'NCIS': Alphabet Soup For The Soul

Cotedepablo_ncis_240Never one to rest on laurels, the NCIS team tackles gruesome tortures, closeted skeletons, and in DiNozzo's case, a yearning for a certain Mossad Liaison. Toss in one of my favorites from Hill Street Blues and you have one quality FBI crossover episode.

These Spoilers use words like honor, code, loyalty.

A woman returning from a morning jog arrives home to find her Honda has a flat. She goes next door to get the neighbor's help, but when he doesn't answer the door, she heads out back to the garage... only to find the guy hanging, tied up and bloody.

Ziva abruptly ends her flight reserving, Hebrew-filled phone call, much to the delight of DiNozzo. Before she can really give him the razzing he deserves, Gibbs tells the gang to pack a sack lunch as they're off to investigate the dead Marine. We come to find Lance Corporal Rob Brewer bled to death just days before he was to begin his third tour of duty in Iraq.

In the lab, Abby's quite fascinated with mold found on the rope to the point that she has to catch her breath before she tells Gibbs that fingerprints from the toolbox match a Sergeant Jack Kale, our dead Marine's former squad leader. The good sergeant had to retire because of a blood disorder and the subsequent bad reaction to medication for it. After my bad reaction to a certain pain medication last week, it's surprising that I haven't been forced to retire yet.

The gang hasn't been able to find much on Sergeant Kale until McGee gets a hit on medical records. Kale is on an experimental drug, Mepolizumab, which conveniently is shipped directly to the patients by the manufacturer. Gibbs and DiNozzo head over to the address in question. After they bust in, it turns out the FBI is already there, led by one Senior Agent Tobias C. Fornell. They're protecting Kane as he is a witness for the prosecution in a big deal trial. Gibbs fixes Kane a sandwich and asks how his fingerprints got on Brewer's toolbox. It's Kane's toolbox, and he's not sure why Brewer is dead or why his tools were used.

The gang attempt to investigate the case Fornell is working, and Moby Dick references aside, determine a Rick Azari is the big case Kane is a witness for. Seems Kane was the only witness to Boss Azari's murder of a drug dealer. The kids will have to work fast; Kale gets Witness Protection upon the conclusion of the trial, meaning if he did it, he gets away scot free.

Davidmccallum_navycis_240 Meanwhile, Ducky's examination of the dead Marine shows Brewer was systematically tortured... maximum pain but not death. I think Ducky knows a wee bit more about torture than I'd like to think about. I'm pretty sure Palmer would agree.

Special Agent Fornell arrives at NCIS to confront Gibbs. Just one month prior, two Marines saw Kale arguing with Brewer about a third Marine, Private First Class Michael Strauss. Gibbs apparently has done his homework on Azari and his apparent connections to Fornell.

DiNozzo can't help but to show up McGee by "proving" that good old-fashioned detective work can beat out the razzmatazz of computers any day. Kale called his mother every Sunday for four years, but when he went into protective custody, the FBI gave him a clean cell phone to use. Once they find the new number, everyone (except Gibbs) is surprised to see it on the move to Strauss' house.

Gibbs and Fornell arrive to the Strauss residence to find Kale just leaving... out the window. Once they catch up to him, he claims not to have "done it." By done it, he means killing Strauss in the exact same manner Brewer was. Ducky discovers Strauss was very recently killed, but not soon enough to be killed by Kale.

Later, Gibbs just happens to meet up with Rick Azari himself. The slick, suave crime boss taunts Gibbs to the point of becoming a stereotype of a stereotype.

Michaelweatherly_ncis_240 DiNozzo just can't stand that Ziva won't dish on her activities while separated from the gang. He snoops around her desk for clues about her planned trip to Tel Aviv, but to no avail. Frustrated, he even tries to pawn off his assignment to McGee with no suck luck. He does however, finally, unearth one clue... a picture of a mystery man on a boat. DiNozzo takes it to Abby for analysis, but she's determined the rope in both cases is from the same moldy source. DiNozzo instead turns her attention to more information of Azari, including where phosphor from shoes came from.

Gibbs is interrogating Kale, wondering why he left the safe house. The violent argument was over Strauss's use of drugs. Kale tried to keep a lid on it, but when he retired, it became Brewer's job... much to his disliking. The Marine then tells of what he witnessed in the Azari case: a tale of what turns out to be too-good-to-be-true vision of a mob hit from 60 feet away, in the dark no less.

The story is this: Kale claims he saw Strauss attempt to score coke with a trailing Brewer trying to stop the deal from going down. Instead, Kale fabricated the story to save the two from a court-martial and preventing them from redeploying overseas. Fornell is beside himself, seeing a most golden opportunity to nail Azari go out the window.

Just as quickly as Kale is put back into protective custody, he busts loose and makes a beeline for the courthouse. Gibbs and Fornell arrive just as Abby confirms the rope mold is from Azari's Virginia Beach house. Once Azari arrives, Kale appears out of hiding with a gun pointed straight at the mob boss. Azari does nothing but taunt Kale to shoot him. After much hesitation, Kale actually pulls the trigger... three times. Fornell laments that Azari got off easy; Gibbs laments that he couldn't save Kale from doing the wrong thing.

Markharmon_ncis_240 Gibbs and Fornell make peace in the end as they head in to debrief the director. Something tells me this isn't the last we'll see of Joe Spano.

Next time on NCIS, it a Halloween event with Abby in the crosshairs!

Yes they share an ex-wife, but did Fornell have to bring it up once an act? Do you think Abby needs to dial up or down the geek? What will become of DiNozzo and Ziva?