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NCIS recap: Dead Letter

Trent Kort’s back, and — twist! — he’s even worse than we remembered

Posted on

Jace Downs/CBS


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

Fornell lives! It’s a May sweeps miracle!

Yes, it looks like everyone’s favorite gnomish FBI agent will survive to annoy Gibbs another day. On the other hand, we’ve now transferred all of our fears over to Ziva following a huge explosion and the surprise reveal of the real bad guy. All that, plus we meet potential new series regulars Tess Monroe (Sarah Clarke) and Clayton Reeves (Duane Henry).

We jump into the middle of the action this week, with Gibbs racing into the hospital as Fornell’s wheeled into surgery. McGee, Bishop, and DiNozzo join him to report that the former head of MI6 is dead and there’s a BOLO out on Jacob Scott, who clearly eluded DiNozzo in Russia and slipped back into the States.

Gibbs makes one promise: “We’re gonna find Jacob Scott, and we’re gonna kill him.”

At the crime scene, Ducky states that a lesser man than Fornell would be dead already. And those genes clearly got passed down to his daughter, Emily, who shows up spitting fire before dissolving into tears in Uncle Leroy’s arms. She makes him repeat his promise that Scott’s going to pay.

Vance calls Gibbs away from the scene to meet Tess Monroe, an FBI agent who worked with Fornell and is curious about Gibbs, having heard so much about him. “I was kind of expecting fangs, to be honest,” she says.

She’s as big a fan of small talk as Gibbs is, and they quickly outline the goal of the week: locating the two ex-NCIS agents who were involved in the raid that killed Scott’s wife. They retired and went off the grid, and the team needs to find them before Scott does.

Monroe’s able to get useful information out of the ex-wife of one of the missing men, which leads the team to his house. (She did so by starting the interrogation without Gibbs, and she was able to do that by scaring the rest of the team until they allowed it to happen. I like her already.)

They arrive at former agent Dresser’s house in time to hear gunfire and a struggle. They burst in to chaos, eventually determining that Clayton Reeves, the MI6 agent working with DiNozzo, is there beating the tar out of someone. Reeves doesn’t know who it is, but we do: It’s CIA agent Trent Kort! You know, the one working undercover with La Grenouille? The one who intentionally blew Tony’s cover to Jeanne and maybe tried to kill him by blowing up his car? The one who lost his eye to the Port-to-Port killer? Nice guy, Trent Kort.

So, what went down here was that Reeves followed a trail from Europe to Dresser’s house, where he found him dead. Then Kort, who befriended Dresser when they worked Scott’s case in 2002, burst in and assumed Reeves was the killer. Got all that? Because it only gets more complicated from here.

McGee finds an address book in Dresser’s belongings with his missing partner’s information, so he and Monroe go on a stake out. The partner, Kane, was the recipient of a mysterious $50,000 deposit, so they’re extra interested in talking to him. Well, McGee wants to talk. Monroe wants to shoot him, should the situation present itself. “I hate dirty cops,” she explains.

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Then Kane strolls up, and Monroe bolts out of the car, tackling him to the ground as McGee hollers, “Don’t shoot him!”

In the interrogation room, Kane insists the money is a gambling payout, but when Gibbs threatens to leave him without protective custody, Kane cracks and spills the location of the motel that was Scott’s old safe house.

NEXT: Is a bad guy a bad guy if he quotes Monty Python?