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NCIS recap: Charade

A stolen identity leads to a flock of phony Tonys and a full-blown identity crisis for the real one

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Robert Voets/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

One Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo is a good time. Four? Well, that’s a few Tonys too many.

The problems start when DiNozzo fills in for Gibbs at a swanky political event with Sens. Kelly and Bransfield. Kelly’s unpleasant assistant, Lisa, tries unsuccessfully to bounce him for not being on the list. It might have been better if he’d been removed, though, because a furious Bransfield calls him a despicable piece of filth and shoves an envelope of cash at him.

Back at HQ, McGee glances at the stacks of bills and correctly pegs it as $20,000. Before anybody can ask further questions, Gibbs comes running into the big orange room, calling DiNozzo’s name. He just got word that an NCIS agent was killed in a car crash.

“That’s terrible! Who died” DiNozzo asks.

“You did,” says Gibbs, ever the master of understatement.  

This leads a testy Tony to cancel his credit cards while the team fills in the blanks. The dead man carried IDs with DiNozzo’s information, and his car was run off the road by a light-colored, older-model Mercedes or BMW with some kind of bumper sticker.

Once Sen. Bransfield realizes his problems vanished with his blackmailer’s death, he refuses to help NCIS get to the bottom of the fraud — particularly because it’ll keep his secret intact. But the ever-useful (and possibly extra-legal?) Abby hacked into his email, where they discover photos of him with a woman who’s definitely not his wife. As they’re snooping, a new blackmail demand lands in Bransfield’s inbox.

“There’s another phony Tony,” DiNozzo sighs.

Tracing the email reveals similar extortion messages sent to Sen. Matheson and Sen. Kelly, and the team realizes that there are three faux Tonys (Fauxnys?). Kelly’s is dead, but Bransfield’s and Matheson’s are still out there.

The team then sets out to con the cons by dressing Gibbs as Matheson and McGee as Kelly and nabbing the Fauxnys at their drops. (The resemblance between the agents and the senators is slight; you’d think the blackmailers would have photos of their targets. But pshh details.)

Under questioning, the Fauxnys admit that they’re actors and a woman hired them from Craigslist.

“She told me that I’d get to play a government agent. You know, like Jason Bourne. Except, of course, I get Jason Boring,” Little Fauxny says.

Then they pile on, calling DiNozzo pathetic. “You have no life,” Big Fauxny says.

“It’s true. You have no wife, no kids, no hobbies. Same job, same apartment. I mean, nothing changes with you,” Little Fauxny says.

“What a fun conversation,” DiNozzo snips. Poor guy. You can practically see the hamster wheel that is his brain turning, but he’s not thinking about this week’s case.  

Anyway, Frick and Frack actually prove useful when they admit to dropping the money at a bus station locker with a security camera. Turns out, the woman who hired them is…drumroll…DiNozzo’s fizzled one-night stand from “After Hours”! You remember her: Blond, pretty, annoyed that DiNozzo got distracted from serenading her with Sinatra as he tried to solve the fishy self-defense murder case from three episodes ago.

Unfortunately, DiNozzo’s no help in locating her. She gave him a fake name, he tossed out the email address she gave him, and he’s had so many women at his apartment that he can’t be more specific about any details. Gibbs is not pleased that he was such an easy target (emphasis on easy) when she approached him at the bar.

 “They usually do!” DiNozzo replies.

Back at his place, Abby’s dusting for fingerprints even though it’s been more than a month and many ladies have come and gone since then. DiNozzo thinks she must’ve used a flash drive or her camera phone to swipe his deets when he was in the kitchen and confesses to feeling violated — “and not the way I like.”

While dusting, Abby finds his reversible cat/dog picture.

“It’s a long story,” Tony says.

“Yeah, you pretend to have a pet to impress women,” Abby says.

“So it’s a short story,” Tony says. Ha!

Then she psychoanalyzes that it’s not that he hasn’t met the right one; he’s just afraid of whom he might find. Before the moment becomes too uncomfortable, DiNozzo realizes the wine bottle the mystery woman drank from is still in his fridge. And just like that, they’ve got a fingerprint and a name: Elizabeth Elliot, former mortgage lender.  

While this is unfolding, the rest of the team is starting to think that Elizabeth didn’t have anything to do with the dead Fauxny’s murder because Sen. Kelly drives a white 40-year-old Mercedes with a newly repaired bumper and fresh parking sticker. (His secret? Bogus medical discharge that kept him out of Operation Desert Storm.)

NEXT: DiNozzo suffers a crisis of confidence