporter's been calling, asking for DoD comment, and the timing isn't ideal.

And any negative press could spook the Yemenis.

Yeah, which is exactly why I'm not returning those calls.

And why I'm asking NCIS not to comment.

Now, I appreciate the reporter's position.

We don't need the court of public opinion to readjudicate that case.

The matter has been handled, Mr. Secretary.

But I understand.

Ah.

And...

what about Agent Gibbs?

Gibbs doesn't talk to reporters.

And neither will his team.

They are skating on thin ice as it is.

Thanks, Leon.

Listen, politics aside, Yemen is in crisis.

So this summit has humanitarian implications.

Is there anything else NCIS can do for you?

Well, now that you mention it, there is one small thing.

Oh, thanks, Todd.

Todd seem weird to you?

Todd is not judging us, Bishop.

But you saw him, right?

I mean, he clearly knows.

Everyone at NCIS knows.

That Gibbs got suspended indefinitely or that we got caught trying to protect him?

All of it.

Something we can help you with, Sawyer?

Justice, McGee.

That is our job as special agents, right?

To make sure those who break the rules face the consequences of their actions.

Even the cool kids.

BISHOP: Look, Sawyer, we messed up and we know it, and we will face the consequences of our actions.

Except there haven't been any consequences.

I mean, Gibbs took it on the chin, but his disciples barely got a reprimand.

Why?

Hey, Sawyer.

Go home.

The night shift is over.

Oh, I think it's just beginning.

- What is he talking about?

- Okay, forget it, Nick.

Let's just keep our heads down and solve the next case

- that comes along.

- [PHONE RINGING]

Well, not mine.

NCIS Special Agent Veronica Tyler.

Yep.

On our way.

Let's go.

We got a body.

Hey, Ronnie, you guys are working the day shift now?

[GRUNTS]

Told you.

A new day is dawning.

Sawyer, stop being a dick and grab your gear.

Did we just get passed over?

VANCE: You're being reassigned.

Uh, Director?

Are we being punished, sir?

Well, it depends on what you consider punishment.

The new Secretary of Defense is hosting an event at his home in three days, and I'm assigning your team to the detail.

- Oh, well, then, we're on it.

- Hmm.

MCGEE: Fancy event?

Can't be that bad.

Yeah, dress up a little bit.

I'm sorry, I-I didn't make myself clear.

I'm not assigning your team to a security detail.

You won't be attending the event.

Uh, what kind of detail is this, sir?

COVID detail.

The three of you are gonna be our new health compliance officers.

I trust you can handle this assignment without further embarrassing me, the agency or yourselves in any way?

Your jobs depend on it.

Okay, yeah.

We're on it.

- Uh, yes, sir.

- MCGEE: Yes, sir, absolutely.

Good.

Yeah, we're being punished.

[INDISTINCT CHATTER]

Mm, usually take your coffee to go.

How come you've been drinking at the counter lately?

- You kicking me out, Elaine?

- No, no, no.

Just wondering if maybe you retired.

[CHUCKLES]

Hey, hon.

- Hi.

- What can I get for you?

Well...

According to online reviews, I understand your specialties are the...

the chicken-fried steak and the fresh-baked apple pie.

Oh, you did your homework.

I always do.

But that being said, we know we can't always trust what's on the Internet.

So I prefer to ask regular, real people.

You look like real people.

So what should I do?

The steak or the pie?

Coffee.

Coffee.

And a piece of pie, please.

Okay.

I'm Marcie, by the way.

Gibbs.

So, you got a funky little place here, Gibbs.

I bet there's lots of stories that go along with those plates of bacon and eggs.

You would know.

How's that?

So, what...

You don't like my picture?

Oh, you don't like my writing.

I don't like being ambushed.

Look, your bosses are refusing to return my calls, so thought I'd go straight to the source.

- Everything okay?

- [SCOFFS]

Should have ordered the steak.

% alcohol.

Wow, this is the good stuff.

Do you hear yourself, McGee?

We are trained federal agents.

BISHOP: Trained federal agents who are lucky enough to still have a job.

You don't put peacocks in cages.

All right?

They need to show their feathers, they need to fly away.

Peacocks don't really fly.

They take, like, several small leaps and a final hop.

Okay, the point is that we messed up.

But we don't give up.

This is where we prove ourselves.

Now, Sawyer was right.

We are the cool kids.

Mm, were the cool kids.

Past tense.

MCGEE: It could be worse, So let's do what Vance says and stick to these assignments.

Right.

Which is why I've taken the liberty of dividing up our pre-event health and safety duties.

Including site evaluation, sanitizer placement, and test and vaccine verification for everyone on the guest list.

SAWYER: Team Gibbs is down with PPE?

Sexy.

Although not quite as sexy as being down with...

Springsteen.

- What?

- Bruce?

And Gaga.

And Bono.

Y-You did not meet those people.

I had to rule them out as suspects.

Don't worry, Tyler and I have plenty of other leads.

Such as?

Sorry, that info is for the A team only.

Enjoy your stickers.

My desk.

- Hey, Jimmy.

- Hey, Nick.

- I'm still working.

- Oh, no problem.

But I can give you what I have so far.

Oh, okay.

The victim is ID'd as, uh, Marine Lance Corporal Jesse Flint.

- You already knew that.

Duh.

- Duh.

Uh, time of death was : last night, so just before he was found in the dumpster.

And I confirmed that the cause of death was in fact three gunshot wounds, including the one to the head.

Mm.

Overkill.

Funny.

That's actually what Agent Sawyer said at the crime...

Wait a minute, this isn't your case.

And you're not here for an update.

What is this on his hand and arm?

Nick, you...

Purple paint... that's weird.

Okay, Jimmy, I'm here for a rapid test.

Just couldn't help yourself, could you?

I get it, I do.

A murder case is way more interesting.

Yeah, than a lame COVID assignment?

Hell yeah.

Nick, health and safety protocols might not be fun, but the consequences of not enforcing them...

can be tragic.

Breena.

Of course.

You're right, Jimmy.

I'm sorry.

KASIE: Honestly, Team Gibbs should know better.

They made their bed, and now they have to lie in it.

Yeah, I know.

Still, I feel kind of guilty.

I mean, they just look so... sad.

Uh, hello?

Sitting right here.

Oh, we know, but this lab is a designated NPZ:

- No-pity zone.

- I'm not here for pity.

I'm here because you have the only working labeler in the building.

[COMPUTER BEEPING]

Looks like the paint on your victim's body was number .

Blushing Eggplant.

I hear that color is very in.

Sorry.

Not my case.

I'll be quiet.

Well, I doubt our Marine was up on the latest color trends.

He was more of the, uh, black and blue type.

Lance Corporal Flint was in the middle of a dishonorable discharge for fighting and domestic abuse against his girlfriend.

Interesting.

You know, when you talk to her, you should, um...

Sorry.

Uh-uh.

You can't put that there.

Oh, no, no, no, no.

I-I measured.

This is optimum distance between the wet bar and the restrooms.

It's also where the secretary of defense is going to toast the Yemeni foreign affairs minister, and the cheap plastic clashes with the party decor.

And, uh, you are?

Miles Thatcher.

One of SECDEF's personal aides.

I was also aide to his civilian predecessor.

He would have noticed my design choices.

Where?

Well, the whole patio.

We...

are redecorating everything for this event.

No, no, no.

Uh, where do you want me to put the hand sanitizer?

Figure it out.

I'm sure it doesn't take an advanced degree.

Actually, I have two of those.

Ah.

Funny guy.

NCIS was not on the security list.

Uh, I'm actually here as a COVID officer, Mr. Al-Kamal, and I hate to bother you, but your embassy has yet to hand over test data

- and vaccine certifications.

- Yes.

All guests need to file paperwork with us

- before the event.

- Forgive me, but, you understand our reluctance to trust sensitive medical data to the American health care system.

I do, I do.

It is not perfect.

My co-pays are a fortune.

Universal health care is promised in our constitution.

Yes, and I imagine it's hard to deliver on that promise in the middle of a deadly civil war.

I lost my parents two years ago, and my brother last month.

This summit is important.

My apologies, Agent Bishop.

I'll get you whatever you need.

_ "Kamal" means perfection, right?

Uh, sorry.

Old habits from boarding school.

You should hear what happened to kids who left wrinkles in their bedsheets.

- Ah.

- You speak Arabic.

Not bad for a COVID officer.

[CHUCKLES]

And peacocks can fly.

And according to this, they don't fly far, but they can reach ten miles per hour.

Uh, if you say so.

♪ See, you're an artist.

You feel my pain.

You can't just turn off talent.

Hey, I'd much rather be at a jazz club playing some Art Tatum, but here I am, practicing John Tesh covers for the Man.

You know, sometimes peacocks get put in cages.

Yeah, you're telling me.

And after having spent the last year out of work, I'm just happy for a paying gig, brother.

Thanks for listening.

Oh, I appreciate that, man.

- Hey, you know what.

Take a demo CD.

- What?

Yeah, uh, the first track is called

- "I'm Locked in a Cage, Let Me Out." - No.

It's about taking mushrooms on a airplane.

[LAUGHS]

But, uh, it works for your thing, too.

- Yeah.

- [CHUCKLES]

.

GPA from Johns Hopkins and MIT, all to put down stickers.

Yeah, well, at least you didn't insult the foreign minister's attaché.

- And all I got was a bad jazz trip.

- Hm.

You know, I know I said this assignment could be worse, but I don't see how.

You got something on your jacket.

Oh, man.

It's paint.

- What is that, purple?

- No, that's not purple, that's...

Blushing Eggplant.

TORRES: Wait, that was the same color paint as the one that was on the body in autopsy.

Same as our murder victim?

That's quite the coincidence.

Yeah.

It's probably nothing.

Unless he was at SECDEF's house before he was killed.

- Right.

- Because then we'd have to assume it was connected to his death.

Right.

TORRES: And we'd have to...

investigate.

This is not our case.

We can't do that.

Right?

BISHOP: Our victim is Lance Corporal Jesse Flint, and was soon to be a former lance corporal thanks to his history of violence.

Bad Marine, bad dude.

Yeah.

So what was he doing at SECDEF's house?

Look, we don't know if he was there for sure.

He's not our victim because it's not our case.

It is now.

Why, because we found a little paint on him?

- Shh!

- Shh!

You know sound carries in here.

But don't worry, the paint is not a priority.

The victim worked as a handyman on the side.

How did you get a clicker?

By following Vance's orders.

Like I was saying, Lance Corporal Flint painted houses all over town.

It's a coincidence.

Agent Tyler and I already have a lead on the killer.

Seems the victim's girlfriend skipped town.

Seems suspicious, right?

So stay the hell out of our case, or I'm going to Vance.

All right, I know we want to get involved, but we got to drop it.

You don't drop a gut feeling, McGee.

Last time, our gut got us in trouble.

Then we make sure we get it right.

Was this man one of the painters?

Did you hire him?

What does this have to do with health protocols?

Look, you need us to sign off on the safety of this event, so... we need answers.

Yes.

He was handing out leaflets in front of the PX, and he begged me for a job.

But, like everybody who steps foot on the property, I verified that he was vaccinated.

I only wish I'd verified his references.

- So there was a problem, or...

- No.

But painting requires an eye for detail.

This guy might as well be blind.

- Mm.

- You fired him?

I didn't have to.

Two hours into the job he took a cell phone call and walked away.

I never heard from him again.

[AUDIO FEEDBACK SCREECHES]

Ah, damn piano player.

Excuse me.

Hmm.

Do you still think we should drop it?

Yeah.

Our dead painter may have been acting strange, but it still doesn't prove anything.

I say we go check out his work van and see what he was up to.

This is not our job.

Not yet.

Hey, guys.

How's it going?

Got an update, Palmer?

Uh, no, no, no, no.

So what are you doing here?

Oh, that's right, yes.

I have a few questions for you.

Uh, did you find the victim's girlfriend?

Did you find anything unusual in his apartment or vehicle?

And did you find a computer or cell phone?

You're not even trying to hide it, are you?

Team Gibbs sent you.

Of course they did.

I'm trying to confirm the victim's COVID contact tracing.

Did the body test positive?

Uh, no, no, but as you said, uh, "He was painting houses all over town." Yes.

Why?

Well, then, despite a negative COVID test, his close relations and/or possessions could have been exposed.

What?

Uh...

How?

That's for the compliance officer to determine.

But in my medical opinion, we should just test all the evidence.

You know, just...

- just in case.

- This is absurd.

Team Gibbs is just using you to nose into this case.

Agent Sawyer, our job is to help the team.

Now, do your job.

[PHONE RINGING]

Gibbs.

Yeah, I-I'm glad to get your call.

I spoke with the IG.

I think it's time we talk next steps.

I'm not calling about that, Director.

A reporter came to see me.

I heard, uh, someone's been asking questions.

I hear someone's not answering them.

NCIS has been asked not to comment on the story, Gibbs.

There is no story.

Just truth.

I agree.

But the matter has already been handled, internally and appropriately.

Then tell them that.

I refuse to publicly throw one of my agents under the bus.

I don't want protection.

Yeah, you've made that perfectly clear.

Between beating a man half to death and refusing to apologize, I seem to be the only one saving you from yourself.

And quite frankly, Gibbs, I'm getting tired of it.

Yeah?

Then stop.

Hey, Luce?

Come on.

Lunch.

Well, that's everything.

No evidence in the murder case, and no damn COVID.

- Happy now?

- Mm.

[PHONE RINGS]

Yeah, Tyler.

[TYLER SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY]

On my way.

We found the missing girlfriend.

I'll make sure to get her contact tracing history.

[GRUNTS]

You didn't answer his question.

- Are you happy now?

- No.

- And why not?

- For starters, what was our handyman doing with hypodermic needles in his work van, hmm?

Don't know.

Mixing paint colors?

You know, that was Sawyer's theory, but our dead guy was not a paint wizard.

So, can you please run the needles, Kase?

Of course.

I'll have the results to you by the end of the week.

That long?

My plate is full.

When you aren't the lead agents, your stuff goes to the bottom of the pile.

There are other agents in this building.

And as annoying as some of those agents may be...

we're a team.

Which is why you should look at this.

Somebody wrote down a paint code.

.

Jade Garden?

It's not in any of these paint catalogues.

Custom color?

Or a street address?

Garden could be a street suffix, like court or lane.

Which would mean the lead agents missed a clue.

Mm.

That's what I'm saying.

Okay, but your stuff still goes to the bottom of the pile.

Are you sure this is Jade Garden?

Yep.

Federal agents.

Hello?

No power.

Ah.

Yes there is.

I am completely flashing back to my days doing musical theatre.

- Ooh.

- Godspell.

[CHUCKLES]

Please sing.

- Forgot the words.

- Ah.

Wonder what our, uh, handyman was doing with the address of this place.

Mm, maybe another side job?

What did, uh, Agent Tyler think?

Are they meeting us here, or...

Uh...

Are you s...

Really?

You didn't call them?

Okay, McGee, we were waiting to find something more relevant.

Hey, yo.

I think we just did.

What is all this?

BISHOP: I recognize this place.

MCGEE: All these photos are from SECDEF's house.

TORRES: Yeah, the handyman wasn't painting the house.

He was casing the joint.

For what?

Something he wanted to keep secret.

Nobody move.

This place is wired to blow.

[INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER]

- Director.

- Gentlemen.

Well, you've been busy.

How'd the COVID officers end up defusing bombs?

Well, sir, during the, uh, course of our assignment, we discovered that SECDEF McClane's house had recently been painted by our murder victim.

A bad color to match a bad guy.

Yes, I read the file.

Lance Corporal Flint had a history of violence.

And we wanted to make sure his murder didn't pose a security threat to the summit.

- VANCE: Hmm.

- So we investigated.

And?

Does it pose a threat?

Oh, more than we knew.

We-we found weapons, phony IDs, even, uh, an offshore bank account with $ , in it.

BISHOP: We also found, uh, surveillance photos, all of SECDEF McClane.

We believe the murder victim was also a hit man.

And SECDEF was his next target.

Thankfully, they were never at the house at the same time.

So who hired this hit man?

And is the hit still active?

Well, we don't know yet.

But we are on it, Director.

No, you're not.

As much as I appreciate your carefully-worded explanation, this team has once again overstepped bounds.

- Where are Agents Tyler and Sawyer?

- BISHOP: We were planning on sharing everything that we found with them, sir.

Yes.

You're also going to follow their orders from here on out.

They still have lead.

Understood?

TYLER: We found the victim's girlfriend.

Turns out she has an alibi, so... not our killer.

But we did get into Flint's encrypted email account.

TYLER: He exchanged messages with whoever hired him to kill SECDEF.

Still nothing to identify that person, but the emails show Flint was blackmailing his employer.

BISHOP: "If you want to stay anonymous, I want more money." Could be motive for murder.

So you think whoever hired the hit man also killed him.


That makes sense.

SAWYER: What we really need is a list of who wants SECDEF dead.

You know, background stuff.

Computer stuff.

Nerd stuff.

- You got a problem with that?

- Yes.

SECDEF's life is in danger and you're playing petty games.

Oh, I'm not playing games.

I simply don't trust you.

What the hell do you want from us?

- I want you to stop screwing up.

- Whoa.

Sawyer.

NCIS is a team.

And when you screw up, it makes us all look bad.

[KNOCKING ON DOOR]

Lucy, stay.

I come bearing gifts.

A peace offering.

It's a steak.

Maybe.

No, it's not.

I was never given the opportunity to explain myself at the diner the other day.

First, that was not an act.

And it certainly was not an ambush.

That's not who I am.

I was merely trying to work my way up into a...

a very nice introduction by use of a little small talk.

But by then, it was too late, so...

here I am.

Why?

Because I want to give you something more than just this steak.

[SIGHS]

Ignore the loquacious patron from the diner and just...

just read my work.

There are newspaper articles and magazine columns.

But what I am most proud of is my investigative work.

Which is about exposing the truth.

And I know you know something about the truth, and I want to be the one to write about it.

Because that's who I am.

In that case, I, uh...

I thank you for your time.

Enjoy the... whatever that is, and good luck on your boat engine.

Wait, wait.

My what?

Your boat...

That's a carburetor for a Graymarine Phantom, right?

I hear they're a pain in the ass.

Are you waiting to see Secretary McClane?

Yes.

He's inside, uh, meeting with his security detail.

My embassy was informed of the threat on his life.

I'm afraid the summit must be cancelled.

Maybe it can happen another time?

A foreign minister meeting on U.S. soil has already caused outcry back home.

The chances of it happening again are very small.

- [DOOR OPENS]

- I'm sorry.

So am I, Agent Bishop.

With my would-be assassin dead, I was hoping that the threat had been neutralized.

We still have to find whoever hired him, sir.

That's why I'm here.

What, to ask me about my enemies?

[CHUCKLES]

That could take a while.

Would you excuse us, please?

I understand.

Mr. Secretary.

Thank you.

- Please.

- Ah.

Thank you.

Well...

there goes any chance of real progress.

They're kidney meds, Agent Bishop.

Damn stress will probably kill me long before any assassin.

[CHUCKLES]

Vital foreign policy decisions should not be determined by a bunch of damn Internet crazies.

Sounds like you know who's behind this.

No.

No, I...

Look, just forget I said anything.

Even if it means a chance at saving your summit?

I made a bad call ten years ago.

It was a mistake that I deeply regret.

MCGEE: SECDEF wasn't kidding.

This was a bad call.

There was, uh, an Al-Qaeda standoff near an Iraqi oil refinery.

And rather than try and negotiate, General McClane took a different approach.

All hell broke loose and the refinery burned to the ground.

Do people want him dead for this?

There's this online community that thinks the incident is some kind of massive conspiracy.

SECDEF "purposely destroyed the refinery to cover up his secret ties to oil barons." Radical user groups have been posting death threats.

Gives us a lot of suspects.

Oh, I think I can help with that.

BISHOP: You listened to the piano player's demo CD?

I did more than listen.

Check your email.

Hmm.

Security records for the summit.

You reran the entire guest list.

- I was looking for red flags.

- You find any?

Yeah.

The last name on this CD doesn't match the one on the list.

Kendle Spotnitz is actually Kendle Radcliffe.

Why would he use a phony ID?

Because the piano player has a rap sheet for drug possession.

He would have failed the background check.

Nice catch.

You did all this on your own?

Oh, hell no.

I practically begged the, uh...

cyber crime unit.

Damn, you nerded hard.

I nerded real hard.

Okay, hang on.

Check this out.

Piano player talked to our Internet crazies.

And he seemed to hate the Man.

I think that's motive.

Well, let's ask him.

Okay, okay.

Now, we can't go anywhere until we talk to Tyler and Sawyer.

- Hold on, hold on.

- [DIALING]

[LINE RINGING]

No answer.

We should call Agent Tyler again just in case.

Don't bother.

We can handle a jazz musician.

Okay.

- Federal agents.

- [GLASS SHATTERS INSIDE]

NCIS!

SAWYER: Whoa!

Easy.

It's just us.

Didn't you see the cop outside?

No, there was no cop outside.

We heard a crash.

I dropped a dish.

- Where's Kendle?

- Relax.

He's not going anywhere.

He was dead when we found him.

What happened?

I have a better question.

What the hell are you two even doing here?

We traced the earlier emails to an IP address at the piano player's apartment.

That's how we beat you there.

Sorry.

When we arrived, we found Kendle Radcliffe dead in his bathtub, single intraoral gunshot wound.

GSR on his hand says suicide.

We then found a laptop containing the same blackmail messages from our hitman.

So the piano player hired the hitman, killed the hitman, and then killed himself.

The Glock used in the suicide was a match to the murder weapon.

Which means the dead piano player is our killer.

Case closed.

SECDEF's event is back on for tonight.

This is the part where you congratulate us.

Where do you think the piano player got the money to hire a hitman?

He hasn't worked for a year.

And why kill himself?

You said the guy used a fake ID to get the gig at SECDEF's.

He knew it was only a matter of time until we found out.

And what about the money?

We suspect he crowdsourced it from his fellow Internet crazies.

I don't know.

Seems kind of convenient.

Yeah, a little too convenient.

SAWYER: I don't believe this.

There is no evidence that the hit is still active and everyone involved is dead.

What more do you want?

It just feels like we're missing something.

Do you have anything to prove that?

Other than some gut feeling?

Then it's over.

TYLER: Well, unless...

Unless your feeling's strong enough to call Vance.

No.

Congrats on the win.

Guys, we did the right thing.

Then why does it feel so wrong?

Thought I said this was a no-pity zone.

What are y'all doing in here?

We have a gut feeling.

You mean the feeling that something doesn't add up and the answer is staring us in the face?

Yeah, how'd you know?

Because I have the same feeling.

I've been processing evidence from the suicide scene.

Please tell us you got something.

Like last-minute evidence that could crack this case wide open?

- Uh, yeah.

- Yes, no, Yes, yes.

You got something like that?

Well, I don't.

Everything so far points to murder, then suicide.

- Sorry.

- [COMPUTER BEEPS]

What's that, Kase... a break?

KASIE: Cork and potassium.

And what is that?

I was finally able to process the syringes from the hit man van, but the results only show compressed cork and liquid potassium.

Not exactly helpful.

Cork is used in everything from bulletin boards to wine bottles.

And liquid potassium is harmless.

Well, it was a nice try.

Unless you have a kidney condition.

What's that?

Potassium is harmless unless you have a kidney condition, and SECDEF McClane takes kidney meds.

Then these levels of potassium would send his system into shock and he'd be dead within minutes.

Did the hit man plan to inject him?

But that doesn't explain the cork.

Unless the hit man injected something else.

- ♪ - [INDISTINCT CHATTER]

Uh, if I could have everyone's attention, please.

Thank you.

In a time of great distancing...

Both physically and politically...

It's important that we come together now more than ever, both as friends and allies.

[TRANSLATING]

- Did you stop the toast?

- Hang on, slow down.

We checked every bottle of champagne.

There were no signs of tampering.

Yeah, we told you there wouldn't be.

- A tiny needle prick.

- [SIGHS]

This is crazy.

You're just the COVID officers.

We're federal agents.

So please join me in raising a glass to our renewed partnership and to peace.

NCIS!

Do not move!

Everybody put your glasses down.

Mister Secretary, do not drink that!

[CROWD MURMURING]

- [SPEAKING ARABIC]

- Please, Minister, wait.

I assure you this is all a misunderstanding.

[BOTH SPEAKING ARABIC]

_ Thank you.

I sure hope you have a good explanation for this, Agent McGee.

So do I, sir.

Now, if we're right, the strip should turn bright red.

- Right about what?

- MCGEE: Potassium.

Deadly to someone with a chronic kidney condition.

[TRANSLATES IN ARABIC]

I'll be damned.

How the hell's a piano player know my medical history?

He didn't.

Someone else was behind this.

Someone who had access to security records.

Is this some sort of joke, Agent Bishop?

You have some explaining to do.

TYLER: Nasser Al-Kamal hired a hit man to kill SECDEF, but not for what happened in the past.

For what was about to happen.

Mm-hmm.

A U.S. alliance with his country.

SAWYER: As it turns out, Mister Al-Kamal was part of a Yemeni nationalist group online.

They have Internet crazies, too.

But when the hit man threatened to expose Kamal, Kamal killed him.

Then set up the piano player to take the fall.

Hardly seems worth the trouble.

I mean, why not just try to kill me himself?

Plausible deniability, sir.

Well, it's a good thing NCIS had their top team on the case.

So...

how'd you crack it?

When we found the piano player dead, his apartment was a mess.

All except for the towels.

We learned that Mr. Al-Kamal is very OCD with wrinkles.

And you ran the towels for touch DNA.

So you confirmed all this before you sent the other team to crash the party?

Not exactly, Director.

It was more of a gut feeling.

Whose gut feeling?

BISHOP: Ah, thanks, Todd.

You think Todd knows?

What, that we saved SECDEF or that we let Tyler and Sawyer take the credit?

SAWYER: All of it.

But...

we are a team, right?

Thanks, Ronnie.

No, thank you.

And also...

we're sorry.

TYLER: Vance mentioned this morning's news.

We read the article.

What article?

Paper ran a story on Gibbs.

What about him?

Well, your team is not mentioned, but everything else is.

The attack, the investigation, his confession.

How bad is it, McGee?

You know what, it's really accurate.

Everything Gibbs said and-and did is...

is in here almost word-for-word.

There's no way a reporter would know all of this.

Unless...

someone talked.

Don't look at me.

GIBBS: Director.

Want a drink?

I won't be here that long.

You talked to the reporter.

I only told the truth.

Yes.

That's not why I'm here.

I came here to tell you, face-to-face...

...whatever comes of this story, whatever happens next, Gibbs...

...I can't save you.

I know.