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2.04 - Lt. Jane Doe RECAP
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NCIS: Lt. Jane DoeRECAP
Original Airdate: October 19, 2004
Recap Author: callerbear
Original Airdate: October 19, 2004
Recap Author: callerbear
Two sailors just released on leave are hurrying to meet their girlfriends after spending months at sea. The driver of the pickup truck pulls to into an on-base rest area to use the restroom, but is forced to find other accommodations when the restrooms are locked. As he turns away from a tree, he spots a woman's body on the ground.
Roll the opening credits.
Bing! Tony and Kate step out of the elevator. They're in the middle of a minor argument: As they bought their lunch at a drive-thru window, the cashier accidentally returned $1.85 too much in change. Tony didn't notice until they returned to NCIS. Kate feels strongly that he should return the money, but Tony doesn't think it's worth the trouble. "It'll come back to haunt you," she warns. "Karma. What goes around, comes around. And when this comes back around, you'd better duck really low." Gibbs arrives and gets a phone call -- dead body in Norfolk. He tells the team to get up and get Ducky -- his flight to London doesn't leave for a few hours. As Tony rises, he spills his soft drink all over his lap. "You should have gone back!" Kate admonishes.
At the rest area, the team is briefed on the way in which the partially-disrobed woman's body was discovered. The sailors flagged down Petty Officer Cynthia Cluxton, a security officer on patrol. Cluxton preserved the crime scene while searching for ID. Finding none, she radioed in a report asking for help. McGee recognizes Cluxton -- they had worked together in Norfolk.
Ducky arrives, giving Jimmy Palmer instructions to follow while Ducky attends a meeting in London of the Society of Medical Examiners (which was founded by Leonardo DaVinci in the same year that he began working on the Mona Lisa). Ducky begins his observations with the bruising on the woman's neck (most likely strangled). Bruising on the legs indicate a possibility of rape. Her panties had been pulled down to her knees.
Tony asks for permission to release the sailors that found the body. When Gibbs assents, Tony whistles and gestures for them to leave -- they take off running. (He turns to Kate. "They haven't been with their women for six months, three weeks and eighteen hours..." Tony shudders at the thought. He tells Kate that the longest he had gone was eleven days and six hours. Kate isn't impressed.)
Ducky finishes his work with by estimating the time of death, then cheerfully prepares to leave to catch his plane. While Ducky has been working, Gibbs has been searching the clothing for identification. "There's no ID," he announces, "We've got a Lieutenant Jane Doe." Ducky suddenly grows serious. He returns to the body, looks around to see that no-one is watching, and quickly checks the left side of the woman's neck. He turns to Palmer. "The moment Special Agent Gibbs is done processing the scene, we get her back to the morgue." He leaves the scene without another word.
In Autopsy, Palmer steps out of the locker room and is mildly surprised to see Ducky already far into the autopsy. Ducky tells him that he'll catch a later flight to London. "You started without me," Palmer laments. Ducky snaps back at him, "I believe as you're my assistant as opposed to the other way around, it's my prerogative to start without you."
Abby is in her lab when Ducky calls -- he's sending Palmer up with fingerprints, semen and blood to analyze. "Be sure to sign the evidence exchange forms," he tells her, "I -will- check." Ss soon as she completes the explosive swab analysis she'll "get all over it." "No," Ducky tells her, "You'll get all over it now!" He slams the phone down on the hook. Palmer stares at Ducky in surprise at the outburst until he's dismissed.
Alone in Autopsy, Ducky has a haunted look on his face. He moves over to the table and turns the Lieutenant's head to the side. Using a magnifying glass, he looks closely and sees a bloody trident scratched into the side of her neck. He stands and looks off into the distance. "You're back, aren't you. You bastard." Phoof!
Gibbs walks into Abby's office and sees McGee lying on the floor. He's not happy that "Special Agent Goodwrench" doesn't seem to be focused on the case. McGee stammers and tries to explain the technical changes he's making in her equipment. Abby takes pity on him and puts it into Gibbs-speak: "McGee is helping me speed up the search for Lt. Jane Doe's fingerprints in the database." She says that she's got to work fast to keep Ducky off her back. Gibbs is surprised Ducky is still here, and heads down to Autopsy.
Palmer nervously explains that Ducky isn't there -- Ducky had done the autopsy all by himself, then told Palmer to "put her to bed" and left for Norfolk without explanation. Ducky's never done that before. Gibbs leaves without a word.
Wearing his coat and hat, Ducky steps into an evidence locker and opens a cooled glass case. He moves a specific rack of vials from the cooler to a workbench. He then puts on a pair of sterile gloves and withdraws a single specific vial dated 12 OCT 94. He puts the vial in an evidence bag, then returns the rack to the cooler and leaves.
In the squadroom, Kate is frustrated that Tony left 45 minutes earlier for the men's room. Tony explains that he actually went back to the drive-thru to return the $1.85. When he found that the person that made the error was off duty, he figured that her replacement would have simply pocketed the money. So instead, Tony bought a cup of coffee for Gibbs. "Thinking ahead, Kate, thinking ahead. After you tell Gibbs we've got nothing, a cup of his favorite brew will tame the beast." Gibbs suddenly returns, and Tony snatches up the cup to give to him -- and spills the hot coffee all over his lap.
Kate has had the victim's picture posted on every base and ship in the Navy with no results yet. Tony reports that there are no missing females, officers or enlisted. Gibbs isn't happy. "What else you got?" "Nothing," Kate admits. Abby and McGee arrive just in time. They don't know who the victim is either. Their search of the military fingerprint databases didn't find any match at all. "How could she not match? She's a Navy Lieutenant!"
"No, she isn't, Jethro" Ducky says in a weary voice. He walks into the squadroom still wearing his coat and hat. He says that the unfortunate victim was never part of the Navy. He hands the evidence bag to Abby, and asks her to match the sperm in the vial to that they had collected from the victim. "Please," he adds in the same weary voice.
Gibbs catches Ducky's attention. "You've been holding out on me, Ducky."
"Yes, Agent Gibbs," Ducky sighs deeply, "I have."
Ducky quietly returns to Autopsy and draws open the drawer with Jane Doe. Surprisingly, the dead woman turns her head to face him. "Tell my family what happened to me," she requests, "Please."
Gibbs steps up and waits for an explanation. Ducky calls him over to the side and shows him the trident scratched on her neck. "That's not the first trident you've seen carved in the neck of a victim, is it" Gibbs realizes.
"No," Ducky agrees. "I shouldn't have held out on you, but I wasn't sure it was the same until I did the autopsy."
"You weren't sure when you saw the trident on her neck at the crime scene?"
"Unlike you, Agent Gibbs, I like to rely on forensic evidence and not my gut."
"We're a team, doctor. Team members don't hold out."
Ducky nods his head in acknowledgement. "You're right. It was unprofessional. I'm still hoping that Abby doesn't get a match and all this is some macabre coincidence."
He slides the drawer back into place and closes the door. "Forgive me, Jethro."
Arm in arm, they walk back towards Ducky's desk. "Tell me about that other case."
Ten years earlier, a Navy corpsman found a body beside an athletic field in Norfolk. A Navy lieutenant that had been raped and strangled. A trident had been carved in the side of her neck. They weren't able to identify her fingerprints -- she wasn't in the Navy. Ducky pulls a thick file labelled "Trident" from his file cabinet and gives it to Gibbs. Their profiler believed the murderer had dressed the woman as a lieutenant to fulfill some type of revenge. Gibbs notes that 1994 was the first year women were deployed on combat ships. Ducky and Special Agent Dawes had assumed that the killer had served under a female officer. Dawes, who has since passed away, investigated every unit with a trident symbol and female officers with no results. Three days after the body was discovered, they found a note at the scene of the crime. It had a trident marked in blood, and the words "I'll be back." But he never came back, until now.
"I've got one question for you, Ducky. Why is this case so personal?"
Ducky sighs once again. As he walks to a storage room and begins a typical Ducky change of subject. "Did you know that DaVinci never gave the Mona Lisa to the patron that commissioned it?"
"Nope," Gibbs says patiently.
"Instead, he carried the painting with him for the rest of his life."
Ducky comes out of the storage room with a small box. "She's been with me for ten years, Jethro." We see that the box is an ornamental urn for ashes, with an engraved plaque that says "Jane Doe, 12 Oct 94". "She's the only Jane Doe that I never identified. The only one whose family has no closure. The only one who never went home."
The phone rings. When Ducky doesn't move to answer it, Gibbs picks it up instead. It's Abby. She's excited to report that the semen sample Ducky provided matches exactly. Gibbs and Ducky don't share her excitement. "He's back, isn't he." Ducky asks. "Jethro, we can't let him escape again." Phoof!
In the squadroom, Ducky shows the image of the trident and apologizes to the entire team for not telling them what he had known. He then reviews the earlier case. Gibbs tells them that the new crime scene has been placed under discreet surveillance.
Kate sees several things that don't seem to fit a profile. Ten years is a long time between crimes for a serial rapist and killer. If he's going to the trouble to dress women up as lieutenants, why is one blond and the other brunette; one anglo and the other hispanic? Gibbs believes he could just be "wacko" and that just having the women be drunk might be sufficient. McGee is tasked to build a list of sailors incarcerated after October 1994 and recently released. Kate is handed he list of suspect interviews from ten years earlier. "If any of these men still live in Norfolk, question them." DiNozzo is sent out to area bars with a picture of the victim. Abby is instructed to recheck all of the forensic evidence from the earlier crime. "Hey, Abs," Gibbs draws her to the side, "You'll need Ducky's help." "No I won't," she tells him. Gibbs draws her attention to Ducky, who is staring at the victims on the plasma screen. "Yes, I will," she agrees. "Hey, Duck-man. The cross-polars in my polarizing..." She leads him away, leaving Gibbs to grin at the show of support.
Petty Officer Cluxton discovers a note on the ground of the crime scene. It has a picture of a trident and the words, "I'm back." She races to deliver the note to NCIS. The note was delivered before surveillance was in place. Gibbs asks Abby to compare the ink, writing, paper, etc. between the two notes -- but she tells him that she was able to extract DNA from the older note. Kate reports that the petty officer that discovered the first body had been assigned to the aircraft carrier Teddy Roosevelt ("The Big Stick"). He's still in the navy and is now a chief on the same ship as the seamen that discovered the latest body, the Abraham Lincoln ("Shall Not Perish"). "What kind of a nickname is 'Shall Not Perish'?" she asks. Gibbs tells her to ask the chief when she pulls him in for questioning.
In Interrogation, the Chief Geotz is surprised that they're still asking questions about the ten-year-old case. When told about the new body, he asks if she had a trident on her neck. "He said he'd be back," the chief notes. Gibbs is surprised that the chief would know that, but the chief says that the agent had him write that phrase with both his left and right hands. "Not too hard to figure out why." Gibbs wants to know where the chief spent his first night back. The chief reluctantly admits that he spent the night with a friend stationed in Norfolk.
McGee thinks he's found a suspect. Machinist Mate Harlan Wilson was in Norfolk in October '94, discharged that December, arrested two months later in Toronto for sexual assault and imprisoned with a 15-year term. He was released two months ago.
In Interrogation, Gibbs pressures the chief for the name of his friend. The chief finally asks if he can speak off the record, and Gibbs has Kate (who is watching from Observation) stop the tape and turn off the audio feed. Tony and McGee join Kate, but none of them are willing to interrupt Gibbs. (Meanwhile, the chief finally confesses to Gibbs that he spent the night with another male officer.)
Tony and McGee go to a trailer park to find Harlan Wilson. Wilson's trailer is closed and locked. Although they don't have a search warrant, which makes McGee nervous, DiNozzo unlocks the door and quickly searches through the trailer. Along the way, he spills soup on his pants once again. As Tony wipes up the mess, McGee calls out that a pickup is pulling into the parking spot. In his haste to get out, Tony slips and falls on the wet floor several times.
The driver of the truck identifies himself as Tom Wilson, Harlan's brother. Harlan was there, but isn't know. "You know where he is?" "Yeah." "We need to talk with him." "Well, that's going to be hard to do. He's been dead for six weeks!" Phoof.
In the squadroom, Gibbs tells the team that he's releasing the chief, who has provided a DNA sample to be matched against their evidence. McGee has taken Harlan Wilson's hairbrush to Abby for a DNA match, even though they have a death certificate showing Wilson died weeks before the murder. DiNozzo had covered every bar within a mile of the base's main gate. "What about the other gates?" Gibbs asks. He sends Kate and Tony to check out other bars in the area. Petty Officer Cluxton arrives with the second note -- she's used every possible mode of transportation to get there quickly. She's very interested in forensics and asks if she can accompany Gibbs to the lab. He relents.
Kate and Tony walk into a bar. Tony chats up the attractive bartender, while Kate looks over a sign advertising the all-woman band playing in the bar. She recognizes the band's drummer as their latest victim. The bartender identifies her as Janice Santos, and says she hasn't been in for the last two nights. When shown the picture, the bartender breaks into tears and wants to know what happened to Janice. She's shocked that Janice would be raped and murdered, and finally agrees to give them her address.
In Forensics, PO Cluxton and McGee are standing side by side, looking at images of the two notes on the display. Abby steps behind them and says that it takes ten years of study to be good at matching handwriting, then turns off the screen. She doesn't let McGee show Cluxton anything about the equipment in the lab, and is disappointed that she can't find a fingerprint on the new note. Feeling unwelcome, Cluxton excuses herself and heads back to Norfolk. "Good seeing you again, Special Agent McGee," she says. "Likewise, Petty Officer Cluxton." After Cluxton leaves, Abby wonders out loud if they are that formal when they're exchanging bodily fluids. Again, McGee is speechless.
Tony and Kate have the building superintendent open Santos' apartment. It's been cleaned of personal effects and is basically empty. They call Gibbs, who realizes that Santos probably knew her killer.
The next morning, they all meet in Abby's lab. She's managed to run all of the DNA matching in record time -- just 37 hours, instead of the several days that would be expected. The DNA on the first note matches the sperm. There are no fingerprints and no DNA on the second note. The handwriting on the two notes might be the same, but she's sent copies to an expert to be sure. The DNA sample from the chief doesn't match anything. But the DNA from Harlan Wilson's hairbrush DOES match the sperm from both victims. McGee realizes that Wilson's semen could have been inserted after Santos was murdered. "How'd the murderer get the semen?" Gibbs asks. "Same way I did," Ducky notes, holding up the vial.
In the squadroom, they review video surveillance of the evidence room in which Wilson's sperm was stored, looking at the day before the murder. McGee recognizes PO Cluxton on the video, then recalls from their time together in Norfolk that he thought Cluxton was gay. Tony realizes they identified Santos in a lesbian bar. What's more, McGee remembers that Cluxton used her mother's name, and that her father was an NCIS Special Agent -- Agent Dawes, who had investigated the original case with Ducky. They let the tape run on, and watch Petty officer Cluxton take a sample of Wilson's sperm.
In Interrogation, Cluxton calmly denies everything until Gibbs shows her Wilson's death certificate. At that point, she loses control of her emotions in frustration.
At a cemetery, Ducky tells his original Jane Doe that it's time to change their relationship. He hopes that she'll find peace in her new home, and believes that he will find peace as well. He turns over the urn for internment and walks away.
Roll the closing credits.
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