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◄ Return to 7.13 Jet LagNCIS Episode Recap: Jet Lag
Original Airdate: January 26, 2010
Recap Author: callerbear
A housekeeper lets herself into an upscale condo. When she surveys the mess, she groans. "Mr. Parsons, this time it's gonna cost you extra." As she begins to clean, she is startled by a noise and follows it to the bathroom. A cat jumps out from behind the closed shower curtain, surprising her a second time. She's curious why the cat would have been in the bathtub. When she draws the curtain aside, she catches her breath at the site of a dead man lying in the bathtub, buried in kitty litter. "Mr. Parsons!" She gasps and crosses herself.
Roll the opening credits.
McGee is the only team member in the squadroom. He is chuckling at something on his computer screen as Director Vance rounds the corner behind him, and quickly becomes serious when he realizes the director is standing in front of his desk. Tony and Ziva were supposed to call the Director before they left with a witness, but they haven't called yet. McGee explains that their flight has been delayed. "Are you sure about that?" Vance asks, "Paris can be very hard to leave." McGee assures him that Tony and Ziva don't like to travel together. "I think it's safe to say that they're -not- enjoying themselves right now." Vance tells him that SecNav wants that witness in DC by tomorrow morning. "Where the hell are they?" he grouses.
Through the lens of Tony's camera, we see sights of Paris: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, a fountain, a street scene. Ziva is sitting at a sidewalk cafe when McGee calls to check on their departure. She assures him that everything's fine and that they'll be leaving shortly. Tony pulls up on a motor scooter. Although she's in a hurry to leave, saying that they need to pick up their witness at the embassy on the way, Tony wants to take a moment longer to relax. They've only been in town for one day, but he understand why artists like it so much.
"This is not a vacation, Tony."
"But it is a beautiful day!"
"Why are you in such a pleasant mood?" she finally asks.
"I slept well last night. Why, didn't you? You certainly looked comfy enough..."
She smiles and laughs a little at the question on his face.
"Paris... France! It's really not what I thought it would be," he says as he snaps another picture. "Of course, all I had to go on was a French arms-dealer and his rather fetching daughter. C'est la vie. That's French for something."
"That's life," she tells him as she gets, "Let's go!"
They climb on the scooter, Tony in front, and drive off smiling.
The director has remained lounging in the squadroom, and McGee keeps him updated on the scheduled time of departure. Gibbs arrives. "Grab your stuff, McGee, we're going on a trip of our own." "Someplace exotic?" Vance asks. "Oh yeah," Gibbs says, "Downtown." "Just the two of us, boss?" McGee wonders. "Nope. You, me, Ducky, and a dead Marine."
In Sergeant Mark Parson's apartment, Ducky feels moved to make an obligatory movie reference in DiNozzo's absence. He estimates time of death as 36 to 48 hours before their arrival. The kitty litter was very effective at absorbing the smell so that the neighbors wouldn't notice. McGee reports that he's finished processing the scene. There is no indication of a struggle or a robbery. "How does an E-5 Marine making three grand a month manage to live like this?" Gibbs wonders. McGee mentions that he did find a safe bolted inside a living room cabinet. They move off to open it.
At Charles de Gaulle airport, Ziva and Tony board the plane with their witness, Nora. She's a whistle-blower in a major defense fraud scheme and is surprisingly nice, upbeat and cheerful. Nora's perspective is that she came across a wrong in the world that she can help make right. She is unconcerned about her safety because she fully trusts them. ("Wow! We're protecting Hayley Mills", Tony comments as a reference to the Disney movie 'Pollyanna'.) Ziva quietly introduces herself to plain-clothed Federal Air Marshal Art Neely, who was aware that they were coming. Neely has checked the passenger list and headcount, and everything looks good. The plane doors are closed and they prepare for takeoff.
McGee drills open the living room safe. Inside, a small case contains six expensive watches. A folder contains newspaper clippings about a six-month old unsolved murder of a real estate mogul in New York City. Gibbs suspects that Parsons was a hit-man when he finds a folder with Parson's next target: Their whistle-blower witness, Nora Williams. Phoof!
In the squadroom, McGee reviews what they know of Parsons. He was known as a good marine but a loner, he was on leave at the time of the real estate mogul's death, and ballistics match the gun they found in his condo with the bullets found at the crime scene. "Think we've solved that case," McGee notes. "Too bad it's not ours." Parsons had done quite a bit of research on Nora Williams. He had copies of her medical records, phone records, info on family and friends. He knew that she lived in Paris and that NCIS was escorting her back to the U.S. on that specific flight. Nora's fiancee, Daniel Sturgis, is already on his way in to NCIS.
In the conference room, Director Vance and Gibbs have questions for Sturgis. He says that he tried to talk Nora out of testifying against her boss, Ray Beringer, but that she thought it was needed. Sturgis works for Beringer as well, in their DC office. He and Nora had meet in Beringer's accounting department before Nora was transferred to Paris, where she uncovered the fraud. Beringer Marine had contracts to service naval vessels in foreign ports and were billing the Navy for repairs that weren't requested or performed. Nora found documents directly linking Ray Beringer to the fraud, but those documents disappeared so Nora's eyewitness testimony is all they have remaining for the case. But Beringer doesn't even know that he's under investigation, so it's unlikely that he hired someone to kill her.
On the plane, Nora is in a window seat with Tony next to her, while Ziva sits across the aisle. Tony shows his Paris photos to Nora and explains the techniques he used when composing the images. Nora doesn't think the pictures are as good as Tony does. "They're sort of soulless, analytical. They look like postcards, or..." "Crime scene photos," Ziva suggests. Nora smiles at Tony. "You just need people in them, happy people." ("Living people," Ziva adds.) "Otherwise, they're just buildings," Nora finishes. She wonders if Tony and Ziva went sight-seeing together.
Ziva chuckles at the thought. "No, we had enough 'together'. We shared a flight and a hotel room." Nora's eyebrows raise at that, and Tony quickly explains that it was the only room available. Nora smiles happily. "That's how me and my fiancee met," she tells them, "On the job, traveling on business."
"Rule number twelve," Tony says with a small shake of his head.
"What's rule number twelve?"
Ziva explains. "Our boss -- he has a list of rules, and rule number twelve says you should never date a co-worker."
"My understanding," Tony says, "can't be done."
"Should not be done," Ziva says. "How do you and your fiancee make it work?" she wonders.
"You two looking for advice?" Nora asks with a grin.
"No! No way," Tony says.
"We do not always get along," Ziva admits.
"Ever." Tony says, looking at Ziva.
Ziva raises her eyebrows at that, and Nora looks away with a knowing smile.
Tony asks Ziva about the phone call, but she simply says that Gibbs and McGee are working on a case. "Then why are they calling us? In the air?" Nora perks up at that question. "Does it have to do with me?" "No," Ziva says, "Not any more." Tony has been looking through the pictures on his camera throughout this conversation, and Nora sees a shot of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. "That's where Daniel proposed to me," she says with a happy smile. She's looking forward to seeing him again.
In Autopsy, Ducky lectures his "guest" (the dead Sergeant Parsons) on the origin of the Phantom of the Opera until Gibbs arrives. Parson's neck was broken with a single, precise movement. "Whoever killed our Marine hitman was also a trained professional." Abby calls from Forensics. Parson's apartment had been wiped clean, so she has no forensic evidence that will help. However, the burn phone that was in his safe had received a single phone call from a residence in Bethesda. "Give me a name, Abby." "That's what I couldn't wait to tell you, Gibbs! The number belongs to... Holly Snow. THE Holly Snow!"
In Interrogation, McGee and Gibbs are facing the attractive Holly Snow. "So you've heard of me, Agent McGee," she says with a confident smile. Snow is a notorious madam, providing services to DC's rich and powerful, yet has also managed to avoid arrest. "When did the love business turn into the death business?" Gibbs asks. They show her the records of her call to Mark Parsons and tell her that he was killed by a pro. "I had nothing to do with his death," she says. "Yeah, we know that," Gibbs dismisses the point. "But you did hire him to kill Nora Williams." They have searched her office, and found a bank account that links her to several known hit-men.
She says that she's simply a match-maker that connects people online. She never knows what service is being provided, and never asks. Gibbs asks who wanted to Nora Williams killed; Holly says she doesn't know names, but can give them the account that was used to wire $500,000 to her. Gibbs throws a pad of paper and a pen on the table. She looks at him with that confident smile once again. "I don't give it away, Agent Gibbs. My services cost."
He smiles back at her.
"I'll take a plea deal," she decides.
"I didn't offer one."
"Well, I suggest you do, and you might want to be quick about it."
"Why is that?"
"You said Parsons was killed by another pro. I can think of five hundred thousand reasons why that might be. These 'contracts' are not exclusive. Render the service, reap the reward. And, um, people can be, ah, competitive."
"A hit man killed a hit man," McGee observes.
"So whoever gets the kill, gets the cash," Gibbs realizes. Phoof!
On the plane, Ziva uses the galley phone to get orders from Gibbs. She tells the air marshal about the security provisions being made to guard Nora once they land. Ziva notes that Nora is more vulnerable on the plane, so they need to be prepared for an attempt.
"The killer just needs an inconspicuous weapon," Ziva says.
"Like what? Listen, I've been doing this for a while, and I doubt there's anything..."
"Headphone cables make for a perfect garrote. And plastic silverware is not as safe as you may think. I once killed a man using a credit card," she tells him.
Neely draws her attention to a man in the rear cabin. He's been ignoring the flight attendants and refused anything to eat or drink, but has gone to the lavatory four times so far.
Just as Tony stands, the aircraft his a spot of turbulence and he falls back into his seat. He admits to being nervous when flying, and isn't pleased to hear that it will be several more hours before they arrive. A flight attendant arrives with a drink cart.
"Drink, Madam?" he asks in a heavy French accent as he hands over a glass of water.
Tony stops his hand. "Whoa, no, I don't think so, Mr. Spock."
"Is there a problem, sir?"
"Then can I have some water?" Nora asks.
"This is what this is!" the attendant says. A second attendant joins him.
"Bring us some new water."
"I would like you to bring us a fresh bottle of new water, and open it in front of us."
The attendant rolls his eyes and reaches down into his cart for a fresh bottle.
"I'm sorry," Nora whispers.
"Got another one for the watch list," the attendant whispers to his co-worker.
"That one?" she whispers back, "He's already on it."
The attendant opens the bottle with a flourish and hands it to Tony.
"Well, merci beaucoups. Live long and prosper," Tony thanks him.
"Of course," the attendant says frostily and pushes his cart away.
Nora sees a confirmation that Tony is concerned for her safety on the plane. When he suggests that could dampen her outlook, she disagrees. "Revealing the true nature of the world isn't going to change who I am, Agent DiNozzo. Maybe it's because I'm in love, but I don't think people are bad at heart." Tony and Ziva smile wryly at her thought.
Gibbs and Vance walk down the stairs. The DA's office is slow to respond to their request for a plea deal because of concerns over blackmail. Gibbs is impatient. McGee reports that there are no red flags from his review of the passengers on the plane, but one issue did come up. The air marshal, Neely, wasn't originally assigned to this flight. He requested an earlier departure, but TSA denied the request. Neely switched duty assignments with someone else to get on this flight. He had been in DC when Parsons was murdered. "If Neely is involved," Vance warns Gibbs, "We don't want to spook the only other guy on the plane that's got a gun."
Ziva sees Neely chatting with the female flight attendant down the aisle, so she opens the overhead compartment and starts rummaging through his bag. "I think you've got the wrong bag!" Neely surprises her.
"You have a good eye!" she smiles back at him.
Tony arrives with a book in hand. "Hey, Ziva, I found your book." He hands it to her.
"Still studying American History, eh?" Tony looks at Neely and pretends to snore. "I just finished the Twilight saga, and I've been suggesting it to her. Very romantic."
Ziva slides between them and lifts something out of Neely's pocket as she returns back to her seat.
"I've just finished book four if you want to borrow it," Tony continues. "Team Edward," he says with a grin, and turns back to his seat.
"Everything OK?" Nora asks as Tony settles back into his seat.
"Not really. She picked his pocket. One of the good guys might not be."
Ziva looks at Tony with a wink and a wide smile, then reaches across the aisle.
"Honey," Tony smiles back at her and reaches out to join her hand.
Ziva discreetly puts Neely's cell phone in Tony's palm. "Call Abby, ask her to run Neely's incoming and outgoing calls."
"On it, bossy!"
Nora chuckles at them. "You guys say you don't get along, but you make a great team."
"It is not always so smooth," Ziva tells her, "Believe me."
"She's usually much snarkier," Tony says. "I think Paris changed her."
McGee joins Gibbs in the squadroom. There's been an incident at Beringer Marine. Nora's fiancee attacked Ray Beringer.
At the company headquarters, Gibbs isn't happy with Daniel Sturgis. "You took some candy-cane cheap shot at our prime suspect. It wasn't smart." Sturgis said Beringer was taunting him about Nora taking vacation time. Sturgis is worried that Beringer hired someone to kill Nora. Gibbs tells him to go home and let them do their job.
Gibbs enters Beringer's office to find him holding an ice-bag to the side of his face. He says that he was joking about the accountant Beringer (who's supposed to be good with figures) having a chance to play with Nora's while she's in town. He thinks that Sturgis is still angry with him for transferring Nora to Paris. "Are we done? I've got a company to run!" Gibbs leaves without saying a word.
Tony tells Ziva that Abby hasn't been able to find any connection between the air marshal and the dead marine. Ziva thinks they should take his weapon and apologize later if necessary. Neely's been in the restroom for quite some time. "Maybe it was that vacuum-packed sushi for dinner," Tony says, "I'm a little growly myself." Ziva tells Nora to stay in her seat while they go check on Neely. There's no answer to their knock on the door. Ziva quickly flips the latch open with a knife and they open the door. Neely is inside -- dead, with a knitting needle sticking out of his neck. His ankle gun holster is empty.
The passenger Neely that had been watching approaches them. "Is this the queue?" he asks. "It's out of order," Tony tells him, "Someone made quite a mess in there." The passenger shrugs his shoulders and returns to his seat. Phoof!
In the squadroom, Vance watches as McGee and Gibbs review the case. Neely had requested the earlier flight from Paris so that he could see his 12-year-old daughter's school play. Vance wonders if Neely stumble onto something; Gibbs thinks they might just have wanted his gun. Either way, the act confirms that there's a killer on the plane. The flight is two hours out from Dulles.
Vance tells Gibbs that Beringer called SecNav, wondering if NCIS was investigating him. "You had to shake that tree," Vance says. Gibbs doesn't deny it. "Needed something to drop, Leon." "Then you'll be pleased to know that Holly Snow's plea deal came through. She's on her way back in."
On the plane, the flight attendant announces that the forward lavatory is out of order "due to a mechanical issue." Ziva surveys the passenger compartment, then returns to sit next to Nora. Nora is shaken by turn of events.
"He's dead? Someone killed him? This is really happening, isn't it, he's on the plane."
"So are we," Ziva assures her.
"How did it happen?"
"It is not important."
"I'd like to know."
"A knitting needle. They took it from a sleeping passenger and stabbed the air marshal in the neck."
Nora shrinks back into her seat. "Oh, you are so direct," she sighs, "So honest, so different from him."
Ziva smiles slightly. "Tony and I have different, um, approaches."
"You're complimentary," Nora says, "You sure you two never..."
"No." Ziva cuts her off. "Positive. Definitely no. Why do you keep asking about Tony and I?"
"You're like me and Daniel. Good fit. Beside, Paris is a romantic city and you guys shared a room..."
"I took the couch," Ziva interrupts, "Otherwise Tony would have whined the entire flight about his back."
Tony is in the lavatory with Neely's body. His laptop is perched on the counter with a video call open to Ducky. Tony pulls on a pair of gloves, and holds the laptop close to Neely's neck for Ducky to see. The killer managed to stab between two vertebrae and sever the spinal cord. Death would have been quick and silent. "He could have unlocked the door, jabbed in the needle, and disappeared with a minimum of fuss." Ducky wishes they had a higher resolution image so that he could confirm the hypothesis.
Tony has an idea and brings out his camera. He thinks he sees a partial fingerprint on the needle and begins to take a picture of it, but the memory on his camera is full. He has a hard time choosing which pictures to delete.
In Forensics, Abby is able to work with Tony's photo of the partial bloody fingerprint on the knitting needle. Gibbs gets a call -- Holly Snow has arrived. Abby would be eager to watch, but Gibbs tells her no.
Vance and Gibbs join Snow in Interrogation. "The account clients used to send you the money. Let's have it." Vance says peremptorily.
"What, no foreplay? No seduction? My deal came through, then?"
"Just needs a judges signature."
"Why don't you come back when you have it."
Gibbs takes the folder from Vance's hands. He walks around the table to Snow's side, drops it on the table in front of her, puts his hands on the table and leans down to look in her eyes.
"Deal's done. United States Attorney approved."
She smiles at his challenge. "You like it rough, don't you?"
"Oh, there's a time and a place for everything, Holly."
"I thought so." She leans forward to look more closely in his eyes. "I'm usually pretty good at reading people. What they respond to. Role play?"
"No," he declines.
"Too bad," she smiles.
"Want to help out the next victim?" He shows Holly a picture of Nora. "Because if she dies, this deal goes away."
Holly sits back in her chair with a frown, and Gibbs continues. "And we add another charge. Murder."
She doesn't move.
"I read people, too," he tells her. He pulls a pen out of his pocket and holds it out to her. "Account number."
She writes it down.
On the plane, Tony sees their watched passenger rise from his seat and begin hunting for something. He sits on the armrest of Ziva's seat. Nora's eyes are closed, and she's comfortably leaning against a pillow. "How can she sleep?" he wonders
"To escape," Ziva says.
"Row 16. Isn't that the guy Neely said was acting strange?"
Ziva looks back at the passenger, still moving erratically in the aisle. "Yes," she agrees.
They rise and move back towards the passenger as he walks up the aisle. He brushes past Ziva. Tony orders him to stop while Ziva grabs him from behind to subdue him. (Tony calms the frightened passengers by identifying as federal agents.) The passenger explains that he was changing the batteries in his CD player when he dropped one and it rolled under the seats. He further explains that he has been angry with the airline because they refused to seat him next to his wife, and no one would move when he asked them to switch. When Tony spots a battery on the floor, he realizes the man is probably telling the truth, and Ziva releases her choke hold.
Nora approaches. "Ziva?" she gasps before falling to the floor. She's struggling to breath, loudly wheezing as she tries to suck in air. Her lips are turning blue. "How did the killer get to her?" Phoof!
The phone rings in Autopsy and Ducky answers. Tony describes Nora's symptoms, and Ducky diagnoses a severe allergic reaction that has caused anaphylaxis. "She needs an injection of epinephrine, and quickly." They search through the first aid kit, but there is no EpiPen. "Take mine," says 'battery boy', the passenger that had raised their concerns. Ziva wonders if they can trust him, but Tony knows that Nora will die if they don't. He injects her in the leg. Nora's breathing eases and the crisis passes.
They know that Nora had not eaten anything, but Ducky asks if she may have touched something. Ziva sniffs at Nora's pillow -- it smells of nuts. It has been lined with peanut dust. Ducky agrees that could have been fatal. "Your assailant clearly has done his due diligence." Ziva and Tony try to remember which flight attendant gave her the pillow.
In Forensics, Abby has a match for the bloody partial fingerprint. It's the female flight attendant we've seen throughout the flight. She was also in DC on the day that Parsons was killed. Abby has found periodic, large deposits into the flight attendant's bank accounts. She's been using her world-wide travels as a cover for contract killing. "Call Tony," Gibbs says. McGee arrives. The money used to pay Holly Snow has been tracked back to an account at Beringer Marine. Only two people at Beringer have access to that account: Ray Beringer and Nora Williams herself. Gibbs hurries off.
The plane prepares for landing in DC. Tony confronts the flight attendant in the galley, where she has hidden the air marshal's gun. She knocks him away with a vicious kick, but is tackled and subdued by Ziva.
Gibbs and McGee enter Beringers office and put him under arrest for hiring someone to kill Nora Williams. His secretaries (and Nora's fiancee) watch from the doorway. Beringer denies hiring anyone. "You can check the log. I never transferred any money." "So, what, Nora put the hit on herself?" McGee asks. Gibbs whirls around, but Daniel Sturgis is gone.
They catch up to him in the parking ramp. Sturgis quickly climbs into his car and races directly at them. Gibbs and McGee stand their ground, draw their weapons and begin firing. At the last moment, Gibbs pushes McGee out of the way but is himself hit by the car. Gibbs rolls over the hood of the car and falls off the side. He clutches his shoulder.
McGee checks on Sturgis and calls out to Gibbs. "Boss, I'm going to call an ambulance. Boss? Boss, you OK?" Gibbs rises partway and moans loudly. "Did you hit your shoulder?" McGee asks. "No," Gibbs groans, "The car did, McGee." He kicks the car in frustration.
The plane lands safely, and Homeland Security escorts the killer from the plane. Nora is feeling better and Tony finishes a call with Gibbs. "So, you're going to testify after all this?" Ziva asks. "Of course," Nora assures her, "You did your part, so now I have to do mine." She's looking forward to seeing Daniel again. "Yeah, about that..." Tony says to himself, following the two women off the plane.
in the squadroom, Tony looks through a stack of his printed pictures from Paris. McGee tells Tony and Ziva that Beringer was stealing from the Navy, Daniel Sturgis was stealing from Beringer, and Nora's testimony would have exposed Sturgis as well as Beringer. Gibbs enters with his left arm in a sling. "Rule number twelve," he reminds them. McGee feels bad about Gibbs' injury, but when Tony starts to tease McGee about it, Gibbs cuts him off saying it was an accident. Even so, he orders McGee to accompany him to MTAC.
As McGee stands, he has one last question. "Hey, in Paris, who got stuck with the couch?"
"Me," Tony tells him, "We flipped a coin." McGee leaves.
Alone, Ziva looks at Tony with a question. He looks back at her over his photos.
"Why did you lie to McGee?" she asks.
"Why did you lie to Nora?"
He saunters to his desk, photos in hand. "Nora was right. I found my favorite picture, and it's the only one with someone in it." He shows it to Ziva, and she breaks into a shy smile.
"Very French new-wave, don't you think?" he asks.
"Maybe," she says while handing the photo back to him. It's a picture of Ziva, hair in movement as she turns, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. "I think it would look better in black and white," she adds.
The camera zooms in on the photo, which turns to black and white. Phoof!
Roll the closing credits.
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