The D.C. police are patrolling in the early morning, and see what appears to be an abandoned Rolls Royce on an industrial dock. Cautiously, they approach it. One officer finds a man slumped in the front seat – drunk? Unconscious? The other officer spots a corner of a jacket poking out of the trunk and, investigating, finds a body in a Naval uniform. The partners turn grim and pull their guns on the man. Confused, he holds up his hands: It's Anthony DiNozzo, Senior.
Ziva stolls in, pleased with herself: She has walked to work in the crisp autumn morning. Tony bursts her bubble by handing her a box of cold case files to input into the computer system. Ziva objects, saying that a clerk should do it, but Tony tells her that each file has to be reviewed by an agent: "Vance gave it to Gibbs, Gibbs gave it to me, and I'm giving it to you, our most junior agent!" Disgruntled, Ziva begins to unpack the box, and then casually asks Tony how dinner with his father went the evening before. Tony tells her with annoyance that DiNozzo, Sr. didn't show up, failed to contact him to tell him where to meet, and didn't return several phone calls. "This is typical of the old man, his M.O., if you will. My high school graduation? I guess technically he would claim was there. But where was he, really? In the infirmary, with the nurse! With what he claimed was 'jet lag'," he recounts with indignation. Ziva is surprised that Tony's father would be in town for two days without seeing him, but Tony shrugs it off and tells her that he spent the evening with a 12 year old bottle of cabernet, Claire Tevor and The Duke. "He watched 'Stagecoach'," offers Gibbs, entering the office and grabbing his coat. "John Wayne as 'The Ringo Kid," agrees Tony. "Well, saddle up, 'Ringo'," Gibbs tells him, "we have a dead Naval officer by the riverfront."
Arriving at the scene, the policeman is glad to hand the case off to Gibbs. "For some reason, the suspect was relieved when we said we were calling NCIS. He's a real pain in the ass," he shrugs. Surprised, Gibbs sees DiNozzo, Sr., who spies Tony and calls out, "Junior! Thank God you're here!" Tony starts to his father, but Gibbs grabs him and hauls him back, outside the crime scene, and sternly tells him that he is off this case. He tells McGee to take Sr. back to the Naval Yard, and instructs the officer to keep an eye on Tony. Sr. asks McGee to remove his handcuffs, but McGee is firm: the handcuffs must stay on. Ducky surveys the crime scene and tells Gibbs, "This is going to be a sticky one!" and confirms an initial cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head. McGee leads Sr. away, past a silent and shocked Tony.
In the office, Tony is intently studying a file on the dead Naval officer. McGee gives him a quiet warning, and Tony turns away quickly as Gibbs enters, but not quick enough for Gibbs not to notice what file Tony is studying. Casually, Tony asks Gibbs how it's going, and Gibbs tells him that "Vance wants me to turn it over to the FBI because the suspect is related to an agent: you." Tony asks where his father is, but Gibbs hasn't talked to him yet and has him being watched by a new agent, Ned Dorneget . The victim was Lt. Dean Massey, who flew fighter jets in the Gulf War, and then became a successful land developer, but stayed on reserve. "He's a reservist, what's he doing in uniform?" Gibbs wonders. Tony offers frantic excuses – there's not a scratch on his father, his father is twice Massey's age, Massey is a rugby player, "clearly, the guy has been framed!" Gibbs walks over and grabs the cold case files and thrusts them at Tony: Tony is on cold-case duty for the duration.
Gibbs goes to Interrogation, and Dorneget tells him that Sr. keeps asking for someone to go to his hotel for a change of clothes. Gibbs grins ruefully, and then enters Interrogation, where Sr. is happy to see him. Gibbs refuses the proffered handshake, and when Sr. asks if Tony is on the other side of the glass, Gibbs tells him calmly, "He's sitting this one out." Sr. can't understand why everyone is so upset because he had a few too many drinks, and was unaware that Massey was dead in the trunk. He knows Massey: He has a land development deal with him, one that was going to be extremely lucrative. He had introduced Massey to his Saudi friend Prince Omar bin Al-Wan, who was providing the final piece of financing, but Massey balked at paying Sr. the agreed-upon finders fee. "How did you leave it with him?" Gibbs inquires, and Sr. admits, "I told him I was going to kill him!"
He remembers leaving Massey's office, going back to the hotel and having a few drinks, and he remembers nothing after that. He asks what will happen, and Gibbs tells him that NCIS has 48 hours to press charges or let him go. Sr. is upset: He has a non-refundable ticket to St. Croix that afternoon. "You've got bigger problems than that, sir," Gibbs tells him grimly, and leaves.
Abby is chatting with Ducky as he proceeds with the autopsy, musing that she never quite believed all of Tony's crazy stories about his dad until now. Gibbs enters, and Ducky shows him a sliver of glass in the head wound, and tells Gibbs that Massey was killed elsewhere between midnight and 2 AM and then stuffed in the car. Abby tries to ease out to conduct further tests on the clothing, but Gibbs stops her with a question about Sr.'s blood test. She tells him that it was negative for standard tox screen, but his blood alcohol level at 2 AM was probably around 1.5. "That's like, really drunk," offers Abby. Ducky tells Gibbs that, considering Sr.'s age and alcohol use, a total blackout at that alcohol level would not be a surprise.
Tony comes strolling down the hall outside of Interrogation, carrying a generous slice of chocolate cake from someone's birthday celebration. "Thought you might like a slice!' he tells Dorneget jovially. Dorneget digs in as Tony casually compliments his suit, and then goes in for the kill: "Look, I just need two minutes with my dad." Dorneget is firm: Gibbs has told him that no one can go in, especially Tony. "You didn't think you could buy me off with a piece of cake, did you?" Tony denies it unconvincingly, and then tells him that Gibbs would never know, but Dorneget tells him that he would, because he would have to tell him. "Then I would have to tell Gibbs about your little antics at the Halloween party last month, with Susan Grady from Polygraph down in the copy room, huh? She was dressed as a nun, and you were dressed as Leroy Jethro Gibbs, with a little silver wig?" "He won't like that," mutters Doneget. "He warned me about you," he sighs, and allows Tony into Interrogation. Sr. is happy to see him, but Tony lays into him, "What is the matter with you?" and demands that his dad look him in the eye and tell him he had nothing to do with Massey's murder. Sr. can't remember, but was angry at Massey's double-dealing. "This was the big one, Jr., my retirement and your inheritance!" but Tony has heard this before. Tony asks about the Rolls Royce, and his father tells him that he rented it, "because you don't pull up to close a hundred million dollar deal in a taxi cab!" When Tony tells him it's in the Evidence Garage, DiNozzo tells him to return it: "It's costing me $1,500 a day!" Dorneget pokes his head in: "Are you done yet?" he asks anxiously. "Eat your cake," Tony tells him sternly. Tony tells Sr. to stop talking and not to say a word to anyone until he has spoken to a lawyer. "Especially Gibbs!" he warns him as he quickly leaves.
An officer from JAG stops by, Lt. Commander Moser, asking for Gibbs. She tells them that Massey approached her the evening before at the Navy concert with information pertinent to a case she was working on, but he didn't appear that morning. The case involved Massey and another pilot flying in formation, but the other pilot had a problem that resulted in him and his radio officer ejecting, with the radio officer dying. The other pilot claimed an electrical failure, but Massey suggested that he was lying. Tony is pleased to hear a possible alibi.
Gibbs and Vance are discussing the case, and Gibbs admits that Sr. is doing nothing to help his case. Tony interrupts, and explains that his father may be a lot of things, but he is not a murderer, and shares the information on Massey's talk with Moser, to introduce reasonable doubt. Vance gives them 24 hours before he calls the FBI, and warns Tony off the investigation, even to the point of taking vacation.
McGee and Ziva go to Massey's office to interview co-workers. Morgan Hunt confirms that Sr. came by, and was expecting a check; however, according to their contract, it was outside of the year limit that had been set, so a finders fee was not due. Hunt confirmed that Massey is ruthless, and refused to give Sr. anything. A secretary enters and pulls up a videotape of the meeting, where Sr. calls Massey a "cheating bastard" and Massey smugly responds, "Sue me." Sr.'s response: "I'm not going to sue you: I'm going to kill you!" as he lunges for Massey. On tape, they are separated. McGee and Ziva exchange a concerned look.
Back at the office, Tony reviews the tape and mutters that his father keeps hanging himself. "Don't give up hope, Tony," consoles McGee. Tony quips, grimly, "I gave up hope when he started dating girls younger than me in the late 80's." Ziva is on her way to interview Massey's ex-wife, but as she is leaving, Sr. is led in. He greets her expansively: "Ziva, you look ravishing as ever!" In spite of herself, she warms to his admiration. He lightly clasps her arms, and asks Tony jovially, "Tony, when are you going to come to your senses and sweep this gorgeous creature off her feet, hmm?" He smiles down at Ziva fondly at Tony turns away with an inscrutable expression. Tony tries to give his dad an oblique warning: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to TALK to you, Dad!" Ziva brushes Sr.'s cheek with an air kiss, and hurries out, while Sr. shoos Dorneget away for some water. Gibbs tells Sr. that they are transferring him to a federal detention center, but Sr. doesn't like the sound of that. McGee announces that the other pilot in the investigation, Lt. Dennis, has arrived. Sr. spies a photo of the detention center. "Good Godfrey! This place it out of Dickens!" he exclaims, aghast. Tony asks if there are any alternatives and Gibbs looks up in exasperation. He tells Dorneget to take Sr. to the break room to feed him. "And if he gives you any trouble, shoot him," he says crisply. Sr. is startled, but allows himself to be led away by Dorneget, who whispers, "He's joking . . . I think."
The interview with Lt. Dennis stalls. When they tell him Massey is dead, he decides he needs to speak to his attorney.
At a school fair, Ziva interviews the former Mrs. Massey, who complains that when he left the Navy, he became obsessed with making money, so they divorced. She tells Ziva that she came out of the divorce with sufficient money, has no further claim on his estate, and doesn't know who his beneficiary is. She suggests Ziva talk to the attorney, Morgan Hunt.
In the Evidence Garage, Abby is seated behind the wheel of the Rolls Royce, enjoying the luxurious surroundings. McGee joins her, relaxing into the soft leather seats, and Abby tells him that she's having trouble believing Sr. could be a murderer, but the mileage on the car doesn't match up with where Sr. claims to have been the day before. And, after studying the glass fragment, Abby bets that Massey was hit with a bottle of vintage wine . . . just Sr.'s style.
Ziva stops by Massey's office to check out his will. Hunt shows it to her, explaining that the estate goes into a trust, with various Navy charities as the beneficiaries.
Back at the office, Tony tries to weasel information out of McGee, who refuses to talk. Tony snatches a file out of McGee's hands and they wrestle over it, but before McGee gets it back, Tony spots a BOLO for Massey's Porsche and questions McGee: "Blah, blah, blah, blah . . . I'm not talking to you, Tony!" exclaims McGee, but Tony begs: "This is my father we're talking about." McGee relents and lets him know that his father's hotel room was clear. "We're working every angle, but we are one 'very special agent' short," McGee reminds him, and walks away. Tony follows him, asking about Dennis' alibi, but quickly reverts to a pious, "Tim, you know that Gibbs told me to stay away from the case." McGee rolls his eyes, and they both stop at the sight of Sr. in the midst of having an ankle monitoring device attached. Sr. is happy, because Gibbs has figured out a way to keep him out of the detention center. "Where are you staying?" asks Tony. "My place," says Gibbs.
In the middle of the night at Gibb's house, Sr. is walking quietly through the house. Gibbs , asleep on the couch, wakes up and turns on the light. Sr. accuses him of standing guard, but Gibbs tells him, mildly that, "I always rack here." Sr. admits he's having trouble sleeping, and Gibbs offers him some warm milk. As the milk is warming and the men stand in the dark kitchen, Sr. admits that he's worried, and wonders if he really did kill Massey. He's bemused at the blackout. "The thing is, I could always hold my liquor." He then asks why Gibbs has gone out of his way to allow Sr. to stay with him. "I didn't do it for you," Gibbs says shortly. "I did it for your son." Handing Sr. the warm milk, Gibbs finishes: "He deserves better." Sr. admits that he does, and goes on to say that he thought that when the Massey deal with finished, it would provide enough money so that he could stop hustling. "I'd be able to be the person I always pretended to be . . . leave some money for Junior, real money." Gibbs has settled back down onto the couch, and throws Sr. a pitying look. "You don't get it. Tony never wanted your money. He wants a father."
The next morning, Dorneget brings Sr. to Autopsy, so that Ducky can draw more blood for further tests that Gibbs has ordered. As Gibbs enters the office, Tony asks him how the previous evening went, but Gibbs doesn't answer. "Where is he?" inquries Tony. "Autopsy," replies Gibbs. "You shot him?" states Tony calmly. "I can't say I blame you." Lt. Mathers comes in to say that Dennis and his attorney wish to make a deal on the JAG case, since it was pilot error and he admits to 'hot-dogging', and McGee confirms that tollbooth cameras confirm Dennis' whereabouts during the murder. Meanwhile, the Virginia police have found Massey's Porsche at the site of his proposed land development. McGee and Ziva go to investigate, leaving Tony alone in the office. He considers his next move.
In the lab, Tony show up with a big smile and a big cup of Caff-Pow, genially telling Abby that "Gibbs sent me down to ask about that 'thing' you're working on for him." Abby is not fooled: "What 'thing'?" she asks. "You know, that 'thing'," Tony says, trying to be casual. Abby tells him in no uncertain terms that she is not discussing his dad's case with him. "I'm desperate, Abby!" he pleads, and Abby gives him a warm hug. "I'm sorry," she offers, but then banishes him from the lab. He turns to leave, but quickly feints and dashes to her worktable and picks up a vial. "What's this?" he asks. "Your father's urine," Abby says in amusement, taking it from him. With a look of distaste, Tony starts to leave, but then asks about the wine bottle. "Was it a Bordeaux?" Abby shoos him out.
Ziva and McGee are combing the land site. As McGee is taking a plaster cast of some tire marks, Ziva finds a broken wine bottle a few feet away in the brush.
In the break room, Sr. pours his usual half decaf/half regular coffee, and Dorneget comments that Tony does the same thing. "You two look alike, have the same mannerisms, you two must be really close," Dorneget offers, but Sr. just smiles. Dorneget tells him that Tony is very concerned about him, and when Sr. asks about Dorneget's father, he tells him that his father was a policeman in Detroit who was killed in a traffic accident before Dorneget's first birthday. Tony enters the break room and tries to shoo Dorneget out, but Sr. tells him that they have no secrets from Dorneget. Tony grimaces, and then asks his dad if he brought the family bottle of wine to D.C. "How did you know?" marvels Sr. and tells Dorneget, "A 1968 Chateau Clare – I bought it the year Junior was born. It must be worth a fortune by now, I was saving it for a special occasion." Tony tells him that the bottle was possibly used as the murder weapon. Sr. is taken aback: "Junior, did I kill him?" Tony asks where the bottle is now, and Sr. says that the last time he saw it, it was in the Rolls Royce, and he had planned to open it at the celebratory dinner with Tony that evening, first at Halligan's Pub for a drink, and then at the Adam's House for a ribeye. But Sr. doesn't remember the details of the evening.
Vance joins Abby and Gibbs in the lab. Abby has reconstructed the wine bottle as much as possible. Gibbs tells Vance that the tire tracks found at the scene belonged to the Rolls Royce, and Abby reluctantly discloses that a thumbprint on the bottle belonged to Sr. Vance sighs, and says that since there was movtive, means and opportunity, it's time to book Sr. Abby is crushed, but Gibbs tells her "good job" in an attempt to console her.
Dorneget is escorting a handcuffed Sr. out of the office, but Tony is nowhere to be found. His cell phone has been turned off, and he isn't in the office, to Ziva and Gibb's chagrin. Tony is strolling into Halligan's Pub. Introducing himself to the bartender, he discovers that Sr. is well-known at the bar and was there the evening of the murder. The bartender asks if Sr. is ok, because he was worried about him. He tells Tony that usually Sr. can hold his liquor, but that night, he was wasted after only a couple of drinks. "I was going to call him a cab, but there was this lady that he had picked up who offered to drive him back to his hotel in his car. He may be getting up there, but he still has a way with the women!" the bartender finishes, smiling. Tony is alert, and asks for copies of video surveillance from that evening.
The FBI is leading Sr. from the office, to Ziva and McGee's distress. Suddenly, Abby flies in, calling "Wait, wait, wait!" She hugs Sr. fiercely, and tells him that she doesn't think he killed anyone. She tells Gibbs that the blood test showed traces of flunitrazepam. "Roofie – the date rape drug!" exclaims McGee. "Date rape?" Sr. repeats in disbelief. Abby then goes on to describe the fingerprints on the bottle: Sr.'s fingerprints were only on the barrel, not the neck where it would have had to be gripped. The neck had been wiped clean. Meanwhile, Tony calls McGee with a photo from the video surveillance, and he wants McGee to identify the woman with his dad in the photo. McGee quickly gets to work, and Gibbs motions Sr. over to view the photo. "She's attractive," muses Sr. with a grin, but he has no idea who she is. McGee recognizes her, though: She works at Massey's company. "Take off the cuffs!" exclaims Sr. Gibbs grins at the FBI agent: "You heard the man."
Gibbs, Ziva and Sr. walk into Massey's office, and the woman is standing at the reception desk. "Linda?" inquires Sr. She looks up, startled. "I've been told we met before . . . strange, I usually remember a pretty face," he tells her. Silent, she stares at him with a deer-in-the-headlights look. Gibbs tells her that they know she left the bar with Sr. "Did you slip me a roofie?" Sr. asks with a smile. Ziva suggests discussing it in private. In the conference room, Gibbs tells her that she is, at least, an accomplice to Massey's murder. She is surprised, and tells them that Morgan Hunt promised her that no one would get hurt. She tells them that she and Hunt had started seeing each other outside work. After the argument between Massey and Sr., Hunt came to her later and said that he and Massey had argued, too, and that Massey was going to try to shaft Hunt, also. He asked her to erase the video tape of his argument with Hunt. "Did you?" asks Gibbs. "Yes. But I kept a protective copy for myself, just in case either of them tried to mess with me" she tells him bitterly. As she and Ziva head for her office, Hunt sees them, and tries to duck out the back. He runs into Sr. and Gibbs, who takes him into custody.
At the office, the video tapes shows Massey arrogantly informing Hunt that he is not renewing his employment contract, and is also removing him as executor of his estate. That means that Hunt was losing "seven figures a year" in executor administration fees, and Linda confessed to drugging Sr. and driving him to the site. Vance asks Gibbs what they are going to do about their predicament. "What predicament?" "Agent DiNozzo disobeyed direct orders from both of us. He stuck his nose in the case. What are you going to do?" asks Vance sternly. "Ignore it," says Gibbs unapologetically. "Just like I figured," mutters Vance.
Tony stops by Gibbs' house, chagrined, to unload on Gibbs. "My old man did it again. I stopped by the hotel to see him. He's gone. Checked out. Did I get a phone call? Nooooo . . . didn't even tell me. Shouldn't be surprised. What am I gonna do with that guy? He makes me crazy!" Gibbs lets Tony vent. As Tony calms down, he admits that he should be really pissed off, and when Gibbs asks why he isn't, he confesses that, for a while, he thought he may really lose him. "And as crazy as he does make me . . . I do love the guy." Gibbs is silent as Tony continues musingly, "The pathetic thing is that I've never been able to tell him." Footsteps in the hall, and Sr. enters the living room. "Consider it done, Junior," Sr. tells him, to Tony's surprise. "Dad, what are you doing here?" he asks, with an accusing look at Gibbs. Sr. tells him that when the deal fell through, he could no longer afford the hotel, so Gibbs offered him a room. "You're staying in town?" Tony confirms, shocked. "Thursday is Thanksgiving, I want to spend it with you," Sr. tells him simply. Tony follows Sr. into the kitchen, where Sr. is preparing a turkey. Handing Tony the giblets from inside the turkey, he tells Tony to "do something with that, Junior." Tony is stunned, until Gibbs offers to get him an apron. Tony shoots Gibbs a "you've got to be kidding!" look.