SANTA: Ho, ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas.
Where are we going with this?
Right over here.
SAM: Turn around.
Turn around. Turn around.
What is that?
It's a Christmas tree.
Douglas fir, Scotch pine, Bruce spruce.
These are Christmas trees.
This is L. A., Hetty.
Wait till you see the menorah.
I am so alone.
Oh, Mr. GQ, what's up with the big-boy clothes?
CALLEN: Somebody's got a hot date.
Mommy in town for the holidays?
No, thank goodness.
You're leaving us?
Uh, whoa, who's leaving us?
Nate's got a job interview.
I do not have a job interview.
I just thought that I would dress it up today.
Uh-huh. You backed into Hetty's Jag.
No. Don't even kid about that.
Well, personally, I think you look fantastic.
God, I love men in suits.
CALLEN: And costumes.
When did I date anybody who wore a costume?
What about the pirate guy?
Didn't he make you wear a milkmaid outfit?
That was for a renaissance fair and I was a wench.
That's so much better.
Oh, dear Lord. Eric, that shirt is wrong on so many levels.
SAM: What's up?
ATM footage from the bank in Westwood.
Asher Ross was withdrawing $100 from his checking account 8:07 a.m. Last Thursday when he got a cell phone call.
It was his last.
He was killed by what appears to be some sort of explosive device planted in his phone.
Now, Ross was no stranger to explosives.
He's a former staff sergeant with the Marine EOD Unit.
Explosive Ordinance Disposal.
Six months ago he was part of a convoy hit by a roadside bomb in Fallujah.
DOMINIC: Three Marines were killed, several others were severely injured.
Ross was given a medical discharge because he lost hearing in one of his ears.
Eric, phone records. Find out where the trigger call originated.
And, Dom, forensics on Ross' phone and personal belongings.
We'll check out the ATM where he was killed.
SAM: We might be able to get additional footage from across the street at the store.
Maybe even the traffic cam.
Ross got a coffee and a muffin, stopped to buy the L. A. Times before hitting the ATM.
What kind of muffin?
You can tell a lot about a person by their choice of breakfast pastries.
Take Sam, for instance.
If Santa was working the day of the bombing, he might've seen something.
Maybe our guy's on his naughty list.
Wait, wait. Hold on, Sam.
I checked already. There's nothing.
Eric, what do you got?
ERIC [ON PHONE]: The call that triggered the bomb in Ross' cell phone originated in the same cell site, which means that the caller was within half a mile or so of the explosion.
Could have been closer than that.
He might have been watching.
The killer could have got a prepaid phone to make the call.
Yeah, I already traced it.
It's a dead end.
The killer used a prepaid cell phone and placed the call, then threw it away.
There's no way to track it.
Eric, is the trigger phone still in service?
Uh, doesn't appear to be.
Probably turned it off before he tossed it.
You can remotely reactivate it, right?
All right. I'll try to find the cell phone, see if we can pull some prints, track back to where he purchased it.
I'll go check on Ross' house.
You know, the most obvious suspect is gonna be someone in Ross' bomb disposal unit.
But we cannot forget that he also studied chemical engineering.
So what? One of his fellow students had a beef with him so he cooked up some explosive and wired his phone?
I think Eric needs to do a background check on everyone in his classes.
You have to excuse the mess.
My wife was supposed to help me pack up his things.
Asher was her only son.
She's just not ready yet.
We're very sorry for your loss, sir.
Mr. Ross, there may be some evidence in your son's belongings that could help our investigation.
The police already went through everything.
Nothing here that'll bring him back.
Do you have any idea who may have wanted to hurt your son?
I'd like to say my son didn't have any enemies, but I wasn't close enough to him to know.
You had a falling out?
Just working a lot, trying to make sure my family was taken care of.
One day you're missing Little League and the next thing you know they're moving out.
And all that time in-between, it's just lost.
Did Asher ever talk to you about his time in the Marines or, uh, school?
No. The last time we talked, argued.
It was about money.
Uh, he'd lent a lot of his savings to a Marine buddy and he wasn't paying him back.
Do you have a name?
But don't ask me first, last, nickname.
I just know they were together in Iraq.
Ever since Ash was little he wanted to be a Marine.
I just wish, uh, he could be 8 again.
We could start over.
Okay, Sam, I just reactivated the phone that called Asher Ross.
I'm sending its GPS signal to your phone.
Should be accurate to within a couple metres.
ERIC [ON PHONE]: You see anything?
I've got an alley, lots of garbage.
A couple of dumpsters.
Probably tossed it in one of them.
All right, call the cell phone.
Well, what if it's booby trapped too?
Just do it, Eric.
All right, it's ringing.
Sam, you all right?
It's full of maggots.
I hate maggots. Ugh.
ERIC: Well, don't think of them as the M word. Think of them as the larval form of flies.
Sterile versions are used in medical procedures as a form of wound debridement.
ERIC: The larva eat...
[COUGHS THEN GROANS]
Oh, this is worth it.
ERIC [ON PHONE]: Yeah?
Eric, run a search on a guy named King.
He served with Asher Ross.
ERIC: Yeah, I'm on it.
All right, I've got a Hastings King, also a member of Ross' EOD unit.
He was severely injured in the same convoy attack in Fallujah.
You got an address?
Yeah, just off Colorado Avenue.
Not too far from Sam.
Call Sam. Have him check out King.
We're headed back.
ERIC: I'm on it.
Hey, Mr. King.
KING: We're closed. Now get lost.
Your customer service needs some work.
I'm NCIS. Asher Ross is dead.
Now show me your hands and come out before I pull you out.
Seriously, you need to get lost now.
I've got a little problem here.
Yes, you have.
I called L. A. P. D.
Bomb squad's on the way.
Great. Last thing I need is some civilian blowing up my garage.
The bomb is probably wired into the car's ignition.
See anything on the battery?
But it looks like she's tied into the starter.
There's something the size of a cell phone wrapped in electrical tape.
Must be a secondary device.
You're lucky I stopped by, King.
This is a two-man job.
The green wire on three?
Yellow one for me.
Tricky. Switched the colour just to be difficult.
Go for it.
One, two, three.
[BOTH CHUCKLE THEN SIGH]
Bet you didn't wake up this morning thinking you might get blown to hell.
Can't say I did.
How'd you find it?
KING: It was luck.
I knew I had a tranny leak.
So I rolled underneath to take a look and there she was.
Still getting used to the leg.
Glad it didn't slow you down in the business department.
No. Wall Street took care of that.
Is that why you didn't pay Asher Ross back the money he lent you?
That's why you're here?
You think I killed Asher Ross so I didn't have to pay him?
Just covering all the angles.
Where were you last Thursday?
And Asher Ross saved my ass more than once.
He's the only one who took a chance and loaned me the bucks to get started.
Yeah, got a little behind in my payments.
You think I'd kill him over that?
Any idea who would?
I'm gonna need to take that back for analysis.
Don't drop it.
ERIC: This is what's left of Asher Ross' laptop from the explosion.
Getting anything is gonna be tough.
Preliminary forensics show Ross' cell phone fragments had traces of HMX.
HMX is a military-grade explosive and it's expensive and hard to get.
Which means our bomber needed access or he ripped it off.
DOMINIC: I'll check reports for theft.
The killer had to have access to Ross' cell phone in order to wire it with an explosive without Ross knowing.
What about the phone Sam found?
Nothing. Prepaid, no prints.
Killer must have wiped it clean before tossing it.
Keep working on that laptop, Eric.
Ross and King were on the same bomb disposal unit for nine months.
Now it sounds like a short time, but...
Considering the burn-out rate, they're old timers.
Disabling bombs that blow you to hell with the slightest mistake takes its toll.
The work often results in PTSD.
King appears to be coping, but given all that he's suffered...
Some of the more severe symptoms might take months to manifest.
Untreated, it can cause massive personality change.
Aggressive enough to blow your buddy's heads off if you've got a beef?
It's not out of the question.
Really? Again with the tie?
I had you pegged more as a Half Windsor guy.
Is that supposed to have some sort of meaning?
You're the psychologist.
Shouldn't you be working on that somewhere a little more secure?
I don't know.
A room with armour-plated walls comes to mind.
Light's good in here.
I will buy you a lamp.
King said it was defused.
He seemed to know what he was doing. Relax.
The million-dollar question is do you know what you're doing?
This is not good.
He hid a secondary micro-detonator inside.
It has a mercury switch.
Don't anybody move.
Sorry about that.
ERIC: It's a Christmas miracle.
We got something off Ross' laptop.
He had lunch two days before he died with Stanton Olin who is another member of his EOD unit in Iraq.
That's access and ability.
If Olin's got motive, he's our guy.
It wasn't really a miracle.
It was just me doing what I do.
That shirt is awesome.
Nate. What's up, dude?
Hmm. Psych evaluations are coming up in a few weeks, and, uh, I'll be interviewing team members.
And for that you need my signature.
And, um, who interviews you, Mr. Getz?
It doesn't work that way.
Doesn't seem fair somehow, does it?
What'd you do to your tie?
Oh, I, uh, spilled something on it.
Should I get it, uh, dry-cleaned?
Well, that's an option.
I'd recommend either donation or incineration, not in that order.
You don't like this tie? It was a gift.
Obviously not from a loved one.
Oh, come on. Let's go cheer you up.
You're wondering about the suit?
Oh, no. A man doesn't need an excuse to be fashionable.
And besides, you look so professional.
I tried the whole West Coast casual thing, and I think it was working against me.
You know, with the agents.
I know undercover work is difficult and dangerous and I know they've been forced to take on roles and do things that they're not proud of.
But they think that burying memories is better than talking about them.
Let's try a Half Windsor this time.
It can make such a difference.
There you go.
You know, in my experience, if you're patient, sooner or later the people who need to talk will seek you out.
Often under the guise of some other intention.
You just have to listen.
You think I could pull off a bow tie?
Not without a red rubber nose and those big floppy shoes.
Olin's got quite the view.
Yeah. He can sit on his porch at night and watch the drive-bys.
Olin? Federal agents. Stop. Olin.
[CAR ALARM BLARING]
KENSl: Come on.
Eric, get me an ambulance.
CALLEN: So your buddy Ross gets killed, we turn up and you take off?
So why'd you run?
Someone's been following me.
Ross ever mention anything about being followed?
He just said I was being paranoid.
Now who's being paranoid?
Who is doing this?
Who wants us dead?
DOMINIC: Footage from an L. A. P. D. Traffic cam.
Not likely triggered by a timer.
There's no way of knowing exactly when he'd get back into his car again.
It's not rigged to the starter, otherwise it would've blown up as soon as he turned the key.
Could've been remote detonation, same as Ross.
Back window of the car.
Clean it up, Eric.
Hmm. Probably some neighbourhood kids. "Wash me." Things like that.
You know, when I was in high school, I wrote "I wish my girlfriend were this dirty" on my principal's car.
And I thought it was pretty funny until I got expelled.
[SPEAKS IN ARABIC]
It's from the Qur'an.
Al-Maeda, chapter five, verse ten.
Those who reject our faith and deny our signs shall be companions of hellfire.
Seems like Ross and his buddies might have brought back more from Iraq than they realised.
NATE: I'm here to help you, Olin, but you're gonna have to trust me.
It's my fault Ross is dead.
Why do you think that?
Because I didn't try hard enough to convince him that something was going on.
He shut me down.
So I stopped trying.
Maybe it's because you didn't want to believe it yourself.
Sometimes it's easier to pretend something's not happening than to face it.
Yeah, well, I just faced it.
Just like I faced it every day out there.
My partner and I spent a little time in Fallujah.
We were augmenting a Marine Expeditionary Force.
We had more bad days than good ones.
The last thing I wanted to do was talk about it, but, uh...
The only way to quiet it was to get it out.
I'm afraid that if I get even a glimpse of light it'll swallow me.
I guess everyone deals with it differently.
King threw himself into his business.
I found God.
Ross did the best.
He just moved on.
Before the bombing, somebody wrote a warning in Arabic on the back of your vehicle.
It was a warning from the Qur'an.
Do you have any idea who might have left that?
There was a guy in our unit, Tariq.
He was Muslim.
I didn't know him very well.
No one did.
Have you seen him since you've been back?
I knew he had family here in L. A.
I don't even know if I would recognise him if he walked by me in the street.
Why wouldn't you recognise him, Olin?
He was badly burned in the explosion.
His back, his arms, his face.
Maybe he blames us for that.
Tariq Barad Al-jabiri.
Born and raised in Michigan.
Followed his older brother to Los Angeles in '06 where he joined up a few months later.
Service record's clean as a whistle.
Last known address was a house in Mar Vista.
The name on the lease is Kimberly Johnson.
KIM: I haven't seen Tariq since he got back.
The corps told me he'd been hurt.
That he'd been disfigured.
I tried to see him in the hospital, but he wouldn't allow it.
He wouldn't see me.
He wouldn't take my calls.
He didn't even respond to my e-mails.
Mommy, when are we gonna see Santa?
Real soon, honey. Why don't you go put on your blue dress so you can get your picture taken?
My daughter Elly is Tariq's niece.
I was in a relationship with Tariq's brother.
After he found out I was pregnant, he was out of here fast.
Yeah, so was I.
I thought he loved me.
But Tariq stepped up and supported us.
Treated Elly like she was his own.
After a while...
You fell in love.
Yeah, very much so.
We were building a great life together.
Then he shipped off to Iraq.
And now he's finally back, but he's still gone.
I just want him to come home so that we can be a family again.
Did Tariq get along with all the guys in his unit?
Were there any conflicts over religious beliefs?
Tariq was very tolerant.
He even let Elly have a Christmas tree.
He loved her.
He still drops money off for us every month.
Security cam footage from Cali South Mailboxes.
According to Kim Johnson, Tariq drops cash off here for his family once a month.
And this was two days ago?
Could be our guy.
Tariq goes over to fight for his country, but he gets badly disfigured.
Starts to question his belief in the war, America, even his fellow Marines.
Forgets whose side he's on.
Maybe we should stake out the store.
It's too long to wait.
Somebody could be dead by tomorrow.
The clock is ticking.
We could make a special delivery.
Is that a...?
It's a bomb, Paul.
We believe this bomb may have come from one of your mailboxes.
And who are you guys?
We work with Homeland Security.
I think I should call my boss.
Recognise this guy?
That's a trick question.
How can you recognise him when half his head's gone.
I want a name and address.
Strong possibility there's another one of these coming next week.
Strong possibility there's a bomb just like this in one of those mailboxes right now.
I'd hurry up, Paul.
"Rented by Asher Ross."
Found this in Asher's bedroom.
Looks like our boy Tariq's found a place to stay.
SAM: So we have Ross, a former Marine EOD specialist who's blown up with his own phone.
Then we have another member of his unit, Olin, who's nearly blown to hell in his own car.
Now we have our boy King who finds a bomb under his truck and disarms it with help from yours truly.
That leaves Tariq, who we now know is staying at Ross' place and working with King.
KENSl: So Tariq is the common vector.
Why didn't King mention him?
These guys have been to hell and back together.
King didn't tell Tariq's family.
Why would he tell us?
If they were buddies, why would Tariq place a bomb under King's truck?
I think it's time someone pays another visit to King.
You don't still have that, uh, wench outfit, do you?
Can I help you?
Yeah, this thing's been coughing and jumping like a Brahma bull.
So, uh, is Tariq here?
Sort of tall, dark, handsome.
I'm the only handsome one here.
In fact, I'm the only one working here.
Oh. Because you see, I met this guy, Tariq, at a gas station, and he was wearing a shirt with your logo on it.
So that's how I knew to come here.
Never had anybody named Tariq working here. Sorry.
When was the last time you put some carburettor cleaner through this?
I don't know.
I've been out of town so it's been sitting for about a month.
Leave your man waiting a month too?
This bike has Twin Cains on it.
The carburettor looks all right.
Let's take a look at the throttle-control rod.
You in the corps?
Don't tell me you're a Marine too.
My father was.
I grew up moving from base to base.
I was even, uh, engaged to a jarhead once.
He managed to escape?
Killed at Fallujah.
Let's see what's, uh, giving this bike indigestion.
Is that true about Kensi being engaged?
I don't know. But if it is, it explains all the serial dating.
Here's your problem right here.
These spark plugs aren't stock.
You gotta stick with factory or the ion sensors misread.
You get a bumpy ride.
You know, Tariq said he was a Marine.
And now, I know you devil dogs stick together, so, uh...
Come on. Hook a girl up.
Hey, I've got somebody down here who wants to talk to you.
That's our girl.
KING: Want a beer?
KENSl: Drink and drive?
KING: Hey, Tariq.
Here she is, you lucky dog.
Who are you?
SAM: Tariq, we're NCIS agents.
KING: Who are you?
I told you he'd run.
I know. I know.
I hate when they run.
What's the matter with you?
Throwing a hammer at my head.
You lying bitch.
You set me up.
I'm NCIS, but my father was a Marine.
How does he feel about his daughter growing up to be a professional liar?
NATE: Good news, Mr. Olin.
Tariq's been taken into custody.
NATE: In relation to Ross' murder.
Me and Ross, we were coming back from a patrol.
We saw these two old ladies huddled in a doorway.
We offered them a couple candy bars and I think they just appreciated the gesture.
It's okay, Olin.
Take your time.
Out of nowhere, this other lady comes.
And she's younger. With a baby.
And Tariq starts shouting at her in Arabic, telling her to move away and stuff.
"Move away! Move away!"
Everything to him was a security risk.
The woman with the baby wanted your help?
Everybody was shouting.
And the old ladies were crying and I was just trying to get them all to settle down.
And then Tariq starts firing his gun right by my head.
When I turned back around, they're all dead.
The woman, the baby, the old ladies.
I guess I just never really got a chance to talk to anybody about this.
You need to.
I want you to have this.
You read the Bible?
I have, uh, poor reading habits.
It would mean a lot to me if you took it.
It's helped me out through a lot of tough times.
Who knows, maybe it'll help you some day.
I appreciate it.
He would have been very proud.
And you look like you could use some tea.
This is a holiday blend with cinnamon and safflower petals.
Well, thank you.
Well, you're welcome.
It seems you may have caught our mad bomber.
You don't seem very thrilled.
I mean, yes. I hope so.
I just wish that l...
You know what? I don't know.
I just think that when it comes to going undercover, I deal with the danger a lot better than the deception.
Like with Hastings King, for example. Today.
Some of what I told him was true, some of it was a complete lie, and some of it was a...
Was a combination of both.
Deception you perpetrate is a necessity, Kensi.
You need to embrace it, not fear it.
I'm sure your father would agree.
Anyway, if men wanted the truth all the time, I wouldn't have a French maid's outfit in my boudoir, would I?
You have a...?
Just drink your tea, dear heart.
Forensics reports are in on the explosives.
Two different types were used.
NATE: Tell me about Ross and King.
Ross and King let me couch surf between their two places.
You and Ross are friends?
Ross saved my life.
He saved Olin and King too.
When he pulled King out, the guy's leg was still underneath me.
Ross pulled Olin and King out first.
Do you resent that?
Had he pulled you out sooner, you might not have suffered the burns.
If he hadn't pulled me out, I'd be dead.
No, that dude is a fricking hero.
Okay, let's go back before that.
Tell me about the Iraqi woman and her baby.
You don't remember?
Olin and King were handing out candy bars to a couple of old ladies and you disapproved.
Yeah, that sort of stuff looks great in the news, but it's a security risk.
When you move away from the vehicle, you never know who's on the other side of that door, or who's looking down at you from a rooftop.
That why you shot her?
You ordered her to step away.
And when she didn't, you shot a mother and her baby.
There was no baby.
She was carrying a 60 mm mortar shell wrapped in a blanket with a hand trigger.
And I didn't shoot her.
He saved me.
He saved the old ladies and everybody else for half a block.
Olin shot a suicide bomber?
Or check your patrol logs if you don't believe me.
Did Olin ever talk religion to you?
Yeah. He was a Christian.
But he could quote the Qur'an or the Talmud as easily as the Bible.
I'm getting a bad feeling about this.
We got the forensics from the bombs in Ross' cell phone, King's truck and Olin's car.
Ross' cell phone and King's car bomb were both high-grade explosives.
But the explosive in Olin's car was trinitrotoluene.
It's a much lower grade.
And it was a shape charge under the rear of the vehicle pointing away from the driver.
So it blew out of the car instead of in.
So basically it looks convincing, but whoever set it must have known it wouldn't kill Olin.
Everything Olin told me was either a distorted memory or an outright lie.
He reads and writes in Arabic.
He could have written the note.
Tariq's not the bomber.
CALLEN: What are the chances this place is wired?
I'd say between 99 and 100 percent.
Always the optimist.
All right. Room's clear.
Olin? You in there?
Agents Callen and Hanna.
We're coming in to talk.
Got a list of names and cities.
We've got King, Ross, Tariq.
I'll bet the rest are all Marines as well.
[CELL PHONE DIALLING]
ERIC [ON PHONE]: Hit me, G.
Yeah, see if our boy Olin is on any flight manifests tonight.
These are receipts from today.
Eight bottles of peroxide from Fairfax Beauty Supply.
So now we're chasing a blond?
These are the ingredients for making TATP.
He must have ran out of HMX so now he's improvising.
TATP is highly explosive but it's extremely unstable.
All right. I've got Stanton Olin on a flight to Atlanta.
Tonight, 11:55 p.m. Delta Airlines.
Okay. Alert airport police at LAX.
Hey, listen to this.
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God."
Sounds like the Qur'an quote Olin put on his car.
It's essentially the same only this is from Thessalonians.
The Bible was a gift from Olin.
Giving away prized possessions, it's a warning sign of suicide.
Olin doesn't wanna harm innocent people.
He wants to punish himself and those in his unit out of some strange, twisted sense of penance.
Okay, you know what? Call Callen.
I'm going to King's garage.
[CELL PHONE RINGS]
Olin wants to finish what he started with Hastings King.
Kensi's headed there now.
Got it. We're on our way.
Sam, let's go.
Hey, come on. We've gotta go.
What are you doing here?
I need to get you out of here now before Olin arrives to kill you.
Why in the hell should I trust you?
Because I'm telling you the truth.
I was undercover.
I was trying to solve Ross' murder, and I really don't want to solve yours.
Okay? So move.
You do not wanna do this.
I don't want to, but I have to.
KENSl: I don't know what you're wired with, Olin, but you of all people know that a suicide bomb is not the way of a real warrior.
The stuff he's wired with is unstable.
Put a bullet in it, it could go off.
What about a head shot?
Just the impact of him falling could trigger it.
You're just chock-full of good news, aren't you?
You can leave. It's just King and I who seek absolution for what we did in Iraq.
No one gets absolution by killing themselves.
But we did bad things.
It was a war.
It brings out the worst in men but this isn't gonna help.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.
SAM: Kensi, elbow.
Get the trigger.
CALLEN: Eric, we need an ambulance.
KENSl: Looks like Hetty's still here.
SAM: She worries.
Not that she'd ever let us know.
HETTY: I had some paperwork to be completed before tomorrow.
Mr. Callen, some of us take our paperwork seriously.
But with the successful outcome of our mission and everyone's safe return, I thought perhaps some tea might be in order.
No offence but I don't think tea is gonna cut it tonight.
HETTY: Well, it's very special tea, Mr. Hanna.
Glen Garioch, 1958.
Wow, that is some Scotch, Hetty.
That's what Oliver Reed thought when he tried to make me his special musketeer one night.
But he kept his sword in his scabbard, and I kept the Scotch.
Looks like you also started without us, Hetty.
Oh, well, I got bored with my paperwork.
I figured I'd try and dress up this abomination.
KENSl: Holy moly.
He's been known to enjoy a good single malt.
Spreading some cheer of his own.
KIM: Oh, Tariq.
HETTY: Go home, find a wench, raise fat babies, live a good long life.