Season 4 Episode 8

Once a Hero

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 14, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
325 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When an honored Marine veteran is found dead in a hotel, the NCIS team must find out what happened to him. Soon they realize that the Marine didn't commit suicide and that he was a homeless man. After going through his stuff, they find compromising evidence against him, and Gibbs is determined to prove the man's innocence.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Once a hero

    I think I discovered the problem with NCIS (well, I shouldn't say problem because this is still a good show, but it could be better) and it is the same problem newer Family Guy episodes face off. They start off with one storyline and then things completely change and by the end of the episode you do not even remember how you got to that point.

    Tonight we started with the director barely avoiding death and we ended with an agent trying to expose an anthrax scam? Whaatt?

    Still a pretty good episode, but stick with one plot NCIS and end it.moreless
  • Just brilliant, this one is one of Season Four's best!

    I really enjoyed this episode for so many reasons. I thought that the beginning of the episode was really well created and set up for a very enjoyable episode.

    I also adored seeing the relationship between little Marty and our very own Abby! That was so cute and sweet, and a brilliant idea, in my opinion!

    There were other funny moments in the episode, particularly when McGee says Ziva's not a woman. That scene was gold!

    The case is also really interesting, and I enjoyed seeing Special Agent Lee being given a prominent role in the episode and providing variety.

    Terrific work by NCIS, and I hope we get more episodes like this one! Sensational, in my opinion!moreless
  • Very unusual case.

    That is interesting – Tony's getting calls from his mysterious girlfriend on a second cellphone. It's definitely not like Tony to disappear from work to meet a girl.

    Lee molests Jimmy with Ducky in the room?! Jimmy's not a bad liar actually. I never would have pegged Jimmy as a sex addict though. In the autopsy bay?!

    Lee does surprisingly well as an undercover agent – she's never been even remotely impressive before, she's got hidden depths.

    Wright may have been killed but he was a hero to the end. If he hadn't died, the slave trade wouldn't have been exposed.

    Good episode.moreless
  • A marine is found dead.....

    This episode opens with the Director at an event with all of the other directors such as the FBI etc. Tony & Ziva are on watch. As tony goes to get them something to eat, Ziva screams Director and quickly moves her out of the way of a falling body. A dead body. The dead man turns out to be a marine who returned from Iraq. When they go to his room they find the body of a young man, murdered. Ducky does an autopsy and discovers that the victim is only 14 years old. They discover that the marine didn't kill the girl, but he tried to give her CPR, but it was too late she was already dead. We learn that someone who is smuggling underage girls. They get a name and they go in search of him. Probie Lee goes undercover and is made. The team head in and they find the building empty. Ziva & Gibbs look for a basement door, as Tony is in the back entrance and they haven't left. They find the tunnel and Ziva & Gibbs head off in search of the Probie. The team find her and manage to rescue in the girls in time.moreless
  • I enjoyed this episode

    I enjoyed this episode because in the end it showed that the war hero was still a hero. Even though he was down on his luck he still stood by his beliefs and tried to help someone who was in need. He was poor and living off what he could and getting help from his friends. I think it is a very well written episode. Throughout it as the evidence came into light it worried me that the hero was the killer but the end was fantastic and made me sigh a sigh of relief. I love that the NCIS writers are always coming up with something new to keep us entertained.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

Lauren Holly

Lauren Holly

Director Jenny Shepard

Michael Gilden

Michael Gilden

Marty Pearson

Guest Star

Ming Lo

Ming Lo

Davey Chen

Guest Star

Francesco Quinn

Francesco Quinn

Luis Romero

Guest Star

Brian Dietzen

Brian Dietzen

Asst. M.E. Jimmy Palmer

Recurring Role

Liza Lapira

Liza Lapira

NCIS Special Agent Michelle Lee

Recurring Role

Scottie Thompson

Scottie Thompson

Jeanne Benoit

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • TRIVIA: Guest star Francesco Quinn (Luis Romero) was the ex-brother-in-law of former cast member Lauren Holly (Jenny Shepard).

    • GOOF: When Abby and McGee are in the lab, scene shows Abby's hand turning on one of the machines, she has no nail polish on, while in the next two scenes you can see she has black polish on her nails.

  • QUOTES (28)

    • Jenny: (briefing Gibbs on the jumper at the hotel with SecDef Rumsfeld) The SecDef's staff are worried that it was an attempt on the life of their boss.
      Gibbs: Are we worried?
      Jenny: If it was an assassination attempt, he's a lousy assassin. He used his body as a weapon and missed by seventy-five feet.

    • Ducky: I find the ones who fall are the saddest. It's a long last moment to contemplate one's end and no chance to change one's mind.

    • Gibbs: DiNozzo. Get me $25,000!
      Tony: Cheque or plastic?!

    • Tony: (when Ziva hands him a stack of security footage) Hallway camera D. Title needs work. Who's in it?

    • Tony: (to Gibbs about Agent Lee) She's even more probie than Probie is!

    • Marty: You don't have an unhealthy obsession with death now do you?
      Abby: Oh no! It's just a hobby!

    • Nelson: Do I need a lawyer?
      Gibbs: Only if you're feeling guilty.

    • Gibbs: There's more than one reason to kiss a girl.
      Tony: There is?

    • Jeanne: I know something else we could do to stay warm.
      Tony: Really? I wonder what that could be? Coffee?
      Jeanne: Dancing!

    • Tony: It was a trick question.
      McGee: So... give me a trick answer!

    • McGee: How does a homeless guy hiding in a hotel order room service?
      Tony: This wouldn't be a trick question, would it, McGee?
      McGee: No.
      Tony: He calls room service.
      McGee: (picks up the stapler and pretends) Room service. Hi. This is the homeless guy that's staying illegally in room 607...yes, the room checked out for maintenance...I would like to order some breakfast.

    • Gibbs: What am I looking at?
      Abby: Nothing!
      Gibbs: Nothing. Nothing's good, right?
      McGee: Oh yeah, nothing is very good.

    • Abby: Can you help me?
      Marty: If you want to leave it with me-
      Abby: No no! I can't. Chain of evidence. I have to... do it with you.. (Marty smiles) I mean.. not with you but ah.. along side you.. but just be with you.. I have to be with you while you do it.. While you.. test it!

    • (Abby after she accidentally says 'hell' in her explanation)
      Abby: Oh. You don't mind that I said 'hell' do you?
      Marty: Hell no!

    • Ducky: (to Gibbs) I can't tell you how he died.. but I can tell you how he lived.... The man was a hero.

    • Tony: (to Ziva) Ever seen a skinny politician?

    • Tony: Ziva, this is probably the most secure building in the whole country right now. CIA, DSS, ATF, FBI... the whole alphabet is here!

    • Marty: Do you bowl?
      Abby: Are you kidding me? I'm the queen of the alley!

    • Tony: The me is hungry.

    • Ziva: You're disgusting! How can you eat that?
      Tony: You see, Ziva, the human body is a finely tuned engine-- none more finely tuned than mine. Even the best engine needs oil.

    • ZIva: Maybe the Congressman was right. Maybe Sgt. Wright was crazy and jumped.
      Gibbs: Or maybe the director's right-- politicians lie!

    • Congressman Getz: We need to do more to help the ones who come back broken.
      Gibbs: Yes, you do.

    • Jenny: Nelson claims he was attacked by the deceased on the sixth floor just before the incident.
      Gibbs: Do you believe him?
      Jenny: He works for a politician; what do you think?

    • Ziva: Two cell phones, huh?
      Tony: Uh, one for each ear. No, it's a spare. This one is sort of been on the fritz. It's another word you probably don't know the meaning of.
      Ziva: Acts up?
      Tony: I'm impressed. (leaves) Uh, alright. I'm heading out. Gotta see the doctor about being run "over" ... down.
      Ziva: (nodding towards the phone) Don't forget Fritz.

    • Ziva: You okay?
      Tony: Never better.
      Ziva: You look run over.
      Tony: The term is "run down". ... I do?
      Ziva: Maybe you need servicing?
      Tony: Clearly we are still having some problems with the idiosyncrasies of the English language.
      Ziva: The "finely tuned engine" I think you called it. You should see a doctor.

    • Gibbs: DiNozzo.
      Tony: Boss?
      Gibbs: Stop eating the evidence!

    • Jeanne: You seemed worried.
      Tony: Yeah, we're dancing tonight and I'm working tomorrow. I don't have anything to wear.
      Jeanne: (laughs) Has anyone told you that you're an idiot?
      Tony: Yeah my boss all the time.

    • McGee: Every woman has a bag.
      Ziva: Do I have a bag McGee?
      McGee: No... but you're not a... (Ziva looks at him) ...well I mean.. you're a woman.. just you're not normal... (Ziva raises her eyebrow) .. you're right.. every woman does not have a bag.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Original International Airdates:
      Denmark: December 5, 2006 on TV3
      Sweden: February 4, 2007 on TV3
      Australia: March 13, 2007 on TEN
      Belgium: April 8, 2007 on VT4
      Germany: April 22, 2007 on SAT 1
      The Netherlands: April 25, 2007 on Veronica
      United Kingdom: May 29, 2007 on FX UK
      Spain: July 5, 2007 on La Sexta
      Italy: September 23, 2007 on RAI 2
      Finland: November 25, 2008 on Nelonen
      Slovakia: June 4, 2009 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: August 31, 2009 on TV Nova


    • Announcer: The retiring Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

      This must have been a late edit due to the fact that Rumsfeld only announced his resignation a week prior to the first airing of this episode.