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NCIS recap: Blood Brothers

Bishop mourns the end of her marriage as the rest of the team race to save a dying Navy officer.

Posted on

Patrick McElhenney/CBS


TV Show
Action, Crime
run date:
Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette
Current Status:
In Season

This week, the NCIS team lands in the middle of a sad Saving Private Ryan-ish situation, while a stoic Ellie Bishop retreats to Oklahoma to lick her wounds after learning about her husband’s infidelity.

Navy Lt. Alex Quinn is losing his battle with leukemia in the Walter Reed Medical Center when he and his mother receive word that his sister was killed in Kandahar. It’s not the family’s first loss, though; his oldest brother died nine months ago in Helmand Province.

Faced with such overwhelming tragedy, Vance gives Gibbs his assignment: Find estranged brother Sean to see if he’s a match for the bone marrow transplant that Alex needs to stay alive.

DiNozzo and McGee check out Sean’s apartment, where the cranky British landlord watches sourly as they find fake passports and counterfeit cash hidden in the air vent. And then everyone’s favorite FBI agent Tobias Fornell shows up.

“Your hair grew back almost!” DiNozzo exclaims, and yep, the last time we saw Fornell, he had a shaved dome and was struggling to come to grips with the murder of his ex-wife. Fornell snips at Gibbs about his own makeover. “New look! What’s next, skinny jeans?” Oh, please no.

Fornell’s team has been tracking the counterfeiters for years, and Sean was an informant. They plan to meet him at an FBI safe house for a blood sample to see if he’s a bone marrow match for Alex. Alas, the safe house isn’t very safe, because when they get there, they find Sean’s FBI handler dead. Long story short, the cranky landlord was involved and killed the man when NCIS came sniffing around. With his help, Fornell’s team breaks up the counterfeit ring, but when they find Sean, he’s not a match for Alex. 

Now, to Bishop, who’s in Oklahoma, chopping wood like a machine. Her mother Barbra (Lindsay “bionic woman” Wagner), encourages her to address her marital problems and nip them in the bud. So when Jake calls her phone for the 10th time, Bishop puts it on the chopping block and cleaves it in two with an ax. “Problem nipped,” she says.

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Then Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo calls the house line and asks Bishop to review the bone marrow database for matches for Alex. She finds that there was one, but the donor declined the transplant request. Let’s … let’s just all pretend that Bishop didn’t hack into a database to find the donor’s identity, okay? What matters is, his name is Richard Doogan, and he’s serving a life sentence in Leavenworth for the double homicide of Iraqi detainees. Luckily, that’s not too far from Bishop’s location.

At Leavenworth, she explains the situation, and Doogan readily agrees to donate his marrow. Oh, but there’s one stipulation: He wants his life sentence reduced to time served.

This, of course, is why Gibbs shows up on Bishop’s doorstep, just as Barbara’s telling Ellie that she’s using her job to avoid the problems in her life. Yes, ma’am, she is. Since Doogan is Alex’s only hope, they make him an offer: the possibility of parole in 40 years. Doogan declines.

NEXT: Gibbs and Bishop discuss *gulp* feelings