A custodian is coming in to work at the Pentagon. He's met by another worker at his office door – she had lost her wallet and he had found it in the copy room. He retrieves it for her, and they leave to grab some coffee, not noticing the body of a young woman in uniform with the nameplate "Ross," lying in a corner. (CREDITS)
In the office, Ziva, McGee and Tony are looking at a picture of the eyeball that was floating in Tony's gin and tonic. "A real eye-opener," Tony deadpans, "I thought I needed a drink before – I really needed one after." The eyeball is in Autopsy, being examined by Ducky. They see Gibbs entering the office, followed by Barrett, with a grim look on his face. Gibbs announces that Barrett's team is taking over the investigation for the Port-To-Port case. "Her 'team'?" inquires Ziva, having seen no one else on Barrett's team. Barrett tells them that Agents Cade and Levin are enroute, and she would appreciate "a warm welcome – they're top notch agents, maybe you could pick up a few pointers." That comment doesn't go over well with Gibb's team. McGee asks Gibbs what they should be doing. "Dead lieutenant. D-Ring. Pentagon. Let's go," Gibbs answers laconically, but as he leaves, he shoots Barrett a look of distaste, which she answers with a broad smile.
At the Pentagon, Jimmy is examining the body under Ducky's supervision – Ross has shattered C4 and C5 vertebra, suggesting that her neck was broken efficiently, possibly martial arts skills, between 2 and 3:00 the day before. Gibbs is interviewing Ross's boss, Captain Painter, who last saw her Friday as she was leaving for a doctor's appointment, and was going to come in over the weekend to work. They work in record-keeping, a joint DOD command center. McGee and Tony have been looking at video tapes, and found one at 2:13 Sunday afternoon. As they watch, Ross meets Petty Officer Donner in the hall. The brief conversation seems to turn angry, and as she storms away, Donner strikes her neck from behind, catches her as she collapses, and then drags her body into the custodial office. He walks out briskly, right into the camera that catches his face and ID.
Back at the office, Ziva is sorting through files. As she passes Barrett's desk, she pauses to glance over the divider. Barrett looks up at her briskly: "Do you need something, David?" Ziva says no, and going to McGee's desk, tells McGee that she's not sure how she feels about "that" woman. Tony and Gibbs enter the office, and as they report on the whereabouts of Donner and his wife, Gibbs notices Ziva and Tony's gazes wander to Barrett. Tony wonders "What is she doing with that geek Steve from IT?" "I have no idea," says Ziva dismissively, and reports that Donner's wife is named Kelsey, a security guard at the Indian Head Naval Support Facility. Ross graduated from Annapolis, and shares an apartment with a roommate, who is waiting to be interviewed. McGee and Tony go to interview the roommate, Ziva follows Gibbs. Reluctantly, Ross' roommate tells them that the man Ross was seeing was married, but doesn't remember the name Eric Donner, and doesn't recognize a photo of him. Gibbs and Ziva interview Kelsey Donner, who doesn't know where her husband is, and is used to him being away unexpectedly.
In the office, Tony notices boxes and clothing on a desk, and realizes that some of Barrett's team has arrived. He tries on the unknown agent's NCIS baseball-style cap, but it is far too big for him. McGee warns him not to "mess with their stuff," but intrigued, Tony holds up the sizeable jacket. "Omigosh, this is gi-normous!" he exclaims. Tony is enjoying himself. "Do you think this guy is The Hulk, or what? 'I'm an enormous Big Dumbo!'" he declares, but Barrett, walking up accompanied by a tall, broad-shouldered guy, overhears him and tells him, "The Big Dumbo has an IQ of 160." As the new guy takes back his jacket, he says in a deep voice, "You're DiNozzo, right? I was warned about you." Barrett tells Tony, "He doesn't like it when people wear his hat." The new agent glares at Tony.
In Autopsy, Ducky is on the phone. As Gibbs walks him, Ducky subtly lets him know that he is on the phone with Barrett – the eyeball was from a male who had had Lasix surgery, and Abby is working on the DNA. As he hangs up, Gibbs asks about Ross. Ducky hasn't started the autopsy, yet, but reports that Ross was eight to ten weeks pregnant.
On stake-out in front of Donner's house, Ziva asks Tony if Gibbs said anything to him about Agent Barrett, "you know – about dating?" "Nope," Tony answers after a short pause. Ziva considers her next question: "Are you sure he knows?" "He's Gibbs – he knows everything. He did read her the riot act, though," Tony adds. Ziva suggests that Tony talks to Gibbs about it. Tony asks a question of his own: "What about you and CIA Ray?" Ziva declares that it is over, and Tony asks if she has talked to him. "Well, he has left messages, and texted and emailed – but I have not read them." They are interrupted by the arrival of a car. A man in uniform gets out of the car – it is not Eric Donner, but he is greeted with a hug by Kelsey Donner and enters the house. Tony and Ziva race to identify him: He starts to send photos to "McAbby" for facial recognition, and she runs the license plate of the car. At the lab, Abby is nervously pacing back and forth in a pretty floral dress as the facial recognition software runs – she's late to be somewhere. They get a hit: Commander Nelson Tunney. Abby calls Tony with the name – but he has lost the race, since Ziva found out first. Tunney was Donner's former CO in the Special Warefare unit. As they hang up, the "gi-normous" agent appears casually in the lab doorway and asks Abby, "I thought you were going to meet me in the squad room?" "Oh, hi! Simon! Sorry, something came up!" says Abby brightly. "Are we still on for tonight?" Simon asks, "Yes, yes, yes! Just let me get my coat." She quickly ducks into her office as McGee, taking in the conversation, stares at Simon Cade incredulously. "Hey, McGee," Cade greets him.
At the Pentagon, Captain Painter asks if Donner has been found, and Gibbs says no, but that Donner and Ross probably had a sexual relationship – she was dating a married man and was pregnant. Painter is shocked, and pulls Gibbs aside, telling him that he, Painter, is the married man that Lauren was seeing, and the baby is probably his. In the office, Ziva and Tony are escorting Tunney to the conference room, and pass Cade and Barrett. Barrett takes a sniff at Tony. "I told you I didn't like your old cologne," she says with a grimace. "This one is way worse." "It's not me, it's the Commander," says Tony. "Oh," says Barrett. As she turns to walk away, she stops. "Hey, how long did you and Ziva work last night?" she asks him. Tony just looks at her, and then motions to the room, telling her that he has to get in there. She walks away. Tunney reports that he last saw Donner at a sports bar the previous week when he got back from Iraq. He says that Donner can't get back in the unit – he can't pass the physical. When Tony asks when he last saw Mrs. Donner, he realizes that they already know, and says that she was upset by NCIS's visit, called him, and he stopped by to console her.
Abby is watching the video tape of Donner and Ross's encounter carefully, trying to figure out what they are saying. McGee wanders in, and "casually" asks how the night before went with Special Agent Cade. "Oh, he is great!" enthuses Abby, telling him they went to an Indian restaurant "and he spoke Hindi with the waiter" and went to a club in Georgetown "and he had a conversation in Swahili with the cab driver!" "So, he's a linguist?" inquires McGee. "Yeah, he's very, very, very smart – and endearing -- he's a jock, too – he played football in college." McGee isn't liking what he's hearing, but he asks where Cade played football. "Yale – he's all Ivy League," answers Abby, still studying the video. "Well," says McGee jealously, "I hope you didn't show him all your tattoos!" Abby turns to him. "You're jealous!" she smiles. McGee doesn't answer, but leans in to study the video, too, as Abby grins.
Tony, Ziva and Gibbs are perusing Donner's cell phone and email records – nothing since a text message the previous Saturday. As they review it, Cade greets another man who is dragging a suitcase into the office – Special Agent Gayne Levin. He hands Cade a flash drive that has some pictures of the murder of a British sailor with some similarities to the Port-to-Port killer, and Barrett introduces him to "the neighbors." Barrett tells Cade to "put it up on the big screen," and Tony mutters under his breath, "As if she had a big screen." To their astonishment, a jumbo TV rises from the divider on the other side of Barrett's team's area, and Barrett explains that "Steve in IT hooked me up!" "Cool, huh?" says Cade. Gibbs tells Tony and Ziva that the Virginia State Police have found Donner dead.
Ducky is puzzled – Donner is dead in a car that has run off the road and down an embankment, but there is no apparent trauma to the body. And, according to the lack of rigor mortis and other signs, the body has been dead for about 4 days. "That's not possible," objects Gibbs, "we have video of him killing Lt. Ross at the Pentagon two days ago." But Ducky is certain: "Jethro – this man could not have been there." In Autopsy, Ducky assures Gibbs that Donner has been dead at least four days from a heart attack. Gibbs asks if they sure the body is Donner's, but Jimmy tells him that the prints, dental records and the DNA all match, and he has burn scars consistent with a shipboard injury two years ago. In addition, Donner died elsewhere, and was put in the car. Barrett walks in and commiserates on his "messy" case, but Gibbs turns and leaves. Barrett tells Ducky she wants a crash course on the eye. Ducky refers her to Jimmy, whose father was a research ophthalmologist.
Ziva talks to Kelsey Donner, who is upset to be told that first her husband was a murderer, and that now it looks like he died two days beforehand. When Gibbs joins them, she insists that there's been a mistake, because she received text messages from Donner Friday and Saturday. She doesn't know why he was in Fairfax County – but Gibbs suggests that whoever moved his body probably sent her the text messages. She asks if it's possible he rejoined his old unit, but Gibbs says that Tunney has said no. Kelsey mentions that Tunney risked his life to pull Donner from a fire, and they stayed in contact.
McGee is comparing the photo from Autopsy to the photo in the video – either the facial recognition software is wrong, at 95% accuracy, or Ducky is. Gibbs joins them, and McGee explains that they have retraced all of Donner's footsteps through surveillance tapes, up until he enters a restricted area without cameras just before his confrontation with Ross. Tony's attention wanders to Barrett as McGee says that Tony has a call in to Captain Painter. Gibbs asks Tony what Painter said, but Tony's attention is elsewhere until Ziva smacks him and hisses at him. He turns – and is caught short. Gibbs walks away as the team grimaces at the lapse, and Tony braces for the headslap that never comes.
At the Pentagon, Painter explains that the room contains high level documents from the joint DOD command – no photography or cameras are allowed on documents so sensitive, they are not on electronic databases. McGee wonders if they can determine what file Donner accessed – Painter smiles ironically and leads them into the huge file room, showing them "70 years and 70,000 files to go through," to McGee and Ziva's dismay.
Gibbs is in his basement carving on a woodworking project. Tony clatters down the steps and Gibbs glances up, but doesn't respond to Tony's casual "hey." Tony grabs two jelly glasses and the bourbon, and putting the glasses on the worktable, he asks Gibbs what he's working on. "Wood," Gibbs replies. Tony realizes that Gibbs isn't going to make this easy for him. He grabs a chair as Gibbs inquires, "What's the occasion?" "I thought we could talk," says Tony. "So – talk," says Gibbs shortly. He tells Gibbs that he looks up to him and he's been a great teacher for the last ten years. "You have a point, DiNozzo?" asks Gibbs, never raising his eyes from his carving. Talking a deep swig of bourbon, he tells Gibbs, "I always thought the head slaps were a sign of affection. Today, in the squad room, I was expecting one – and I didn't get it." Gibbs doesn't respond. "Are you pissed at me?" Tony asks. "Rule Number 12," mutters Gibbs. "Never date a co-worker," finishes Tony. He sighs, and then laughs. "I know. But she's pretty great, though. EJ and I have a lot in common. She's easy to be with, y'know? It's nice to have somebody to talk to." No answer from Gibbs. Tony's hands are clasped nervously in front of him as he reminds Gibbs that NCIS doesn't have a policy against dating co-workers, and technically, since they aren't on the same team . . . Gibbs finally looks up and looks Tony in the eye: "My team. My rules." The phone rings, but Gibbs glances at it and tosses it away. "Sleeping with Barrett is a bad idea," he tells Tony. Tony is uncowed: "No offense, but my personal life is my business." Gibbs tells him that it's going to affect his work, and when Tony denies it, he points out that it already has. "I know what you're thinking – that I've lost focus, taken my eye off the ball," Tony starts to say, but Gibbs stops him with four words: "I depend on you." Tony doesn't have an answer, but his phone rings, too –it's Abby. "It must be important," he tells Gibbs, handing him the phone.
Gibbs comes into the Abby's office and demands that she turns the music down. Abby is holding a vial of white powder that she is analyzing for Ducky, but puts it down to show Gibbs what Lt. Ross was saying before she was killed. "How do you know?" asks Gibbs. "Because I read lips – did you forget?" she tells him. She walks him through Ross and Donner's casual greeting, pointing out that Donner is uneasy. After enhancing the video, Abby discovers that Donner says, "Where are you going?" "To call Security – you're not Eric, who are you?" Ross knew that the man wasn't Petty Officer Donner.
In the break room the next morning, Tony is microwaving a pastry. Ziva joins him and asks if he and Gibbs talked. "Tried to – it didn't go well," admits Tony. "What did he say?" "He gave me a scolding – it was like talking to my father – he tells me not to do something, and it makes me want to do it more." Ziva asks how they left it, and Tony admits that he doesn't know. "Gibbs and I have hit a rough patch," he admits, but his glance follows Barrett as she walks across the break room, throwing a smile in his direction. "Well, you're going to have to make some choices," Ziva tells him as she sees the directly of his gaze. "Glad I'm not you." Barrett joins Tony and asks if he was on a stake out again the night before. "No," answers Tony shortly. "Two nights in a row I don't hear from you," she muses, and he explains that there was something he had to do, and that they are going to have to cool it around the office. "You mean around Gibbs," she correct him. "He intimidates you," she tells Tony. "Let's just say – he presents a challenge. He sees what he shouldn't see, and hears what he shouldn't hear. He's like Alex Baldwin in 'The Shadow' – and 'The Shadow' always knows." Barrett shrugs. "You're scared of him." "Yep." I'm not." "You should be."
Ducky and Abby have been up all night, but have a theory based on residue found in Donner's ear: Someone made a life-cast of Donner's face, but Ross was tipped off by his voice.
In the office, the team discusses how special ops might have someone who knows how to make masks like that, and Cade asks if they are investigating Tunney. He remembers seeing Tunney's picture in a file where Tunney and his unit was under investigation for the murder of a local tribal leader killed in Afghanistan. Tunney denied he was in the area. "You remembered the face?" Tony asks incredulously. Levin tells them that Cade has a photographic memory. "Of course he does," sighs Tony. Gibbs thanks Tunney, sends Tony and McGee off to investigate who in Naval Special Warefare makes masks, and he and Ziva go to find Tunney.
McGee asks Tony if Abby said anything about Cade. "She seems fascinated by him," he tells Tony, but Tony is dismissive, suggesting that McGee's nose is out of joint because he's no longer "the smartest kid in the class." Tony agrees that it was easier before they came, and when McGee asks why, Tony casually admits that Gibbs is giving him grief for sleeping with Barrett. "You're sleeping with Special Agent Barrett?" McGee demands. "Catch up, Tim – the whole Navy Yard knows about it," says Tony.
They meet with Miles Hogan, who is surprised they got clearance to visit his office so quickly. They enter his lab, and see an entire workshop devoted to mask creation. They admire his work, and show him a picture of Donner, suggesting that it may be a mask. Hogan laughs, and asks if it's a joke, and then shows them the mold he made the mask from – "I worked 36 hours straight on it last weekend – thank God for CaffPow!" He admits that Donner was dead when he made the mask, and when Tony asks him if he doesn't think that's strange, Hogan tells him that "a lot of what I do around here is strange." He tells them that Tunney commanded the mask to be made, he made the cast on Donner's face at Tunney's apartment, and gave Tunney the maskon Sunday morning.
As they get on the elevator, an older man gets off. The elevator door closes, and Tony takes a sniff – it's the cologne that Tunney was wearing when they interviewed him. They realize that Tunney was wearing another mask and was escaping. Gibbs drives up and the team splits up to search for him. As Ziva peer around a corner, Tunney comes up behind her and tries to put the same move on her that he did on Ross. But Ziva is far better at defense, and reaches up to grab the mask. They struggle, and the rest of the team rush to her, Gibbs drawing a gun, pointing it at Tunney, and daring him: "Give me an excuse."
The team finds the report Tunney was interested in – he has switched out the op report on the murder of the tribal leader with a report of his own that puts him 100 miles away from the murder. Donner had agreed to do it, but he died before he could do it, so Tunney had the mask made so that he could switch the incriminating report himself.
Barrett has a theory on the eyeball, and Jimmy brings it up to the office. As they are watched intently by the entire team, Jimmy grasps the eyeball in a pair of forceps and holds the blue-eyed eyeball up to the retinal scanner by MTAC's door. To everyone's shock, the door opens . . .