Season 8 Episode 5

Dead Air

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 19, 2010 on CBS

Episode Recap

An SUV is driving along, driven by a man wearing a wedding ring. He is listening to a talk radio program, "Daily Backtalk", hosted by Adam Gator, joined by Navy Commander Walter Daniels. As they discuss appropriation of funds for overseas troops, the SUV pulls up in front of the radio station, the driver jumps out of the SUV and goes around to the trunk to take out a rifle. He enters the radio station and shoots the board operator, who falls to the ground. Cut to an outside shot of the station, and we hear exclamations on air as Gator and Daniels realize what is happening, then four additional shots. (Credits).

Tony and McGee arrive for work, and McGee is exhorting Tony they they must embrace change or risk further controversy and scorn. Tony agrees, saying "You've changed my McMind, and I thank you, Tim." Ziva, already at her desk, is astonished, and asks Tony if he has been drinking, since he actually agreed with McGee. She has come in on the end of a discussion on baseball – specifically, the implementation of instant replay. Ziva declares that she doesn't know which is more disturbing, the fact that McGee and Tony agree on something or that there is a sport that McGee is interested in. McGee tries to explain: "It's not just that I'm a fan, Ziva, it's just that I'm . . ." he fishes for the right word, and Tony supplies it: ". . . American!? Alive?! It's OCTOBER, Ziva!" waxing rhapsodic over how baseball has seeped into the American psyche. Ziva is unconvinced: "I don't feel any seeping." McGee suggests that maybe one just has to be born in America to appreciate it, but Ziva dismisses that idea with a scathing, "It's just a game!" but Tony defends it: "It's OUR game. 'If they build it, they will come.' Field of Dreams – maybe that's speaking to the immigrant experience?" he reflects. Ziva responds drily that she didn't become an American citizen because of baseball. Tony insists that playing baseball is every kid's dream – even McGee's, and McGee admits that he played center field, and it was a hard day when he realized that the dream wasn't going to come true. Gibbs enters, and quips, "Keep the dream alive, Tim," and then tells them that there are three people who won't have that chance. "Three strikes," observes Tony. "And you're out," agrees Gibbs, as the team heads out.

The team is taking notes at the crime scene – Ziva reviewing the position of the bodies while Tony examines the board with headphones on. McGee, taking pictures, declares, "This is why podcasts were invented. Who needs the radio when you have the internet?" Gibbs answers, "People who don't have the internet," and Ducky adds "Or those who prefer to listen while driving." McGee helpfully tells Ducky that "they have a cell phone app for that now," but Gibbs is not impressed: "Do they have an app for doing your job, McGee?" McGee begins to recite the facts they have established – police in the small rural Virginia town came to the station on reports from listeners of gunfire, and the only employee of the station is the board operator is Vincent Clark. Daniels, being examined by Ducky, was a special duty officer in the Office of Public Affairs. "Big fish for a small station," muses Gibbs. McGee agrees: "Big crime scene for a small town." Daniels had been invited by the show host, Adam Gator, but Ducky observes that intelligent conversation was not Gator's forte'. Gibbs asks, "Not a fan of 'Backtalk', Ducky?" and Ducky declares that he is not a fan of stations where callers are mocked and berated by a smart-alek host – and apparently, the shooter wasn't a fan, either. Ducky points out that the board operator and Daniels were both shot once and left to bleed to death, but Gator was shot three times, which leads Gibbs to believe that Gator was the primary victim. McGee wonders why the killer would do it there at the radio station, live on air, and Ducky suggests that perhaps the killer wanted an audience. Suddenly, Tony's fumbling around with the board results in a loud intro for 'Backtalk' to suddenly play aloud, startling the team. Tony tells Ziva that he once considered going into radio, and Ziva sniffs, "Well, you certainly like to hear yourself talk!" but Tony corrects her that he thinks he would have been a great sports commentator, such as Harry Carey: "Cubs win, Cubs win, Cubs win!" and then tells Ziva that she wouldn't understand. Ziva begins to tell Tony that baseball is actually very popular in Israel, but Tony cuts her off – he has heard something on the tapes he has been listening to while chatting with Ziva. He replays a sound file of Gator explaining that he is going to reveal the next great threat to national security by a group that has confused patriotism with terrorism, and Gibbs realizes, "He wasn't killed for something he said." Tony finishes the thought: "He was killed for something he was going to say."

Gator's wife is being interviewed by Tony and Ziva in the conference room, and, crying, she tells them that she didn't hear that particular show. When Tony asks her about threats Gator may have received, she shrugs it off, telling Tony that Gator received threats all the time, but one particular group had actually tried to recruit him. The "half-assed group" supposedly had a bomb, she tells them, and Gator had been excited because it would make for a good program. She then goes on to explain that his on-air personality was different from the real Adam – he was a decent man, and a patriot, and he would have called the police if he thought they were serious. But she doesn't know who "they" were. She hands over Adam's meticulous records on mail and phone calls, and begs them to find his killer.

Abby, blindfolded, is walking carefully around her lab, clicking a small "clicker" such as those used for training dogs. She bumps into a large empty job and as it falls to the floor, she rips off her blindfold in disgust. Gibbs enters, and Abby explains that she is testing a sonar-like sense that some people use to detect objects around them. Gibbs isn't sure what this has to do with the case, confiscates the clicker, and Abby introduces him to the world of binaural audio, explaining how the separate microphones combine so that the brain is fooled into thinking it is three-dimensional sound. Gibbs asks, "Is it like 'In-A-Ganna-Da-Vida'"? and Abby, surprised at Gibbs' instant grasp, agrees, "except that it's gunshots, not a drum solo." Because she is now able to listen to the gun as if she was in the same room, due to some digital manipulation, she is able to use acoustics to identify minute characteristics of the murder weapon, and has identified the gun as a Remington 7400. "A hunting rifle," observes Gibbs, and then spying some tapes on the table, ask if those tapes were Mrs. Gator's. Abby agrees to get right on them, and as Gibbs leaves, she calls him back to return her clicker.

Tony, McGee and Ziva are reviewing the letters Gator received, and McGee declares that the letter-writers have far too much time on their hands. Ziva wonders why Gator kept all the letters, and Tony quips, "You never know who is going to get you – the ones that love you, or the ones that hate you." McGee finds a letter that simply says "Together we can make a difference," signed "Matt L." with a copy of Benjamin Franklin's political cartoon "Join or Die" with a segmented snake. Tony looks at it askance: "Short, sweet . . . creepy." McGee notices that the envelope has no postage, which leads the team to think that only someone with direct access to the postal service could have delivered the letter to the station's post office box, and begins to search the U.S. Postal Service's data base for someone named "Matt L."

Ducky is in Autopsy examining the bodies and musing about favorite radio programs that he used to listen to: "Dick Barton, Special Agent" and "The Man In Black: Murder Mayhem and Suspense." Gibbs enters, and asks, "Answers?" Ducky tells Gibbs that while removing the bullets from the bodies, he came across a strong odor which has been identified as deer urine from an adult doe. "Used by hunters to attract bucks," observes Gibbs, and Ducky agrees, saying that it was probably on the killer's fingers when he loaded the weapon. Since the radio station is in a rural area, Ducky theorizes, Gibbs is probably looking for someone "on the outskirts of society, separated from the others," a group that felt they didn't have a voice and needed the radio host to provide that voice.

Tony and McGee are confronting a mail carrier on a suburban street: "Matt L., do you always deliver mail with no postage? You have access to P.O. boxes, don't you?" The mail carrier says that the only organization he belongs to is the local Y, and he had spoken to Gator about a few free ads for a fundraiser, but Gator had turned him down. "So I was just giving him a hard time," he concludes, nodding at the political cartoon. Tony is unconvinced: "Sure – a letter? With no postage?" The carrier is unapologetic. "So what, are you going to talk to me about 44 cents?" They tell him that Gator is dead and want to know where he was at 8:08 that morning. Startled, he shows them a delivery confirmation computer, showing that he was making a priority delivery in Groveton at 7:49 a.m., and McGee sighs, admitting that Groveton is a good 20 minutes from the radio station.

Abby is in the lab, wearing earphones. Gibbs startles her, and she complains that Gator recorded everything. She has a recording of a call to Gator's cell phone the night before he was killed, a voice asking him "if you have given any thought to our offer," and Gator emphatically declaring he wanted nothing to do with the group, and continued to tell the caller that he was going to "expose MAH for what they really are – domestic terrorists." Abby can't identify MAH as a known terrorist group, and the call came from a blocked land line in one of the wealthiest gated communities surrounding D.C., Royal Woods. "There goes the neighborhood," comments Gibbs.

The team is studying ads for Royal Woods, and McGee comments that it has everything but a white picket fence. Ziva argues that a white picket fence "provides neither security or privacy," and McGee stumbles on explaining what the term means a an American colloquialism. Tony comes up with an explanation for "MAH" – Military At Home, a belief that American should protect itself first, rather than acting as the world's police. Ziva is skeptical, and wonders why anyone living in such an idyllic place as Royal Woods would risk it to become criminals. Tony can believe it, though, and references "Arlington Road" with Tim Robbins and the Harvard militias are like "Urban Legend". Gibbs interjects that "urban legends did not kill people." McGee reports that a review of the residents of the 35 Royal Woods homes show nothing out of the ordinary – they are model citizens. Ziva wants to know how they can get a voice print of all the males that live there to compare to Abby's voice sample, and Gibbs sends them on the road to Royal Woods.

Tony sprints up to the door of the first house in Royal Woods and knocks on the door. An older man opens it, and Tony greets him with a smiling, "Hi!" The man frowns and wonders how a salesman got past the guard. Tony introduces himself as "Tony," and pretends to be someone interested in buying a home down the street, and is asking neighbors about the previous owners. The man grunts, and mutters, "Italians," and the proceeds to try to scare Tony off from the house, claiming that it had had structural problems, and then slams the door in his face. At the next house, he is having better luck – a beautiful woman in a very short terry robe is happy to tell him that the neighbors are friendly, the streets are quiet, and the HOA dues are super-reasonable. Tony is enjoying the interview, but asks for her husband. At that point, she parts her robe to reveal a skimpy bikini on a shapely body, and invites him to talk "out back – I have the Jacuzzi all warmed up." Tony stutters a bit, but then tells her that he's married. "Really?" she says skeptically. "Then where's the ring?" He's speechless.

At a neighboring house, a man hurries out the front door, followed by his teenage daughter, who is wearing a prep school uniform and telling him that he needs to pick her up at 4:00. Impatiently, he tells her that she needs to find a ride. As he jumps into his car, she retorts, "I wouldn't need to if I had a car!" He drives away, and she stomps back into the house in a huff. Tony waves him down as he begins to speed off, and the man asks him to hurry. Tony gives him the line about looking for a house and expresses a concern about traffic to D.C., but the man brushes him off by telling him that he learns the traffic patterns, and then excuses himself and drives away. As he drives by, a couple are out jogging, and Tony tries to flag them down. "Hey! Excuse me! Jogger people! Joggers? Hello?!" and begins to jog after them. Panting, he comes up to the car where Ziva and McGee are sitting in comfort, reading. Innocently, McGee asks him what is wrong, and Tony accuses McGee of "reveling in every minute of my suburban suffering!" McGee admits that they haven't been listening for the last couple of hours, and Ziva adds that "we can only listen to your voice for so long!" and asks if he has spoken to everyone. He says that he has, "including the entire cast of 'American Beauty' – nice bikini – and 'Stepford Wives'." Hoarse, he asks for something to drink.

In Abby's lab, Tony is still hoarse, and Abby administers Caff-Pow, telling him to let the "cherry ethyl propionate" clear his throat. Grimacing, he finishes taking a pull on her drink and sets it down, commenting that he had forgotten how strong it was. Abby is scanning the voice prints that Tony has collected, but no hits as of yet, and she tells him that his recordings were soooo much more entertaining than Adam Gator's phone calls. As they talk, she gets a hit – Interviewee #11. Tony identifies the recording as taken at 26724 Royal Woods Circle. A quick search, and Abby tells him that the home is owned by Arthur Haskell. Tony frowns: "He seemed more like Ward Cleaver than Bin Laden." Pulling more information, she tells Tony that Haskell is a successful investment banker who moved to Royal Woods a year before, and with no history of political activism. Suddenly, she finds a report of the death of Haskell's wife 18 months previously, as a result of a home invasion by a drug addict with a gun – Haskell and his 16 year old daughter witnessed the murder.

In checking Haskell's email, McGee runs across references to buying a custom wrist watch for his wife, point out that it must be some sort of code. Gibbs asks how he knows, and McGee goes on to explain that Haskell had met the week before with Dieter Johanson. Ziva identifies Johanson as a former South African chef who is identified by Homeland Security wanted list as someone who makes specialized explosives and sells them on the black market. According to Haskell's calendar, he and Johanson are to meet that afternoon, and Ziva theorizes that Johanson and MAH are going to buy a bomb. Gibbs decides that they will meet with Johanson instead of Haskell. McGee protests that they only have two hours, which is not enough time for a full-cover alias, but Gibbs says that's ok – they won't need one.

At the meeting spot, Haskell is there, but Johanson is not. Gibbs is watching through binoculars with Ziva in the front seat watching out for Dieter's arrival. McGee is in the backseat, frantically typing on his laptop, erasing Ziva's vital stats for the last five years. Johanson arrives, and Gibbs tells Tony to "go." Tony intercepts Johanson, who starts to brush him off, only to turn and find Gibbs pointing a gun at his head. Tony does a quick chemical check for explosive residue on Johanson's clothing, which comes up positive. He is handcuffed and taken away.

Meanwhile, Haskell, sitting at a table at a sidewalk café, looks up from his paper and finds Ziva sitting across the table. Confused, he asks her if he can help her, and she says that she can help him and his group. Wary, he tells her that he is waiting for someone, and Ziva tells him that Dieter Johanson is out of business: "In his line of work, competition can be a killer." Haskell is very nervous. "Who are you?" he hisses, to which she responds calmly, "I'm Ziva David – the competition."

Tony rejoins McGee in the car, where McGee has Ziva and Haskell under surveillance. His cough is getting worse. He watches Ziva for a moment, and asks McGee who she is supposed to be. McGee tells him that she is playing herself, five years ago, and Tony rolls his eyes: "Assassin and rogue Mossad agent? Sometimes I miss that little minx." McGee assures him that it's only temporary until they find out what their suburban terrorist is doing. Tony, studying Ziva lounging at the table with Haskell, comments that "she's not very good at it – her body language is all wrong. The classic Ziva would have been more reckless – her hair would have been more wild . . . she was very sexual then . . ." he trails off, remembering. Incredulously, McGee asks Tony, "Do you think Ziva is LESS sexual, now?" "Compared to the Ziva I shared a bed with five years ago – yeah," agrees Tony. McGee dismissively reminds Tony that they were "undercover – you were putting on a show!" Tony doesn't answer, lost in memories. Alarmed, McGee says, "You were putting on a show – right?" Coming back to the present, Tony suddenly coughs, pretends to be unable to talk, and resumes surveillance.

Ziva is explaining to Haskell that Johanson's line of work made him an enemy to Israel. "Getting rid of him – that's for country. Doing business with you – that's for business. I believe I have something that you need." Haskell is skeptical: "A Mossad profiteer working on American soil? Where, exactly, do your allegiances lie?" Ziva brushes him off and tells him that if he doesn't want it, she has other customers, and begins to walk away. Haskell stops her and asks how to get in touch with her, and invites her to his house to talk. She wants to know why they can't talk now, and he tells her that he has a few phone calls to make, first (implying that he has to check her out.)

In Interrogation, Tony is coughing, and his voice is going fast. Cocky, Johanson declares that he's there to make a deal, but Tony can't talk, and turns to the mirror asking for Gibbs. Gibbs enters, sits down and looks impassively at Johanson as he declares, "We don't negotiate with terrorists," and then goes on to tell him that Homeland Security is going to make him their new poster boy. Johanson tells Gibbs that Haskell hired him to make an explosive that was undetectable to scans and dogs, but he doesn't know what the target is. He then goes on to tell him that Haskell already has the bomb – their meeting today was to discuss a price on a detonator, since his explosives do not explode under 400 degrees Celsius. Gibbs observes, "He's going to need a trigger," and Johanson declares, "I'M going to need a deal!"

In the office, Ducky is examining Tony's throat. Tony is watching Ziva unlock a gun case, and extract a couple of knives. Tony says that he didn't know she had stopped carrying them, and she tells him that she hasn't since she became a probationary agent. "Heavier than I remember," she comments, balancing the knives experimentally in her hand. Hoarsely, he tells her that he would hate to see her relapse, and Ziva, smiling, asks, "You did not like me then?" At that point, Ducky tells Tony that there's nothing wrong with his vocal chords except overuse, and that he should stop talking for the next 24 hours. Ziva begins to laugh, and Ducky commiserates that he realizes it won't be easy, as Ziva adds, "But we certainly look forward to seeing you try!" Ducky then says that he hopes there are no movie references that require Tony's edification, and then solemnly throws in a movie reference of his own: "I'd hate for your ego to write a check your body can't cash." Ziva, excitedly, thinks she recognizes the quote: "I know that one! 'Gone With the Wind', right?!" Tony is – silently – beside himself, and Gibbs walks in and chides him, "Don't do it, DiNozzo – willpower!" Gibbs tosses the keys to Ziva, but Tony can't help himself: "Top Gun!" he croaks, and Ducky firmly grabs his jaw and shushes him.

Ziva and Haskell are in his garage and he asks if she is armed. She replies, in surprise, "Of course." He then tells her that she has "quite the famous father," and she observes that he has done his check-up, and asks if she has passed. Haskell unlocks a padlocked freezer, and reveals a package of explosives, explaining that Johanson was going to charge them 150 for the detonator. Ziva glances dismissively at the explosives and tells him, "Then he was selling you junk. If you want a bomb that size to go off, it's 300 – thousand. Up front. What's the target?" Haskell doesn't answer merely closes the freezer and relocks it. Turning to Ziva, he asks, "How do you want the money?" She hands him a slip of paper and tells him to wire the money to that account. As he reaches for the paper, she holds it back. "Do we have a deal?" He gazes at her for a moment, and then takes the paper. "Why don't we rejoin the party?" he suggests, and they go out into the backyard, where a pool party is in progress. He tells her to make herself at home, but as he turns to enter the house, his daughter Kristen comes marching out, wearing a soccer uniform. "Daddy, where were you?!" she demands angrily, and Haskell apologizes for missing her game. "I scored two goals – what the hell!?" she whines, and Ziva interrupts, telling Kristen that it was her fault, she was late for a meeting. Suspiciously, Kristen glares at Ziva and asks, "Who are you?" and Haskell introduces her as a business associate. As he and Kristen enter the house, Ziva goes to mingle with the other guests. She's startled to find the mailman, Matt Lane, manning the barbeque. He introduces himself, and Ziva eyes him warily as one of the All-American neighbors explains that even though he may be the mailman, he was "born to grill!" The neighbors introduce themselves as Amy and Zach Nelson, and together, they ask Ziva how long she has been "part of the cause." Ziva demurs, saying she's not quite committed, yet, and Zach explains that when Israel spends money on the military, it's to protect itself, but America sends its money half-way around the world. Ziva observes that they are not fighting a war on their own soil, but Amy disagrees, citing crime, drugs and illiteracy and that fixing these would be a much better use of funds. Matt adds, "The only threats our government takes seriously are the violent ones," and Zach expands on that, stating that, in order to bring the money and focus back home, all of them there have decided to become threats, themselves. "Only some of you?" asks Ziva, and Zach responds, "Only the ones willing to risk the most."

At the office, Ziva is concerned because Haskell didn't tell her the target, but Gibbs tells her that they don't need it, they know where the explosive is. Ziva tells him that she thinks she may have sold him a detonator, but Gibbs assures her that it's not going to get that far. McGee discovers that the account number that Ziva gave Haskell has just received a transfer from a Middle Eastern bank – he illegally used his bank access to drain a dormant account. "Investment Banking 101", quips Gibbs, smiling, "Always Use Somebody Else's Money." Suddenly, McGee tells Gibbs that the account had already been red-flagged by Homeland Security. "Arthur Haskell and his band of suburban patriots are stealing money from Al Qaida?!" he says in surprise, as Ziva and Gibbs move out.

Busting into Haskell's house, they find Haskell lying on the floor of the garage, still breathing. Racing to the freezer, Ziva discovers that the explosives are missing. Suddenly, Kristen calls from inside the house, "Daddy? I'm home!" but turns hysterical when she enters the garage and sees her father lying on the ground. Gibbs intercepts her, explaining that they are Federal agents.

At the office, Kristen is talking to a Child Services office in the conference room, who is telling her that they will release her to a relative as soon as one can be located. Ziva quietly tells Gibbs that Haskell is recovering from a slight concussion and will soon be released to NCIS, and that his daughter refuses to see him. Gibbs tells Ziva that they have to find out who took the explosives, and Ziva begins to argue with him, telling him that Kristen is just a child and couldn't know anything. Gibbs orders her to talk to Kristen, anyway: "She knows more than she thinks she does."

Ziva takes a seat at the conference table, and Kristen looks up at her and tells her that she knows that her father is in trouble, but that he didn't shoot the people at the radio station. Ziva begins to comfort her, telling her that it is natural to want to protect him, but Kristen cuts her off with a remarkably incise explanation. "If he's stupid enough to get involved with terrorists, he can rot in jail, but I don't want it to be for something he didn't do." Ziva gazes at her in surprise, as Kristen explains, "It was the ONE morning he took me to soccer practice. He went in to work late so he could watch." Ziva asks her to confirm that he was with her the entire time, and she does, and then sadly looks away, saying, "First Mom, now . . ." Ziva sees an opportunity to connect with Kristen, and tells her, reflectively, that fathers sometimes make mistakes and do things that require a lot of forgiving. She then goes on to remind Kristen that they need to find out who shot those people and who attacked Haskell, and asks Kristen if she had overheard anything, or who her father was close to. Kristen tells Ziva that her father had only recently gotten over the shock of her mother's death, and that after moving to Royal Woods, they had taken a trip with one of the neighbors. "What kind of trip?" asks Gibbs. "A hunting trip – with Mr. Nelson." Gibbs hurries from the room as Ziva asks, incredulous, "Zach Nelson?!"

In Interrogation, Zach Nelson is smiling nervously as Gibbs stares at him. Tony and McGee walk in and place a rifle in a large evidence bag and a small jar of dark yellow liquid on the table. Zach asks, "What's this?" and Gibbs says, drily, that a sportsman ought to recognize his own rifle. "You searched my house?" Zach exclaims. "I have a right to protect myself!" McGee asks, wryly, "A gated community wasn't enough to protect yourself?" Nelson suddenly becomes belligerent – "That's typical, government officials trying to tell ME how to live. This is how you spend my tax dollars?" "No," answers Gibbs, gesturing to McGee, "this is." McGee shows Nelson a chart that illustrates how the bullets from his gun match the ones found at the scene of the shooting, and his supply of deer urine matches that found on the slugs. Nelson is still belligerent, declaring that police resources are stretched so thin that they can only solve crimes after they happen. Gibbs wonders if that was the line he had fed Haskell, and Nelson explains that it would be far safer if all the military that was around the world could come home and help the police, how many deaths could be prevented. Gibbs observes that it wouldn't have stopped Nelson from walking into that radio station, and demands to know where the bomb is. Nelson says that Haskell has it, but they tell him that it was taken the night before. Irritated, Nelson declares that he doesn't know anything about that, and Gibbs' phone ring – Haskell has been released, and Gibbs orders that he be brought in. As he leaves Interrogation, he tells McGee to cuff Nelson. As McGee is cuffing him, Tony picks up the jar of deer urine and drinks it. Nelson stares at him, and McGee tells him, jovially, that "they say chamomile tea is very soothing," and Tony nods. Nelson is incredulous: "This was all a bluff? You didn't search my house?" McGee smiles. "Now, we know what to look for." Tony smiles, and croaks, "Your tax dollars at work," as Nelson is led away.

A beat-up Haskell sits in Interrogation, declaring that he wants his lawyer and he doesn't have to talk. Gibbs is casual as he sits next to Haskell and tells him, "You don't have to talk to me, but I think your daughter deserves some answers," he says, nodding towards the one-way mirror. He gestures, and the lights are turned on, revealing Ziva and Kristen in the observation room. Haskell is surprised, and asks Gibbs to allow him to talk to her. "She's been through hell," he explains, but Gibbs is unsympathetic. "Yeah? Well, this time, it's all YOUR fault," he tells Haskell. "At least let me apologize to her," Haskell begs, and Gibbs tells him to start by telling them what happened. Haskell tells him that it was Matt Lane, the mailman. "Did you tell him that your 'patriotic' group was stealing money from Al Qaida?" Gibbs asks ironically. Haskell explains that Matt and Zach got tired of waiting, and snapped after what happened to Gator, but he wanted to lay low and wait it out. His target was the communications tower at Norfolk Naval Base as a symbol – no one was supposed to get hurt. Matt Lane was the one that was supposed to get the explosives on base, in his mail truck.

In the office, McGee tells Gibbs that when he pulled the GPS info from the mail truck, Matt Lane hadn't been near a naval base in the last 24 hours, it's been sitting in front of the post office. However, Lane called in sick that morning. Gibbs thinks aloud that Lane has changed targets, and McGee wonders what the target could be without a detonator. "I don't know, and I don't want to find out," says Gibbs. McGee says that Lane's supervisor says that he uses his sick days to umpire girls softball, and pulls up a schedule that shows that Lane is scheduled to officiate a game that afternoon at Fulton Park. "Not exactly a military target," he concludes, but Gibbs observes, "Depends on who's playing – pull up the rosters." McGee checks, but as he is running the names, he tells Gibbs that they are just a bunch of private high school girls. "Check the last names," Gibbs tells him, and they realize that almost every girl on the rosters are daughters of high-profile government officials. "He's targeting the parents," Gibbs says, as they rush from the office.

At the park, they intercept Matt Lane as he is leaving the park. As they draw their weapons, bystanders are startled and begin to run away. Lane is defiant – "Too bad, you missed a good game," he mocks them, but when Gibbs demands to know where the bomb is, he tells him that he will never find it. Ziva quickly scans the park, and suddenly spots the red barbeque grill that Lane used at Haskell's party. They notice three propane tanks under the grill. "Helluvalot of gas for cheeseburgers," mutters Gibbs, and Ziva realizes, "He's using the heat build-up to detonate the explosives!" "You're too late!" taunts Lane, but Gibbs and Ziva, followed by Tony, rush into the park, yelling to everyone to clear the area. To squeals and cries of dismay, everyone rapidly complies. Ziva runs up to the chained grill, and sees that the temperature gauge has almost reached 700 degrees, and is beginning to crack. Alarmed, she turns and sees Tony with his back to the grill, scanning the area. She runs at him screaming, "Tony!" and hits him with a flying tackle as he turns in surprise, knocking him to the ground as the bomb explodes. As Tony catches his breath, Ziva is lying on top of him, face to face. He whispers, "This is nice – I miss the old Ziva." She smiles, and replies knowingly, "I can tell." "Don't flatter yourself," he whispers back. "That's just my knee."

As the area is being investigated, Ziva is incredulous. "Matt Lane planted a bomb, and then stayed behind to umpire a game?" The men are unsurprised, and Gibbs explains, as if it is all the explanation that is needed: "It's baseball." Suddenly the field lights come up, and the men turn to the field, mesmerized. "Niiice," whispers Tony reverently. "Do you two need a moment?" inquires Ziva sarcastically, and Tony tells McGee that "she will understand . . . eventually." "Will I?" asks Ziva, and impatiently, she walks onto the field and picks up a tossed-aside glove and ball. Picking up another discarded glove, she invites Gibbs: "Come on – have a catch?" Gibbs takes the glove and walks a few yards away. Tony and McGee watch expectantly as Ziva tosses the ball experimentally, and then tosses it – expertly – straight into Gibb's glove. Gibbs grins in surprise, and tosses it back as Tony looks on in amazement and McGee chortles, "Hey, you DO know something about baseball!" Ziva smiles a bit wistfully as she looks at the ball, and then winds up for another toss. "Yeah – my father taught me," she replies, and tosses it again to Gibbs. (END)

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