08x23 - Swan Song

Boss, I found some other shell casings.

Looks like the blood trail was... washed away by the rain.

Tony!

All right, Mr. Palmer, on "three."

One... two...

...three.

I'll secure and you drive. Yes, Doc.

Better catch me up, probie.

I'm lost.

So am I.

♪ NCIS 8x23 ♪ Swan Song Original Air Date on May 10, 2011

I don't understand.

Makes no sense.

Tell me.

Start at the beginning.

Yesterday was beautiful.

Were you preparing for a monsoon?

Forecast calls for rain.

Spring rain?

Heavy rain.

What's your source?

It's that weather app that you told me to download.

It's awesome.

Wait-- is that a trick? Did you put a fake app on my phone? It is pretty clever.

It is. And I think a little too clever for you.

Then again, I do operate on a higher plane.

Well, you definitely operate with your head in the clouds.

Storm clouds?

We'll see.

Yes.

See? Are you going to believe what you read?

Or what's right in front of your eyes?

Morning, boss.

Yeah. Real good morning.

Gonna rain later.

No, it's not.

Well...

Ain't this usually when you tell 'em where the body is and off you go?

No case?

No. There's a case.

Just not ours.

Gear up.

Damn! Where'd they come from?

Mmm, Spain, Australia.

Most recently, Hawaii.

Where we goin', E.J.? Virginia.

Body. Dead at least several weeks.

Who? Identified to be an NCIS agent.

You're not gonna just let that go, are you?

What are you waiting for? It's an NCIS Special Agent.

It's going to rain.

A white male, mid-30s, throat cleanly slashed.

No wallet, no keys, nothing on the body.

Fingerprint scan confirms Virginia PD's I.D.

It is NCIS Special Agent Earl Stark.

On annual leave from Norfolk.

No plastic wrap? No ties?

No souvenir?

How can we help?

Canvass.

Got it.

Who's the chippy?

Vance's new golden girl.

Her and DiNozzo making sheet music?

Mm-hmm.

Please.

He's taking a page outta your songbook.

Like you'd pass up a duet with a lady like that.

Who outranks him, to boot.

Well, she outranks me, too.

Got lead in the hunt for a serial killer.

This body his?

Seems the Port-to-Port Killer's M.O. has been evolving.

Based on what you found in Hawaii?

Think that was a miss.

Wow. You guys came up empty, huh?

No, he did.

We suspect his target was Sergeant Kevin Jericho.

We met him at the hospital.

A survivor.

Well, it's better than the morgue.

Jericho had just been transferred from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor.

So we tracked him down and failed to kill him?

Someone intervened.

Saved Sergeant Jericho's life, but lost his own eyeball for the trouble.

Did you tell the good Samaritan we're holding onto his eyeball for him?

Would if I could, but only Jericho was there when we got to the hospital.

A failure for P2P.

First sign this guy's human.

He's not human, Tony.

Look at the blade work.

He may as well be signing his victims.

The Port-to-Port Killer is back in town.

And he's targeting our own.

What's on your mind?

You're awfully quiet over there, Duck.

A mute swan, actually... believe it or not.

I believe it. Legend has it that Cygnus olor is silent for most of its life, until the moment of its death, when it sings only once.

When's a swan know he's about to die?

Ooh, some animals just know.

When the end is near.

True.

This rangy mutt came by my shack several years ago.

Decided he was gonna live with me.

Barely a tooth left in his mug, but he could still crunch a soup bone to nothing.

Yeah.

One mornin'... this plug-ugly beast staggers onto the beach, takes himself for a walk.

I could see him from the porch, barking out at the ocean.

He turns around, digs a hole in the sand, curls up in it and went off to meet his maker.

I know that you and Palmer gotta get to work.

We can wait.

When you're ready.

We're all animals, probie.

Where was I?

...so, you understand me?

You send everything you got, okay?

Special Agent Stark's supervisor in Norfolk.

E.J.'s team is trying to sort out a discrepancy in the security logs.

Dr. Mallard estimates Stark's death around 20 days ago.

That's during his annual leave. But our internals show him accessing the building on multiple occasions in the past couple of weeks.

This building.

Here.

His I.D., at least.

He's authorized because he was assigned here briefly last year.

Director Vance, I know that Special Agent Barrett is leading this investigation...

I'd like you to support, Gibbs.

Of course.

Yes, sir, any way I can.

Barrett's report from the incident in Pearl.

Follow up.

Every single one of P2P's prior victims were connected to the Navy. Until Stark.

The "N" in "NCIS" does stand for "Naval."

Maybe he's unaware that we're civilian.

No, if we assume he's stupid, makes us look like imbeciles.

If he killed Special Agent Stark for his I.D., he may be trying to get very familiar with us.

You're thinking the discrepancies in the security log are P2P himself accessing NCIS? Yeah.

Cade, pull up all security-camera footage corresponding to Stark's postmortem access times.

Okay.

If that's true, I wanna know how he got through unnoticed.

Levin... I'm in the field interviewing friends and associates.

They're reading.

Barrett's report.

You just wait for them to finish?

Yeah. Excruciating.

Skip this part.

Sergeant Kevin Jericho was walking to his quarters at Pearl when a strange noise drew him to an alleyway.

It was a wind-up teddy bear playing a drum.

When Jericho examined it, he was attacked from behind.

He struggled, suffered lacerations to his hands and neck.

As he lost consciousness, he saw a bald man drop into the alley.

Much better.

Crowd responded to the screams.

Must have scared off the attacker.

The bald man was admitted to the hospital minus an eyeball.

Admission forms give his name as Gavin O'Ryan.

He disappeared without being discharged.

There are no records of a Gavin O'Ryan residing in Hawaii.

There are also no records of a Gavin O'Ryan on any flight in or out of Hawaii, surrounding the date in question.

I will go enlist Abby's help to pursue this further.

I will pursue the same mystery using "archaic" and "old school" techniques.

While pretending to have a question for Ducky, I will follow Agent Barrett and accidentally overhear details on her investigation.

If only, huh?

And what did you find so interesting in all that?

The teddy bear.

That one's new.

Seaman Derek Balfour.

Sweet merciful crap, man.

Am I really supposed to remember all these names?

Balfour was the fifth victim overall.

Believed ambushed outside a D.C. nightclub.

This is all garbage.

Yeah, mostly.

Your team having any better luck?

Hard to operate from second position.

Gavin O'Ryan disappeared without being discharged.

There's no record of a Gavin O'Ryan on any flight out of Hawaii.

Got some good news and some bad news, boss.

I checked every commercial, private, military flight log there is.

There's no way a Gavin O'Ryan flew that day.

But what if he used multiple passports?

Then who's got those?

Don't speak.

Spies.

I see the wheels turning, and you're thinking the same thing I'm thinking: the bald guy.

Tony put a call in to the hospital at Pearl.

Sweet-talked the duty nurse into giving me a detailed description of the Cyclops Gavin O'Ryan.

He had an accent.

He barely spoke, and no one else could confirm it, but...

British. I knew your wheels were turning.

We already know his alias.

I made a few calls.

He's in town.

Gavin.

Long time, no see.

Hello, DiNozzo.

Oof.

No coincidence you were in Hawaii with the Port-to-Port Killer?

I wasn't with him.

I was pursuing him.

Bang-up job you did there, Kort.

Can you walk on this side, DiNozzo?

Still getting used to the limited peripheral vision.

You know, flounders only have eyes on one side of their head.

Halibut, too.

Think that's typical of most bottom-feeding mud-suckers.

Out of curiosity, your eyeball-- we're holding onto your eyeball for you, by the way-- how come it opens up restricted areas at NCIS?

If I recall, you once slammed one of those doors in my face.

I always hoped for the opportunity to show you how nothing is off-limits to the Agency.

CIA has been aware we were on this case?

Are you personally?

Of course we know.

We maintain a pipeline of information within all our sister agencies.

You referring to Ray Cruz?

Great. Another name.

The CIA agent who's been dating Ziva.

Is he your pipeline?

The Port-to-Port Killer, as you've dubbed him, has a name--

Lieutenant Jonas Cobb.

Navy.

He was.

How do you know that?

I'll gladly answer all your questions, Gibbs, if you'd answer one of mine.

How come Director Vance has the new girl leading the charge, instead of you?

Case originated in her jurisdiction.

I'm well acquainted with Cobb's origins, but since he entered your purview-- well, I'm surprised is all.

Special Agent Barrett's a qualified agent.

Hmm.

As far as I know, seems her primary qualification is that she's not you.

No history of questioning her superiors.

You ever read that file I gave you on Vance, once upon a time?

Just the tip of the iceberg, you know?

I am much more interested in everything you have on Cobb.

DiNozzo will drive you. Sure.

What with your lack of depth perception and all.

That slippery weasel is the reason you called?

Hola, probie.

¿Como está?

Hey, Mike.

How quickly can you get to DC?

How fast you need me?

Got something I need you to bring.

Gibbs, check it out.

Someone caught Stark's murder on their phone.

His boss at Norfolk received several e-mails from an anonymous source.

They're afraid to come forward.

Matches the profile.

Hard confirmation it's our guy.

With a little Abby magic, we might be able to pull a face.

Well, it's early still, but we also got these frames off of NCIS security cameras.

Same height and build.

P2P killed Stark to get inside the building.

We're going to get his face, then his name, then him.

That's good work.

Director's tearing security a new one.

It's creepy.

I mean, the guy was here.

What was he doing?

Where are my glasses?

Studying.

Studying us?

Gotta know your enemy.

Did you think about keeping your mouth shut?

Hey, Barrett.

I have information pertaining to your case.

The CIA?

Kort claims to be the man who intervened in Hawaii.

Well, I'm reluctant to take anything Kort has to say at face value.

Would you care to share, Agent Gibbs?

Well, as far as confirmation, his face has some value.

It's no glass slipper.

You proposing we stuff the eye back in the socket, see if it fits?

If you're looking for volunteers.

Agent Gibbs and I have a bit of history with this particular operative.

Oh. Then, that should make it easier to initiate some interagency cooperation.

Nothing's ever easy with Trent Kort.

Excuse me, sir.

We've hit a bit of a snag.

CIA says they won't release what they've got on P2P.

Uh, Jonas Cobb.

They claim it's classified.

I'm already on the plane.

Didn't take too long to pack.

Just checked the box and my piece.

Gonna run a razor across that scraggly mug, or you just measuring the weight of your conscience?

Well, ain't you gonna let me in?

I said let me in, probie!

Glad you could come, Mike.

Me, too.

Offer me a drink.

It's 6:00 in the morning.

Float a Cheerio in it.

I'm going to work. You can come with me.

All right. A working vacation.

But at least tell me what brought all this on.

You don't want to know.

I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to...

I'll tell you later.

I'm going to hold you to that, you hear?

I was going to leave you old Decker's insurance policy when I go away.

That box of goodies has kept me in Vance's good standing for almost three years.

I hope it does the same for you.

I hope I don't need it.


You already know what comes next, Mike.

Think it through again.

That's why you're staring at a body bag looking for answers.

Think it through.

Just how it happened.

Mike!

I didn't know you were in town.

Spur-of-the-moment thing.

Had some frequent flier miles set to expire.

Yay. What's all the excitement?

Um, Cade and I isolated an image of this really big serial killer that we've been calling P2P.

We now know that his real name is Lieutenant Jonas Cobb.

He went UA last year. We think he's using a bunch of different identities because the CIA is involved somehow, but the name Cobb isn't getting us anywhere.

He's the same guy on the video that Levin got after Agent Stark was killed. So these guys are going to go back out to the scene and try to determine the angle of the video and I.D. the source.

Who the hell are all these people?

Oh. These are the new guys.

Gibbs didn't tell you?

Man of few words.

I've noticed. McGee.

I'm trying to back-trace the e-mails Agent Stark's field office received.

So far, no luck. Hey. Mike.

How are you, Mr. Franks?

Ooh.

That's a little weird, huh?

Nub kinda tickles a bit, don't it?

Just a little.

TONY Nasty.

Uh, boss, anonymous tipster's gone to a lot of trouble to remain anonymous.

Only detail she's let slip is she's a woman. And she claims she knows the man caught on video and can help us find him.

If we can get her to come out of hiding.

She probably thinks the killer's gonna turn on her, just like...

Jimmy Stewart, in Rear Window.

That's a sort of obvious and rudimentary film reference.

Yet accurate.

Well...

Accurate. Maybe.

But lacking precision.

Although that close-up of Grace Kelly, you know...

Hey, speaking of blonde girls.

Agent Barrett? She's in MTAC with Kort and Vance.

Vance cut through the CIA red tape.

Can I borrow him, Abbs? No.

What do you want me for, probie? I'm not involved in this mess.

That's not what I need you for, Mike.

Oh, you're betting Vance won't give me a hug, a handshake, or a wave.

Well, let's just see how he reacts. Okay.

Barrett. Kort.

Meet NCIS legend Mike Franks.

Director.

All right if I stay for this educational briefing?

This is, uh, sensitive agency information.

And this is my agency.

I can't think of a better reason for him to stay, other than that it makes you so uncomfortable.

I'll take this to my grave.

Operation Frankenstein began with dozens of potential candidates.

Their numbers were whittled down through a series of tests-- written examinations, followed by psychological evaluations, and of course, a physical.

The qualifications were intense.

Each candidate was pushed to the point of exhaustion under extreme circumstances-- heat, cold-- the point was to gauge their emotional parameters, their ability to maintain composure under the most arduous situations.

Borders on the inhumane.

Frankenstein is an updated version of a Cold War memorandum, suggesting the potential of intersecting intelligence missions with U.S. military serving abroad.

Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo from military men doubling as spies.

Not exactly spies.

Assassins.

You were training U.S. servicemen to carry out CIA wet work?

Lieutenant Jonas Cobb was the prototype.

A fair to average service record.

He was anxious for advancement that rarely came.

Physically, emotionally, he met all the parameters.

The only question was...

Could he kill?

This footage is of Cobb's first assignment: the execution of an al-Qaeda operative working in...

Well, that's still classified.

It's cut together with lipstick cameras placed in the designated kill zone.

The mission was deemed a success.

Unfortunately, when Cobb returned to the program, he was far less responsive to training and handling.

Thing like that changes a man.

Yeah.

He failed to rejoin his unit and his cover as a sailor.

Equipped with a dozen CIA-made passports and identities, Cobb went off the radar.

And then...

And then bodies started popping up all over the globe.

And you didn't think to say anything to us until now.

It's our mess.

We've been trying to clean it up.

Surely, you can respect that.

Got it!

Traced the e-mails?

Yep. Traced to a commercial high-rise property.

Must be the witness's work address.

Did I hear you say you got it?

I'm gonna pick up my team, then I'm gonna pick up this witness.

She's our best shot at finding Cobb.

Bring an umbrella; it's gonna rain.

You said that yesterday.

Did Kort spill?

Yeah.

Study this.

Get Ducky to build a new psych profile.

Still don't know why the M.O. changed on Stark.

Where will you be?

Research.

Frankenstein is an updated version of a Cold War memorandum.

Probably not a good idea to light up down here, huh?

Nothing but sawdust and bourbon.

Truth to tell...

...I got sick of reading all this crap about two folders in.

Never really pegged you for the kind to dredge through the covert operations history of NCIS.

No, I'm not.

You trusted Vance.

I still do.

But it hasn't been right between you.

Well, not lately.

Can't just be something you did.

Pushing you away, pulling this Barrett close.

Even him and Kort seem to have something cooking.

It's tough to miss.

Well, I hope these old ghosts will tell you what you need to hear.

You do hear ghosts, probie?

Yeah.

Yeah, I see them, too.

I believe we make them.

We've made our share.

Not just with this.

With the memories we make.

We fill the spaces we live in with them.

That's why I've always tried to make sure that wherever I live, the longer I live there, the spaces become filled with memories of naked women.

To more good memories.

Yeah.

Fewer bad ones.

How about fewer altogether?

Is that all we talked about?

You didn't say, "Have a nice walk"?

"Bye" or something?

Ain't you smart enough to get out of the rain?

Me neither... Jonas.

My name is Mike Franks.

I figure I got one more fight left in me.

You want it?

Oh, Mike.

Bye, Mike.

Um, we-we can call you when we're finished with the autopsy, if you...

Leave him be, Mr. Palmer.

Prints on the murder weapon?

Yeah. Abby matched them to Jonas Cobb.

We canvassed a 20-block radius around the crime scene; no trace of him.

Or Mike's firearm.

How many shots did you hear?

Five.

We recovered five shell casings.

McGee's dropping a net on the city.

Red-flagged every one of Cobb's possible identities.

Mike kept eight in the mag, one in the chamber.

Assume Cobb's armed.

We did pull a slug embedded in a parked car.

Traces of blood on it; through and through.

We can assume Cobb got hit at least once.

Mike's swan song.

Excuse me.

Hey, Duck... it's a myth, isn't it?

About the mute swan?

Yes. They do make a sound.

They hiss, don't they?

Yes.

And they do not sing before they die.

Perfect.

There is always another monster.

Yep.

I mean, we pursue them, but we just keep making targets of ourselves.

Better us than someone who didn't sign up for it.

I don't think I can take anymore.

Hey.

We're gonna get him.

Okay?

Bring it in.

Did you update your psych profile?

Well, Cobb spent years within the rigid structure of the military.

These kills make a mockery of rank and promotion.

Changing uniforms after cleansing the bodies.

As if they were reborn.

His frequent use of ice might express how he himself felt frozen.

And bound.

Constricting ropes.

Tightly-wrapped in plastic.

Yes. Well, I'm sure that his first kill, as an operative of the CIA, liberated him from those rules-- freedom from right and wrong.

He became a beast, an animal.

Yeah. I saw that in his eyes on the video.

In a moment, name, rank, title meant nothing.

It's primal.

What dominates is instinct and the will to survive.

But I also believe that in a face-to-face confrontation, Cobb feels insecure.

He doesn't know if he can win.

So he becomes a hunter.

He picks his targets, lays traps, dresses his kill.

But why the change in his M.O. now?

His focus changed.

He drew the attention of predators further up the food chain in the form of Kort and NCIS agents-- predators he had to study.

Duck, he was at my house.

How does that fit in?

I was deliberately not chasing him.

There's nothing to suggest that he was there to commit violence.

Mike Franks would disagree with that.

Mike Franks might have picked the fight.

You and I both know that.

Each time Cobb has killed, he baited the trap.

That's never changed... prior to tonight.

So he wasn't in your neighborhood hunting; he was...

He was doing research.

Yeah.

I study you, Leon.

I know you do.

I study you back, Gibbs.

It feels wrong... dig into your life like that.

But I do it.

Because sometimes I can't understand why you make the god-awful decisions that you do.

I feel the same way.

The only difference is, you're not responsible for my actions, Gibbs.

But I am for yours.

I should've been on this case from the beginning.

I'm sorry about Mike Franks.

Thank you.

But you called him in.

Figured I'd see him and I'd bend.

You always do.

Whatever he's got on you...

There's nothing on me!

I'm your boss, Gibbs.

And we've been tight.

Sometimes tight like a damn noose.

So if I backed off on our friendship, maybe I had to step back, take a deep breath and do my job.

I have other people I have to answer to.

Maybe, maybe when bodies were showing up in Europe.

But when it's in my own backyard, and you promote that... rookie over me?

That wasn't my decision.

Promotions.

He hates them.

Who? Cobb or you?

He thinks we have that in common.

He-He stole a souvenir from my desk.

He was at my house.

But he uses bait to attract his targets.

He's never baited you.

No, not me.

He feels a kinship with me, because I got skipped over.

In favor of Barrett.

There is no witness.

He videoed himself.

He's using it.

Yeah, to bait the trap.

Barrett.

E.J., where are you?

We've been scouring the building the e-mails originated from, floor by floor, Director.

Still haven't found anything.

Be on high alert.

Cobb is armed and likely anticipates your arrival.

You go high.

Really?

Oh, my God...

That is disturbing.

Gibbs.

Agent Barrett, what's your status?

Cade and Levin are down.

I'm going after Cobb.

No! Wait for backup!

E.J., that's an order.