09x03 - The Penelope Papers

Sweetheart, look, I meant to come home last night, all right?

Yeah, my class ran late, and I had all those papers...

What are you accusing me of?

Look, I can't deal with this right now. I got to go. I'll call you later.

Hey, it's me.

I'm starting to really lose it here.

I can't keep lying to my wife. It's killing me.

We need to end this.

Can we meet?

I'm at the park across from the Hayes Hotel.

I'll see you soon.

NCIS Season 9 Episode 03 The Penelope Papers

Yes, I know, I got it.

For the 188th time, I got it.

Yes. The balloons, and the streamers. I know, I know.

What? No, no, no.

No strippers this year.

I got to go. I'll call you back.

Planning a party, Tony?

Not exactly. It's my father's birthday.

He's planning, I'm paying.

In all kinds of ways.

Sounds like he's really into it.

He's into it.

Like a little sorority girl.

It's my birthday.

My birthday? Not even a present.

Makes my head hurt.

At least your dad gets in the spirit. Mine hates birthdays.

My father attended every birthday party, but his mind was always elsewhere.

Yeah, I remember one year... I think I was seven...

I spent all day making this huge card for my dad.

Used paint, glitter, special paper, the works.

I gave it to him that night, and, he handed it back to me, and said,

"You can do better. Try again."

That is a terrible story, McGee.

It's just the way he is.

Yeah, but McGee's old man is a legend, right?

Called him the Great Santini.

Wait a minute. He's a magician?

I thought he was a Navy Admiral.

The movie, Ziva...

The Great Santini, starring the great Robert Duvall who played the ruthless military pilot and brutal family man Bull Meechum.

Please don't.

"There's those that's got 'em, and those that don't."

"Gonads, son!"

"Big brass ones!"

And there it is.

Kind of makes sense that you'd end up working for Gibbs, McMeechum.

There are similarities.

He's got big brass ones.

They're like bowling balls.

That is disgusting.

I'm talking about tough love tactics, Tony.

The veneer of impenetrability.

His skill at turning one word into a rallying cry.

Gear up.

Guess that's two words, isn't it?

Something funny?

No, Boss. Grabbing my gear.

Got a dead Navy officer downtown.

Nothing funny about that.

Ambushed from behind, Boss?

Maybe. How many shots, Duck?

Just one that I can see, and it was devastating.

It's a single gunshot wound to the side of the head.

Through and through.

Never saw it coming.

He was just enjoying a beautiful fall morning.

The sun is out, the birds are chirping.

All is right with the world and... and then, out of nowhere, bam.

Lights out.

Kind of poetic, if you ask me. I...

But you did not ask me, and I apologize.

Time of death, Duck?

Couple of hours ago.


Navy Lieutenant Paul Booth.

32 years old, married, no kids.

Wife's being notified as we speak.

Police are ruling out robbery, Boss.

Cash, credit cards... everything's still on him.

Except this.

Found it in the grass.

Could be a company badge.

Here's something weird.

Looks like a burn.

Not any burn I've ever seen.

What was this guy into?

I don't know. Maybe you can tell us, Tim.

Me? Why?

This can't be mine.

You sure about that? It's got your name on it.

Matte-white card stock with clean border and seven-point Helvetica font.

Oh, my God.

Boss, I don't know what this is. I don't even know this guy.

He knew you.

Lieutenant Paul Booth, late 2003, right after you started here, McGee.

Ring a bell?

No. I still can't place him.

Here he is last year.


No, and I've checked old files.

He wasn't a friend of a victim, or a witness in any case.

None of this makes sense. How could he have my card from 8 years ago?

I don't even have one of those.

Sit, McGee. We'll figure it out.

Boss, I don't know him, I swear.


Lieutenant Paul Booth, aka McGee's mystery friend, served two tours overseas before joining the Reserves in 2007.

Criminal background?

Nothing. A model officer.

Made lieutenant in just three years.

C.O. says he was "highly focused and driven to succeed".

Officials at Waverly University said the same thing.

Booth taught there as a math professor. Praised by colleagues and students.

It looks like teach was skipping class the past few months.

Taught courses five days a week for three years, and then...

Last spring, he cut his schedule down.

One class. Once a week.

That's right.

Officials say he gave no specific reason for the change.

Maybe he was working someplace else.

Abby I.D.'d the symbol on the badge as the logo for something called the Telles Research Group.

Get me an employee database.

Boss, Telles is locked up tight.

For me to get in, I'd have to bypass the Pentagon's mainframe and go straight into their secure server.

Which I'll happily do.

Why is this group so secret?

These guys develop all kinds of things, from children's car seats to advanced military spyware.

They got their headquarters out in the middle of Virginia somewhere.

Boss, I'm in.

Booth was employed as an analyst in January 2010.

Reported to Telles Vice-President John Westfal.


All the other files are classified.

Find out what they're hiding.

Tony, Ziva, go talk to Westfal.

Mrs. Booth?

Please tell me this isn't happening.

Sit down.

What do you know about your husband's work?

Paul loved what he did.

He was a great teacher.

When did you last talk?

This morning... pretty early.

Before 6:00, I think.

He sound upset?

More... anxious.

Like he needed to get off the phone with me.

He was like that a lot lately.

For a long time, I thought it was because he was... he was seeing someone else.

But then...


A few weeks ago, he came home really late.

I looked outside to make sure it was him, and that's when I saw...

There was someone was parked across the street, Agent Gibbs.

Watching him.


I don't know.

It was a man, I think.

It was hard to tell in the dark.

You ever see him again?


Last night.

And the night before that.

We're self-sufficient.

We installed solar panels, and we're hoping to raise our own cattle this year.

Is that why you set up shop so far out of DC?

So you could milk cows?

We believe a certain amount of isolation breeds creativity.

Lieutenant Booth was certainly isolated.

Not even his wife knew he was here.

Paul was very aware of the delicate nature of our work.

We were very up-front when we recruited him.

Were there problems?

No. Never.

No, Paul was a... top analyst.

He loved this place. He loved working in the garden.

None of this will ever be the same without him.

We need to know what you really do here, Mr. Westfal.

I have a feeling it's more than just growing tomatoes.

Max Ellswood founded Telles in 1965, in order to develop cutting-edge military strategy.

His theories have been used in every war since Vietnam.

His passing was a sad day.

But his legacy lives on.

Telles remains the first choice when it comes to military innovative design.

And what designs was Lieutenant Booth working on when he died?

I'm afraid that's classified.

It is important that we know what he was involved in.

My hands are tied, Agent DiNozzo.

I can't release such information.

Can't or won't?

I've said all I need to say. You can find your way out.

Yeah, thank you.

That's the third time in an hour.

I know. I am so sorry.

Will not happen again, I promise.

There's plenty of time to turn off each other's calls once you're married.

I'd advise you not to start before you've even exchanged wedding vows.

How'd you know it was Breena?

You're a man in love.

I've been there many times myself, though not much lately.

It's just all this wedding planning stuff... it just has us on edge.

She's having a hard time making decisions.

I'm just trying to help, but everything I say seems wrong.

What should I do?

Just give her what she wants.

I have no idea what that is.

Welcome to the rest of your life, Jim-Boy.

What do you got, Duck?

Enough to raise troubling questions.

Captain Booth died from trauma from a single gunshot wound to the head with massive skull fracture and disbursement of brain matter.

We also found bullet fragments lodged in his skull.

These would indicate that the killer stood about 20 feet away.

Abby is doing tests.

That's not all.

These markings on the ends of his fingers are proving mysterious.

The fingertips were inflamed, cracked, and bleeding.

Strongly indicates a chemical burn.



I've ordered tox screens and additional panels.

Jethro, this was carried out with precision.

The proximity to the victim, the lack of physical evidence.

This is a killer with considerable skill.

Bank records show Lieutenant Booth cashed out all his accounts the day before he died.

Everything was put into a trust fund under his wife's name.

Close to a hundred grand.

He knew he was in trouble.

Also knew he was being followed.

Metro Police say he filed a report last week.

Someone tried to run him off the road.

Kind of car?

Yes, a dark-colored sedan... unknown model.

McGee, e-mails.

Still sifting through Booth's personal e-mails and Navy correspondence, but cell phone records do show that he made 3 calls just before his death.

To who?

The first was to his boss, John Westfal, at 5:47 a.m., second to his wife at 6:01, and the last call, just two minutes before his murder, was made to an unlisted number.

I'm tracing that number now.

Who is Penelope Langston?


Boss, I can't right now, I'm sorry.

She's your what?

And you never told me?

Do I have to tell you everything?

Yes, you do.

Now, listen, does she know we're coming?

If you learn to make a bonsai tree...

Timothy... Excuse me, kids.

Sweetheart, how come the long face?

Have you not been eating those wheatgrass honey squares I sent?

I told you, they flush out all the toxins.

And you must be Tony DiNozzo.

I have heard so much about you.

I wish I could say the same.

This is Penelope Langston, my grandmother.

That word...

Grandmother... so old-fashioned and so patriarchal.

You call me Penny.

As much as I love a surprise visit, especially from Timothy...

We need to talk.

About Lieutenant Paul Booth.

I know.

I know he's dead.

I tried reaching him at the University. They gave me the news.

How do you know the lieutenant?

Not for the reason you think, I can assure you.

He's much too young for me and not at all my type, and your dear grandfather, rest his soul, would not approve.

You don't want to talk to me, but Gibbs is gonna have questions and he's not gonna be nice about it.

I think you forget that I staged a sit-in with Gloria Steinem at our nation's capitol and spent seven nights in prison or jail, really, after the Selma riots in '65...

And three in Chicago after the '68 convention.

I think I can handle this Gibbs person.

Genghis Khan couldn't handle Gibbs.

You should talk to your grandson.

Why did Lieutenant Booth call you right before he died?

Paul was a student of mine.

He was so bright and thoughtful and loved math and science as much as I did.

Both his parents had passed.

He needed help getting through some tough times, and I was there.

We stayed in contact.

About what?

Oh, God, professional things mostly.

He was having work problems.

With the Telles Research Group?

Telles? No, with his work at Waverly.

Since when was Paul working for those imperialist nut-jobs?

That is a pretty strong opinion about a group most people don't even know exists.

I have strong opinions about all kinds of things and I was the wife of an admiral for 40 years.

Our pillow talk was enlightening.

Please don't say "pillow talk".

Okay, how about postcoital embraces?

Nelson confided in me about all kinds of things.

So what do you know about Telles?

I know that it's a think tank for the military, going back to Vietnam.

That's about it.

Booth never said anything else about his work there?

No, not a word.

I know you, Timothy, and I know when you are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Sweetheart, stop trying to make connections where there aren't any.

You're so much better than that.

She's lying.

Some grandson you are.

You know, my dad used to do this thing when he...

You'd ask him a question he didn't want to answer he'd turn the tables, tell me I had a problem.

From what you've said about your pops Penny doesn't seem anything like him.

I didn't think so, until now.

You know, I've always trusted her.

She's someone I depend on. Why would she do this?

I don't know. There's gotta be a reason.

I don't think she'd just mislead you.

Unless she has something to lose.

I guess we have to figure out what that is.

You see how stubborn she is. If I push too hard, I'm gonna push her away.


You might not have a choice, Tim.

Gibbs, I'm in here.

Here, give me your hand.

It's hot, right?

So imagine how Lieutenant Booth felt.

Burned by a copy machine?

Yeah, this very machine, actually.

It was in his basement. It's like a hundred years old.

Crazy, right? Let me show you something crazier.

The lieutenant's fingerprints were singed and they tested positive for a high levels of iron oxide and tungsten sulfide aka rust and oil.

You put those two together and take a wild guess what you get.

Come on, guess, guess, guess. Okay, observe.

Every time he made a copy.

The printer toner and the heat of the glass burned his fingers, but he kept doing it, like, over and over and over again.

That's dedicated.

I would estimate he made like...

4, 000 copies, Gibbs.

I mean, whatever he was copying must have been really important.

Maybe enough to get him killed.


I was right.

Penny never taught Booth. She retired before he enrolled.

I got to know what she's hiding.

Guessing it's more than you think.

McGee, talk to me.

Well, Boss, I'm trying to penetrate Telles' top secret files, but the code is overly complicated.

It's almost indecipherable.

Decipher it.

That's just it, I can't.

I mean, I will, I will, I am.

I'd like everyone to say hello to Andrew Pike, former analyst and rival of Telles founder Max Ellswood.

He was fired and banned from the building.

State employee records show that Pike became erratic after he was turned down for a promotion.

Ellswood called him "an egomaniac with a violent streak".

Where is he now?

Last known address is in Virginia but it is from 1972.

Boss, that's not the only Telles employee who's had issues.

Found several messages in Lieutenant Booth's e-mail cache all from John Westfal, all referencing something called the Anax Principle.

Could have been what he was copying.

Put it up.

"The Anax Principle is privileged information, Paul.

"Time to come clean before things get out of control."

Maybe Westfal was the one who lost control.

This is insane.

I already told everything I know to your other agents.

You didn't tell them about the Anax Principle.

All right.

What do you know?

Not enough.

We were hoping you'd fill us in.

It's highly classified material, Agent Gibbs.

Not even our top military commanders know of its contents.

Sounds like Lieutenant Booth knew more than you wanted him to.

Why the e-mails?

Was there a fight?

No, absolutely not.

Where were you the morning that Booth was shot?

I was home. Was asleep.

Got anybody that can verify that?

I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong.

I didn't kill Paul.

I was mad at him, yes.

About what?

He was stealing from me, from us.

I caught him taking files for the Anax Principle, close to 4, 000 pages of privileged documents.

I didn't say anything at the time cause I was trying to get the files back but that doesn't matter now.

Why not?

When I confronted him, he admitted that he had given them to someone.

To who?

I don't know.

He was very protective.

Just said she was a close friend.

I thought I knew everything about you.

I thought I could trust you.

You can.

I know about your work for Telles.

And I know about the papers you and Lieutenant Booth stole.

Where are they?

You have to tell me.

I can't.

It's for your own good.

Do you know the trouble you're in?

I made a promise to Paul to keep his family safe.

I'm your family.

I'm sorry, Timothy.

I can't. I love you, but I can't.

Watch out! Come on!

DMV records show that the black sedan's been registered to multiple Peppy Car Rental agencies over the past two years.

We're still trying to figure out which agency had the sedan as of today.

You I.D. the driver?

Nothing yet.

Witnesses gave no clear description.

But one woman claims she saw a man behind the wheel, but couldn't determine his age.

Keep looking.

How's she holding up?

Well, she's a little shaken, but otherwise okay.

Ducky's checking her out right now.

She still won't talk?

She threatened to stage a hunger strike if I kept pushing her.

Does she realize what danger she's in?

You don't understand. Once she gets committed, there's no stopping her.

Can't wait forever, McGee.

Get her to talk, McGee. Or I will.

Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. How can I help you?

Lieutenant Booth's murder is an ongoing investigation.

I'm afraid I'm gonna have to give you the standard "no comment".

What about the Anax Principle?

We'll be in touch.

That was Michael Sheedy, senior editor at the DC Chronicle.

Yeah? So?

He's been communicating with Penelope Langston about the Telles Research Group and the Anax Principle.

She's meeting with him tonight.

Wait's over.


I always knew that my grandson would introduce us.

I just never imagined that it would be like this.

You failed to tell me he was so handsome, Timothy.

Great eyes.

Why are you talking to the press?

I'm a free citizen, Agent Gibbs. I can talk to whomever I want.

Are you giving them information about the Anax Principle?

That's really none of your business.

Oh, yeah, it is.

Since you've done nothing but lie for the past two days.

Your inflated sense of authority does not impress me.

I have never been a fan of fascism.

What are you hiding, Ms. Langston?

I'm not hiding anything. I...

I was protecting a friend.

I doubt that. I think you're protecting yourself.

There's only one reason for that.

Enlighten me, Agent Gibbs.

You know something about Lieutenant Booth's death.

Maybe you're involved with something over your head.

Maybe you're covering for the real killer.


Go home, McGee. You can't be professional. Go home.

I won't let you treat her like that. She's my grandmother.

She's also the lead witness in a murder investigation.

What do you want me to do, needlepoint my questions?

She had nothing to do with this.

I never said she did.

What are you gonna do?

Break her down?

That's how it's done.

I don't like this any better than you do.

I know that she's a family member.

She means everything to me.

I respect that.

This is about murder. A guy is dead.


We find what's in those papers.

We find Booth's killer.

And she's the one that can tell us.

She'll talk to me.

You worked as an analyst for the Telles group, and then you quit.


Don't do this, Timothy. Please don't.

Your experience with the Telles Group... I need to know everything.

I knew I shouldn't have given Paul your business card.

I just... at the time, I thought...


The paper I published caught Max Ellswood's attention.

He asked me to be the first female analyst to work on something called the Anax Principle.

It was 1968.

Of course, I said yes.

And I've regretted that decision all my life.

What happened?

They lied.

What else is new.

I was told that I was working on something that would keep our men in Vietnam safe.

But in... a few years in, I learned that I wasn't helping anyone.

Instead, I was, I was creating a weapon of destruction.

I wanted to make amends.

You know, warn people.

They silenced you?

Like anybody could shut me up?

I took action, Timothy.

I armed myself with the First Amendment.

We were just about to go to print when the war ended and the Anax Principle was abandoned.

Or so we thought.

What is it?

Oh, sweetheart... it's better you don't know.

How'd you meet Lieutenant Booth?

Like me, Paul was lied to.

He learned that I was one of the last living members from the original group, and sought me out.

We agreed to finish what I'd started.

I convinced him... that we were doing the right thing.

It's not your fault.

You inspired him. You taught him so much.

About how to stand up for himself.

About how to be exactly who he was, no matter what anyone else thought.

Especially his father.

He'll always love you for that.

You've never told me this before.

It's the truth.

Do you have any idea who did this?

All the way from the lovely tropical island of Bali, courtesy of our friends at the State Department, say hello to Andrew Pike.

I already told the guy from State I don't even know this Paul Booth.

But you do know about the Anax Principle.

How do you even...?

That was something I created years ago. But that's... it's... all over now.

Not according to Penelope Langston.

The project started up again last year.

She said you harbored anger against Max Ellswood and Telles.

Claimed they stole your idea.

And one day you'd make them pay.

I felt betrayed and rejected.

But I was 23. Thought I'd change the world and then...

Then what?

Ellswood wanted to market the Anax Principle.

I just wanted it to be a test... a new kind of experiment.

I left and never looked back. That was 39 years ago.

How long have you been in Bali?

39 years.

I don't know what's going on, but I never meant for that project to go public.

It is a threat to our way of life.

Boss, I'm just one firewall away from Telles' top-secret files.

It's taken me a while, but I think I'm actually getting in.

Got it.

All right.

Searching all projects between 1967 and 1972.

Boss, Andrew Pike was right.

A caterpillar.


I do not understand.


It's a hybrid, it's part insect, part machine.

The Anax Principle merges technology with nature.

Ellswood said that war should not only be fought on the battlefields, but in the fields themselves.

He wanted to change the game.

The hybrid's remote controlled, mutates quickly.

Can infiltrate crops, multiply fast.

It's like a genetically engineered plague.

Has the potential to kill thousands of people.

Yeah no wonder it was kept a secret.

Not anymore.

Penny's meeting with Michael Sheedy at the DC Chronicle.

I'd rather she not go alone, Boss.


This place is empty.

That must be Michael.

Okay, there's my signal.

Why isn't he getting out?

Penny, wait. Something's not right.

I'm perfectly capable of handling this...

Look out!

Oh, no, Michael!


Ducky's finishing, but the evidence still points to our killer.

Another execution, Boss.

He won't stop, till he gets what he wants.

He wants me.

No, we don't know that yet.

Yeah, we do.

McGee, analysts who developed the Anax Principle.

John Westfal never said he was part of the original group.

Wouldn't be the first time he lied.

Was he a problem?

John was a rich entitled kid.

Ellswood took him under his wing, promised him things.


Gave him the reigns, let him make decisions he shouldn't have made.

He got power hungry?

Telles is John's whole life. He'd do anything to keep power.

Maybe even kill.

The rental car was paid for using a private account and the signature belongs to none other than...

John Westfal.

Bring him in.

It's a forgery. I didn't sign this.

I'm not playing games, Mr. Westfal.

Well, someone's setting me up to ruin my good name.

We can do this easy, or we can do this hard, it's your choice.

I'm not a violent person, Agent Gibbs.

I would never kill anyone.

Got witness testimony and a stack of evidence that says otherwise.

No, you're wrong.

Prove it.

That's what I thought.

Paul was right.

It was evil.

That's what he called the Anax Principle...

Pure evil... and I knew it, but I just kept working. I couldn't stop myself.

Had to protect your power.

I don't have any power.

I never did.


Paul had all the guts.

He had courage.

He took risks, spoke the truth...

I just fell in line, did whatever the ones at the top told me to do.

I admired him, Agent Gibbs.

Why would I kill him?

Got your message. What's up?

Gibbs, hi, lots.

The bullet fragments that came from Lieutenant Booth... total dead end.

No pun intended.

And second... and this is good, Ducky found traces of a strange material on our second victim, and you're not going to believe what it is.

It's a highly unusual, one-of-a-kind, super strong carbon fiber that was used to craft military weapons.


Like, way back, like the '50s or the '60s.

It's not that far back for you, but, for me, that is like, way...

I traced the carbon fiber back to the manufacturer in Louisiana.

They make experimental stuff, but they also make some combat weapons, including one just like this bad boy.

It's a limited edition combat-approved 45-caliber handgun dubbed the "Black Hand".

It was used during Vietnam for only two years...

1962 and 1963.

Abs, zoom in right here.

Our killer's a G.I. Joe?


Number of Telles analysts who served in the military?

Three, Andrew Pike, Max Ellswood, and a low-level analyst named Eric Velez.

How many army?

Just two... Ellswood and Velez.

Years served?

Years served?

Ellswood from 1955 to 1963 and Velez from...

That can't be right.

McGee, come on.

Velez didn't serve until the first Iraq War.

Enlisted in 1990.

Come on, I love science fiction as much as the next guy, but Ellswood's long gone. His plane crashed into the Rockies 23 years ago.

They find the body?


Ducky, it's McGee. Is Penny there?

She left.

What do you mean she left, when?

About an hour ago.


I said who's there?


Heard you've been keeping yourself rather busy these days, Penelope.

But then, I'd expect nothing less.

Always such a busybody.

Had to prove you were as good as the boys.

All these years... we thought you were dead.

Yes, well, I was.

The day the military pulled the plug on my creation, it killed me.

I had no reason to be here anymore.

But when I found out they'd green-lit the project again, I felt... reborn.

So you can imagine how upset I was, when I also heard you were up to your old tricks.

Out to destroy my legacy.

Don't move.

I wasn't about to let that happen.

You were wrong, Max, about the Anax Principle.

About everything.

I did great things.

And I will again.

No, you won't.

Please don't.

Don't do this.

Already done.

You can't! This is wrong! This is wrong!

I've done great things!

They need me!

They need me!

They can't do it without me.

One year, Timothy became obsessed with my red pumps.

He wore them everywhere.

To the grocery store, to church.

What'd the preacher have to say about that?

"Hey, kid, don't upstage me."

As he's teetering down the aisle to the front.

And I... Hi, honey.


What's so funny?

The red pumps.

We were just really enjoying that story.

You little cross-dresser you. Does the Pope know?

It's nothing to be ashamed of, darling.

You know, it's healthy to explore all sides of yourself.

I was five.

Yeah, that's what's sort of brilliant about it.

It's getting late.

Way past your date's bedtime there.

And I gotta get you home, Penny.

No need. I already have a ride.

With who?

It's been a pleasure to meet you both.

And Ziva, Tony...

Until next time, mon chérie.

Timothy's lucky to have you.

No, we are the lucky ones.

That Tony DiNozzo.

It comforts me to know that you're with such a good group of people.

I'll admit even Gibbs... has begun to grow on me a little bit.

His cold... despotic ways?

Really part of his charm.

Who knew?

He actually reminds me a lot of... a little bit.

In other words... he loves you, but has no idea how to show it.

Does he?

Sweetheart, he loves you so much.

He always has, Timothy.


You need to take the first step, Timothy.

Call him.

It's been almost seven years. I wouldn't know what to say.

You're a smart boy. You'll figure it out.

Here's my ride.

Wait, is this a date?

No, just a cocktail, Timothy.

Or cocktails.

Sweetheart, call him.

And you, Doctor, good evening.

Have you made up your mind?

English or Italian?

I think Korean.

I'd like to have a bunch of little pots.


Hi... Dad?

It's me, Tim.