| A Marine recruiter, Sgt Alvarez, is shot in his office in Washington D.C., NCIS is called to investigate. Abby determines that from the angle and power of the shot, the weapon most likely used was a sniper rifle. |
Alvarez has kept all his correspondence from his recruits, and the first idea is that he has been assassinated by someone with a grudge against him, perhaps because the recruiter promised them a better career than the Corps could deliver. Almost all of the correspondence is complimentary. however, because Alvarez did care deeply about giving the kids he recruited better lives. There are only two complaints, and one of the two guys (the other guy is in Iraq) is interviewed. But it turns out this suspect has become a committed marine.
The next day, another Marine recruiter, this time in Maryland, is shot in the same fashion, except for the fact that Abby thinks the shot was fired from a car, rather than a building like the first incident. Since the two Marines were shot in different states, the FBI claims they now have jurisdiction and they tell Gibbs he will very shortly get a call from his Director telling him to back off. Gibbs tells his team to recover the bullet and when Kate finds it, and the team calls him to tell him this, he pretends the call is the one telling him to leave. As they leave, the team also recovers a white feather, too small to be a common pigeon feather,which they suspect might be the killer's "calling card.
Although there is damage to the bullet, Abby can determine it was fired from the same type of weapon as the one that killed the D.C. recruiter. So now they look for and eventually find, blown into the ventilation grille, the same type of feather at the D.C. Recruiting center. So it's definitely the same guy, and it might be someone who has been rejected from the Corps and so has a general grudge against recruiters, and also wants to show he is 'better.'
But how will they stop the next attack when there are so many possible targets at recruiting centres? Gibbs decides to set a stalking horse; he gets a lot of TV publicity for the re-opening of the centre. And in order to catch the shooter, Gibbs poses as a Marine recruiter, with Kate posing as his commanding officer. Gibbs refuses to wear a bulletproof vest under his uniform shirt with the excuse that it would show. Tony rigs three sensitive microphones to telephone posts so that Abby can triangulate the position of the shooter. After a long day of Kate analyzing everyone that talks to Gibbs, they find a white feather on the water cooler and so discover the shooter is the water-delivery man. At that moment, a shot is fired, only to be stopped by the new bulletproof glass in the recruiting center. The shooter's position is located through the mikes, and he is killed in the attempt to arrest him.
The sniper who shot the marine recruiters was a chap who'd been refused admittance due to psychopathic personality traits - he'd applied to become a sniper, but his profile let him down. Although Gibbs ruefully admitted that the chap was a really good shot.