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NCIS: Agent Afloat Recap
Airdate: September 30, 2008

Author: hoorooblue


Cold opening shot is of the USS Seahawk steaming across the briny sea on a clear blue sky day, big white wash marking its path. It is an aircraft carrier, its deck a runway. Interior shot is of our intrepid Agent Afloat, DiNozzo, racing through the ship, up ladders (stairs), yelling "coming through" and "make a hole" as he runs. On the tannoy we hear the order 'Agent Afloat to the fantail. Agent Afloat to the fantail' repeatedly. Tony arrives at the fantail (the part of the runway/deck that is cantilevered over the water), where he finds the folded uniform and ID badge of an officer. Tony asks if anyone saw him jump. No.

In the squadroom, we have a very bored McGee and Ziva who are staring forlornly at the empty desk of DiNozzo. Gibbs turns up and says that he has heard from Tony. McGee and Ziva are deployed to see the wife of the missing sailor. They go to her house: she fails to answer the door. So they look through the window and espy a dead woman on the floor.

Roll credits.

Ducky arrives at the crime scene and notes that there is 'snot' in the victim's hair. The body is very beaten, much blood and the room awry. McGee diagnoses a violent altercation. Ziva and Gibbs are sceptical: Gibbs asks whether there is broken glass under the body? McGee says no, and Ziva points out that the scene is staged to look like a fight. McGee is reminded that his investigative skills atrophied during his sojourn in the sub-basement cyber crimes unit. McGee is somewhat dejected. However, he redeems himself when Ducky starts to observe that the bruising is not as it should be on someone who was beaten to death and McGee cuts in that it means that the blows were delivered post-mortem and he looks at Gibbs and asks "Right?". Gibbs smiles.

Back in the bullpen, Abby has a moment of foresight, predicting that Tony is coming back which is why she is unpacking his office stuff onto his desk, including his MIGHTY MOUSE STAPLER. Gibbs takes the hint and visits Vance. Vance offers Gibbs a choice of two other officers to replace DiNozzo who is deployed at sea for another 3 months and it was time that he did a stint afloat after 7 years. Gibbs is unimpressed but leaves with the two files in hand. Vance is being a boss.

Back on board the USS Seahawk, we find Tony going through Lt Evans' (the wet sailor) stuff and pondering why he failed to unpack even his toothbrush. (This turns out to be a CLUE). His bunkmates never met him because they are on different watches. Having met one bunkmate, Tony goes looking for the other, Kaplan. He finds Kaplan in a poker game and Tony gives them three seconds to clear the money off the table (gambling for money must be against Navy rules, but playing cards is not). Kaplan says that the missing man was supposed to be on duty one night but left, ill, after one hour. Said the man was a nut job with a thousand yard stare (he looks through you). While talking, a sailor brings a message to DiNozzo from Washington, DC (telling him that the wife has been found dead, and she died before Lt Evans left Washington DC). Tony rushes off to the sickbay to visit the medics.

In the sickbay we learn that the doctor has been investigated by DiNozzo for over prescribing painkillers and so there is no love lost between them. Tony just takes the file of Lt Evans.

In the bullpen, McGee has been trying to pull up files to the plasma screen for Gibbs but is struggling because Keating changed his macro functions on his computer. Gibbs resorts to just looking over McGee's shoulder to see the files that show that Lt Evans was spending lots of money and was going on exotic holidays (This is a CLUE). McGee keeps trying to work out what Keating has done to his computer (and gets overexcited when he finally pulls up the files to the plasma...but Gibbs has already gone.)

On the way to MTAC, Abby overhears that Gibbs is going to talk to Tony and gets very excited. She starts telling Gibbs news that he needs to tell Tony ("Can you tell him that Sister Rosita bowled a 260 last month, and I finally saw.." "It's not a social call, Abby"). Gibbs leaves Abby behind but Ziva dogs his steps too. He stops, turns, glares and she realizes that she also is not allowed to get to see Tony on the MTAC system.

In MTAC, DiNozzo tells Gibbs what his report says (the one he e-mailed to Gibbs, which Gibbs of course failed to read because he doesn't bother with his e-mails.) We know that Lt Evans was spending money down in Colombia after he supposedly joined the ship, so the question is who is in Cartagena spending the sailor's money?

Gibbs visits Vance's office to make the case for Tony going to Colombia, given that he was in port doing threat assessments for two weeks before the USS Seahawk sailed again. Vance is sceptical and sees it as a ruse to get Tony off the ship, but he concedes that Tony can go ashore for one day to investigate.

Colombia, in a bar, we see that Tony is on good terms with the bar owner, but we soon realize that Tony is not fooled by the barman: he puts pressure on to get the answers as to who used Lt Evan's credit card. A bad man in the corner is fingered. Tony looks. Bad man runs. Tony, informed by the intrepid bar owner, takes a shortcut and, very Gibbsly, manages to arrest the man without having to do any running himself. The man confesses that he stole the card when he found it on the ground nearby.

Nearby, on empty waste land, Tony and the bad man approach. Tony handcuffs the bad man to a convenient fence and goes looking in the dirt. He finds a shoelace, lifts it, bringing up a shoe, attached to a foot, attached to a leg. The leg is dead, as is its owner whose face is uncovered almost 2m north of the boot. It is our missing Lt Evans. This begs the question "Who sailed on the USS Seahawk?" and, worse, "what dastardly thing is the imposter doing on a US naval ship?" This is the tenor of the phone conversation between Tony and Gibbs.

In MTAC, Gibbs and Vance talk to the Seahawk captain, alerting him that someone came on board impersonating Lt Evans and faked his suicide...the guy is still on the ship. Lt Evans job was to do checks on ship security. They tell the captain to let Tony continue his investigation when he's back aboard...they don't want to alert people on board. They suggest he starts verifying the ship personnel. Vance turns to Gibbs and tells him to pack a bag...he's going to the Seahawk to help Tony.

In the squadroom McGee is still dealing with the remnants of Keating...his old computer talks to him saying "Good Morning, Agent Keating!" Gibbs' phone is ringing, so McGee answers...it's Tony from Cartagena. Tony starts complaining to McGee about his new job...McGee tries to interrupt to tell him Gibbs & Ziva are on their way to Cartagena, but Tony continues to ramble and complain. Vance enters the bullpen, suspects Tony is on the phone and puts the speakerphone on, while Tony rants about Vance putting him on the ship. Vance reminds Tony they need the autopsy report from the Cartagena M.E., but Tony says the M.E. doesn't like Americans or, maybe, just him. They finally tell him Gibbs and Ziva flew out last night. Tony asks when are they arriving and Gibbs answers...Tony turns around, and as a 1000 watt smile lights his face, sees they are there!

Down in Abby's lab, McGee is having trouble accessing the Lt's laptop. Meanwhile, Abby's test says that the stuff in the wife's hair really is snot which has a rare spore in the mucous and provides a moment for fun puns on "It's snot!" "It's not what?" "It's snot." McGee finally gets into the laptop, saying he got new skills in the cyber lab, emphasizing that he spent a long time down there. Abby looks forlornly at the photo of Tony on the wall and the number 132...the number of days he's been gone. (It was 126 in the previous episode, by the way.)

In Cartagena, Gibbs, Tony and Ziva head to the ME's office, with Tony trying to get them to admit they missed him. While Gibbs is on the phone, Ziva says Tony looks older. She asks if he still feels guilty about Jenny - yes but not as much as before. Still drinking? - yes but not as much as before. Gibbs says the COB is on his way from the ship. Tony suggests Ziva handle the ME and, proving Tony's instincts correct, the ME proves to be smitten with Ziva who flirts with him in Spanish. Gibbs and Tony observe the body and note that both the Lt and the wife were killed the same way. Abby and McGee call Gibbs about encoded e-mails they found on the Lt's laptop...he had an ongoing correspondence with someone in Singapore. Someone posing as Lt Evans sent another e-mail a few hours ago: it contained references to the USS Seahawk and the medicine that combats anthrax.

Back on the Seahawk, Gibbs, Ziva and Tony arrive and speak to the Captain...they're still trying to verify the ship's personnel. They're concerned about the air and water supply. The imposter is probably taking the anthrax med to protect himself. Gibbs sends Tony to talk to the comm room's sailor about Evans. Ziva goes with him, but as she is about to leave Tony's working space, she sees three pictures of her in her bikini from LA (including one that is solely of her hip and thigh in a bikini) and one of Abby: these are posted on Tony's office wall next to the door (prominent position). She asks why he has them posted and he says he doesn't know. The Seahawk captain has posted extra personnel in the vulnerable areas, but tells Gibbs he'll only give him 12 hours before he takes over the investigation on his ship. Lt Kaplan is not in the comms room: the person there says he worked at a highly restricted computer that required a key card and passcode and to which none of the others had authority to access.

Ziva and Tony on their way to the comm room, Ziva says McGee was supposed to destroy the bikini photos. Tony defends McGee, saying he had it particularly hard, how much he missed everyone, etc. (Seems like Tony is actually talking about himself)

Gibbs is questioning the officer of the deck and she's sure she verified Lt Evans ID with his face. She explains how long she has worked as officer of the deck and how many thousand people she has seen onto the ship: she is certain that there's no way she let a civilian on board, because she knows how a sailor walks, talks and even how they carry their bag.

In MTAC, McGee slips in to talk to Vance, who is seated in the raked theatre seats. McGee sits behind him, talking very quietly into Vance's ear, and tells him he can get into a copy of the restricted Seahawk database. Vance points out the illegality of this and the risk involved but McGee says the risk is minimal because all he has been doing lately is cracking codes and firewalls and, simply put, he won't get caught. Vance very carefully does NOT say ok. He says nothing. (and that means that he did not issue an order not to do it, so McGee, who now has better instincts than when he was a probie, rightly interprets it as permission so long as he does not get caught).

On the Seahawk in Tony's office, Gibbs says the ship crew has been verified. Gibbs suspects Lt Kaplan as either being in on the murders or being the killer, himself: he could have checked in as himself, then again as Evans. Evans' restricted clearance would give Kaplan access to vulnerable areas and he tells Tony to find Kaplan. Tony, without being smug, turns on the TV to show a ship-wide broadcast asking anyone who has info on Kaplan (shows photo) to call him. Gibbs asks if Tony has a Plan B. Tony stutters (ha ha ha, busted!) Phone rings. Tony takes the call and happily reports that Plan B is not necessary because Plan A has worked: Lt Kaplan is in the infirmary, he was found collapsed by his bunkmates. The doctor comes out of the intensive care cubicle, and tells Gibbs and Tony that they had to induce a coma due to brain swelling but they don't know what's wrong. Could it be anthrax? The Doctor is coughing. (hmmm!) Kaplan is going to be evacuated off the ship via a med-evac plane. Ziva is reading Kaplan's medical chart and tells the others that Kaplan's not the murderer because he left DC 2 days before Evans' wife was killed.

On the Seahawk, Tony and Ziva are going through Lt Kaplan's bunk. They find morphine. Did he overdose (O.D.)? Tony starts pining for DC: Ziva tells him to stop whining. He says she's back in DC like she wanted but, surprisingly, she says she's just following orders. Tony is perplexed at her apparent lack of enthusiasm at being back in NCIS. He thinks something happened in Israel, but she won't talk about it: he is wondering what/who (and we probably think it is unresolved things to do with her dear old deadly dad, but are we right?). Gibbs enters, says the doctor says it's not anthrax. Tony shows the vial of morphine, perhaps someone is trying to clean up loose ends, killing Kaplan. Abby calls Gibbs: the spore in the snot is a strain of the flu, particular to the American Samoan region of the South Pacific. Gibbs wants to access the ship medical records. Tony says McGee isn't there. Gibbs points to him and says, "You!" (Tony looks uncertain and lacking confidence).

Back in DC in the cyber basement, McGee is working, when Abby comes in ranting that Vance reassigned him again and that it is not logical. McGee has a eureka moment at the word "logical". He and Abby breakthrough by using a "logic bomb" to access the restricted records.

Back on the Seahawk, poor Tony is trying to access the medical records and to his and our relief, he finally gets in. No one reported the flu. They search for those from American Samoa: of the 6 sailors who have been there, 3 boarded in Cartagena and 1 from DC. They head to sickbay. Abby and McGee call and found a breach in the system: someone ordered a ton of cipro (antibiotic), but only half made it to the ship and they figure the rest is on the way to Singapore for the black market. The security break on board ship and the deaths of the Evans couple is not about terrorism, it is to make money. (Which is somehow more comforting, even though it remains dastardly).

In sickbay, they discover Henley (medical tech) called in sick and Kaplan is being medivaced off the ship. The doctor is sick with the flu, now. Gibbs sees fluids leaking from under a door and finds Kaplan inside: he's still alive. Gibbs orders to stop the take-off and rushes out to the medivac launch area: Tony and Ziva follow. Henley is in the medivac flight, but the pilot holds back from taking off, on receiving orders via Tony's phone call. Dastardly Henley is holding a gun to the pilot's head, so the medivac plane keeps taxiing while the back door shuts, but not before Gibbs jumps inside! Henley is holding a gun on the pilot telling him to launch now. Gibbs jumps out and tells Henley to drop his weapon. Gibbs tells Henley he knows he and Evans were in on the drug deal together, until the wife found out about it. Henley killed her after Evans deployed, then he tried to talk to Evans about it, but he wouldn't go for it. Henley won't drop the gun and says the plane HAS to take off. Gibbs threatens him asking if he really wants to fly? Gibbs tells the pilot to ask for clearance to take off on his order. In the ship at the communications, Tony overrides the other officers' reluctance to let an armed man get away: the plane is cleared for launch. Those of us who have seen early episodes where Kate learned about short-runaway takeoff and landings are able to understand what is afoot, as Gibbs grabs onto some rigging inside the plane: it whips into launch, but Henley isn't prepared and goes flying backwards through the body of the plane from the force of the launch. Gibbs cuffs him where he lands.

Walking through the ship, Tony and Ziva head to sickbay, where Henley is being treated for scrapes and bruises. Gibbs tells Tony to grab his gear because he's riding with the prisoner back home. Tony's eyes widen, he is perfectly still, then he is so excited, he bolts through the ship (just as he did in the opening scenes) but this time it is to pack.

Back in DC, in the director's office Gibbs asks Vance whether Tony is permanently reassigned. Vance seems minded to make Tony go back to the ship. Gibbs accuses Vance of punishing Tony for Jenny's death (Tony and Ziva were given the duty to protect her while in California for a funeral - Judgment Day episode.) Vance says the reassignment was never a punishment. Down in the squad room, Gibbs enters and Tony asks if he talked to Vance, but Abby interrupts, excited that Tony is there. She asks Tony if he's back permanently and Tony confirms it, saying that Dir. Vance just told him. Gibbs looks at him, then turns his head and looks up at the mezzanine balcony. Uh oh...Gibbs seems a bit miffed that Vance was letting him think Tony had to go back to the Seahawk for the rest of his temp assignment. Gibbs looks hard at Vance who merely smiles wryly, nods and walks away. It closes with the team all welcoming Tony back home.


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