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NCIS recap: Reasonable Doubts

A scorned wife, a jilted lover, and a homeless veteran occupy the team this week

Posted on

Monty Brinton/CBS

NCIS

type:
TV Show
genre:
Action, Crime
run date:
09/23/03
performer:
Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette
broadcaster:
CBS
seasons:
14
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-14

The NCIS team take sides when two women who loved (or hated?) the same man finger the other one for killing him, and the DiNozzo men join forces to unravel the tragic case of a homeless veteran.

First, the murder — or is it? (It’s totally not.) Naval employee Laurence Jennings dies with bullet holes in his chest and temple, as well as the ceiling above his head, and his wife, Angelina, and his mistress, Joann, waste no time accusing each other of firing the shots. (Also, you have a wife/girlfriend situation with one named Angelina and you don’t make the other one Jennifer? Do I have to do everything for you, NCIS?)

The team divide and conquer. Angelina tells Bishop that she was staying in a hotel after Jennings confessed to the affair, and she came home when he called to say he was breaking things off with Joann. Joann tells DiNozzo that Jennings called to say his wife was making violent threats. Each woman says she witnessed the other shoot Jennings when she arrived at the house.

The team learns that Jennings had $500,000 in lottery winnings deposited in two different accounts earlier in the year, but the money’s all gone now because both women blew through it quickly: Angelina with shopping and Joann with plastic surgery. Jennings cut both of them off when the money ran out. Furthermore, neighbors report that Jennings was nice, but Angelina always berated him, while Joann attended a sketchy law school and is currently barred from practicing law.

In light of this, the team argue about who had more motive. Bishop thinks it’s the wife (she’s the beneficiary of his life insurance policy); DiNozzo and McGee are pulling for the mistress (he took away her rented Lexus). And by the way, wouldn’t Ellie have stronger feelings about this case since she’s a recently cheated-on wife herself? I’m surprised it didn’t come up. (Seriously, writers, I’m here for script consults. Call me!)

Voice of reason Gibbs suggests having both women take a polygraph. They do, they stick to their stories, and neither pings as lying when they say they didn’t kill him. “There’s so much reasonable doubt, a jury would never convict,” Gibbs sighs.

Shortly afterward, Abby discovers that fiber in Jennings’ wound is from an electric blanket. Covering him in that would make the time of death appear up to two hours later than it was. Consequently, Ducky’s the first one to float what everyone in my living room had been shouting since the beginning of the episode: “Are these two women who purportedly hate one another conspiring to cover up the truth?” (Although we didn’t say it like that; it was more like, “Dem gals in it together.”)

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This gives Gibbs an idea, but to confirm it, he needs McGee to explain cloud computing. Aww, Gibbs is all of our grandpas! Scrapings from Jennings’ nails reveal gunshot residue, and the cloud backup shows that he had written a suicide note that was deleted from his laptop. But if Jennings committed suicide, how did he shoot himself in the head?

The team presses both women until they crack. Jennings called both women to say he was killing himself. His insurance has a suicide clause that prohibits payout, but Angelina couldn’t fake a murder because Joann also knew about his plans. Hence, they agree to split the money and accuse each other, raising too much doubt for a conviction. One shot him in the chest and the other fired into the ceiling so they’d both have residue on their hands, muddying the evidence. (Joann obviously learned a lot in law school.) The team swiftly cuffs them and charges them with insurance fraud. Book em, Danno, and etc.

NEXT: The DiNozzos are a dynamite case-cracking team