03x16 - Family Secrets

FADE IN:

EXT. HOSPITAL LOADING AREA - DAY

BIELSMAN: When you say you're sure, how sure are you?

PATTERSON: Sure enough, that if you don't ask her out by tomorrow, I'm gonna start spiking your coffee with testosterone, man.

BIELSMAN: Yeah, but what if you're wrong?

PATTERSON: J.B., trust me. The girl's into you.

BIELSMAN: Be careful!

PATTERSON: Oh, relax. This guy's a Marine. Or at least he was before he deployed himself through his windshield.

BIELSMAN: So what do I say to her?

PATTERSON: I don't know. What do I look like, the Cyrano what's-his-face guy? Go with your gut. You got the release?

BIELSMAN: Didn't you get it?

PATTERSON: You know, on second thought, maybe you better not go with your gut.

(SFX: VAN DOORS CLOSE)

(SFX: VAN ENGINE ATTEMPTS TO TURN OVER)

BIELSMAN: So where should I take her?

PATTERSON: I'm going to start charging for advice, you know. Oh, there she is. Do you smell that?

(SFX: VAN ENGINE STARTS)

BIELSMAN: Gas.

(SFX: VAN STOPS)

BIELSMAN: Oh, no. (SHOUTS) Get out! Get out! Get out! Go! Go! Go! Go!

(MUSIC OVER ACTION/EMTS RUN FROM THE VAN)

(SFX: HUGE EXPLOSION)

(MUSIC OUT)

(THEME MUSIC UP OVER OPENING TITLE/SCENES / CREDITS AND OUT)

MUSIC IN:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

"FAMILY SECRETS"

(SFX: COMPUTER DING TONES/ KEYBOARDING)

ZIVA: What are you doing?

TONY: I'm in the middle of a very serious negotiation.

ZIVA: On McGee's computer?

TONY: I know where you're going with this and the answer's yes.

ZIVA: Then what's the question?

TONY: Have I no shame?

ZIVA: Who are you IMing? Agent Larsen? And she thinks you're McGee? (CHUCKLES) And this is because she warned you that if you spoke to her again, she would have you brought up on sexual harassment charges?

TONY: That was a misunderstanding.

ZIVA: Oh, so now you're correcting the record.

TONY: I'm just trying to let her know that I... McGee feels that she may have misjudged me. And, that as a close, personal friend, I can--

ZIVA: Vouch for Tony's strength of character.(SFX: ZIVA LAUGHS)

TONY: I don't have much time. She's being reassigned in two days.

ZIVA: Yeah, well you'll be reassigned if Gibbs catches you.

GIBBS: Doing what?

ZIVA: We were looking at McGee's bookmarks, trying to get an idea for a...

TONY: Birthday present?

MCGEE: Morning.

TONY: Happy birthday, Probie. Have a bagel.

MCGEE: It's not my birthday.

GIBBS: Grab your gear. Medical transport just exploded.

(SFX: KISS)

TONY: Any day now, Probie!

MCGEE: Yep. Sorry. I just got the strangest IM.

CUT TO:

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

TONY: (V.O.) She asked you out? You?!

MCGEE: Trust me. I'm just as surprised as you are.

TONY: Trust me. You're not.

ZIVA: Blast radius indicates a low-yield detonation.

TONY: Did she say why?

MCGEE: Ah, it said that she liked the loyalty I showed my coworkers.

ZIVA: Pyrolysis on the pavement suggests an oh-two was the primary accelerant.

MCGEE: Even if they were total scum. I have no idea what she was referring to. I'll tell you, though. I did not realize she was paying so much attention to me.

TONY: Do you want to tell the Probie or should I?

ZIVA: How about neither? Why don't you just focus on the work?

TONY: Yeah. I noticed you've morphed into quite the forensic expert.

ZIVA: I'm Israeli. This isn't my first exploding ambulance.

CUT TO:

EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY

PATTERSON: We left the van unattended four, maybe five minutes, tops.

BIELSMAN: As soon as Patto hit the brakes...

PATTERSON: The whole thing exploded into flames.

BIELSMAN: I think someone's trying to kill us.

PATTERSON: Would you please stop that, JB? It was... it was an accident.

GIBBS: Who's trying to kill you?

BIELSMAN: Who knows? There's a lot of weirdos out there.

GIBBS: Tell me about it. Talk to me, Duck.

DUCKY: Lance Corporal William Danforth, Junior. Survived IEDs in Iraq, RPGs in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the local odocoileus virginianus was too much to bear.

JIMMY: That's a white-tailed deer...

GIBBS: Yeah. I know. Are you saying Bambi killed this Marine, Ducky?

DUCKY: No. But swerving at sixty miles an hour into a tree to avoid Bambi did.

JIMMY: His girlfriend is still in a coma at the hospital.

DUCKY: Danforth was D.O.A. when they brought him in last night. This morning he was on his way to Bethesda for a routine autopsy when fate intervened.

GIBBS: Fate?

DUCKY: No, the scorching of the body is consistent with a gasoline fire accelerated by onboard oxygen. This could have been an accident, Jethro. Lucky for those two to get out.

GIBBS: Yeah. Lucky in a way I don't like.

CUT TO:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

TONY: (SINGING) Good morning. Good morning! Good morning. Good... good morning, to you! You! You! You! Good - ooh. What's that?

(SFX: BEEP TONE)

ZIVA: Looks like an iPod.

TONY: iPod photo.

ZIVA: Anyone who might have possibly had a motive to try to kill them...

TONY: Either has an alibi or is out of town. Way ahead of you.

ZIVA: You could have told me and saved me the trouble.

TONY: Just say you need the practice and leave it at that. What kind of music does the McGee listen to? Ooh, Barry Manilow. Julie Andrews? Zamfir? Let's go to photos.

ZIVA: What are you doing?

TONY: Well, McGee had a date with Agent Larsen last night. He didn't return any of my emails about a sit-rep. But maybe he took some photos.

ZIVA: Those are his private photos.

TONY: Well, he left them on his public desk. Oh! Where's the clicker? Ah, who is this?

ZIVA: Well, it's definitely not Agent Larsen.

TONY: It's gotta be his sister.

ZIVA: Why?

TONY: Are you kidding? This girl's way out of McGeek's league.

ZIVA: I don't think the drivers were the target, Tony. Um... I actually think it was the body.

TONY: Why blow up a dead guy?

GIBBS: Put it back up there.

TONY: Put what back?(SFX: GIBBS HITS TONY)

GIBBS: McGee's got good taste. Going for coffee.(SFX: GIBBS HITS ZIVA)

ZIVA: Ow! What was that for?

GIBBS: Alerting DiNozzo.

CUT TO:

INT. NCIS GARAGE - DAY

ABBY: The fuel line to the gas tank cap was ruptured here. Torn by a loose belt on the differential housing.

GIBBS: Loosened how?

ABBY: Unknown. The van also had a short in the electrical system. Coincidentally in the taillight right by our ruptured fuel line.

GIBBS: You know how I feel about coincidences, Abs.

ABBY: Equatorial pygmies know how you feel about coincidences, Gibbs. So one would wonder... accident or not an accident? That is the question. Our first player... an innocent differential housing bolt that is rubbing and straining on the molecular bonds of our vulcanized fuel line. Until, after eons, our hapless hose finally ruptures. The gas moves quickly into the floorboard of the van when it's in motion. The driver smells it... what could it be? He hits the brakes, and the short in the taillight ignites the pooling gas vapors! The flames quickly super-heat the onboard oh-two and when the canisters can no longer contain the growing pressure... KABOOM!`

GIBBS: Not an accident.

ABBY: Not unless that Angel of Death is going through a Rube Goldberg stage.

MCGEE: Boss, we found remnants of what may have been the trigger on an oh-two canister.

GIBBS: May have been, McGee?

ABBY: There were traces of mercury fulminate, sodium azide and tetryl on the material.

GIBBS: Blasting cap.

MCGEE: The oh-two would never have blown on its own. The fire wasn't hot enough.

ABBY: The perp rigged the transport to make it look like an accident.

MCGEE: And he might've gotten away with it if he'd detonated it sooner. The fire dispersed pieces of the trigger.

GIBBS: He waited for the drivers to get out.

MCGEE: So he's not a murderer. At least, he wasn't trying to kill the ambulance drivers.

GIBBS: Trace it.

ABBY: Gibbs, this is a garden-variety laminated paper substrate! It's used as a cheap shielding in thousands of electronic devices!

GIBBS: Yeah, so?

ABBY: So maybe I should get back to work?

GIBBS: Did we get a positive match on our Marine's DNA?

ABBY: You know, I've been a little busy here, Gibbs, with all the rubbing and the looking and the analyzing and the.... I should mention that Ducky is taking care of it.

(SFX: ELEVATOR DOORS CLOSE)

DUCKY: (V.O.) I haven't seen a body this...

CUT TO:

INT. AUTOPSY ROOM - DAY

DUCKY: ....badly burned since the Bertram Mill's Circus. Specimen jar. Mister Palmer?

JIMMY: Sorry, Doctor. I'm just having a problem with this smell today.

DUCKY: Really? I think he smells like my mother's fried chicken.

JIMMY: That would be the problem.

DUCKY: Oh, I see. Well, the vegetarian lifestyle has been medically proven to be the healthiest of choices. Perhaps it's time you made the jump.

(SFX: DOORS SLIDE OPEN)

GIBBS: You wanted to see me, Duck?

DUCKY: Well, actually, yes, Jethro.

GIBBS: Then why do you look surprised to see me?

DUCKY: Because I haven't told you that, that I wanted to see you. Yes. Well, our... our latest houseguest has thrown us quite a little mystery.

GIBBS: Define mystery.

DUCKY: Yeah, well, the young lad's death certificate lists blunt force thoracic trauma as the cause of death - typical in motor vehicle accidents. But I've only partially been able to verify that. Since, as you can see, the post mortem damage is extensive.

GIBBS: Ducky?

DUCKY: Yes?

GIBBS: Mystery?

DUCKY: Of course. Well, you know me, Jethro. I attempted to make an identification myself. The blast destroyed his jaw and shattered his teeth. It would take an inordinate amount of time to get an identification from dental records. Also, the fire so degraded his DNA that, you know, I spent the better part of yesterday scouring his body.

GIBBS: Mystery.

DUCKY: Ah... almost there. By a stroke of luck, I found a piece of tissue viable enough to send to have run against Danforth's DNA, at the Armed Forces Repository.

GIBBS: This isn't William Danforth, Junior.

DUCKY: Uh-uh.

GIBBS: Then who is this?

DUCKY: That, my dear Jethro, is the mystery.

(MUSIC UP AND OUT)

MUSIC IN:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

ZIVA: Lance Corporal Danforth's pro and cons were five oh five oh. A real squirreled-away Marine. So what'd you find, Tony? (SHOUTS) Tony!

TONY: Huh? Zamfir. It's the Master of the Pan Flute. It's helping me think.

ZIVA: What are you thinking?

TONY: I'm thinking that there are a lot of reasons for post-mortem mutilation you're over-looking, besides hiding a suspicious cause of death.

ZIVA: Such as?

TONY: Such as enraged acts of violence, sadistic curiosity.

GIBBS: Trying to hide the real identity of the victim.

TONY: That was the next one on my list.

ZIVA: Is his identity in question?

GIBBS: Yeah, it is now. Tony, get me a copy of that--

TONY: The names of the cops who processed Danforth's crime scene report. Already on its way, Boss.

GIBBS: Ziva, take me through--

ZIVA: Have a chat with the doctor who pronounced the body dead. Find out who made the I.D.

TONY:

TONY: Hey, you want me to go and supervise that, Boss? Actually, no, I'll stay here just in case you need me.

(CONT.) Ooh! Zamfir. I'm not saying you need me. That's a bad word. Need's the wrong word. Oh! Uh, the Director needs to see you in her office ASAP.

MUSICAL BRIDGE TO:

INT. OUTER OFFICE - DAY

(DOOR OPENS)

(SFX: TELEPHONE BEEP TONES)

CYNTHIA: I was just going to tell the Director you're here.

GIBBS: Cynthia. Did you know that when a Roman emperor made a triumphal march into Rome, he had a slave on his chariot who...

CYNTHIA: Who whispered, "You're only human" into his ear?

GIBBS: Going in unannounced is whispering into her ear.

CYNTHIA: So you're the Director's slave? (DOOR OPENS)

CUT TO:

INT. SHEPARD'S OFFICE - DAY

SHEPARD: Cynthia is there to direct traffic, Agent Gibbs.

GIBBS: I'm just responding to your ASAP, Director.

SHEPARD: This is Lance Corporal Danforth's father, William.

GIBBS: My sympathies, Mister Danforth.

DANFORTH: Thank you, Agent Gibbs.

SHEPARD: The SECNAV would like us to keep Mister Danforth in the loop throughout the entire investigation.

GIBBS: More than usual?

SHEPARD: Yes.

DANFORTH: Gordo and I served together in Beirut, Agent Gibbs. And quite frankly, I'm using that friendship. Wouldn't you?

SHEPARD: He would.

GIBBS: Sixth or eighth?

DANFORTH: Two six. Fox Company.

GIBBS: One one. Scout Sniper Platoon.

DANFORTH: Beirut?

GIBBS: Desert Storm.

DANFORTH: So what can you tell me about my son, Agent Gibbs?

GIBBS: Jethro.(DOOR CLOSES)

DANFORTH: Bill.

GIBBS: Only what I read in the hospital and police reports.

SHEPARD: Mister Danforth has seen those. He's asking how his son's body was incinerated.

GIBBS: It wasn't. AFIS couldn't match the body in autopsy with Lance Corporal Danforth's DNA.

SHEPARD: You're saying that it isn't Mister Danforth's son?

GIBBS: Not according to AFIS.

DANFORTH: Could there be a mistake?

GIBBS: One in nine million.

SHEPARD: Have Abby rerun the DNA.

GIBBS: Already on it, Director.

SHEPARD: Well, if it's not Lance Corporal Danforth, who the hell is it?

GIBBS: I'll let you know when I find out.

DANFORTH: What should I tell his mother?

GIBBS: I wouldn't tell her anything yet.

DANFORTH: Right. My numbers. Director Shepard, I'll tell Gordo how cooperative you've been.

SHEPARD: The least we could do.

GIBBS: Hey Bill. Did you identify your son's body?

DANFORTH: No. The police notified us that he had died. Said his body was being shipped to Bethesda. Do you think Billy... could still be alive?

GIBBS: I think the hospital transported the wrong body.

(DOOR OPENS)

(DANFORTH WALKS O.S.)

(DOOR CLOSES)

SHEPARD: Bull.

CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - DAY

DOBSON: The Marine from two nights ago, Danforth? Yeah, I remember him.

MCGEE: Are you the one who treated him?

DOBSON: Treated? No. Unfortunately all I did was pronounce him dead, Agent McGee. It's hard to believe it's the same kid.

ZIVA: Why is that?

DOBSON: He was a mess. Heavy contusions to the cranium. Pronounced facial lacerations. Half his skull caved in.

ZIVA: Who ID'd his body?

DOBSON: A buddy gave us the tentative I.D. and we also pulled his license from his wallet.

MCGEE: Does his buddy have a name?

DOBSON: I can do better than that. He's in I.C.U. room five.

ZIVA: The police report didn't mention anything about a third injured party, Doctor.

DOBSON: That's because he wasn't injured, Officer David. He's visiting.

CUT TO:

INT. I.C.U. ROOM - DAY

MERRILL: (READS) "Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them; the secret of our pa... pat..."

ZIVA: Paternity lies in their graves and we must there to learn it.

MCGEE: Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

ZIVA: Call me "Ishmael."

MERRILL: It's her favorite book. The doctors said it might help. It's helping give me a headache. You're Rebecca's relatives?

MCGEE: Ah, no. NCIS.

MERRILL: Corporal Merrill, Sir!

MCGEE: At ease, Marine.

ZIVA: We're only here to ask you a few questions.

MERRILL: Oh, of course, Sir. I mean, Ma'am.

(ZIVA WALKS O.S.)

MCGEE: She doesn't like being called Ma'am. It's okay.

CUT TO:

INT. CORRIDOR - DAY

MERRILL: Is this about Billy, Ma - Miss?

ZIVA: If you mean Lance Corporal Danforth, yes.

MCGEE: We understand that you I.D.ed his body.

MERRILL: Tried to. Billy's face was all mashed up.

ZIVA: How did you know it was him?

MERRILL: Who else could it be? He was in his car with Rebecca. At least he was last time I saw him.

ZIVA: Which was?

MERRILL: The night he was killed.

MCGEE: Feel free to elaborate.

MERRILL: Huh?

ZIVA: Tell us about that night.

MERRILL: Uh... Billy had just landed stateside after his second tour in Iraq. So me, him and Rebecca, Billy's girlfriend, we were out celebrating at the Gold Monkey.

MCGEE: Celebrating meaning drinking?

MERRILL: Not me, Sir. Billy was. Even though he shouldn't because.... he just shouldn't. I made Rebecca drive him home 'cause he looked pretty bad, like he was going to puke or something.

MCGEE: You're a good friend.

MERRILL: Me and Billy have been buds since he was this big. He was the only one who never made fun of my stutter.

ZIVA: You saw Lance Corporal Danforth get into the car?

MERRILL: I put him in it. Like I said, he was p-pretty drunk. I went back inside the bar for maybe half an hour. When I left, I ... I p-passed the accident on my way home. The cops were already there. Said Billy's car hit a t-t...

MCGEE: It's okay, Corporal. We read the police report.

MERRILL: He was just lying there all ... broken and b...bent up. They were trying to s-save him, but I just knew. I knew he was... the doctor said he probably didn't feel anything. Do you think he was telling the truth? Or was he just trying to make me feel better? Doctors do that... don't they?

MCGEE: Well, in my experiences, E.R. doctors, they usually tell it like it is.

CUT TO:

EXT. BASKETBALL COURT - DAY

(SFX: LOUD MUSIC B.G.)

(F/X BASKETBALL GAME B.G.)

TONY: Definitely moving. Definitely moving. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Who's your daddy now?

(MUSIC OVER ACTION/TONY FALLS TO THE GROUND)

GIBBS: Are you having fun, DiNozzo?

TONY: All done interviewing Danforth's C.O.

GIBBS: Are you done interviewing his platoon?

TONY: Nothing builds rapport like a good game of ball. Thanks, guys!

(PASSAGE OF TIME)

TONY: The guys said Danforth was a top Marine. But the word is, he only joined 'cause his father was a Marine. Ah! Ah! Oooh.... a little looser, please. My toes have gotten used to the whole blood thing. Circulation.

GIBBS: DiNozzo....

TONY: The word also is that he was inseparable with another Marine ... a Corporal ...

GIBBS: Kenneth Merrill.

TONY: Yeah.

GIBBS: Followed Danforth into the Corps on the buddy program.

CORPSMAN: Of course he did. That guy is as loyal as a Saint Bernard.

TONY: Would you just focus, please? And I'm starting to lose feeling in my pinky toe. Does that look right? (TO GIBBS) Apparently he was as loyal as a Saint Bernard.

GIBBS: According to the C.O., the Corps worked out pretty well for him.

TONY: Oh, yeah. He got into boxing, got his first girlfriend, and get this... it turns out he had a knack for disarming IEDs. His platoon called him the -

CORPSMAN: The Forrest Gump of explosives.

TONY: I'm not trying to do your job, am I?

CORPSMAN: Put an ice pack on that. Fifteen on, fifteen off.

TONY: Yeah, I know the drill. Thanks, Corpsman.

(CORPSMAN WALKS O.S.)

TONY: Oh, that's real swollen. I don't think I'm going to be able to walk on this thing, Boss. Ah! Look at that. Look, it's a miracle.

GIBBS: Yeah, loyal as a Saint Bernard.

TONY: I always wanted to get one of those until I found out they didn't come with that barrel of whiskey around their neck. You're wondering if Merrill helped his buddy fake his own death to get out of the Corps?

GIBBS: No. I'm wondering who they got to play the part of the dead body.

(CUT TO BLACK)

FADE IN:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

ZIVA: (V.O.) You really think Lance Corporal Danforth faked his own death?

TONY: You got a better theory?

MCGEE: Actually, we do, Tony.

SHEPARD: I'd like to hear it, Agent McGee. And yours as well, Agent DiNozzo. (LONG BEAT) Both preferably sometime today.

ZIVA: We think Corporal Merrill may have killed Danforth, Director.

SHEPARD: Why?

ZIVA: Merrill conveniently forgot to tell us about the fight they had the night Danforth was killed.

SHEPARD: A fight over what?

TONY: Gibbs is not gonna like this.

SHEPARD: Is there a problem, Agent McGee?

MCGEE: Uh, no. No, Ma'am. Merrill claims that he was trying to stop him from drinking and driving. According to the bartender, they broke two tables and a chair over it.

SHEPARD: Sounds like more than two good friends fighting to me.

ZIVA: I agree. Merrill also passed Danforth's accident on the way home. He could easily have finished him off.

MCGEE: Merrill goes to hide the body. When he comes back to clean up, cops are already on the scene.

SHEPARD: What about the other body?

ZIVA: There was a third party in the car. We only have Corporal Merrill's word that the two of them drove off.

TONY: (QUIETLY) No way! Wrong!

MCGEE: Merrill shows up at the hospital, confirms the false I.D.

SHEPARD: Then later goes back, torches the ambulance before the real I.D. can be made.

TONY: Okay, I'm sorry. I've got... I've got to interrupt because ...here's the thing. I have a theory that actually has motive, which might be helpful. I don't mean to belittle my colleagues' efforts. I seem to feel Lance Corporal Danforth didn't hit a deer. He hit Ducky's John Doe. Stick with me here. He's drunk, right? Wasted. Looking five to ten for manslaughter. So he switches the John Doe with his body, then skips town. Right? And then he has his buddy Corporal Merrill come along and torch the evidence. That's how it happened. Pretty simple. It's really just detective work connecting the dots - hey, Boss. The Director wanted - she wanted....

GIBBS: With me.

TONY: Okay.(MUSIC OVER ACTION/ALL WALK UP STAIRS)

CUT TO:

INT. SHEPARD'S OFFICE - DAY

(MUSIC OVER ACTION/GIBBS WALKS INTO THE OFFICE AND SITS AT THE DESK)

SHEPARD: Dramatic, but duly noted, Agent Gibbs. I get it.(DOOR OPENS)

CUT TO:

INT. STAIRCASE - DAY

(DOOR OPENS)

TONY: That wasn't the way it looked, boss.

GIBBS: I know.

TONY: The Director kind of suckered me into that deal.

GIBBS: Ziva caved first.

ZIVA: I didn't cave in! I was trying...

GIBBS: McGee next.

MCGEE: Boss, it wasn't what it looked--

GIBBS: And my loyal Saint Bernard held out 'till last.

TONY: Well, I think...

GIBBS: Probably all of thirty seconds. So what is my team, can I call you my team?

ZIVA: Yes!

MCGEE: Yes, Boss!

GIBBS: What are you going to do now?

ZIVA: Well, I think we should --

MCGEE: We could uh...

GIBBS: Solve the case! Tony, you impound Danforth's car. Have Abby see if it hit anything besides the tree. Then you and McGee go to the original crash site. McGee, I want an agent standing by Rebecca Crawford's room to get a...

MCGEE: A statement the second she wakes up, Boss. You got it.

ZIVA: And I'm with you, yes?

GIBBS: I don't know, Ziva. Are you?

ZIVA: Definitely.

MUSICAL BRIDGE TO:

INT. TRAINING CLASSROOM - DAY

MERRILL: The improvised explosive device, gentlemen. The weapon of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem is spotting them when they look something like this. Now these are just a few of the I.E.D. configurations I encountered on my last pump in Iraq. Today I'm going to teach you how to locate, disarm, or if need be, blow them all in place. Corporal, you got it. Take over. They're yours.

CORPORAL: (V.O.) You got it, Corporal Merrill. Give me a holler.

MERRILL: Can I help you, Sir?

ZIVA: Did you know that lying to a Federal investigator is a crime?

MERRILL: I didn't lie.

GIBBS: What was the fight in the Gold Monkey about?

MERRILL: Billy was drunk, Sir. I tried to take his car keys away and he started swinging. I guess I didn't try... hard enough.

ZIVA: You told me you placed him inside the car.

MERRILL: I did. Billy must have made B-Becca pull over. I should have... have...

GIBBS: You should have taken him home yourself?

MERRILL: Yeah. Billy's dead because of... m-me.

ZIVA: Are you sure he's dead?

GIBBS: The burned body isn't Lance Corporal Danforth.


CUT TO:

EXT. ACCIDENT SITE - DAY

MCGEE: Enough, already! You know I'm not the type to kiss and tell.

TONY: Kiss? I heard from a reliable source that you were out with Agent Larsen last night until about two a.m.

MCGEE: Who told you that?

TONY: I have information you want. You have information I want. Shall we dance?

MCGEE: Forget it.

TONY: Real men always kiss and tell.

MCGEE: Okay, so what are we looking for that the cops didn't already find?

TONY: They thought it was an accident. But they were not using the honed eye of a highly trained Federal agent. Probie, bring one of those numbers.

MCGEE: Prescription bottle of ibuprofen.

TONY: Grunt candy, a Marine's best friend. Must've been thrown from Danforth's car.

MCGEE: So?

TONY: So it belonged to Corporal Merrill. And there's blood on it.

CUT TO:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

TONY: Come on. Say it.

ZIVA: Say what?

TONY: "You were right, Tony." You'll be the bigger woman for it. I'll just have to content myself being the.... well, the righter one.

ZIVA: Woman?

TONY: You know what I mean. I found Merrill's scrip at the scene which means they were in it together. And the DiNozzo Body Swap Theory takes the lead!

ZIVA: What if he dropped it while killing Danforth?

GIBBS: Abby found Danforth's blood all over the windshield and hood.

ZIVA: So much for your body swap theory, Tony.

TONY: I've seen more than a few people survive the windshield taste test, Ziva!

ZIVA: Give it up, Tony. You said Merrill was the Forrest Gump of explosives. Who else had the equipment and expertise to blow up the ambulance?

GIBBS: Ziva's right. Bring him in.

TONY: You're feeling pretty smug, aren't you?

ZIVA: Oh, yes. Very.

CUT TO:

INT. ELEVATOR - DAY

SHEPARD: So what's bugging that famous gut now? Yes, you're that easy to read. I learned how to speak Gibbs a long time ago.(SFX: ELEVATOR DINGS/DOORS SLIDE CLOSED)

GIBBS: Are you going to Abby's lab or autopsy?

SHEPARD: Abby's.

GIBBS: Not to work my case?

SHEPARD: I have the right to dig into any NCIS investigation that I want to.

GIBBS: Not mine. Unless you want me behind your desk again. Of course, you could just observe and keep quiet.

(SFX: ELEVATOR DOORS SLIDE OPEN)

SHEPARD: Fine.

CUT TO:

INT. LAB - DAY

ABBY: As you know, this is the only piece of the trigger I found.

SHEPARD: (LONG BEAT) I'm not really here.

ABBY: Do you know how long I've been waiting to cross over into an alternate dimension?!

GIBBS: Well, you're still here, Abs. For now. What is this?

MCGEE: That's laminated paper substrate, Boss. Found in any number of electronic devices.

ABBY: Unfortunately, I couldn't find a trace of a single one. But then, I was surfing around on my favorite origami web-ring, and it hit me. Origami! The ancient art of paper-folding! Maybe the laminate substrate was the trigger.

GIBBS: Are you telling me Merrill folded himself a bomb?

ABBY: No, that's impossible. It came pre-folded.

MCGEE: You see, several companies have been exploring the use of paper circuit boards for disposable products.

ABBY: Metallic ink is printed on laminated paper and then folded into the desired shape. I coated our burnt substrate with a metallic iron particulate.

MCGEE: Which would attach to any residual metallic ink still present.

ABBY: And then I ran the whole thing through an X-ray to pick up on any latent patterns. Voila. You're looking at a partial circuit board for a disposable cell phone.

SHEPARD: Any chance we could read the ...

GIBBS: Any chance we could read the...

SHEPARD: .... call log.

GIBBS: Call logs?

ABBY: I have a better chance of getting McGee to wear a Speedo to church.

MCGEE: But I was able to pull a list of all the incoming calls to the hospital's cell zone. Only three came in immediately prior to the explosion. One of them was the triggering call. Corporal Kenneth Merrill.

CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

GIBBS: I appreciate you meeting me, Bill.

DANFORTH: Sure. How's she doing?

GIBBS: She's stable. Still in a coma.

DANFORTH: Are you waiting to question her?

GIBBS: Listen, the fire wasn't an accident. How well do you know Corporal Kenneth Merrill?

DANFORTH: Kenny? He's like a son to me. It wasn't an accident?

GIBBS: No. The van was rigged to explode.

DANFORTH: Because Kenny defused IEDs in Iraq, you think he has something to do with this? Nah, impossible.

GIBBS: His mother told me that Rebecca used to be Kenny's girlfriend.

DANFORTH: Oh, when they were children. They've been best friends since elementary school.

GIBBS: The night of your son's accident, he was also in a fight.

DANFORTH: My son liked to drink. Sometimes in excess. Kenny was just trying to stop him from driving home drunk. Kenny had nothing to do with this, Jethro.

GIBBS: It looks like the call that triggered the fire came from Kenny's cell phone.

DANFORTH: What time was that?

GIBBS: Zero nine hundred about.

DANFORTH: It wasn't Kenny. He was with my wife and I from... I don't know, since... since before dawn up until at least noon.

(PHONE RINGS)

GIBBS: (INTO PHONE) Yeah, Gibbs.

MCGEE: (V.O./FILTERED) Hey, Boss. Corporal Merrill disappeared.

(GIBBS HANGS UP THE PHONE)

DANFORTH: Was that about my son?

MCGEE: No. Corporal Merrill. After I questioned him, he walked out of the class he was teaching. No one's seen him since.

(MUSIC OUT)

MUSIC IN:

INT. SHEPARD'S OFFICE - NIGHT

(DOOR OPENS/ CLOSES)

(MUSIC OVER ACTION/GIBBS SETS THE TABLE)

SHEPARD: I don't recall ordering room service. Is that steak au poivre? And frisee salad. Oh. Oh. You know, the last time we had steak au poivre, six people died. What is this meal going to cost me?

GIBBS: Can't a guy just sit down and have a bite with his old partner?

SHEPARD: Old partner? Must be worse than I thought. (BEAT) How'd it go with Danforth at the hospital today?

GIBBS: It went okay. If you're Corporal Merrill. Danforth gave an alibi for the day of the explosion.

SHEPARD: I assume you didn't believe him.

GIBBS: Why's that?

SHEPARD:

SHEPARD: Because I wouldn't be eating steak au poivre right now if you did. If Danforth's covering for Merrill, he has to believe Merrill didn't kill his son.

(CONT.) And the only way he can know that for sure is...

GIBBS: If the kid is still alive.

SHEPARD: But you don't believe that, either.

GIBBS: The alibi was B.S. The grief was real.

SHEPARD: You sure Danforth wasn't playing you? Sorry. But that still doesn't mean his son's dead. There was an accident. He could be hurt.

GIBBS: He could be recovering in a private hospital somewhere.

SHEPARD: Wouldn't be the first time a parent with means used them to keep a child out of trouble. Are you going to eat that aspara - thank you. There is another possibility. If Danforth is grieving for his son.... then he's only covering for Merrill because...

GIBBS: He refuses to believe that Merrill attempted to kill him.

SHEPARD: Let's hope he's not wrong. Either way, however it went down, Jethro, you find Merrill, you'll find Danforth, Junior.

CUT TO:

INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY

TONY: (INTO PHONE) Merrill, (SPELLS) M-E-R-R - R-R! Like Ricky Ricardo.

MCGEE: Okay, I got his ATM records... checking for any recent activity.

ZIVA: (INTO PHONE) Vehicle is a tan Sierra, license plate D-P-H...

TONY: (INTO PHONE) Ricky Ricardo! You know, from "I Love Lucy."

MCGEE: No withdrawals in the last two weeks. Credit card records coming up.

ZIVA: (INTO PHONE) Tan. If I meant burnt umber, I would have said burnt umber... what -

TONY: (INTO PHONE) Ricky Ricardo. You know, you some 'splainin' to do, Lucy! (BEAT) Hey, Boss. Just updating the BOLO on Merrill.

ZIVA: And checking the DMV to see if he's had any traffic violations recently.

MCGEE: And going through his financial records to try and pick up any leads off any recent purchases.

GIBBS: And?

TONY: And we can't find him. Uh... but we're not going to give up until we do.

MCGEE: Or die trying.(GIBBS WALKS O.S.)

TONY: Or die trying? You had to put that in his head?

CUT TO:

INT. AUTOPSY ROOM - DAY

(SFX: DOORS SLIDE OPEN)

GIBBS: You wanted to see me, Duck?

DUCKY: Yes, I did. I was just about to call you. Small wonder DiNozzo is always looking over his shoulder. I managed to put a couple of bits together. Yes, lower canine.

(SFX: DOORS SLIDE CLOSED)

GIBBS: How long?

DUCKY: Oh, a week... maybe longer.

GIBBS: And the odds of this reconstruction getting us an I.D.?

DUCKY: Exceedingly long. But it's the only method I have for identifying these remains.

GIBBS: I've had long shots come in.

DUCKY: I once wagered a five hundred-to-one on the Irish Sweepstakes. He fell at the first jump, but then recovered. He fell at the second jump. You'll never guess what happened next.

CUT TO:

INT. LAB - DAY

(SFX: DOORS SLIDE OPEN)

GIBBS: (INTO PHONE) Yeah, Gibbs.

ABBY: That's me, Gibbs! You'll never guess what I found! Come on, Gibbs. Guess! I ran the prints from the bottle of ibuprofen that Tony found at the Danforth accident site. Can I at least get a drum roll?

GIBBS: Ta-da.

ABBY: Pathetic.

GIBBS: Prints.

ABBY: The prescription belonged to Corporal Merrill. All of the prints on the bottle belonged to Lance Corporal Danforth!

GIBBS: So Merrill gave Danforth some of his grunt candy.

ABBY: It wasn't grunt candy! The bottle was empty, so I swabbed it and I ran it through the mass spec. Cyclosporine, azathio-prine.

GIBBS: Come on, Abs. In English.

ABBY: They're anti-rejection drugs, Gibbs! If Danforth was taking them, he's had a transplant! The DNA I ran could be from a donor organ. It kind of turned me on. I'm going to get another sample from Ducky. This body could be Lance Corporal Danforth. So urban myth.

CUT TO:

INT. HOSPITAL ENTRANCE - DAY

GIBBS: Hey, Bill. I called your home. Your wife said you were here.

DANFORTH: You have bad news for me, don't you?

GIBBS: Yeah. Where'd your son have his transplant?

DANFORTH: Does it matter?

GIBBS: No.

DANFORTH: You can't stay in the Corps with a kidney transplant, Jethro.

GIBBS: Who burned in the fire, Bill?

DANFORTH: An unclaimed body at the hospital morgue scheduled for cremation. I made a donation. They switched a toe tag. And the county saved itself the cost of a cremation.

GIBBS: It could have killed those EMTs, Bill.

DANFORTH: No. I didn't detonate that oxygen until they were clear.

GIBBS: Why? Your son was dead. The Corps doesn't care if he had a transplant now. (BEAT) They were more than friends. They were a match! Corporal Merrill gave your son a kidney.

DANFORTH: An autopsy would reveal the transplant. I was afraid that the M.E. would run a DNA check on the donor organ.

GIBBS: And you can't be on active duty if you give away a kidney.

DANFORTH: The Corps means the world to that boy, Jethro. It's his life. And he risked everything. He risked it all to help out his best friend. My son.

GIBBS: He rigged an IED to burn that...

DANFORTH: I did that!

GIBBS: Bill!

DANFORTH: I'll swear I did it. Kenny had nothing to do with this.

GIBBS: Why'd he go UA?

DANFORTH: He didn't go UA. He was at my place. The things that Kenny's teaching those Marines going to Iraq will save their lives, Jethro. Come on, let me take the hit on this one.

GIBBS: Where is your son's body?

DANFORTH: At the hospital morgue.

GIBBS: Come on.

CUT TO:

INT. AUTOPSY ROOM - DAY

(SFX: SAWING B.G.)

DUCKY: I do apologize. Usually one scraping is sufficient, but you are so crispy. Ah. That should satisfy Abby. Ah, Jethro. Abby told me about the transplant and her theory.

GIBBS: Hmm - You buy it?

DUCKY: Well, it is possible.

GIBBS: My money's on your teeth, Duck. Get back to them.

DUCKY: As soon as I give this to Abby.

GIBBS: I'll do it.

DUCKY: Jethro!

GIBBS: Ah.

DUCKY: I've never seen you break evidence protocol before.

GIBBS: You don't trust me, Duck?

DUCKY: Well, that's not the point. Chain of evidence is chain of evidence.

GIBBS: You're right about that. I'd slap DiNozzo silly if he did it.

DUCKY: Jethro, you surprise me.

GIBBS: Must be getting old.

(SFX: ELEVATOR DINGS/DOORS SLIDE CLOSED)

CUT TO:

INT. ELEVATOR - DAY

(MUSIC OVER ACTION)

(SFX: GIBBS SLAPS HIMSELF)

GIBBS: God.

CUT TO:

INT. LAB - DAY

ABBY: Yes! Yes! Whoo! Yes! Yay!

DUCKY: That's incredible.

GIBBS: No need for a dental match now, Duck.

DUCKY: The odds on getting donor DNA from Danforth's body are ... astronomical!

ABBY: Alabama! Nineteen fifty four. A nine pound meteorite hits Annie Hodges. The odds of getting hit by a meteorite - astronomical, no pun intended. But it happens and I'm going to be published again. Ooh, yes.

TONY: Peachy for you. But we just lost our victim.

ZIVA: Our suspect.

MCGEE: Our theories.

ZIVA: We've been barking up the wrong tree the entire investigation.

TONY: Bush.

ZIVA: Sorry, bush. We've been barking up the wrong.... bush.

TONY: Tree. So who torched the ambulance and why?

GIBBS: Don't look at me.

(SFX: ELEVATOR DINGS)

SHEPARD: Don't tell me.

GIBBS: Well, yeah. Abby was right. The first test picked up donor DNA. Our John Doe is Lance Corporal Danforth.

SHEPARD: Good. I mean not good a Marine is dead. But good that the case is no longer ours.

GIBBS: Mm-hmm.

SHEPARD: I know what you're going to say Jethro and don't. I want Lance Corporal Danforth's remains returned to his father and I want the case turned over to the Maryland arson investigators. That will make Mister Danforth happy, which will make the SecNav happy, which in turn will make me very happy. We have wasted way too many of our resources already.

GIBBS: Okay.

(MUSIC UP AND OUT)

(ENDING CREDITS UP AND OUT)

(MUSIC UP OVER ENDING CREDITS AND OUT)