Ah, the ol’ coworkers-going-undercover-as-a-married-couple gambit. Mulder and Scully did it. Sydney and Vaughn did it. And another pair of coworkers did it, too, but who were they? It’s so hard to recall!
Only kidding, of course. DiNozzo and Ziva set the bar for tension-filled undercover gigs when they played married assassins in season 3. Sadly, McGee and Bishop’s undercover bickering falls far short of that glorious apex in this week’s episode, which finds our favorite agents coming out on top more through luck than actual skills.
The case of the week is Maj. Newton, who refused to let go of a closed armory-theft case he’d investigated at Camp Lejeune because he insisted there was an accomplice. But when Gibbs and DiNozzo arrive at Quantico to hear him out, they learn that Newton died while jogging. Abby uses his fitness tracker to determine that his body was moved after his heart stopped beating. So, you know, MURDER. That’s a heck of a way to tell everybody, “I told you so,” Newton.
Warning: We hear more about the Ellie/Jake marital strife this week. She tells McGee that she’s booking them a long tropical weekend and hopes they can reconnect. So when McGee picks up a call from Jake on Bishop’s phone, he chats happily with him about their planned vacation. Well, that definitely won’t backfire. And sure enough, Bishop yells at Timmy for ruining the surprise anniversary trip she was planning for the impossible-to-surprise Jake.
Back to the case: Abby works her magic on a plastic knife found in Newton’s belongings and matches it to a fingerprint on a newly acquired Virginia driver’s license belonging to Lauren Hudson, the civilian wife of Capt. Dean Hudson, who recently moved from Lejeune to Quantico. That Newton might have been onto something.
The Hudsons profess no knowledge of Newton being at Quantico when Gibbs and DiNozzo question them, and when base surveillance footage proves them liars, Gibbs has no choice but to send McGee and Bishop to pose as the Donens, a married couple moving into the empty house across the street. But they’re mad at each other! Oh no!
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Tony, meanwhile, is about a decade behind your aunt in exploring his heritage. He learns that his DNA is 2.9 percent Neanderthal (which Abby and Ellie agree explains a lot) and that he’s related to a historical figure. Oooh… Is it Rasputin? Charlemagne? Vlad Tepes? Adopting a posh accent, he tells his coworkers that if he’s connected to royalty, they’ll have to call him “Lord Antony,” pronounced Gwyneth Paltrow-style. In fact, DiNozzo’s related to Archibald Drummond, 17th Earl of Trent. Lord Tony it is, then!
“You keep talking with that accent, I’m gonna shoot you,” Gibbs warns him. Of all the faults of this episode, at least the DiGibbs tension has dissipated.
Back to this week’s mystery again: Research into Lauren’s background shows that she grew up super rich at a place called Owl Wood — Best. Mansion name. Ever. — and got even richer after her father died and left her everything. A chat with Lauren’s family attorney reveals that both he and her father worried that Dean married her for her money.
Unfortunately, surveilling the Hudsons from across the street uncovers nothing useful, but it does lead to hostilities at the surveillance house as Bishop snaps at McGee for answering her phone and ruining the surprise weekend, while McGee correctly points out that she should’ve warned him it was a surprise. Team McGee all the way here.
Oh, but then he realizes it’s more than just a ruined anniversary gift. “Things with Jake are just not the same,” she says.
After all the relationship talk, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the point of having them undercover? Are they discovering anything useful by posing as an unhappy married couple?” The answer is no, and it’s about to get worse.
NEXT: How not to add your coworker to your phone