08x18 - Out of the Frying Pan…

You can tell a lot about a person by their car, Bixby.

So you've said. Many times.

But owners all got one thing in common.

You've ruined their day?

They've all got an excuse.

Take this guy...

He probably lives here.

Forgot to move his car. Let's just knock on his door.

And here I thought you had what it takes to do this job.

And here I thought you had a soul.

Lost it a long time ago.

Hazard of the job.

Otherwise, you start taking the insults personally.

"Meter Maid."


"Scooter Pig."

You can't sympathize with these people:

They broke the law.

And for that, they must pay.

Oh, my God.

Call the police!

I am the police.

The real police!

NCIS Season 8 Episode 18 Out of the Frying Pan

Can't remember the last time we all arrived at work at the same time.

It was spring 2006.

The cherry blossoms were in bloom...

Of course.

Now, I remember it well. McGee wore gray. You wore blue.

I wore green.

I was kidding.

I was not.

McFraud, did your landlord's kid steal your credit card again?

These aren't mine.

Must have something to do with Agent Barrett and her team.

Maybe someone else has arrived.

Has anyone else talked to her lately?

I mean, you know, heard any... details?



No. Why should I?

I was just wondering if you had, you know, spoken to her.

I know she's spending the next few days setting up temporary housing.

Her team is still abroad; Won't be back for a couple weeks.

Or so I've heard.

These aren't NCIS boxes; They're case files from Metro Police.

Well, help yourself, Snoopy.

It was on my desk.

This is a Metro investigation from 2 weeks ago.

Does anyone else find that odd?

Yeah. Me.

"Gear up, " boss?

"Let's go"? "Dead Marine"?

"Grab your gear"?


Grab your gear.


Got a body.


The morgue. Been there for two weeks.


Stand down, Skippy.

Victim is retired Marine colonel Yale Peyton.

25-year vet.

Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Distinguished Service Medal. Silver Star.

He was struck seven times with an axe.

Why are we talking about a two-week-old Metro case?

Metro turned the case over to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

They kicked it back. They didn't think they had enough for a conviction.

Yeah, and...

U.S. Attorney's an old friend.

We worked together when he was a JAG officer; He called in a favor.

A favor?

He knows NCIS has a couple of the best interrogators in law enforcement.

You happen to be one of them.

Who's the other one?

Metro's convinced they got the killer.

The evidence was mostly circumstantial. They had to release him.

U.S. Attorney won't indict without a confession.

Leon, the victim here's a retired Marine.

And NCIS doesn't usually handle retired personnel.

But this wouldn't be the first time that we made an exception.

Military has a vested interest in who gets the survivor's benefits.

So what makes this one a favor?

My friend's up for an appointment as a federal judge.

So we're taking this case so your friend gets a better tee time?

No. We're taking on this case to put away a guy that killed a Marine.

We need to get a monster to admit that he's a monster.

Do you think you can do it?

Metro was right.

According to their files, it would appear their suspect did it.

They built a strong case.

Got a reliable witness who puts him at the scene of the crime.

Items missing from the crime scene were found in his car.

A history of violence, drug use...

Okay, so why did the U.S. Attorney not prosecute?

No smoking gun.

If they try this case and lose...

It doesn't look good. But if we get a confession...

Do you have a plan?

We get into the killer's head. Back him into a corner.

Catch him in a lie. Press the right button, and...

Metro questioned this guy for 27 hours and never got a confession.

Lover boy. Interrogation. Now.

Yeah, boss. On my way.

Now it's our turn.

Few folks find the fine flavor.

Jim, Jill, Jane, Johnny jammed. Jim, Jill, Jane, Johnny jammed.

Geez, DiNozzo.

Sorry, Boss.

Just loosening up the tongue... I'm good.

We'll see.

Hey, Nick.

Thanks for coming in.

Like to ask you a few questions.


Could I have a glass of water, if it's okay to drink in here?

You okay, Nick?

I haven't slept much.

Been staying at a friend's house.

I'm Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

This is Special Agent...

You know why you're here?

You think I killed my father.

We do.

Do you need anything? Are you hungry? You want a snack or something?

You know why we think you killed your father?

Same reason the police did?

That's right.

Because you had means, opportunity and motive.

And those are good reasons, Nick.

I'm sure you'll get just as far as the police did.

Which is not very.

So, which of these reasons do you think we're... thin on, Nick?

Are you a skater?

Means... we know that... you could just go into the garage and grab the axe.

We know you got a key to the house.

You know you're not supposed to use your hands to break your fall.



A witness that puts you at the scene of the crime at the time of the murder.

And you still haven't given anyone an explanation.

Or an alibi.


What happened right there?

I was skating downtown in this parking, this car came out...


You must think we don't have motive, Nick.

Is that why you shouldn't go to prison?

I mean... yes...

I shouldn't.

You're right.

A Marine pension... it's not exactly worth killing for.

And Metro never did prove motive, so...

I guess it's up to us now.

How long am I gonna be here?

A while.

Did you cry when your daddy died, Nick?

I did.

So you were there? When he died?

I don't follow.

Where were you when your daddy died?

It's a simple question.

Think my watch stopped.

You know what time it is, Nick?

I... think around 2:00.

Yeah, pretty close, 2:10.

So, did you kill your father, Nick?

Answer the question.

Why'd you kill him?

That's why I said I didn't need a lawyer.

Because I didn't do it.

I loved him.

You hear that? He loved him.

Yeah, I heard.

Here's the deal, Nick. First, we're gonna prove you're lying.

Then we're gonna prove you killed him.

And then you're going to go to prison.

Did I miss anything?


"Here comes a candle to light you to bed

"Here comes a chopper to chop off your head

"Chop, chop, chop, chop...

"the last man's dead."

I take it that Jethro is otherwise occupied?

Will be for quite some time.

I've heard you talk to the dead, but I did not know you read poetry to them as well.

They are playground rhymes.

And they have something to do with our victim?

"Lizzy Borden took an axe "And gave her mother 40 whacks.

When she saw what she had done, She gave her father 41."

Well, I only count seven whacks.

And according to the coroner's report, they were the cause of death.

Crime of passion?

Of rage.

The multiple blows... especially to the face... suggest that the killer was not only familiar with his victim, but also furious on an almost primal level.

Like a son... angry at his father?

Ah, possibly.

I had Agent McGee make me copies of the transcripts of Metro's interrogation of Nick Peyton.

Perhaps they can give me some insight into the young man.

He's barely a man.

He's 18 but he looks 12.

Looks can be deceiving.


If you find anything, call me, Ducky.

"Ring-a-ring of roses, A pocketful of posies

"Atishoo! Atishoo!

"All fall down."

Hi, honey!

Welcome home!

To our humble, bloody abode.


Since Metro removed all the evidence, the actual crime scene was released last week.

So, this is the next best thing.

Everything is positioned exactly as it was found by police, including our body double Carl, who is laying in for our deceased colonel.

And there is... this.

His tablet; the only computer the colonel owned.

Yep. It's been sitting in so much blood; Kind of drowned the little guy.

Metro give it CPR?

They tried, but I think it needs a "Timmy touch."

Do we have anything else?

Metro's finding says all the blood is from the victim.

Nick's fingerprints and hair are everywhere, but he lives here.

How could a kid murder his own father?

The tox panel that was taken when Nick was arrested... it shows he had a whole cocktail of prescription meds in his system.

I mean, our nice Nick in interrogation... he could be a totally different Nick when he's blitzed out of his mind.

I don't remember anything about prescriptions in his medical files.


So there's no telling what kind of rage this combo may have sent him into.

Well, there may be one person who could help us.

Nick had a drug problem.

And some violent outbursts while intoxicated, but he's basically a good kid.

He was in your rehab facility how many times, Dr. Gracey?


So he relapsed twice?

Actually, Nick never completed a full rehabilitation cycle.

He was... a challenging case.

What were his primary addictions...

Heroin? Cocaine?

No. Pills.

What was Nick's relationship with his father?

Nick and his dad had a conflicted and complicated relationship.

Did they ever fight?

Like I told the police, I can't discuss anything that was told to me in confidence, so...

Is there anything you can discuss?

For instance, do you think Nick is capable of killing his father?

You'll find that he's strong-willed and independent.

But I don't think he's capable of murder.

All set, boss.

What's going on?


I thought he threw these out.

Any emotion for "Daddy Dearest"?

Not a single tear.

Kid can't even look at an image of his dad.

Clearly Oedipus and Rex didn't get along too well.

Sealed juvie records.

Not sealed anymore.

I feel bad for any guy who ever dates your daughter.

Me too.

"Daddy-and-me" had three violent altercations over the past two years. Cops had to break it up.

Yelling, screaming.

Sounds like one of Ziva's family reunions.

Colonel tried to put him in military school before his last deployment.

He couldn't find one that would take him.

History of drug abuse, fights at school.

Rehab roulette.

And not a shred of emotion.

We've been talking to him for four hours.

For a kid who said he... loved his father... he's never called him Dad once.

He hates him.

Which gives us something Metro never had.


A pressure point.

It's time to start pressing.


Missed some good movies.

I've seen them before.

Your dad takes a good picture.

I particularly like those three right behind you.

Behind you.

You hate him.


Military school?


This isn't going to work.





I didn't kill him.

I said I didn't want a lawyer, but I'd like a diet cream soda now.

If you have one.

What are you doing, McGee?


You were snooping. I saw you.

Tony has been a very bad influence on you.

Look, I was just curious.

Do you lock your desk?



What is it about us that Barrett doesn't trust?

Stay out of her drawers, McGee. What do we got?

We've been going over the last of the Metro files.

What'd they miss?

Not a whole lot.

The mother in the home movies. Where is she?

She walked out two years ago. Metro's not been able to track her down.

Already been digging.

Donna Peyton, Formerly Donna Jenkins of Butte, Montana.

She attended Monroe University.

Poli-sci and communications.

Graduated cum laude in '89.

She married Colonel Peyton

'91, and she gave birth to Nick, '93.

What's the punch line?

Stopped using her cell phone and credit cards two years ago.

She's off the grid.


No missing persons report.

No divorce papers.

Maybe the Colonel is not the first parent Nick has murdered.

Find her. Or her body.

Last known address is the Peyton residence.

First thing in the morning, talk to the neighbors.

Mr. Stafford, how long have you lived next to the Peytons?

Almost 15 years.

Now, in your statement to Metro Police, you never mention Mrs. Peyton.

Is there anything you can tell us about her?

Donna? No, seemed nice.

So do you know where she is now?

No, not since she left years ago.

And by "left"?

Well, she and Yale were private people.

But there were strains in their marriage.

He was always deploying.

Their son, Nick...

Kid's a little bit of a nightmare.

According to your statement, you said you saw Nick here the night of the murder.

Yes, I came out to go to the store at 8:30 and...

Nick's car had jumped the curb, right here, in front of my house.

He was really buzzed.





He was always high, and he stumbles out of his car, and he dumps a...

BeltWay Burger bag right on my lawn.

And you remember the fast-food brand because...?

Because I had to clean it up.

Every single fry. I left right after that.

Got back around 10:00, and Nick's car was gone.

Did you see Nick go into the house?

That's when the arguing started.

What were they arguing about?

Money, drugs, rehab... same as always.

Drugs do bad things to decent people.

Seems like you've had... a personal experience.

I lost my... teenage girl to drugs last year.

An overdose.

You try to protect them, but... it's... hard.

Are you hungry?

I don't eat meat. I'm vegan.

Milk shake.



I've heard otherwise.

From who?

Some girl at the window.

She said that she remembers that you like your burgers whammy style.

She says that she remembers you that night... acting high.

Couple hours before your meaty meal, you used your credit card to buy a movie ticket.

Sunday Silver Screen Classic showing of Casablanca.


It's an odd choice for an 18-year-old kid.

Did you enjoy the movie?

Well, I'll tell you, it has one of my favorite all-time movie moments.

Know what I'm talking about?

Come on.

You know, when Rick's jumping up and down on that bed filled with all the money, and he's singing "God Bless America."

Yeah. That's pretty good.

And then the lamp tips over?

Yeah, it's pretty funny.

I haven't seen a lot of movies, but I've seen that one, and that scene you're talking about... it's not in the movie.


I just made it up.

You're not the only liar here.

Sounds to me like you lead a double life... one sober, the other in a drug-induced stupor.

Or is it a full-on blackout, Nick?

What are you talking about?

What else don't you remember...

The ax, the blood, killing your father?

Do you remember anything you did?



I mean...

Can you honestly tell me... for certain... that you didn't kill your father?

This kid is on the ropes. Let's knock him out.

It's not a prizefight, Leon.

That's exactly what it is.

We keep pushing him now, he'll shut down instead of opening up.

He's BS-ing us.

Well, we need more to prove that.

Then find it. The kid did it.

You really want that buddy of yours to be a judge, don't you?

Or is there something else you want to tell me, Leon?

You got three hours.

Then I'm going in there myself.

Good read?

Well, Metro did a fine job of interrogating our young Mr. Peyton.


I reexamined the victim and while most of the D.C. coroner's findings are accurate, they did make one egregious if somewhat understandable mistake... the cause of death.

Guy was axed to death, Ducky.

I created a Beauchene skull using the pieces of the colonel's cranium.

While most of these fractures are clean and linear clearly made by the ax, this indentation was caused by something blunt and circular.

Two different kinds of wounds.

The cause of death can still be classified as blunt force trauma, but just not from an ax.

Somebody was trying to cover up the real cause of death?

That's hard to determine, but... if I could speculate...

Speculate, Duck.

Nick could easily have hit his father with this first object, and then, in his drug-addled fugue, proceeded to butcher his father's body with the ax, or it could also mean...

That somebody was trying to make it look that way.

In an effort to frame the boy.

What do you got?

Other than my respect and adulation for the human's ability to engineer teeny-tiny parts made of nothing but sand?

Is it dead or alive?

It's neither.

It's like a zombie, Gibbs.

If you don't kill the brain, it doesn't die, so we were able to transplant the flash memory chip.

Dr. McFrankenstein, if you please.

So the colonel had set up an anonymous e-mail account that only he and one other person knew about.

Looks like Peyton had a friend.

Dr. Ellen Gracey, Gibbs.

A very passionate person that sent a series of romantic messages.

That is Nick's psychologist from rehab.

She had a relationship with our victim, something she failed to mention when we talked to her.

And that's not all she failed to mention.

I pulled Dr. Gracey's phone records.

She received a call from a gas station phone two blocks away from the crime scene.


Ten minutes after the murder.

But there's no cameras in the vicinity, no way of knowing who called her.

There is, there's one way.

Take Ziva with you.

I lied.

We know.

Question is, why?

I started seeing Nick's father about a year ago...

How come you didn't mention it before?

Because it's unethical, unprofessional.

It compromises doctor-patient efficacy.

Did Nick know you were having a relationship with his father?

Who called you this night?

We know that someone called you from a public phone.

I was with a patient; It went to my voicemail.

Who was it?

We're gonna need to hear that message.

Doctor, we can get a warrant.

Dr. Gracey... it's Nick.

Where are you? Where are you?

Oh, my God!

He's dead!

Everything ready?

It's just like the one he used.


Bringing down a kid, Leon, not a tree.

Nick, I'm NCIS Director Leon Vance.

Did you kill your father with this ax?

No, I didn't.

I want you to think before you speak,

because my patience is starting to wear thin.

Have you ever seen this ax before?

Look at me.

You ever seen it?

I've never seen that ax.

I don't like being lied to.

I bet your father didn't either, did he?

Did he?

He was a Marine.

He was a hero.

He was a man.

But his son, his only child was a failure.

How you think that made him feel?

I don't know.

Ashamed, embarrassed, angry?

My father loved me.


What about your mom? Did she love you, too?


Then why did she leave you?

Come to think of it, why'd your father leave you?

Was it to serve his country?

Or was it just to get the hell away from you because you were a burden?

He put you in rehab three times, and you couldn't pull it off.

Dropout, unemployed, an addict. You were a failure in every way.

Where's Agent Gibbs?

You know what I think?

He didn't love you so much as he pitied you.

Reminded you of what a failure you were every day.

You took that ax, and in one instant, you became successful at something!

I'm proud of you, even if your father isn't.

It's a hard thing to do, to kill a man.

Do you remember?

You remember how it felt?

Think back.

Oh, my God, he's dead!

I just left the house!

Blood everywhere!

He's dead!

Oh God, what have I done?

Do you remember now?

You went to the house, you and your father fought, he turned his back, you hit him, he went down, and then you got the ax.

Hell, you came this far, you had to finish it.

Did you finish it, Nick? Did you want to finish it?

I'm not sure.

He blamed you for you mother leaving.

He blamed you for ruining his life.

And then he did the worst thing a father could do: he gave up on you.

How the hell do you know?

Because he told me!

Your father was a friend of mine!

He was an instructor at the Naval War College.

He was a man that I respected.

He was a man that I admired.

He was a man!

He told you to get out of his house!

He told you to get out of his life!

I was never in his life, the Corps was.

God bless the U.S. Marines.

Damn right!

Is that how it felt, Nick?

To know that you'd never have to deal with him ever again.

It felt good, didn't it?

And once you hit him, you just kept swinging, didn't you?

Go ahead, say it, say it. Say the words!

I killed him, and I'm glad he's dead!

That's all we needed to know, Nick... thank you.

Call the U.S. Attorney's Office.

About that favor?

Tell 'em we finally got our confession.

There's just one problem, Leon.

I don't believe him.

Is that how it felt, Nick?

To know that you'd never have to deal with him ever again.

It felt good?


And once you hit him, you just kept swinging, didn't you?

Say it, say it. Say the words!

I killed him, and I'm glad he's dead!

It sure looked like a confession.

It sure sounded like a confession.

It was clearly a confession.

Except Gibbs doesn't buy it.

He must have a reason.

A very good reason.

So what are we missing?

I'd like to know the same thing.

Not here.

When were you going to tell me?

I wasn't.

You don't think it was a conflict of interest that you knew the victim?

No. The kid confessed.

He didn't do it.

How the hell do you know that?!

Before you went all Paul Bunyan on him in there, he couldn't even look at an image of his father.

Because he hated him, Gibbs. He resented him.

He didn't hate him.

He was afraid of him.

All the more reason to kill him.

The first time he ever faced his father in his life was in that room. He did it because you did it for him.

Gibbs, we have a taped confession!

You swung an axe at a scared kid, Director Vance.

One person on a jury finds coercion in that, he will walk.

His confession trumps your gut.

I'm calling the U.S. Attorney.

This wasn't a favor.

This was an execution.

And he didn't do it.

Where are you going?

To have a talk.

Talk with who?!

Thought you were a vegan.


BeltWay Burgers, hot dogs.

You're either a bad liar or you're a bad vegan.

I don't know what I am anymore.

You're hungry, Nick. Eat the hot dog.

Why'd you confess?

I don't remember enough to prove I didn't, and you've shown me enough to prove I did.

So I did it.


I don't think so.

I can't even look at a picture of him because, I remember seeing his body on the ground.

Why do I remember seeing that?

Because you did.

You came home that night, and you found his body.

You add the pills, the guilt, years of fighting.

You were high.

You ran.

You're giving me a free pass.

How do you know I'm not playing you?

Maybe I don't.

Let's just talk.

About what?

Tell me about your mom.

She always looked out for me.

I loved her.

Why'd she leave?


I'd steal all her meds and get in all kinds of trouble.

Dad was deployed for months at a time.

She couldn't take it.

You went to rehab.

Dad made me.

And... my girlfriend.

She was there trying to get clean.

I missed her.

So you weren't there trying to help yourself?

She'd bring stuff in... pills.

We'd sneak out at night, get high.

So where's your girlfriend now?

Megan died six months ago.


One of those nights at the clinic.

She was my best friend.

I mean, she grew up next-door to me.

Your daughter, Megan.

Top of her class.

Looking forward to college. Looking forward to life.

And then Nick happened.

Next thing you know, she's OD'd.

She's dead.

Yeah, that's my backyard. So what?

That's a lot of wood. Where's your axe?

I don't know.

You're the only witness that puts Nick at the scene of the crime.

Are you accusing me?

Nick showed up.

He was high, and you confronted him.

I lost my temper.

I hate that punk. What he did.

And then his daddy has to come out and his rescue him?

He was protecting him. He was defending him.

He was enabling him.

He should have had Nick's ass thrown in jail years ago.

That would've taught the little b*st*rd a lesson, at least.

And kept him away from my little girl.

You don't blame Nick, do you?

You blame the colonel, right?

She's dead because he was a lousy father.

He killed my girl.

You made him pay for it.

I want a lawyer.

You're going to need one.

I didn't do it. I don't care what that kid or his mother said.

The mother's gone.

Well, I guess she's back.

I saw her next-door last night, after your people left.

Let herself into the house.


Pull the phone records from the Peyton house.

Already did when we took over the case. Nothing unusual.

Phone records for the past 24 hours.

But Nick's been here.

Do it again.

There's six incoming calls to the house since yesterday.

All from the same prepaid cell.

Peyton's been dead two weeks.

You'd think whoever is calling would have heard about it by now.

Calls weren't for the father.

Hello, baby.

Oh, my God. Look how tall you got.

I missed you so much.

I've been here the whole time.

Why did you leave?

I just didn't think I could be a good mom back then.

But I can now.

Are you back on your meds?


They, they made me worse.

No, they didn't.

I just need you back in my life again.

You're my baby.

When did you get back?

Two weeks ago, I think.

I came by the house one night and... you'd just left and...

I wanted to talk to your father.

What happened, Mom?

I'm so sorry, baby.

I didn't mean for it to end this way.

Mom, no.

He said that I wasn't a part of your life anymore.

And that's not true.

Not anymore.

So we fought and...

I picked something up.

I really didn't think I hit him that hard.

Mom, you should stop talking, please.

And I panicked, and I just...

I went and got an axe from next-door.

I thought that they were going to think maybe you did it.

And I had to protect you, baby.

By making them think that Mr. Stafford did it?

I had to protect you, Nick.

You should have told the truth.

What is that?


I love you, Mom.

I'm sorry.

Wait, Nicky, where you going?

That's it.


Me, too.

So who gets these now?

I don't care. Just get them out of here.

On it.

Hey, Boss.

Think the kid's going to be okay?

Don't know.

It's up to him now.


Director Vance, it's E.J.

Hello, Agent Barrett.

I just got your message.

I'm glad you called.