A young woman eases open a door a few inches and peers through the opening into a somewhat seedy hotel room. She glances around, and then checks her watch – 12:00 midnight. It must be her cue, for she eases the door open another inch or so, and then we see the barrel of a gun as she takes aim through the door opening. She takes a breath, and then pushes the door open. She is wearing a brief black leather top and a very short miniskirt, strides in brandishing the toy gun, and calls out, "You're under arrest…you bad, bad boys!" It is apparent that she is the evening's entertainment. She looks around the room, expecting an appreciative audience, but sees three bodies, apparently dead – one lying on his back, one with a backpack over its head, and another with his head in a toilet. She begins to scream. Cue opening credits.
It's first thing in the morning, and Tony is arriving in the squad room. He greets the latest Ziva replacement, "Good morning, Agent Fillmore." Bryn Fillmore looks up from her keyboard and glares at Tony. Tony is trying to be congenial, as he says lightly, "Ten-hut – like the Army greens, but we do investigate crimes in the Navy here, though." She continues to ignore him, frowning at her keyboard. Not getting a reaction, Tony comments, "Good thing I've got a strong ego, otherwise, I might think you didn't like me." He wanders over to McGee's desk, with his back to Bryn, and asks McGee if Ziva has called, yet. McGee says no, and observes, "You haven't talked to her, either, huh?" Tony grimaces, and says, "I tried talking to her on the plane, but things got …." Aware of a pronounced rustle of papers behind him, he turns to glance at Bryn, who is apparently trying to hear what they are saying. Tony informs her that "these details are classified, thank you!" earning another glare and he turns back to McGee. McGee admonishes Tony, "Don't do that," and Tony declares "Well, they should be…what's going on around here, anyway? I just signed an autograph going through security!" McGee nods in agreement. "I know what you mean. You know Janice, in Psych Services?" Tony acknowledges her: "Man hands? Great eyes?" McGee nods and says, "She asked me out for drinks tomorrow night!" Tony is surprised: "That's not bad, for a guy who spent half of the last mission sleeping on the floor!" McGee says, indignantly, "I was not sleeping on the floor!" A pause, and then he adds, "She'll call when she's ready." Tony observes, "The last time I said that, I ended up tied to a chair in North Africa." McGee is thinking about Ziva: "She coming back, right? I mean, she's coming back?" A glance at Ziva's old desk, where Bryn now sits. "Of course, I don't know where she's going to sit…." Tony smiles slowly and says, "Twenty bucks says that desk is going to be empty by the end of next month." Bryn walks up behind Tony, and, pushing him aside, she slaps papers on McGee's desk and declares, "Well, I hate to disappoint you, but…my letter of resignation." Tony snatches it up and McGee observes, "Wow, it's very long." Bryn sneers at Tony, "I had a hard time choosing the right adjectives. I couldn't decides between 'childish', 'juvenile', or just plain ol' 'annoying!'" McGee laughs and says to Tony, "It's true!" She turns on McGee: "And you! You should know better, but you're so busy playing 'the faithful sidekick', you just go along for the ride!" McGee's face falls in consternation. "Well, I've had enough!" she declares, "make sure that Agent Gibbs gets that!" and storms off. Tony repeats, "Annoying?" McGee focuses on "Sidekick?!"
Next scene: Gibbs' basement. No boat. Sunlight streams into the basement as Gibbs pulls out a measuring tape and begins to measure some space. At the top of the basement steps, Ziva calls, "Hello, Gibbs. Your door was open." Gibbs agrees, "It usually is." Ziva comes down the stairs, smiling nervously. She looks much less shocked than we saw her at the end of "Truth or Consequences," but she is nervous. She comes to stand in front of Gibbs, and her hands flutter a moment before she clasps them in front of her. She apologizes to Gibbs: "I'm sorry I am late. The Navy lodge I am staying at ran a surprise drill this morning, and…" Gibbs turns and replaces the measuring tape on the workbench, and then turns back to Ziva, face expressionless. Ziva falters, "…it's not important." They gaze at each other, and Gibbs asks, "How are you?" Ziva looks up for a moment, and then nods her head firmly, "I am fine, Gibbs. That is what I wish to speak to you about…among other things." She is stumbling over her words in her nervousness. She pulls a small package from her pocket, and then says, "But first of all, I wanted to say…'thank you.'" She hands it to Gibbs. It is a small canvas roll, tied with a cord – obviously old. Gibbs begins to untie the gift. She continues. "which hardly seems sufficient, considering so, it's call a…" Gibbs finishes it for her, smiling appreciatively, "It's an old Buck mortise chisel!" She goes on: "That is not for rescuing me. That is for leaving me in Israel." She continues, awkwardly, as Gibbs strokes the tool gently, "You're probably wondering if perhaps I've rigged it to explode!" Gibbs shrugs and looks down at the tool. "Nope. I was thinking 'this is a really nice chisel.'" and looks up to smile at Ziva. She takes a deep breath, and continues. "When you left me in Israel, I felt betrayed." She begins to pace. "But, I've had a long time to think about things," she continues ironically, "a very, very, very long time." She pauses to consider her next words. "And you were right, to leave me there." Gibbs nods, and agrees: "I know." Ziva earnestly agrees, "And the point is, that now, I do, too. I had forgotten who I could trust. We were a team-and I would like that, again." She gazes expectantly at Gibbs, who glances away for a moment before he answers her: "You'll have to talk to the Director." Ziva protests, "It was your blessing I came for!" Gibbs begins to respond, but turns to answer his cell phone. "Yeah, DiNozzo, what have you got? Uh-huh? Where? OK, meet you there." He turns back to Ziva, and says, in explanation, "Triple homicide," and continues, "You need to talk to Leon Vance. I already told him to expect you." Ziva silently acknowledges this, but is taken aback as Gibbs starts up the steps and warns her, "…and he's not the only one you need to talk to."
Back at the hotel room, McGee is taking photographs, and Tony is dusting for fingerprints. Tony chides McGee, "Hey, you missed a shot, there, Sidekick!" McGee frowns and declares, "I am not your sidekick, Tony!" Tony chortles, "And yet – you are!" McGee goes on: "No, I'm not, because you aren't the boss." Tony states, "When Gibbs isn't here, I'm the boss." Gibbs strides into the room, commenting "Gibbs is here," and is promptly greeted by Tony: "Hi, boss!" He goes on to give Gibbs details on the victims: Marine Staff Sergeant Jeff Ross, who booked the room for a buddy's bachelor party, other two unknown. Gibbs asked, "Who found him?" to which Tony replies, "Oh, that would be the stripper! She's in the next room with her manager." Gibbs takes in the crime scene, and then asks them, "Where is Fillmore?" Tony and McGee look at each other guiltily, Gibbs smiles slightly and shakes his head, and then heads to the bedroom where the stripper, Scorpio Sinn, waits with her manager, Hector Stuckley. Hector is protesting the long wait: "Finally! I've been here since 3 AM!" Gibbs inquires, "Did you have somewhere else you needed to be?" as McGee comes in behind him. Hector says, "Not me – her. Scorpio here is my best dancer." He offers McGee a gaudy business card, which McGee gingerly accepts with tweezers. "Hector Stuckley – I'm in showbiz!" Gibbs turns to Scorpio and gently asks her to tell what happened, and to take her time. She tells them that Hector had set her up with the appointment. McGee asks Hector if the victims were regular customers, but Stuckey says no, however, he does have an arrangement with the hotel, who sends him business. Stuckley pulls out an aerosol can and squirts a bit of cologne into the air as McGee sneezes. "Look! My own cologne – it has my number. Keep it!" McGee refuses with a polite, "I'll pass." Scorpio describes meeting Ross in the lobby in the afternoon. He gave her a key and instructions on surprising his friend. She described coming in the door, and seeing them as they were now. She then becomes hysterical, crying, "Except, I'm pretty sure he had hair when I first met him!" Ducky has arrived, and upon closer inspection, they realize that all three victims have had their heads shaved – and the lack of razor burn indicates that the shaving was done after death.
Back in the squad room, the other victims have been identified. In addition to Ross, who was on leave from duty in South Korea, the other victims are Erik Jurel, who runs an auctioneering school and the "guest of honor", Alan Sandrich, a low-level file clerk at the Pentagon. Gibbs inquires if they have talked to the fiancee', and McGee says that she is out of town, but they are working on getting in touch with her. Tony goes on to describe that none of them had criminal records, except for egging a church as freshmen in high school. McGee observes that they have known each other for a while. Tony wonders out loud: "Why egg a church?" Gibbs says, "Find out," and McGee says, "You got it, boss." Walking to his desk, he grabs his jacket, and heading for the elevator, he tells Tony, "Tony – you're with me." Tony is taken aback. "Oh, no, no, no -- you follow me! Don't fight your inner sidekick, McGee! It's unbecoming!" McGee points out, "I could say the same thing to you!" Tony says, "No, you can't, because everyone knows sidekicks are shorter!" He comes to stand nose to nose with McGee – who is not shorter, and continues "You…" and McGee finishes, "are exactly the same height as you." Tony thinks for a moment, and then, shaking his head, says, "Look, you're not going to make me say it, are you?" McGee laughs and says, "You think you're too good looking to be the sidekick?" Tony responds, "No -- people think I'm too good looking." At this, the elevator door is sliding open, but McGee and Tony are still nose-to-nose and don't notice Ziva stepping off the elevator as Tony goes on to declare, "…especially the women-people!" Ziva deadpans, "Actually, I find McGee to be the more handsome." Tony's face falls, as Ziva continues, "Nothing personal." McGee looks quickly at Tony's reaction. Tony's face is neutral as he says, "Hi." Ziva responds with a formal, "Hello." Tony demands, "So, what are you doing here?" At that moment, Vance walks up and calls, "David – with me." Tony turns to Ziva: "Well, I guess that answers that question." Ziva excuses herself and follows Vance, leaving McGee and Tony at the elevator.
In Vance's office, Vance tells Ziva that Gibbs has already briefed him and confirms that "you want back, is that right?" Ziva agrees, but is taken aback when Vance asks her, "Have you discussed this with your father?" Thinking quickly, Ziva goes on the offensive: "I am not sure how his opinion is relevant." Vance tells her, "We rescued you. Not Mossad. Not your father. I think it would be very 'relevant'". Ziva demands, "Have I not been a valuable asset to NCIS?" "Without question," agrees Vance. "Then what is the problem?" Vance tells Ziva, "You were never an agent. You were the 'Mossad Liaison Officer', which, by definition, requires you to have a relation with Mossad." Ziva is chagrined, especially when Vance asks her, "Have you even spoken to your father?" Reluctantly, she admits, "No." Vance sums up his opinion: "You're damaged goods. How damaged, I need to know before I can even begin to figure out what to do with you. You pass the psych evaluation battery, and we'll talk." With a slight bow, Ziva says, "Thank you," and turns to leave. Vance warns her, "David-no promises." She nods curtly in acknowledgment and leaves.
At the auction school, a stuffy Jay Danorth is conducting a class in auctioneering techniques. Tony and McGee interrupt the class as Danorth comes to greet them, forestalling them with, "Is this about Eric Jurel? I've already heard – good news travels fast." McGee is taken aback. "Good news?" Danorth says, "Well, he's dead, isn't he?" Tony asks him, "Did you wake up this morning wanting to be the prime suspect in a murder investigation?" Danorth declares that "if wishing Jurel makes him a suspect, then so is every other employee in this auctioneering school! Eric took pleasure in making others miserable. No one is shedding any tears for that man." McGee glances over a desk, where a demure young woman is talking on the phone, while dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. "You sure about that?" he asks Danorth, nodding towards the young woman. "Oh," he sighs, "That's Elaina, the Miscellaneous Items Broker. She could sell sand to a Bedouin-and then bore him to death about her latest crush. Pay her no heed." Tony frowns and states, "It is our job 'to heed'," and as he and McGee move to talk to her. She is hanging up from an acrimonious phone call with a buyer, and they begin to question her about Eric Jurel. Tony wants to know if they were involved, and Elaina said that although there was a spark, nothing had happened. McGee asked her if she knew anyone who would want him dead, and Elaina says that "a lot of people misunderstood him, but Eric was a good man, deep down, I can't see anyone wanting to hurt him." She hesitates, but goes one, "But I overhead him on the phone in the office. He said he thought someone was following him."
In Autopsy, Palmer is taking photographs of the victims, and commenting that he has never been to a bachelor party – hastily adding that he had been invited, but one time he was sick and another time he had a broken leg. Ducky tells him that "I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl!" Palmer encourages him, "Go on!" but Gibbs walks in and says, "No, it's better that he doesn't." Ducky is disappointed: "Oh, Jethro, can't I tell him about the time when…?" At a look from Gibbs, Ducky trails off, "Never, I don't . . ." He then goes on to explain why he asked Gibbs to come down, and tells him that the liver pathology and Abby's tests confirmed that all three men were drugged before their deaths through the champagne, and while they were semi-conscious, one was drowned, one was suffocated, and Ross died of alcohol poisoning, "likely ingested under duress." Gibbs thinks about what Ducky has said: "Semi-conscious…." and Ducky congratulates him: "Very astute, Jethro. The killer wanted the victims…" and Gibbs finishes, "…awake when they died," as Ducky observes that it gives a deeper meaning to the ritualistic manner of their death. Ducky then goes on to tell Gibbs that Palmer noticed an inconsistency in Ross's records. While the records indicate that Ross was injured in an accident on base, Ducky has discovered evidence of a gunshot wound. Gibbs observes that the medical report in Ross's file was falsified, and Ducky agrees.
In the squad room, McGee is enjoying playing with a series of traffic photos, waving his hand to move photos around on the screen. Gibbs walks up behind McGee and stares at him. McGee, embarrassed, begins to babble about getting a tip that one of the victims was being followed, and while he is talking, McGee imitates the swiping motion inquiringly and McGee acknowledges that it was a little dramatic. Gibbs tells McGee to set up a talk with Ross's commanding office in Korea, and asks where Tony is. McGee explains that Tony is interviewing the fiancee', who is back in town, as Tony walks in and breezily announces that "she's already re-engaged! Does that remind you of anyone, boss?" Gibbs moves in on Tony and asks, softly, "How long are you going to keep making those jokes, DiNozzo?" and Tony, realizing he is on thin ice, declares, "I think that was actually the last time I am ever going to make that joke. Sorry." McGee is thinking about what Tony has said: "She's engaged? It's only been twenty-four hours!" Tony lifts an eyebrow and says, "Not exactly – check this out," as he slides a DVD into the computer. On the screen, we see the back of a woman as she undresses and writhes suggestively, obviously at some sort of party. McGee gazes at the video and breathes, "Wow…." as Tony smirks and declares, "THAT is illegal in most states – there's parts of Europe where you can…." Tony catches a glimpse of Gibbs' stern face, and finishes with a pious, "That's bad behavior. And this is Sandrich's real bachelor party." Gibbs, in disgust, instructs them to turn it off. Tony goes on to explain that the real bachelor party was five months ago, and that when Sandrich's fiancee' found the tape, she called off the engagement and hadn't seen him since. McGee puts two and two together as Tony finishes, "So, all the men were single." Gibbs thinks aloud: "And the bachelor party was a cover." McGee wonders: "But for what?"
McGee and Tony are examining the victim's Virginia drivers licenses, and Tony comments, perplexed, "I've heard of cover stories for a bachelor party, but I've never heard of a bachelor party being a cover story." McGee asks, "What do you think they were really up to?" and Tony quips, "The usual – no good." Tony asks McGee if he is having any luck figuring out who is following Eric Jurel, the auction house owner. McGee admits that he isn't, that it was over a week ago. Suddenly, they hear Ziva's voice: "You could try to recreate your victim's daily route by using his cell's GPS history, and then see if there are any other cell phones that are consistently in the same area." Tony and McGee turn to Ziva as she continues, "If so…." then Tony completes the sentence, "….then we have Jurel's tail!" Ziva apologizes for eavesdropping, saying "I'm sorry, I overhead you two talking…." but McGee brushes aside her apology and thanks her enthusiastically for the idea, describing how they can use the information, but then realizes that neither Tony or Ziva are paying any attention to him as they stare at each other. He stops, and then announces, "And I'm going to go do that…after I go get a…NutterButter," he says, awkwardly, trying to think of a reason to leave quickly. Tony smiles at Ziva, she drops her eyes, and he inquires, "Taking the tour?" and Ziva answers that "I have my first psych evaluation." Tony, attempting sympathy, says, "I always loved those." Ziva can't help herself: "I'm sure-you get to talk about yourself the entire time!" Tony laughs slightly, and Ziva hastens to apologize, but Tony interrupts her with a stinging comeback: "No, no, that's ok, no one's ever accused you of having tact." They both realize that this isn't what they want to be saying to each other, and Tony mutters, "Sorry." The phone rings and Tony explains, "Sorry, I have to take this – it's work…" as he picks up the phone, rearranges his face into Serious Tony and barks, "DiNozzo." He listens for a moment, and then hands the phone to Ziva, declaring, "For you." Ziva is surprised, and takes the phone with a cautious "Hello." We hear Abby on the other end, berating Ziva: "I thought you said you were coming down to the lab!" and Ziva begins to apologize with an excuse, but Abby firmly says, "NOW!" and Ziva agrees, reluctantly. "Alright, I will be right down." Tony observes, "You haven't had your private Abby welcome yet, huh? Careful, she might give you a twenty-one gun salute." Ziva thinks for a moment and settles for "I will see you later." Tony assures her, "I will be right here."
In the lab, Abby is playing music at full blast and, deep in concentration over the contents of the table, she doesn't hear Ziva's entrance. Ziva greets her with a quiet, "Hello, Abby," and we see Abby look up, with a fierce look on her face. Deliberately, she reaches for the remote control for the music system and turns off the music. Into the sudden silence, Abby unsmilingly demands, "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? How could you have doubted Tony, after everything you've been through together? You really think Tony killed Rivkin because he was jealous?!" Ziva tries to interrupt, "Abby, please calm down," but Abby is having none of it. "You weren't thinking. That's right, you weren't thinking" Abby then calms a moment and says, reflectively, "Although I supposed I can understand your initial reaction. You were at an emotional time for you, when people act rashly…" Understanding runs out and anger takes over: "But to tell Gibbs that you didn't trust Tony?!" Again, reflectively, "Which again, I can understand, I mean, he did just shoot your boyfriend…in your living room…to death. Alright, I'll give you that." Ziva is gazing at Abby in disbelief, as Abby continues, indignantly, "But this is Tony we're talking about, here, all soft and goofy on the outside, and one hundred percent rock on the inside. And after everything you accused him of, he risked his life to go save you!" Ziva looks uncomfortable as Abby continues her tirade: "You should be ashamed of yourself! Even though, in hindsight-" Abby says, trying to be fair, "-it is starting to make a little bit more sense. But either way," she declares forcefully, "the ball is in your court! It is Tony, 1 and Ziva, zilch! This is your move, and it better be a good one!" Abby concludes, glaring at Abby. Ziva is speechless, and stares at Abby. Suddenly, Abby rushes across the room and mutters, "God, I was so worried about you!" and hugs her hard, as Ziva murmurs, "I know." Abby reaches for a switch on the table, and, still hugging Ziva, presses it, and a large sign noisily unfurls from the ceiling: "Welcome Home Ziva!" Ziva smiles.
In MTAC, Gibbs is speaking to Marine Colonel Dick Jestern, who professes that it is an honor to speak to Gibbs and says, "I'm sure I'm not the first to say "Hooo-rah! Quite a feat your team pulled off in North Africa!" Gibbs, unimpressed, acknowledges this with a noncommittal "uh-huh." Jestern continues invitingly, "I'd love to hear the details." Gibbs doesn't answer, and Jestern coaxes, "Come on, Gunny, we don't get a lot of action in South Korea." Gibbs ignores the request, and states, "Sergeant Ross – you know him?" Jestern sits back in his chair and replies, "He's a good man. How can I help you?" Gibbs asks him about the accident report, and Jestern explains that Ross got his arm caught in a hydraulic. Gibbs replies, "My M.E. here says it was a gunshot wound, and he's pretty smart. Care to revise your report?" Jestern sighs and replies, "Guess I have to – starting with the fact that Ross was actually the biggest bastard I have ever met." Gibbs inquires, "Why would you falsify a report?" Jestern replies, "I was trying to avoid an international incident. Ross took two days of leave and said he was visiting his girl in Seoul. When he came back, he had been shot." "Husband?" guesses Gibbs. Jestern agrees. "That's what he said. I gave him a verbal reprimand and buried it. Geopolitics here are dicey – we're not going to win hearts and minds going after another man's a-ne." Jestern agrees to correct his report and have it to Gibbs by 8:00 am the next morning. As Jestern signs off, Vance enters MTAC and hands Gibbs a folder. "I have something for you to sign – Ziva's reinstatement." Gibbs surmises that "she passed her first psych eval?" Vance says, "Well, she didn't fail – let's put it that way. Saleem's men put a world of hurt on her, but I think she's viable." Gibbs nods, and then asks, "What does Eli David think?" Vance answers, evasively, "I've got some details to work out. But I'm not going to try if you don't want her. Or were you hoping that I couldn't work out the details so you wouldn't have to make that call?" Gibbs looks Vance in the eye and declares, "I already told you, Leon, we need Ziva." Vance agrees: "Yeah, I remember. Well, that should make it easy for you." They stare at each other for a moment, and Vance walks away.
Gibbs walks down to the squad room carrying the Ziva's file, and tells Tony and McGee that Ross was MIA during a two-day leave, and to find out where he went. Tony protests, "In Korea?!" Gibbs stares at him, and Tony backs down, "Okaaay – I'll just make some phone calls. Order me some Berlitz CDs . . . ." McGee announces that he thinks he's found a way to find out who was tailing Jurel. Tony explains to Gibbs that they are tracing his route to work and identifying cell phones that appear to be following him. McGee adds that it was Ziva's idea. Gibbs stares at McGee, who assures him "We weren't discussing the case, she just walked by." As they are thinking about that, the computer obediently beeps with a hit, and he identifies a cell phone with an invalid number, or what Tony refers to as a "burn phone", or stolen phone. However, McGee can trace the location of the phone, and the three of them head out to where the signal is originating.
The cell phone signal is coming from a small house. The three of them pull up and jump out as McGee confirms the location, they draw their weapons, and advance on the house, Tony at the front door, Gibbs and McGee at the back. At Gibbs' signal, they enter, and Tony is surprised to find a policeman in the living room, intently pointing a gun towards another room. The policeman identifies himself, "Baltimore police. We have two suspects." Tony identifies himself: "NCIS," as Gibbs and McGee enter. The policeman quickly explains that they had received a report of shots fired, and his partner's in the alley. Tony introduces himself: "DiNozzo" "Gibbs." The policeman responds, "Shelly," and nods at Gibbs, saying, "I guess he's in charge, now," to which Tony responds, "Good guess." They join to complete a sweep of the house, but find nothing. As they are looking, Tony asks Shelly if (a name) is still on the force. Shelly says that he retired last year, and then says, "DiNozzo…wait, are you Tony DiNozzo?" Tony replies, "Only if I don't owe you any money!" Shelly laughs and responds, "I'm just glad to have you at my back, sir!" and Tony preens slightly. Shelly slips into a room and closes the door behind him. McGee and Gibbs call "clear" as Tony gazes at the closed door. Tony tells Gibbs that Jurel's tail was there, but he's gone now. Suddenly, they hear a crash from behind the closed door, and Tony calls, "Officer Shelly?" Receiving no answer, they try the door – it's locked. Suddenly, they hear a car start up and the squeal of tires. Tony crashes through the locked door, and they rush into the room with the opened window and items on the floor that have fallen from the top of the bookcase under the window. McGee comes in to report that there's no sign of the partner, and Tony, picking up a framed photograph from the floor, replies, in chagrin, "That's because there was no one else here." He shows the picture to Gibbs. "This is Shelly's house!" Shelly has escaped.
Later, McGee, Gibbs and Tony are combing the house for clues. Tony is musing, in a pseudo-dramatic voice as he take pictures: "There were three men at a fake bachelor party. What were they doing there? No one knows." McGee, checking out a cell phone lying on the desk, confirms that it is the same phone that was tailing Jurel. Gibbs comes back and announces that "if Shelly was working a case, Baltimore P.D. doesn't know about it." Tony continues, "Still, no one knows!" and earns a Gibbs-slap to the back of the head. Tony recovers and notes that they do know that Shelly was tailing the victims, and shows a picture he found under the bed of the three victims together at some sort of airfield. Gibbs wonders: "Tailing? Or targeting?" and Tony adds that they are spending a lot of time at airports. McGee notes that there is nothing useful on the cell phone, but that it is a very expensive model, retailing for almost $1,000. Tony wonders how he can afford that on a policeman's pay. McGee also shows a letter he found on the computer – an apparent suicide note. Tony leaves to contact his friends at Baltimore PD for more information of Shelly, and McGee leaves to check Shelly's background to see what the connection is between him and the victims. Gibbs is left thumbing through a book in the living room.
Ziva is sitting on a bench next to a snack stand outside of NCIS headquarters, staring off into space. McGee, on his way back to the office, stops by the stand, and notices Ziva. He walks over and greets her, surprising her. She then says that she was actually getting ready to go look for him, because she wanted to say thank you. McGee smiles, and then goes fishing: "Did you come to the Navy Yard just to say thanks?" Ziva explains that she is finishing her psych evaluation with Dr. Brackham. "Janice Brackam?" asks McGee. Ziva nods in agreement, and, holding up a hand, confirms: "Man hands, and the pretty eyes. Why?" McGee demurs and changes the subject: "So, how's it going?" Ziva thinks for a moment and then answers: "I will not deny that these last three months have been a…challenge. But, that was all in the past, and the past is the past." McGee looks skeptical. "Is it?" Ziva looks at him, smiles, and says firmly, "Yes." McGee then asks, "So, why are you avoiding Tony?", which earns him a startled look.
McGee strolls into the squad room and is surprised to see Gibbs, bent over his desk and looking at a high school yearbook. "Hey, boss, when did you get back?" Gibbs answers, "About ten minutes ago," and McGee feels the need to defend his tardiness,, "I was just taking a…" Gibbs finishes, "…coffee break?" McGee agrees, and then goes on to say that he found a connection between Officer Shelly and our dead guys!" McGee says, "They went to the same high school." McGee is surprised: "How did you know?" Gibbs points to the yearbook, with a photo of the three dead guys clowning around. McGee adds that the three of them had a reputation as bullies, and Gibbs surmises that Shelly was their favorite target. McGee points that that gives him a possible motive. McGee comes running in quickly, declaring that he'll be right back as soon as he goes to the bathroom, but Gibbs stops him. Tony, in obvious distress, quickly tells Gibbs that Shelly apparently pulled over Ross last month, and, realizing who he was, gave him not one, but three tickets. McGee observes, "Oooh, I bet that felt gooood!" and Tony retorts, "you would think that!" Tony goes on to tell McGee to check his email – apparently, Ross got revenge by emailing a video taken in high school of the three of them harassing Shelly by shaving his head in the bathroom. McGee notices that there are similar elements in the hazing to the murders, including the head in the toilet (Tony mutters, pained, "…toilet…!") McGee goes on to describe Jurel and the others forcing Shelly to drink too much at the prom, but that their favorite pastime was stuffing Shelly's head into his backpack. They agree that they have motive and opportunity. Gibbs tells McGee to start researching bank statements and credit cards. Tony continues to stand, visibly struggling not to wet himself, as Gibbs thoughtfully sips at a cup of coffee. Finally, Gibbs addresses Tony: "DiNozzo?" "Yes, boss?" "Shake it." "Yes, boss!!", and Tony gratefully hurries away.
In the bathroom, Tony is finishing up, and singing to himself "that my father bought for two zuzims…." (from last week's Hebrew nursery rhyme.) He gradually becomes aware that he is not alone in the men's room – Ziva is standing by the door with her arms folded in front of her. He demands, "How long have you been standing there?" and Ziva responds, "Long enough to see that you are well-hydrated after your time in the desert." Tony finishes up and inquires, "And sneaking behind and surprising me?" Ziva responds, "I was not sure what to say," and Tony mutters, "But you were sure that it had to be said in the men's room." He steps to the sink to wash his hands. Ziva moves over to lean against the sink, her back the mirror. Tony faces the sink and the mirror, not giving an inch. Ziva says, "I'm sure it had to be said." Tony doesn't respond. Ziva continues, "When you shot Michael, I almost killed you where you stood." Tossing the paper towel across the room to the wastebasket, Tony corrects her: "I wasn't standing." Ziva acknowledges this: "No, you weren't. You were on the ground…without adequate backup…completely violating protocol," "And double-parked." "Yes, I noticed." Tony isn't making this easy – he stares resolutely into the mirror, avoiding her gaze. She continues, "But that doesn't matter. Just like, it doesn't matter how it worked out…for Michael." Tony, leaning both hands on the edge of the sink, still stares into the mirror, and bites out, "So, what does?" Ziva leans in to him, and places her hand on the counter between his two hands. She answers, softly, gazing at him, "That you had my back. That you have always had my back." Tony refuses to meet her eyes. "And that I was wrong to question your motives." At that, Tony glances at her face in the mirror, but quickly looks away. Hoarsely, he asks, "So why did you?" Ziva looks at his face, searching his expression, and explains, "I trust my brother Ari. I trusted Michael. I could not afford to trust you." Tony finally unbends, and they turn to face each other as Tony says, "I thought you didn't know what to say?" Ziva explains, "I had a long time to think about…things." Tony stares at her for a moment, and then says, "I'm sorry, Ziva." Ziva quickly shakes her head, "No! It is I who am sorry." She steps closer to him, staring at his face. Gently, she cradles his face with one hand, and reaches up to kiss him softly on his left cheek, just beside his mouth. He is holding his breath, not moving. She steps away, smiles, and tells him, "Your instincts were right. You were a cop, and I should never have faulted you for.. ." Suddenly, Tony grips Ziva's shoulders, and Ziva, startled, stares intently at Tony. But Tony is thinking of something else as he repeats, "I'm a cop…and I think like a cop…" He drags his attention back to Ziva for a moment, smiles warmly at her, caresses her cheek with his hand and murmers, "Genius!" as he runs out of the men's room.
In the squad room, Tony announces that he knows how to find Officer Shelly – track his burn phone. McGee dismisses the idea by saying, "Well, we already know where it is – it's in the evidence garage." Tony states with assurance, "He's got another one." McGee is unconvinced. "Well, that's great, but without cell's numbers, we can't track it." Tony taunts McGee, "THINK, McSidekick! Use the leading man! Harness those powers!" McGee begins to rethink it. "It was an unregistered phone. It was pricey for a cop . . ." Tony encourages him: "Bingo!" and Gibbs agrees: "Shelly took it from a bust." Tony continues, "It happens all the time. An extra Rolex, a laptop disappears from the evidence locker – not that I've ever done anything like that!" McGee checks quickly and discovers that Shelly busted a black-market cell-phone ring last year and all the cell numbers were logged – if he is using it, they can track it. He checks to see if any of the phones are active, and identifies one that is currently making a phone call. At the same time, the phone on Gibbs' desk begins to ring. Everyone stares at the phone and McGee suggests, "Boss, you might want to answer that…." Gibbs answers the phone – it's Shelly, and he wants to talk to Tony. Shelly says, "I know how it looks – I shouldn't have run, but I didn't kill those guys." Tony inquires, "Oh, you draw the line at criminal stalking?" Shelly acknowledges that he was following them, because "some kind of deal was going down, and I wanted the details." Tony corrects him: "You wanted payback." Shelly agrees: "I wanted to take the pot of gold, and hit 'em where it hurts." Again, he protests his innocence in their murders and Tony invites him to come to them: "Why don't you come in? I'm a good listener?" Shelly comments that they have probably traced the call and have his location by this point, which Tony acknowledges. He then asks Tony to come by himself to meet him by the news stand on K Street..
By the newsstand, McGee is posted across the street, and Gibbs is just down the block. Tony paces in front of the newsstand and, going to the phone booth, discovers a homeless man curled up in the floor of the booth. "Alright, hop out of there, I've gotta use the phone." The man looks up at Tony in disbelief and glances up at the remains of a badly vandalized phone, then, ignoring Tony, he rolls over and falls back to sleep. Shelly's red car comes speeding down the street, driving erratically. Gibbs warns Tony that the car is on its way. Tony observes the erratic path of the car, and then suddenly realizes that the car is headed straight for the phone booth. Frantically, Tony grabs the homeless guy – a dead weight – and drags him from the booth just before the car smashes into it. McGee hurries across the street and asks, "Are you ok?!" and Tony says, "Yeah – there just something wet in my hands, and I don't want to think about it." As they reach the car, they see Shelly slumped over the steering wheel and the deployed air bag. Gibbs looks closely, and sees a gunshot wound in his side. Shelly is dead.
In Autopsy, Ducky confirms that Shelly was shot at point blank range. Gibbs confirms that a witness saw someone approach the car, take a shot and drive off. Ducky points out that for someone to get that close, Officer Shelly must have known his attacker. Gibbs muses, "He said he was set up," and Ducky agrees, "His presence here would tend to confirm that. But set up by whom?" "Gibbs guesses, "Someone from his past…" and Ducky continues, "making it appear that he stalked and murdered his tormentors." McGee and Tony enter Autopsy, and report that they have a lead on what Shelly may have been tracking. Ross was apparently shot near a runway often used by smugglers – his commanding officer thinks that's where he may have gone on his two-day leave. McGee continues: "After the shooting, SATCOM tracked a plane leaving, lost contact." Tony theorizes that Ross had a package on that plane, and Gibbs agrees that he had something. McGee points out that, if they find out what, then they would find out who killed Officer…."AH CHOO!" McGee begins to sneeze violently, and says, "I think it's something on the body!" Ducky agrees that Shelly was wearing cologne, and that he must have come into contact recently with an "over-cologner." Palmer says that they were just getting ready to take a sample to Abby for analysis, but Gibbs, McGee and Tony all realize at the same time where they last encountered an "over-cologner" who made McGee sneeze and rush out.
Stuckley, with a large bruise around his eye, is pacing the Interrogation Room, exclaiming "That's why I advertise on cologne bottles, is that a crime?!" McGee reports that, after doing some digging on Stuckley, he's discovered that the stripes are just a cover, and that he is really a fence – not convicting, but suspected of fencing everything from bootleg DVDs to missle parts. Tony wonders what he is fencing now. Gibbs enters Interrogation and asks Stuckley, "Where did you get the shiner?" Stuckley lies and says that he got it while shaving. Gibbs observes that Shelly had Stuckley's DNA under his fingernails, and he admits that he stopped by that morning, "but that was it. He left. End of story." Gibbs, angered, slaps down a picture of Shelly and sneers, "One body isn't enough for you, tough guy? Because if it isn't, I've got three more right here!" as he spreads out photos of the three original victims. Stuckley declares, "I had nothing to do with this, and I told the cop the same thing." "Why was he asking you?" At Stuckley's silence, Gibbs begins to read him his rights: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you…" Stuckley hurriedly urges Gibbs to "hang on!" and then goes on to tell Gibbs that "Jurel came to me with something big." Gibbs hazards a guess: "The plane? Out in Korea? It had a package on it?" Stuckly surprises Gibbs by disagreeing: "The package was the plane! Jurel's buddies forged some paperwork and got their hands on a military cargo plane scheduled for decommissioning. Jurel wanted me to fence it – worth a couple of million. They went to the hotel to celebrate, my girl shows up, she's only supposed to do her dance, as a token of my appreciation, and pick up a package." Gibbs, following the story, says, "The lock codes for the plane?" "And then you know what she found instead." "Officer Shelly?" Stuckley shrugs. "The next thing I know, a copy shows up at my door, roughs me up, and accuses me of setting him up for murder!" "And he just lets you go?" "Yeah, after I told him what I'm telling you – you've got the wrong guy. And I've got about fifty people at Club Pubis that can testify to that."
McGee and Tony confirm that Stuckley was, indeed, at Club Pubic, a strip joint, and realize that they are still at a dead end, trying to figure out who killed a copy. Abby bursts in, and tells them that although the bullet is modern, the gun it was fired from was an antique percussion cap pistol. Gibbs, McGee and Tony pay a visit to the auction house to see if they can locate a gun that fits that description. To their surprise, they encounter Jay Danorth in the parking lot, holding a briefcase in which is nestled the exact same gun that Abby described. Tony quips, "I know a shooting range nearby, you can take that for a spin." Danorth protests, "A spin? This is a fine antique, not some cheap revolver." McGee then ask him if the back of his car is a usual storage place for antiques, and Danforth agrees that it's not, but that he had recently noticed it gone from inventory and suspected it was stolen, and that he had been looking for it. "And there is is!" Gibbs says in mocking surprise. McGee pointed out it made it easy for them, since that gun was used in a murder. Danforth quickly objects, stating that this wasn't his car. Gibbs agrees, and states that it's Elainas. Danforth tells him that he has already called hr and she is coming out to talk to him and explain the gun in her trunk. McGee muses, "She hasn't had time to dump it, yet," and then they spot her rushing out the front doors. Tony quickly catches up with her and chides her, saying, "You see, if you run away like that, it kinda makes you look guilty, Miss Marcus." Elaina jerks her arm away. "Guilty of what?" Gibbs answers, succinctly, "Murder." Danforth mutters, "I always said she was trouble." McGee observes, "She found out about a deal your boss had going down." Tony says, "You partnered with Officer Shelly, double crossed him, and kept the payday for yourself. Gibbs asks, "Did you set Shelly up for murder?" Elaina laughs weakly, and Gibbs asks "What's so funny?" Elaina declares, "You haven't arrested me, it means you don't have any proof. Tony quips, "McProof?" McGee explains that the fake suicide note on Shelly's computer had a worm that they traced back to her computer, proving that she killed not only Shelly, but Jurel and his buddies. Gibbs rolls his eyes, and, walking away, comments, "Uh, oh, you know what that means!" Tony and McGee chorus together, as Tony brandishes the handcuffs, "You're under arrest!" Tony tells her, "You're a bad liddle puddy cat!", but McGee looks around, doesn't see Gibbs and asks where the boss has gone. Tony shrugs it off, saying that he doesn't know.
At his home, Gibbs hurries down the basement stairs to find a waiting Ziva, who declares "We have to talk." Gibbs silently pulls out a chair and invites her to "sit down," as he draws up a sawhorse to lean on. Ziva begins talking: "When I came to see you and said I wanted back, you said it was the Director's call…but I sensed your hesitation." Looking at Gibbs, she challenges him, "And I sense it now. Even though I thought I made myself clear," as she begins to pace anxiously, "I understand what you did in Israel…" Gibbs interrupts: "Your brother, Ari." Ziva's face changes, and she states, "You know what happened that night." (Flashback to the moment of Ziva's shooting of Ari in Gibbs' basement.) "I was here." Gibbs' face is serious as he says, "I want to hear it from you." Ziva stares at Gibbs as he continues, "You had orders to kill your brother to earn my trust." "Yes." "That's a problem". Ziva rushes to explain, "You don't understand…" and Gibbs angrily retorts, "You're right, I don't understand!" Ziva hurriedly explains, "When I volunteered for that mission…" Gibbs erupts,"You killed your own brother, Ziva!" Ziva exclaims, "It was because I hoped my father was wrong about Ari! And I did not want someone else blindly following orders – I volunteered to protect him, Gibbs!" "You lied to me." "No. When I told you Ari was innocent, I believed it. But yes, I would have lied to you. He was," her voice catches, "my brother. And you were nothing." Gibbs is staring into Ziva's face, listening intently, impassively. Ziva stares back for a moment, and then continues, more softly, "But I was wrong about Ari. And you. When I pulled the trigger, to save your life, I was not 'following orders.'" With tears in her eyes, she smiles briefly and asks, "I mean, how could you even think…? He was my brother. And now he is gone. Eli is all but dead to me. And the closest thing I have…to a father…is accusing me…" Her voice breaks and she can say no more. Gibbs has heard what he needed to hear. "OK."
At NCIS, Vance is strolling to the elevator, talking to his wife on a cell phone and carrying a suitcase. "I'm headed straight to the airport…yeah, that's why they call it a 'go bag' honey, I keep it in the trunk of my car…yeah, ok, I'll call you as soon as I land…yeah," he stops as the elevator doors open and he meets McGee and Tony leaving the elevator. They pause for a moment staring at each other, and Vance quickly says into his cell phone, "I love you, too." and brushes past Tony and McGee. As the elevator door closes behind Vance, Tony grimaces and then shakes it off, declaring, "Moving on…so, how was your date with the shrink last night, McRomeo?" McGee smiles and says, "You think I'm going to tell you?" Tony chuckles and says, "That tells me everything I need to know!" McGee comments, "It's kinda complicated, Dr. Bracham is Ziva's…." and trails off as he gazes at Ziva's old desk. "Ziva's what?" demands Tony. McGee notices a leather bag and a jacket lying on the desk, and says, "Ziva's here!" They both look up to see Ziva walking down the corridor, holding a small peace lily plant. She looks at them, deliberately places the plant on her desk, and then takes a seat. They both follow her example and move to their desks. Tony can't take his eyes off of her, and they exchange glances as he picks up his phone to make a call. She then glances over at McGee, who gives her a small, satisfied smile. She smiles slightly in return. Everyone is where they are supposed to be, and all is right with the world.