08x06 - Cracked

Watch it.

She can't stop me. I gotta keep moving.

I can't let them find me. I can't...

Come on.

Come on.

No, wait!

NCIS Season 8 Episode 06 Cracked

No, tell me.

Sweetheart, I don't get embarrassed.

You little vixen.

I hope you warmed that up first.

Listen, I gotta go.

Pick you up tonight, say, 8:00?



Who's the lucky little vixen, Tony?

Adult relationship stuff, McTween. You wouldn't understand.

Adult relationship? You?

He must be dating one of those late-night chat girls again.

She was a student putting herself through medical school.

I have now lost my appetite.

Ethel's different. She's special.

Special Ethel?

Good, Tony.

You're finally dating within your age range.

Happens to be a family name. And I happen to like it.

It's strong, distinguished.

It says...

"I've fallen and I can't get up"?

Laugh all you want, but I think Ethel and I really have something.

There are antibiotics for that.

She's even started...

I can share this.

She's even started talking about role-playing.

You're taking a drama class?

That's not the kind of role-playing he's talking about.

Just don't you show up tomorrow wearing a diaper and carrying a whip.

That kind of role-playing.

So, what is she into?

She's keeping it a secret till Halloween.

Says it's gonna bring our relationship to a whole new level.

What if she wants you to dress up like a ballerina?

Trust me.

This woman could get Gibbs into a tutu and a leotard if she wanted to.

Not likely, in this lifetime, DiNozzo.

No, Boss. I'm sure you would never wear a leotard.

But if you did, you could pull it off.

I'm gonna grab my gear.

Good idea. Got a dead Navy lieutenant. Go.

Heck of a way to catch a bus.

So, Boss, police think it was an accident.

Bus driver claims that the victim tried to run the light and missed.

Got an I.D.?

Yeah. Navy Lieutenant Clea Thorson.

29 years old. Chemical engineer.

Two tours overseas before joining the Reserves in 2006.

I have a witness that says the victim was acting paranoid prior to the collision.

Police have another who says she was mumbling to herself about trying to get away from someone.

Mental problems?

Maybe she really was running away from someone.

Good morning, all.

To whom do we have the privilege?

Navy Lieutenant Clea Thorson.

Pedestrian versus bus.

How unfortunate.

Walk on the green, not in-between.

I am so sorry.

I used to say that to myself when I was a kid whenever I wandered into...

Never mind. Never mind.

Severe trauma to the head consistent with a collision.

The impact threw the victim 12 to 15 feet, making the speed of the bus at the point of collision...?

15 to 20 miles an hour.

Are those scratches on her hands, Mr. Palmer?

Naturally, she would have extended her arms to protect herself.

This is weird.

Check the other arm.

Some kind of chemical symbols?

Looks like my cheat sheet from an eighth grade math final.

Whatever this is, Mr. Palmer, I am certain that you did not learn it in eighth grade.

Seems Lieutenant Thorson was something of an overachiever.

Background. Graduated first in her class from MIT.

While she was in the service, she led a civil engineering project to rebuild water systems in Iraq. She was 21.

Recruited by every biotech firm in the country.

She chose Martin Stillwell's Gen-1 Biotech, Inc. in DC.

She was working on a research project there until two weeks ago.

Fired. We're not sure why.

A spotless military record.


Never married. No children.

No boyfriend to speak of.

Only relative is her mother in Boston.

She's in the air as we speak.

Boss, no current home address in the database.

Most recent is from about six months ago.

No cell phone or credit card trails, either.

But I did find a bank account registered to her in Maryland.

She made several recent deposits, all over $20, 000, and all within the last two weeks.

After Stillwell fired her.

Could've been working for someone on the sly.

Find out who was paying her.

I really appreciate you guys letting me do this.

Don't get me wrong, Tony's pictures are great.

I need specifics.

Oddly Diane Arbus to me.

I love her. I'll take that as a compliment.

How great is "Child With Toy Grenade in Central Park"?

I worship "Triplets in Their Bedroom."


I worship getting my work done.

Holy mother of Einstein!

There's a pattern here.

I would love to know what it is.

Thank goodness.

Never seen anything like this before. I'm not sure exactly what it is.

Did she write it, or did someone else do it?

I don't know that yet, either.

It's just... it's an... indecipherable puzzle.

That's what makes it so cool.

My point is, it's gonna take me a while to process all this, so...


Off I go. Bye.

Bye, Abbs.

I'm afraid we're not finished yet, Jethro.

But what I've discovered so far really bothers me.

Broken capillaries in both eyes.

Her skin is extremely dehydrated.

Both of these are unrelated to the blunt force trauma she incurred at the accident.

This was a very sick woman.

Mr. Palmer, would you...?

Her spleen expanded to nearly twice its size.

The liver and pancreas are also enlarged.

She had almost complete organ failure.

From what?

Some kind of poison.

I have no idea what kind.

Abby will start tests.

But whatever it was, it's been in her system for some time.

She was dying.

I have no idea how the poison got into her system.

It didn't get there by itself.

Whoever did this to her knew just what to do not to get caught.

Come on, DiNozzo, give me something.

No luck on the money trail.

Found several IM's in Thorson's e-mail cache.

One's video.

You ungrateful bitch.

You're not going anywhere.

And if you do leave me, I will make your life hell!

Mel Gibson much?

There was no evidence that Lieutenant Thorson had a boyfriend.


Yep, finding the IP address.

Okay, this is not her boyfriend; that's her Boss.

You're out of your mind if you think I had something to do with Clea's death.

No, actually, you are. We got the video message to prove it.

Easy, tiger.

Guy could go a little nuts after getting dumped, huh?

Clea and I had a professional relationship.

That's it.

I gave her her break in this business; I nurtured her.

So, you don't deny you were close?

About the work? Yes.

Clea was the most brilliant engineer I'd ever known and ever worked with.

But of course, what comes along with all that brilliance are certain... challenges.

What kind of challenges?

Clea never wanted to be a team player.

She'dto do everything on her own in her own way, that's not how I run things.

She'd also become impossible to deal with, especially during our research project at Norfolk.

Can you explain this research project?

My company was hired by the Navy to help them become... fuel independent... to go green, if you will.

No more dependence on foreign oil... I like the sound of that.

Essentially, the goal was to make sure every...

Naval base was completely off the grid by 2020.

That sounds like a large undertaking.

It's massive, actually.

Hi. And you are...?

April Ferris. I'm an engineer here at Gen-1.

Engineer... so you worked with Clea Thorson, then?

I did, for five years.

She was a friend.

It's awful what happened.

It is.

Can you tell us about her last days here before she was... fired?

I'm sorry.

I can't right now. I've got a meeting that I need to get to.

And of course, any other questions can be answered by my attorney.

We're not done yet.

I believe we are.

Who did this?

Who killed my daughter?

Was she in any trouble?

Everything was fine.

Clea was just fine.

Until she lost her job.

Any idea why?


But she kept sending money, telling me to keep it in case anything happened. She was...

She was scared.

At first, I thought it was the meds, but this was different.


Started when she was about four.

Mood swings, manic behavior, insomnia.

She struggled... till her early teens.

Then we found the right doctor, the right medications, and everything was under control.

Until recently.

That had to be hard.

Something... had my daughter shaken up.

And I don't... think it was her illness.

Do you have children?


Please tell me the pain goes away.

I've been going over the photos I took in autopsy.

See how the writing on the left arm is similar to that on the right, but it's angled funny?

It's two different people.

No, not people.


Her own hands.


If the killer did this, then the handwriting would be exactly the same on both arms.

She wrote it all herself.

How's that for dedication?

I'm officially a fan.

There's more.

It's a formula. Or it's... pieces of a longer, elaborate chemical formula.

I just don't know what it is yet.

And I'm stumped. You want to know why?

'Cause it's a code inside a code.

And it was written so only she could understand it.

This is pure brilliance with a capital B.

Or with a capital P.B.

It's just one part of a bigger equation.

She did this for a reason.

She wanted to protect it.


See these little numbers written in the crease of her elbow?



Ding, ding, ding.

1649 Delaney Street Southeast.


Someone was security conscious.

Or paranoid.

Maybe paranoid for a reason, huh?

We should get Abby out here.

You should see this, Tony.

Left us a message.

I am a little concerned.

I have never seen Abby so...


She's fine.

She's just thinking.

I admit, it's a lot to absorb.

Could take us weeks to process.

I've already counted three security cameras inside.

Should be able to get whoever was in here on playback.

If somebody was in here.

I sense skepticism, Tony.

You sensed right, Dr. Phil.

Think it's the same formula?

McGee, hi. Yes.

I mean, no, no.

It's not the same. Part of it is.

This is actually an extension of what's on her body.

This is the second piece of the formula.

Just, I've never seen someone so focused before.

I have.

In a good way, I mean.

Talking about you, Abbs.

Go. Shoo. I have to check the hard drive.

Anything here?

Well, Lieutenant Thorson was definitely having problems with Stillwell. Look.

She writes that he was watching her every move.

And the Norfolk project?

Nothing. Maybe Stillwell had her too scared to write about it.

Maybe Alice took a few too many pills in Wonderland.

Bite your tongue.

Respect, please.

Sorry, Abbs, I just think we need to consider the possibility that Lieutenant Thorson's paranoia was imagined.

Her hard drive's been erased.

Is that a euphemism?

They used a remote device to erase the hard drive.

I don't think that is imagined.

Someone stole her work.

Well, Boss, say hello to the Green Hornet.

The first F-18 jet fueled by 50% biofuel.

Tested off the charts last spring.

Stillwell's company involved?

Yeah, his and about 20 others. The Navy's investing billions.

Check it out.

Thermonuclear power, wind energy, geothermal power, hybrid ships... you name it.

Companies are in a race to patent new technologies.

And whoever gets the patents first makes a fortune.

Daddy Warbucks kind of fortune.

Thorson's project could've been worth enough to get her killed.

Money trail.

All deposits were strictly cash.

Whoever was paying her did not want to be found.

Prints in the loft.

Just hers.

Nothing off the security camera footage.

Only person I've seen so far is her.

Time codes begin the day she was fired and end the day she died.

She locked herself away for two weeks.

She was dedicated to her cause.


Now, Gibbs, I've found references to a Mr. K. in her journals as well as entries of meetings in a calendar.

Any dates?


Several in the past two weeks.

Find him.

Check employees at Stillwell's company, Navy colleagues, anyone linked to this Norfolk project.

I can see a kindred spirit in you.

I mean, not that I can see your spirit, 'cause that would be weird.

But I guess not too weird because you're in here, and you're, you know, you're...

Anyway, so what I'm trying to say is we communicate in the same way.

I could tell the first time I saw all of this.

Everyone else saw chaos, and I saw patterns right away.

There was order to the chaos.

I just, I want you to know that whatever it is... that you're trying to tell me, I promise you, I promise I'll understand.


Sometimes they talk back.

I just, I wanted to get one last look at the writings.

It's a rather fascinating case with a rather fascinating young woman.

We could study her brain for years and never know just what made her tick.

But, I suppose, that could be said for any one of us.

You all right?

You look a little peaked.

Yeah, I'm fine.

Go home, Abby. Get some rest.

I can assure you of one thing:

Lieutenant Thorson will still be here in the morning.

You're here. I've had some breakthroughs.

Or maybe it's more like some little bursts of inspiration.

'Cause if I had a breakthrough, I have all the answers, but I don't, not yet.

But I'm close. I know I am, because I can feel it.

I've got, like, this tingling feeling going up and down my spine.

How many Caf-POWs you had today?


Did you even go home last night?

I've been inputting the raw data from the writings, trying to crack the code to the formula, and then bam, it hit me.

That it's not about the code.

It's about her. What I need to crack is her.

The DTA bus line... she rode it every week.

It's all in here.

And she wrote about a college mentor.

I don't know where he is, but I think he was her confidant.

And maybe he could tell us about Mr. K.

You think we should find him?

Lieutenant Thorson... she had a whole life, out there, somewhere. She was on a journey.

And it's my duty to follow it. It's how we're gonna find the murderer.

I can't do it alone, McGee.

Come with me.

3:00 in the afternoon, she has a sandwich and a soda.

Exactly 20 minutes later, she goes back to her desk.

6:00 in the evening, she takes a shower.

Same every day, like clockwork.

I know that sound.

What sound? I didn't make one.

It is the sound of things not boding well for poor Ethel.

I don't want to talk about it.

What's wrong?

Second thoughts about the role you're gonna play?

She wants me to dress up like...

I can't.

It's sacrilege.

I'm gonna have to end it.

Come on, Tony, it's only been two days.

It's too short, even for you.

Trust me. There's some things a man should never do.

We're are not talking about a man. We're talking about you.

Did you let her know?

I need some time to process.

If you are going to end it.

Do it now. It is not fair to just...

What is this?

Miss Ferris. She called. I told her to come in.

Hi. Does Stillwell know you're here?

Keeps everyone around him on a pretty tight leash, huh?

In some ways, yes.

What about Thorson?

Their relationship was very complicated.

And that's all I'll say.

And your relationship with her?

We were the only women engineers at Gen-1.

She was a lot braver than I was.

How so?

She wasn't afraid to stand up to Martin or anyone else.

I only wish I had known her better.

And how her mind worked.

These are some of the things from her locker.

Maybe you'll be able to find some of the answers I never could.

All right.

We'be in touch.

Who was that?

Lieutenant Thorson's colleague.

You get anything?

I think we did.

A final meeting with Mr. K.

This one's scheduled for later this afternoon.

You got a location?

Wiley's Cafe across town.

The 35 should take us to 16th Street.

From there we can take the Red Line to DuPont Circle.

We have been on five buses in the last two hours.

Okay? This isn't working.

I need to find what I'm looking for.

Yeah, but you don't even know what you're looking for.

I mean, at least be pragmatic.

Listen to yourself.

Clea took this path all the time.

I have find out why.

I thought you wanted to help me.

Abby, I do want to help you.

Bringing up the cell grid.

No hits where I last saw Abby. She must have turned her cell phone off.

She didn't just disappear into thin air, Tim.

I know, Boss.

We'll find her.

How did you know where to find me?

I followed Lieutenant Thorson's path.

It only took me eight different buses and ten miles on foot to do it.

Knowing Clea, she had a reason.

She was scared, Professor Redner.

Someone was following her.

The same person that hurt her?

I was worried something had happened when she didn't show the other day.

She was on her way to see you when she died.

I can't believe that she's gone.

I don't think she is.

I mean, not totally.

Look at this.

She left all this behind.

Do you have any idea what this means?

There's a focus on hydrogen, carbon dioxide, but the rest I don't, I don't recognize.

She kept her own projects secret, even from me.

She had to have shared something with you. She trusted you.

She wrote about a Mr. K.

She mentioned him a few times, yes.

Ever by his full name?


You know Clea gave me something a few years ago.

We would read from it during her visits.

It seemed calm her.

Maybe it can do the same thing for you.

I couldn't take that. That was a gift.

Science is poetry, Ms. Sciuto.

It's abmaking order...

From chaos.

That's what I do every day.

Then this book is in good hands.

We are not sure what to believe at this point.

The meeting wasn't quite what we hoped for.

He never showed?

You could say that.

The restaurant manager confirmed Lieutenant Thorson was there many times these past two weeks.

Dates correspond to meetings found in her calendar. Look.

We got video footage.

Let's see it.

At first I thought maybe she was on her phone, manager says that she stays like this for about an hour every time.

He kicked her out after a customer complained that she was getting too loud.

Turn it off.

Abby's turned her cell phone back on.

I'm gonna try and nail down her exact location.

Last time we let you two out on a field trip.

Is that Thorson meeting with...

The notorious Mr. K.?

Yes, it is. In the flesh, so to speak.

Who's gonna tell Abby?

I nominate you.

I'll handle it.

Someone will have to and quickly.

Are you all right?

Whirlwind of a day!

You wouldn't believe where I've been. You want to guess? Go for it.

I'll tell you.

So, I found Lieutenant Thorson's college mentor, Professor Daniel Redner. He's a great guy.

We talked about poetry, he made tea. I loved the poetry, I hated the tea.


He knows all about Mr. K.

And he said that Thorson was really secretive about him, which means that she felt threatened by him.

So we have to find Mr. K.!


You just raised your voice to me. You never raise your voice to me.

It's her delusion, Abbs.

I was wrong... about you.

You don't understand.

None of you understand!

There's no reasoning with her.

I'm afraid not, Jethro.

Not when she locks herself in her lab, convinced that she can find all the answers on her own.

Right. Just like Thorson did.

There's no doubt that Abby greatly identifies with the lieutenant.

Has done from the beginning.

It's a slippery slope, Duck.

As Nietzsche says:

"When you gaze long into the abyss,

"the abyss will gaze into you."

I need to get her back.

You will.

We're still waiting results from the outside lab as to the type of poison.

However, this morning I pulled a piece of tissue from beneath one of Thorson's fingernails.

There a fight?

It could have been a nasty one.

The tissue was deeply imbedded.

You got an I.D.?

Just got that back.

Boss, it's Stillwell.

Get out of the car, Stillwell!

Get out!

He's on the move!

Help me!

Ducky's initial autopsy findings point to poison.

Same way Thorson was killed.

Same killer.

Maybe Thorson wasn't completely insane.

Boss, we know that Thorson and Stillwell were both working to redesign energy systems for the Navy.

Billions are at stake.

Maybe Thorson's formula really is the key to all of this.

Then, if that is true then Abby's the only one who can make this breakthrough.

Somebody's gotta break through her.

Think I might know someone.

No matter where I was, I could always tell when Clea was in trouble.

My stomach got twisted up.

I didn't sleep. Didn't eat.

I knew something was wrong, but...

I never expected this.

She had a mission.

Nothing was gonna stop her.

From what I hear, you feel the same way.

I promised your daughter that I would finish what she started.

At what cost?

Clea was a scientist above all else.

Her work fed her.

Gave her the happiness I never could, but it also drove her to the brink.

I'm not on the brink.

I'm just looking for answers.


In my daughter's head?

I'd do anything to tell you how Clea's mind worked, but after 29 years and all the love a mother could possibly give, not even I can tell you that.

You connected to my daughter because of science.

And you want to help her?

That's all I want to do.

Then do what she would have done, and put emotion aside.

You have to let her go.


Observe progress.

Music to my ears, Abbs.

After whittling away at the mass of symbols and letters, I kept coming back to two distinct chemical compositions.

The first was taken from the writings on the body.

It happens to be a unique construction of the bacteria E Coli.

Right. Sorry.

Inside voice. It just feels really good to have my mojo back.

Now behold the second composition.

It was found in the writings inside Thorson's loft.

And it is, drumroll please, a synthesis of compounds with the aid of radiant energy.

A.K.A. photosynthesis.

Wait. So this is all about plants and bad meat?

It's confusing?

Next equation, stat. I mean please.

At first I thought this was about converting the organisms of E Coli into fuel, but there's too much carbon dioxide for that process to ever work.

In other words, my mojo has sort of hit a no-jo.

I still don't have the last piece of the formula.

I feel like I'm missing something, but I've been over this a million times.

This is our anomaly, boss.

And we still can't figure out where it fits in the formula.

Looks like a plant.

It's not a plant, Gibbs.

It's a leaf.

A memory card.


Clea Thorson was a genius.

Carbon dioxide wasn't the problem...

It was the solution.

She discovered a way to make fuel from bacteria.

This is revolutionary for green energy.

She's figured out how to power the planet out of stuff that we try to get rid of.

Avaxis employee list.

Systems director Rupert Kritzer.

I told you there was a Mr. K.

She was working for me.

You paid her under the table. Why?

It's a cutthroat business.

It's the way it has to be done.

Keep it hidden from Stillwell?

I know you were working on the Navy energy plan.

And I know that he was one of your main competitors.

It's complicated.

Two people are dead and you're the chief suspect.

Doesn't get much more complicated than that.

The biotech business is this generation's dot-com boom.

Everyone is trying to discover the next big thing.

And everyone is looking for the next big talent.

Talent like Lieutenant Thorson?

Right. So when Stillwell fired her, I pounced.

I told her to keep it to herself.

He'd stolen ideas from me before.

I wasn't going to let him do that again.

I didn't want our project ever getting back to him.

And when it did, you killed them.

Had to keep it for yourself.

I didn't kill anyone.

I don't believe you.

Clea's bacteria conversion formula has just netted me $2 billion, I was just about to hire her for a second project.

Why would I want her dead?

Martin Stillwell's throat was burned from swallowing a significant amount of something.

So much, in fact, that you can still smell it.


Dead bodies.


It's a highly refined version of ethanol mixed with traces of formaldehyde.

Where would somebody get that?

They can't.

With Abby's help, I found a patent filing from three years ago for a grain-based fuel called Nanathol.

But the patent was never given because the fuel left behind the by-product of...


Who filed it?

Stillwell's company.

Palmer, find out who spearheaded the project.

Go, now, go.

On it.

Additionally, Jethro, Lieutenant Thorson was not poisoned the same way as Martin Stillwell.

Hers was more methodical.


She absorbed the poison through her skin over a period of two weeks.

Possibly mixed in a lotion or some kind of liquid.

And done by someone who knew her rituals.


Every day at 6:00 in the evening Lieutenant Thorson took a shower.

It did not change for two weeks, but here's what did change.

This is the day before she died.

She's getting sicker by the minute.

I think McGee found something.

I'm at some pipes underneath the stairs outside Thorson's loft.

Goes right into the water supply.

She never had a chance.

Look who's taking center stage.

Ms. Ferris, we need to talk to you.

I'm in the middle of a meeting. Can't it wait?


Excuse us.

I don't understand.

I've told you all I know. I've helped you.

You only helped yourself.

To a brand-new job it looks like.

Must feel good to finally be the one in charge.

Doesn't suit you, though. You're more of a background player.

I've worked hard for what I have.

No, the work only got you so far.

Lieutenant Thorson, she was the real deal.

You're a phony.

We were never competitors.

Clea was my friend.

That's what she thought.

This is a direct quote from her journal.

"'I feel alone at Gen-1 most of the time.

"I do not like it here.

"But April makes the days easier.

"Maybe we will be friends.

"I trust her."

She never said...

She didn't care about me.

It's a terrible thing... betraying someone's trust like that.

You have no idea what I had to put up with.

People fawned over her like she was the Second Coming.

How do you think that made me feel?

Make you feel bad enough to kill.

Tony as Tony.

I am completely impressed.

Are you supposed to be Fat Elvis?

It's Saturday Night Fever.

Travolta, '77.

In a John Badham directed classic.

I know!

Looks ridiculous, right?

It feels even worse.

It's like I'm betraying the Gods.

I was not aware you were so religious.

The film Gods.

So I take it this means you haven't ended things with Ethel?

A man's got to do what a man's got to do.

I'm gonna give Special Ethel what she thinks she wants.

But this...

This will always belong to me.

Looks good.

I like it.

I'm just trying to get in the spirit.

It's more "me".

I'm sorry that I am...

I'm sorry.

It's okay.