A man sits in his car with his laptop, updating his blog with information about investigating NCIS. He mentions heading out to meet a source. Later, his body plummets off a bridge and onto a construction site, impaled on the rebar below.
McGee finds out that he has to retake his annual polygraph test, which is unusual. Tony keeps teasing McGee about failing the test. Gibbs comes in and briefs the team about their latest case. Not a sailor or a marine, but the blogger who has been dragging NCIS's reputation through the mud: Matt Burns, who runs the site beltwayburns.com. Ziva, meanwhile, is still waiting for her status to be cleared so that she can start on fieldwork with the rest of the team.
Gibbs and the rest of the team arrive at the crime scene, with McGee mentioning that they got a footprint which doesn't match Burns'. Meanwhile, Tony talks to one of the Metro detectives examining Burns' car, saying that she shouldn't be wearing a scarf because the fibers would contaminate the scene. The woman is Detective Megan Hanley, and her boss is Detective Danny Sportelli, who is the detective in charge of the Burns case. Sportelli, aware that Burns had trashed NCIS on his blog, wants to make sure that NCIS isn't trying another cover up with this case.
The team checks out Burns' blog, and in one of his videos, Burns mentions a Lt. Rod Arnett, who was involved in a fatal car wreck which NCIS deemed an accident. Burns claims that there's evidence to suggest that Arnett was involved in insider trading and that he was murdered to keep quiet about the possible fraud. NCIS was involved in the ensuing cover up. Maybe he was murdered because someone wanted to keep him quiet?
The team notices that Burns ruined a lot of Washington careers through his blog, including Federal Appeals Court Judge Thomas Victor. Victor was set to become a Supreme Court nominee but Burns blogged about plagiarism and possible infidelity and Victor was forced to withdraw his nomination. But as Tony continues talking to Victor, he spots Sportelli and Hanley approaching them and makes a run for it.
Gibbs questions Arnett's SO, Captain Martin Armstrong, and a fellow Lieutenant, Jessica Summers, in order to get to the truth behind the insider trading accusations. Armstrong says that Arnett had no reason to be involved in insider trading since his family was really well off. Arnett was set to have a cushy job once he finished his Navy tour. Summers adds that she only really talked to Arnett in the office and she didn't know if he had any other friends.
Abby and McGee are taking another look at Arnett's car, with Abby wondering why Gibbs would want them to retest the car and McGee wondering why he has to take another polygraph test. Both are consumed by their own worries and aren't really paying attention to what the other person is saying. Abby is insistent that the car was involved in an accident; there was no foul play. When McGee asks about the polygraph test, Abby admits that she remembers another agent who had to do another test. And he left soon after, which worries McGee.
Ziva goes through Arnett's phone records, which prove that Summers wasn't telling the entire truth about her relationship with Rod. They had multiple phone conversations, suggesting that they weren't just coworkers. However, the phonecalls stopped a month before Arnett's death. The team takes a look at another one of Burns' videos, where he claims to have gone to Atlanta to get information from a Congressman's aid, while Gibbs has evidence to prove that he was at a bar in Washington, sipping on martinis. Burns wasn't above lying to get his point across.
Summers is in the interrogation room, and the team makes bets on which type of questioning tactic Gibbs will use on her. Gibbs ends up lying to Summers, saying the Burns had her name written down in notes found at his home. Summers breaks down, saying the Burns promised her that she'd remain anonymous. Arnett dumped her because he was seeing other women, and to retaliate she went to Burns with a story about how Arnett told her he suddenly made a lot of money in the stock market. But it looks like Arnett's death might not have been an accident, which means that NCIS screwed up the investigation.
The official autopsy report ruled that Arnett's death was accidental, but Ducky's ME friend at the metro police has stated that Burns' death has been ruled a homicide. Ducky also points out that if he had access to Arnett's brain, he could have done further tests but the family wanted the body to be intact for burial.
SEC Investigator Benjamin Franklin speaks to Gibbs and Tony about the investigation surrounding Arnett. He couldn't find any evidence of insider trading, but there was an interesting spike in Arnett's stocks when a defense contract was awarded. Another person received a nice windfall in case was Will Sutton, a sandwich shop owner. However, the SEC did a thorough investigation and couldn't find any evidence that the two men had ever spoken to each other.
Tony speaks to Will Sutton, who denies that he knew Arnett and says that the SEC had frozen his assets until the investigation into the insider trading claim was complete. Tony gets Sutton to make him a pastrami sandwich, which Tony brings back to the squadroom much to McGee's frustration since he hasn't had lunch yet. McGee hasn't been able to find any connection between Arnett and Sutton either.
Arnett's casket is recovered and Ducky and Abby open it up, but the only thing in the coffin is a bunch of weights. Ducky recalls that the funeral home picked up the body after he was finished examining it, so Gibbs sends Tony and McGee there to investigate. McGee says that he has that appointment for the polygraph test, but Gibbs assures McGee that he'll take care of it. Later, a woman introducing herself as Agent Susan Grady arrives at the squadroom and speaks to Ziva, telling her that McGee missed his polygraph test appointment.
The funeral director mentions that an alarm did go off, but since nothing was stolen from the home, she assumed it was a glitch. The alarm went off at 2:10am, and the security company arrived at 2:30am, finding nothing. However, 20 minutes is definitely long enough for someone to steal a body. McGee and Tony sneak into the impound yard to take another look at Burns' car. McGee downloads the data from the car's GPS in order to track down where Burns went, all the while Tony is playing on McGee's fear that they're going to be caught by dogs. But when dogs do actually show up to chase down the pair, McGee and Tony run away, but not before getting arrested by Sportelli. It's okay, though. McGee already uploaded the GPS data to Abby.
Abby's worried about Tony and McGee in jail, though Gibbs says that they'll be fine. Abby figures out that Burns' car was parked outside the funeral at the same time as when Arnett's body was stolen. She also figures out where Burns dumped the body afterwards, but when she tells Ziva about it, Ziva is unusually distant, even when Abby invites her to help celebrate cracking the case. Ziva declines the invitation and instead goes on the computer to write an email to her father.
McGee goes in for his polygraph test and apologizes to Agent Grady for missing the appointment earlier. He notices she's clearly flirting with him, asking leading questions like whether he's in a committed relationship. She says she takes the same train every morning and her coworkers were worried when she didn't return after she came to the squadroom searching for him. Taking the same train makes McGee think of something and he stops the test.
Fibers from Arnett's body are consistent to the make and model of Burns' car, and McGee asks to see Arnett's personal affects, particularly if he had a rail pass. Arnett took the same train every morning at 7:20am, so it could be possible that he met with Sutton during the daily train trip. Sutton is questioned again, and this time Tony mentions the Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train. The pair must have agreed to split the money, but when Arnett died, Sutton would have kept all of it if the SEC hadn't frozen the assets, After Burns heard about Arnett from Summers, Burns made up the insider trading story. Sutton and Burns agreed to meet and Sutton killed Burns to keep him from exposing the truth.
Gibbs manages to get the charges against Tony and McGee dropped because the evidence they collected helped with the case. McGee tells Gibbs that he has to reschedule his polygraph test again, but Gibbs says that there was nothing wrong with the first one he took. McGee figures out that Agent Grady must be interested in him and that he'll handle her if she comes around again.
Ziva puts in the paperwork to become a full-fledged NCIS agent, but Gibbs points out that she still has to resign from Mossad first. She informs him that she's already emailed her father, but Gibbs is hesitant to add his signature to the document.