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Disclaimer: Tonight’s episode of NCIS dealt with the topic of sexual assault.
Tonight’s episode of NCIS started with a man driving down the road talking on his cell phone. He takes his eyes off the road to open up his camera to take a picture, when he suddenly runs over something. He opens his car door to find a body underneath his car.
In the squad room, Tony and Tim arrive at work, where Ellie is already waiting. The boys are talking about doing a cleansing routine, where they are both eating much healthier in order to lead healthier lives. If you count an all-liquid diet being healthier and filling, that is. Ellie has a breakfast meal with bacon in it and asks if they want her to eat elsewhere, but before she can do anything, Gibbs announces they have a case.
When the team arrives at the scene of the accident to investigate, Ducky determines the victim was dead before he had been run over. The victim is Ensign Lester Tate, who was stationed on the U.S.S. Soteria. Gibbs sends Tony and Ellie to canvass the neighborhood to see if anyone saw a fight between the victim and anyone else. Tim and Gibbs go to talk to his commanding officer, in order to inform the ship of the news.
Upon arriving, Tim and Gibbs meet Ensign Holly Farrell and Commander Wexler. They are shocked at the news of Tate’s death and Wexler asks about Ensign Thomas Burke, a fellow officer who has yet to report back to the ship. The team gets an address and goes to pick up Burke. When they arrive, they hear sounds of clattering and burst in the door with their guns drawn. Burke immediately yells out, “I didn’t do it!”
Gibbs and Tony are talking to Burke, who stammers over his reason for saying why he said what he did earlier. He had no idea Tate was dead, and had last seen him at the Silver Leaf bar. Ellie and Tony go to the bar to investigate. They talk to the bartender, Fred, who informs them he kicked Tate and another guy out for getting into a brawl over some girl, but he doesn’t remember faces or names.
In autopsy, Ducky reveals Tate’s cause of death was most likely the result of blunt force trauma to a sensitive area of his skull. Jimmy is pulling asphalt samples from Tate’s head wound.
Up in the squad room, Tony and Tim are eating salads when Gibbs asks for an update on the case. The team gives him a time line of what happened on the night of Tate’s death. Tim finds out Tate made some calls to a sexual violence help line. As they ponder why Tate called the number, Vance comes down to get Gibbs.
Special Agent Maureen Cabot is in his office. She is investigating cases of sexual assault in the Navy and according to her, Tate was a secondary complainant in an assault case. A friend of his had told him she was assaulted, but is now denying the claims. The woman is Ensign Holly Farrell.
Maureen and Gibbs meet with Holly in the interview room. She is still denying the claims, but it is obvious she is troubled. She begs Gibbs to tell her that Tate’s death isn’t because of what she had told him, but Gibbs can’t unless she tells the truth. She begins to tell them that when they went to the port in Key West, she went out with her fellow junior officers for drinks. When she was on her second drink, she began to feel funny and ended up losing consciousness of what happened to her. She tells them the next morning, she went to the showers and tried to go on as normal, until Tate asked her what was wrong.
Suddenly, Abby comes running in, only to stop when she realizes they were in the middle of an interview. She leaves the room and Gibbs follows her to ask how long a drug, like a roofie, would stay in someone’s system. She tells him it would only be 72 hours, but before they can continue, Farrell comes running out, yelling at Gibbs for telling the “woman” what happened. Gibbs tells her they could have figured out if she was drugged, but it’s too late because the drugs are out of her system. Farrell still refuses to cooperate.
The team is in the squad room discussing the murder. They are theorizing that the murder could have occurred because Farrell’s rapist wanted to keep Tate quiet. Up in the director’s office, Vance asks Maureen and Gibbs if they are sure Farrell is being truthful, to which they both say yes. Vance mentions his daughter wants to go into the Navy and he wants the prevalence of sexual assault to end before she gets there.
Abby goes into the interview room to talk to Farrell. She tells her that while she doesn’t have firsthand experience of what she went through, that she is still angry and upset about what happened to her. She assures Farrell she can trust Gibbs, and that Maureen and her own team are doing everything they can to stop things like this from continuing to occur. Gibbs and Maureen walk in and tell Abby they are letting Farrell go if she really wants them to. Before Abby can leave, Farrell stops her and reveals she kept one thing from them. She actually went to a clinic in Key West to file a restricted report and obtained a rape kit. Abby immediately goes to work on getting the kit.
Tony and Ellie are at the bar, discussing Tony’s new healthy way of eating as Ellie eats an order of chili cheese fries. Tony accuses her of eating all day, but Ellie retorts he just thinks this way because he’s hungry. As they are talking, a man comes up to ask Tony’s “daughter” for a dance. But before anything can happen, Fred comes up to tell Tony that the man who fought with Tate is in the bar.
Ellie goes to watch the door while Tony heads over to the man in the green shirt. Once he sees Tony, however, the guy attempts to run and makes it out the door, only to bump into a dumpster placed close to the door. When they get to the interrogation room, Eddie reveals he’s not in the Navy and all he knows is he was grinding up against some girl, who apparently “pretending not to like it” when Tate stepped in. It’s apparent Tate was only protecting a young woman from being hurt, especially in light of what happened to Farrell. Eddie reveals he went a different way than Tate did the night he died, and went back the night before to look for Tate, not knowing he was already dead.
Gibbs and Vance are watching the interrogation and don’t believe Eddie is their killer. Abby comes in and she was able to get the preliminary results back on Farrell’s rape kit. She had the drug Ketamine, or Special K, in her system, which is another type of date rape drug. Vance and Gibbs are more determined than ever to find the person who did this.
Maureen, Tim, and Gibbs go onto the U.S.S. Soteria to inform the captain of what is happening. He agrees to cooperate and sends the commander to do a health and welfare check, to look for traces of Ketamine. Tim goes along with him while Gibbs and Maureen go to interview the junior officers who were with Farrell the night she was assaulted. Burke confirms he was distraught over what happened to Farrell, and wished she had come to them, as they would have had her back. None of the junior officers remember much about that night. One of the men has photographs showing the men were all together at one point. He also had a photo of Farrell taken before she was attacked.
Tony and Ellie commiserate in the break room. No Ketamine was found on board the ship and they haven’t gotten anywhere yet on their own case. Ducky comes up to tell them he is amending Tate’s cause of death. He had a hematoma, brought on due to the blunt force trauma he had endured before he died. Then, Jimmy comes in to tell Tony and Ellie that after examining the asphalt found in Tate’s skull, Abby also found remnants of vegetable and food particles. Tony and Ellie realize what happened.
Going back to the bar, Ellie and Tony talk to Fred outside by the dumpster. He tells them when he kicked Tate and Eddie out, he gave them both a shove and they went in different directions. Tony asks if Tate could have collided with the dumpster and they surmise it’s possible. As they tell Fred what happened, he realizes he’s the one who killed Tate. He is inconsolable as Tony and Ellie look at him sympathetically. It was an accidental death.
At the coffee court, Gibbs and Maureen tell Farrell Tate’s death was an accident and not due to her telling him what happened. Soon, Tim and Abby come up to them, telling them he was frustrated and had decided to do a cross check of Ketamine use with Navy personnel. He got a hit from a case three years previously, when a Lieutenant Monica King went to the clinic for a shoulder injury. She had Ketamine in her system and two months later, she dropped out of the Navy.
In MTAC, Gibbs and Vance are on a conference call with Monica King. They apologize for blindsiding her, but she had a feeling this was what they wanted to talk about. She begins to recount the night of her attack, but is unable to continue. Gibbs asks if she knew who her attacker was, but she can’t remember.
Monica King had been stationed on the U.S.S. Panther and her base officer, a man named Rundy, had brushed off her assault claims, was not stationed on the U.S.S. Soteria with Farrell or on the Panther. Tim continues crosschecking Navy personnel with both ships until he gets a hit. Commander Wexler is brought into questioning and he denies everything. Maureen tells him they have nine different women from each of his seven command posts, who all had the same thing happen to them that happened to King and Farrell. Wexler claims not to recognize them and when Gibbs makes a quip that it’s because they’re not unconscious, he makes and attempt to stand and confront him, only to have Maureen clock him in the throat before Gibbs handcuffs him to the chair.
In the squad room, Tony and Ellie talk to Tim about the resolution of the case. Fred the bartender will most likely get involuntary manslaughter. As they talk about Tim’s work to close the Farrell case, he lets out a burp, and Tony sniffs the air. He discovers Tim has been sneaking sticks of pepperoni, and Tim apologizes, admitting he’s been doing it the whole time. Tony says he doesn’t even know Tim anymore. Tim offers jerky to Tony, but he says no, but that he wants a steak. The three of them agree to a round of steaks on Tim.
Gibbs, Abby, and Farrell are saying goodbye. Farrell plans on being present for Wexler’s court-martial and she is ready to deal with her fellow officers knowing what happened. She hugs Abby goodbye and salutes Gibbs, before going to greet Burke, who is there to drive her back to the ship. They exchange hugs and friendly banter, before Farrell playfully slaps Burke on the head, much like Gibbs did in the past with Tony and Tim, to Abby’s amusement.