This is one of the worst NCIS episodes, and I'm heartened to see that the voters at TV.com gave it a 7.3 score (as of now), the lowest score of all 189 NCIS episodes. In fact, no other had an average score in the 7's!
I enjoyed the beginning of the ep. The murder mystery (like all NCIS eps) was intriguing at the start. And I liked the end where his grandma had McGee reach out to his estranged father -- very touching. It was also the only time in the ep that McGee was not expressionless!
Everything else in the episode was a disaster:
(1) McGee's expressionless face.
(2) Tony acting like a silly jerk -- he loudly (for all to hear) bemoans his father insisting Tony arrange a birthday party for the dad, complete with balloons and strippers (out of character for his father, whom I admired, and who was rather sophisticated). I am also getting tired of Tony's movie references and voice imitations, especially here to gonads/brass balls of the Great Santini and Gibbs! Shudder!
(3) the sassy eccentric grandmother was too much a cliche: strong family bulwark, health food nut, wife and mother of admirals ... .... and hippie protester of/at: wars, political convention, sit-ins, prisons, Gloria Steinem feminist demonstrations, Selma race riots, and military think tanks.
(4) outlandish military plot of creating genetically engineered caterpillars to cause a plague over an enemy country.
(5) just because an army Viet Nam era gun was used on a crime today, doesn't mean that an ex-Viet Nam US soldier was the shooter.
(6) way over the top that the founder of the military think tank and the caterpillar project would be so disgruntled by the Army's dropping of the caterpillar project that he would fake his death and go into hiding for some 30 years, and then reappear now to kill a would be whistleblower when the project was being re-instituted! Wow! Jump the shark territory!
(7) why didn't the grandmother run to the police with all she knew after the whistleblower was murdered?