Season 4 Episode 20

Cover Story

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 10, 2007 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
350 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

McGee is under high pressure during the murder investigation of a Petty Officer based on the character for his latest book, with very little information to go on.

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  • McGee's book causes a fan to mistake fiction from reality.

    This was a great episode where McGee's new book puts his whole team in danger when a fan is killing people from the book to protect agent McGregor who is McGee I wasn't that surprised to find that the killer was the man from the coffee shop because I remember at the beginning when he was saying that he was a fan of McGee The episode had a really goo ending where McGee told the killer a false ending to save Abby about them getting married and after getting saved all Abby cared about was how the book was going to turn out.moreless
  • McGee Discovers A Link To His Newest / Unfinished Novel During A Murder Investigation. When 2 Bodies Are Found, They Must Find The Killer's Link To McGee.

    Definitely one of the best NCIS episodes to date. This was a fantastic episode with an extremely entertaining storyline. I was hooked from the beginning to the end and my interest never wavered. I have been a fan of McGee from the second season and it was cool that we got a second episode centered to him in this season (the first was "Twisted Sister"). I even think that this was better than the previous episode centered to him. The "Thom. E. Gemcity" storyline has been great and it was so great that it played a big role in this episode. The case was interesting and it had me fooled a couple of times. The conclusion was awesome! Do not miss this episode.moreless
  • Not sure where this episode fit in "The Season Of Secrets".

    Just finished 2nd viewing (on Innertube) and have my regular notes:

    1. Abby bartending skills. Cool, Pauley was able to ues her own skills as a bartender.

    2. Ziva: "You look like you've seen a goat" - now that was funny. Might have to use that myself.

    3. Perhaps it was the camera angle but this was the 1st time that we got a good look at Ducky's liver temp instrument - no blood on it when he pulled it out. Wouldn't there be some?

    4. Another appearance of the orange watch cap.

    5. Ducky, Abby and Palmer were assigned a security detail. Nice that Gibbs remembered to include Palmer.

    6. Gibbs. Man was he ticked off at McGee. I've seen him angry at team members before but this was the worst (best).

    7. Lisa is broken hearted over a love that could never be and keeps a momento from him (Roy). 8. Poor McGee. Even though there was no mention of his friend from "Grace Period", he's now had two newlywed men friends killed.

    9. Publishers Assistant Todd running and screeching - that was hysterical.

    10. Loved the PFOOF that included (almost) everyone - Gibbs, McGee, DiNozzo, David, and Scuito. 11. The team sliding their "campfire" chairs out of the way to let Gibbs pass and then slid them back together again.

    12. Now for a question: Why didn't the security detail assigned to protect Abby know she wasn't at her apartment and was instead staying at the empty convent??? Was the 1st shift just sitting outside her empty apartment all evening?

    Although this was a good episode, there was just something about it that doesn't rate a perfect score.moreless
  • Cover story is my favorite episode of season four!

    Cover story is my favorite episode of season four! It was great to have an episode focusing on McGee’s character. The last scene when Abby tells McGee “McGregor and Amy can't get married, they are too different” was priceless. Loved McGee's and Gibb's faces after Abby spoke. The scene was full of angst and funny. I loved it. Tony threatening McGee about writing third book was also humorous. The episode reinforced how close the team has become. It is always good to see the team bond. I like the relationship between Tony and McGee. They can be supportive and critical of each other. They have a great dynamic in Cover Story.

    You have to watch this episode. It’s a must see episode!moreless
  • An obsessed fan has found a way to McGee's unpublished book and is now killing off people from the book. Spoiler-ish.

    An obsessed fan has found a way to McGee's unpublished book and is now killing off people from the book. McGee soon realizes that this is happening and tells the team, who now has to look into his rough "rough" draft and figure who is going to be killed next, where and any other details. There wasn't any mention of what happened in the episode before this, but Tony was being kind of hostile and mean like he was in Kill Ari. Soon, the team finds out that the killer is going to go after the character Amy, who is, in real life, Abby.moreless
Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo

Cote de Pablo

Cote de Pablo

Mossad Agent Ziva David

Pauley Perrette

Pauley Perrette

Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto

Sean Murray (I)

Sean Murray (I)

Special Agent Tim McGee

David McCallum

David McCallum

Chief M.E. Ducky Mallard

Jayne Brook

Jayne Brook

Lyndi Crawshaw

Guest Star

Steve Braun

Steve Braun

Landon Grey

Guest Star

Nynno Ahli

Nynno Ahli

Rick Green

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • TRIVIA: The photo of the woman in Bikini in the house where DiNozzo is admiring Ferris Bueller's Day Off poster is also used as the one in the Medical examiners poster in season six episode "Agent Afloat" where DiNozzo has a "hunch" about why the ME would prefer talking to Ziva.

    • GOOF: When McGee realizes that the killer had access to the carbon ribbon tapes from his typewriter and he places the tapes of Ziva's desk; you can see that they only really contain jargon letters which quickly give the impression of what McGee has written. In Actuality, the carbon ribbon tape includes phrases like, "GLmglSHo5xHJTEOWThyCORT..."

    • TRIVIA: McGee's typewriter is an antique manual which used a multi-use cloth carbon ribbon. This ribbon ran back and forth until no longer producing a sufficiently black image. The single use carbon film ribbon shown in this episode and capable of clear impressions of the typed words was only available with more modern, electric typewriters, such as the IBM Selectric.

    • TRIVIA: Ziva tells Tony that McGee got her character of Lisa all wrong in his book, mentioning that Lisa always carried a memento of a past lover of hers who died. This is either Ziva's way of trying to make light of her continuing to wear the orange cap of Lt. Roy Sanders, who she had feelings for before he died so she can maintain her tough assassin persona around Tony, or else she psychologically does not realize how often she has been wearing the cap.

    • GOOF: The address on Adrian Corbett's driver's license is exactly the same as Marilyn Torrance's in the episode "Skeletons." The same font was used to create both signatures as well.

    • TRIVIA: This episode is very similar to the episode of Bones titled "The Bodies in the Book."

    • TRIVIA: Pauley Perrette, playing Abby got to re-live her bar-tending days during a scene in this episode that had her mixing drinks, throwing bottles in the air causing the reference to Coyote Ugly. Edit: However, in the DVD commentary, Pauley has never spun bottles while she bartended, citing that it existed only between "rival gangs." In fact, she has a trainer to teach her how to spin bottles.

    • TRIVIA: The cafe in the beginning of the episode that McGee refers to as "his" cafe where he works on ideas for his book is the same cafe from season 1 when Gibbs grilled Kate Todd about creating a profile about Ari.

    • TRIVIA: The drink that was present at the first murder scene (that was created by McGee for his new book) is made of: Jägermeister, cherry soda, vanilla vodka, lemon juice, and a splash of Tabasco sauce.

    • TRIVIA: The picture hanging to the left of McGee's in the publisher's office is one of Don Bellisario. The one to the right is of famous author Tom Clancy.

    • TRIVIA: When McGee is typing on the typewriter with Tony trying to find the killer, he types "He loomed ove me like a grotesque clown of..." when he clearly meant to spell 'over'.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • Landon: You set a wedding date yet?
      Tony: The guest list is full.

    • Ziva: Maybe we should spitball ideas and see what sticks. (McGee and Tony stare.) What? Did I get it wrong?
      Tony: No, you got that one right.

    • Gibbs: Nice of you to join us, DiNozzo.
      Tony: I thought I was gaining ground. He had a very unorthodox running style.

    • Tony: What makes you think we're looking for a psychopath?
      Crawshaw: Don't you read crime novels? There's always a psychopath.

    • (McGee puts on an old record)
      McGee: It's jazz, it helps me clear my mind.
      (Tony shakes his head)
      Tony: Coltrane is jazz, McGee, this is the soundtrack to a bad 70's porno shot in the San Fernando Valley.
      McGee: I'm just trying to re-enact every detail of my writing process here, okay?
      Tony: (holding his ears) I'm sorry did you say something, my ears are bleeding and I can't.. I can't... (McGee turns the record off) Thank you.

    • (Ziva sniffs a cocktail she found in the kitchen)
      Ziva: Urgh, if smells could kill, I think we just found our murder weapon.

    • Ziva: Well, McGee feels bad enough.
      Tony: Only makes it worse that he admitted it.
      Ziva: Was no secret he was writing about us.
      Tony: Oh, come on, it's not about us. I mean the whole part about Lisa and her broken heart?
      Ziva: And the memento she keeps from a relationship that never had a chance to happen?
      Tony: Yeah. Where's he gettin' that? Or the scene between Lisa and Tommy where they pour out their hearts to each other and spill their secrets?
      Ziva: (laughs) When he tries to explain the profound nature of his identity crisis?
      Tony: Yeah, I mean the hidden struggle between who he is and what he's becoming? I don't even know what that is.
      Ziva: Yeah, totally unrealistic.
      Tony: Would never happen.

    • Gibbs: You figure it out McGee. You write the ending to this or the killer will.

    • McGee: I like my typewriter.
      Tony: But it doesn't like you. It's a classic tale of an unrequited love between a boy and his machine.

    • McGee: The blood starts at the ping pong table.
      Tony: Beer pong.
      McGee: Huh?
      Tony: Oh, this is tragic. Don't tell me you've never played beer pong before, Probie.
      McGee: Nope. Never.
      Tony: What did you do at MIT?
      McGee: Studied.
      Tony: That figures.

    • Tony: What d'ya call that?
      Gibbs: Running. I think.

    • Tony: What d'ya have Abbs?
      Abby: Three hours sleep.

    • Gibbs: How many more characters did you base on real people? (McGee doesn't answer) Hey! How many! (the team stares at him)
      McGee: ... Just the team. You, Tony, Ziva, everybody. (he turns to Tony) You happy Tony, I finally admitted it. I based both my novels on you guys.

    • Ducky: From what I hear Timothy, in your next novel, LJ Tibbs has a love interest, (Gibbs turns and stares at McGee) yes, I hear that it's an Army-
      McGee: Ducky I don't think we need to talk about that-
      Gibbs: Army what... McGee?
      McGee: Uh, Lieutenant. (Gibbs stares at him disbelievingly).. Colonel. Lieutenant Colonel. (Gibbs grins)

    • McGee: Okay, I've told you before, the book is not about you guys.
      Tony: No, of course not! It's about Special Agent... Tommy.
      Ziva: And, Officer Lisa.
      Gibbs: DiNozzo!
      Tony: And... L.J. Tibbs!

    • Tony: No you may not use me to get over your writer's block.
      Ziva: McGee has writer's block?
      McGee: No, McGee does not!
      Ziva: Just do what you did last time... write about us!

    • (Tony is reading the draft of McGee's third novel)
      McGee: Tony?
      Tony: (holds up one finger while reading) .....nnnnnnn... Done!
      McGee: So?
      Tony: I am confused.

    • Abby: Forensic specialist Amy, she fell in love with a gay guy, Gibbs.
      Gibbs: Is that why I'm here?
      Abby: No...
      Gibbs: Then Amy is on her own.

    • Abby: Did you know it's a bad idea to flush voodoo dolls down the toilet?
      Tony: I do now.

    • Gibbs: Are you okay, Abbs?
      Abby: With all the bad guys after me, I feel like I'm dating Spiderman.

    • Tony: Ah! I am using muscles I didn't even know I had! No wonder you're stuck at chapter six.

    • Tony: Ziva's right, Probie, it's not your fault, but if you even think about writing a third novel, I'll kill you.
      Ziva: When Abby finds out who her character really fell in love with, you will already be dead.

    • Abby: Where's Gibbs?
      Ziva: Chomping out McGee.
      Tony: You mean chewing.

    • Ziva: McGee, you look like you saw a goat.
      McGee: Huh? Oh, you mean ghost.

    • McGee: Works to live and lives to party. Ahem, his CO's words.

    • McGee: I don't think it's the reason for my... (pauses)
      Tony: Were you going to say 'writer's block'?

  • NOTES (4)

    • Donald P. Bellisario; the creator of NCIS is featured in the portrait to the left of Tom E. Gemcity in the Publishers office.

    • Original International Airdates:
      Denmark: April 24, 2007 on TV3
      Australia: July 3, 2007 on TEN
      United Kingdom: August 21, 2007 on FX UK
      Spain: August 23, 2007 on La Sexta
      The Netherlands: October 17, 2007 on Veronica
      Germany: October 21, 2007 on SAT 1
      Italy: November 4, 2007 on RAI 2
      Brazil: January 11, 2008 on AXN
      Hungary: October 13, 2008 on TV2
      Finland: February 17, 2009 on Nelonen
      Slovakia: June 22, 2009 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: November 23, 2009 on TV Nova

    • Lauren Holly is credited but doesn't appear.

    • Mark Harmon, Lauren Holly, and Jayne Brook all starred in Chicago Hope. Jayne Brook appeared on CH from the first to the fifth season. Mark Harmon joined the show from the third season to the sixth season, Lauren Holly in the sixth.


    • When criticizing McGee's choice of jazz, Tony says, "...Coltrane is jazz." John Coltrane is a legend in the world of Jazz. He was an innovative saxophone player c. 1940-60.

    • When the team witnesses Abby's bartending skills, Tony says, "Coyote Ugly, Piper Perabo..." Coyote Ugly was a movie released in 2000 about a bar in New York City in which the ladies who tend bar use a similar technique. Piper Perabo is the name of the actress who played Violet Sanford, the lead character in the movie.