Last time on NCIS
, Gibbs and Jack continued their secret investigation of serial killer Gabriel Hicks. Jessica, Jack's friend and Hicks' former attorney, told Jack that she is no longer representing Hicks. She got into her car and it exploded, knocking Jack to the ground.
In this episode, titled "Keep Your Enemies Closer," Hicks' former cellmate wants a 48-hour furlough in his former residence -- which is now the humble abode of McGee, Delilah and the twins. McGee is not a happy camper.
Car Bombs -- Explained
At the scene of the explosion that killed Jessica, there are no witnesses. Torres explains that the blast was caused by a car bomb, which was under the driver's seat. He knows this because he made some when he was working undercover. Torres is truly a man of many talents!
Jack is sitting in the ambulance with Gibbs and Fornell. She has some facial lacerations. Gibbs wants her to go to the doctor, but Jack refuses. Jack explains that Jessica had just released Hicks as a client that afternoon, but she had encouraged Jack to "keep digging."
Bishop and Torres drop by the coffee bar where Hicks is working and bring him in for a conversation. Gibbs and McGee show Hicks the pictures of Jessica's burned-out car, but he maintains his innocence. Gibbs isn't buying it. Neither are Jack and Fornell, who are watching the interrogation. Hicks also claims that he dropped Jessica as his attorney so that she could work for all her other clients.
Vance calls Gibbs into the hall and tells him that NCIS can ill afford any bad press, especially since Hicks' wrongful conviction and release. Vance is clear: if there is no evidence, let Hicks go. A smiling Hicks strolls out but not before making veiled threats against Gibbs, Vance and Fornell.
In the NCIS garage, Abby confirms that it was a car bomb that killed Jessica. She also has some other news for Reeves -- there was a bug implanted in Jessica's cell phone. The rest of the team run down what they know about Jessica. She graduated from Georgetown Law School and was working as a public defender, which is how she had the misfortune to meet Hicks.
A Bloody Blast from the Past
Bishop discovers that Jessica interviewed an inmate at the Department of Corrections hours before her demise. The inmate, who served time with Hicks, is none other than Paul Triff (guest star French Stewart). Gibbs tells McGee to go and see Triff.
Triff is even creepier than before as he delights in his visit from McGee and Jack. When he hears the news about Hicks' former attorney, Triff asks how Hicks knew that Jessica had visited him. The convicted murderer also explains that Hicks was chatty behind bars and that he confessed to more than one murder. Triff even entices the agents with information that Hicks always said that there was one witness he should have killed. McGee asks if it is Mary Smith, who was a witness in the Lieutenant O'Connell case that NCIS handled. Beyond that, Triff wants some rewards for his information.
Mary Smith is relaxing in her room at the nursing home when she gets an unexpected and unwelcome visitor -- Hicks. Later that afternoon, Mary is reported missing, and the NCIS team is once again investigating a case linked to Hicks. McGee reports that a resident saw Mary being forced into a silver sedan.
When Hicks shows up for work, Fornell is waiting and demands to know where Mary Smith is. When Hicks makes a crack about Fornell's daughter, the enraged former FBI agent punches him in the face. Gibbs arrives in time to pull Fornell away. Gibbs then gives Hicks a mighty head slap and tells him to leave. Bravo, Gibbs! Before he does, Hicks taunts Gibbs about Mary being his second strike. Gibbs returns to his car and asks Fornell where he planted the tracker. It is under Hicks' collar, and it is already transmitting. I love seeing this duo back in action together.
Jack tells Vance that Gibbs wants NCIS to make a deal with Triff and that she supports it. Jack wants to manipulate Triff's huge ego to gain information on Hicks' crimes and hopefully save poor Mary Smith. Triff agrees to give NCIS some much-needed information on his former prison roomie, Hicks, in exchange for some quality time at Triff's former residence. McGee's apartment is the place where Triff murdered and cut up three individuals and killed another man and buried him right under the floor in the bedroom. Triff also stipulates that McGee must supervise him at all times during his 48-hour furlough. Yikes! I love how NCIS comes up with these twisted ideas.
Secrets and Distractions
McGee is in a state of shock when he gets the news from Vance and asks his fellow agents if this is, in fact, actually happening. Luckily, McGee sent Delilah and the kids to see her mother, and Palmer helps to remove all baby items from the apartment. So basically McGee is going to hang out with a deranged killer who is staying in a huge metal cage in his living room. Triff arrives sporting a straight jacket and leg irons. Reeves stays for back-up and demands some answers. Triff tells the agents to track down the van that Hicks was using 10 years ago and to search "inside it." The van had been examined by the FBI, but obviously Triff is suggesting that something was missed.
Gibbs, Torres and Fornell get to work dismantling the van. Gibbs finds a large lead pipe that is covered with both blood and Hicks' fingerprints inside a door panel. It is the missing murder weapon from the O'Connell murder, and the blood belongs to the victim. But there are also blood particles from four other unsolved murder cases. At last, Abby and Bishop dare to hope that Hicks will finally be incarcerated for good.
Torres goes to Hicks' apartment and finds a jacket pinned with a sign reading "strike three." Just then, his phone turns back on, and it is located at Mary Smith's nursing home. Mary confirms that Hicks threatened her nephew, so she went with him. He brought her to the woods, tied her up and left her in the trunk of his car. When he releases her, he gives Mary his cell and tells her to turn it on as soon as she is inside the nursing home. Very sneaky.
McGee serves former furrier Triff a turkey sandwich on rye, but he is a vegetarian. Triff wants to bond with his new bestie McGee, but McGee is not amused. He is horrified when Triff mentions his babies, since McGee tried to hide any evidence of his family from the killer. An exhausted McGee pours out his heart about struggling to be a good father. I don't understand why McGee would volunteer this information.
Jack and Gibbs pour over Hicks' juvenile records. His psychiatric evaluation shows that he was severely abused by his father. Jack believes that is why all of Hicks' victims are authoritative men in their 30's. But Jack is worried that by killing Jessica, Hicks has deviated from his profile and is even more of a danger. Gibbs realizes that bringing Mary back to the nursing home was a ruse to split up the team. He tries to call Fornell, but there is no answer.
Revenge is Key
Fornell is tied up in his garage with Hicks, who is menacingly swinging around a baseball bat. Hicks has been waiting for 10 years to exact his revenge on Fornell. Hicks states that he is going to get "two birds with one stone." Does he mean Gibbs?
The team rushes to Fornell's garage, and they find what is left of Fornell's smashed cell phone, as well as some blood droplets on the floor. Worse yet, Fornell's driver's license is tacked to a board with a swipe of blood across the face -- Hicks' gruesome calling card.
McGee sends Reeves back to NCIS to assist in locating Fornell. Once Reeves leaves, Triff tells McGee that no wild creature would ever return willingly to a cage, and it is clear that he is talking about both Hicks and himself.
Bishop and Reeves get a call that Hicks' sedan is parked outside of McGee's apartment. McGee answers the door and is greeted by Hicks' gun in his face. Seriously, McGee needs a new apartment already! Hicks takes McGee's gun and walks him inside. Hicks greets Triff, and Triff asks him for some help. Hicks isn't pleased that Triff has been giving NCIS information. Triff continues to talk, insisting that Hicks owes him because Triff took care of him and mentored him in prison.
Hicks approaches the door of the cage, and Triff pushes it open, giving McGee enough time to grab a second gun that is secured under the table. In the gun fire, Hicks escapes but not before wounding Triff. Triff orders McGee to get a towel so that the expensive wood floor won't be stained.
As Hicks leaves the building, Torres and Gibbs drive up. Torres goes in to check on McGee and Triff, while Gibbs chases Hicks by car, unaware that Fornell is tied up in the trunk. Fornell uses a sharp tool to cut his ropes, and he climbs out of the trunk into the back seat and grabs Hicks from behind. As they struggle, Hicks' car crashes. Fornell crawls out of the vehicle and pulls Hicks out. They wrestle in the street, and Hicks gets on top of Fornell and tries to strangle him. Gibbs stealthily approaches and tasers Hicks. That's a home run, folks!
McGee calls Delilah and reassures her that it is safe to come home. He omits the part about almost being shot by Hicks and that Triff saved his life. Triff tells all the agents that he and McGee are besties and that he saved McGee so that no one new would move into his apartment. McGee wants to thank Triff for saving his life, and Triff cuts him off to proclaim that he would love to be the godfather to McGee's children. Just before Reeves wheels him away and back to jail, Triff bids a fond farewell to his friend, "until next time." Torres is ecstatic and begs to be there when McGee tells his wife that a serial killer is going to be the twins' godfather.
Gibbs is down in his workshop when Fornell drops by. Fornell wants to thank him for all his help, not only in getting Hicks but also in righting the mistake that Fornell made years ago on the case. The FBI is considering reinstating Fornell, but he is happier being his own boss. Fornell gives Gibbs a chance to work with him right before he hands Gibbs an invoice for the work that he performed on the case.
I really enjoyed this episode of NCIS, but I do believe that McGee needs a new apartment.
Are you surprised that Triff took a bullet for McGee? Do you think that Gibbs was tempted to join Fornell's investigative business? And do you think that Triff will make another reappearance on the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.