Tonight, Gibbs’ new team works its first case at an event already fraught with heightened emotions: a 15-year high school reunion.
Two brains had been ogling the babes who never gave them the time of day when a tough guy slouching nearby starts tossing shrimp at them. One brain turns out to be former Special Forces and tussles with the tough guy, who collapses shortly afterward and dies. That’s what you get for wasting shrimp, guy.
When the team arrives, they learn that the dead man, James Bruno, brought along a bomb big enough to wipe out all his former classmates, and see, this is why I didn’t go to my high school reunion. A grumpy teacher tells the team that Bruno was a bad kid in high school and had been renting a room from one of the substitute teachers.
McGee and Bishop track her down, and she turns out to be mostly blind and mostly deaf — not great witness material, in other words. In Bruno’s apartment, they discover tens of thousands of dollars in stolen items from a massive theft ring operating over the last half a decade. They also find dandruff all over the apartment that they link to the basket case riding her bike suspiciously outside of Bruno’s apartment.
The basket case, Angela, refuses to answer questions in interrogation until Torres asks if she’s hungry and hands her a smashed-looking candy bar. Makes sense that a highly successful undercover agent would be so good with people. Placated with chocolate, Angela says no way would her friend Bruno have planned to bomb the reunion. He was a thief, not a killer.
Naturally, this case sends Abby down memory lane, reminiscing to Gibbs that high school was where she discovered her twin loves: goth fashion and blood spatter patterns, which wasn’t a great combo for making friends. She’s momentarily melancholy, then shakes it off. “On to happier subjects. This is the explosive device that Bruno was going to use to commit mass murder.” She also reveals that Bruno was trying to quit smoking, and the killer poisoned his nicotine patch.
Two other pieces of evidence: Pictures in Bruno’s apartment show him posing with Neal, who tussled with him at the reunion. Problem is, Neal said the two men hadn’t seen each other in 15 years. In addition, Bruno was wearing a woman’s diamond earring when he died, and DNA shows it belongs to former high school princess Katrina, who married former athlete Adam Cooper.
And how are all these people linked? As you’d probably guessed by this point, they all had Saturday detention together once, 15 years ago. This sends Torres and Bishop to the Cooper residence, where Katrina denies sleeping with Bruno or being part of the burglary gang. Then a gun goes off in the house, and the agents find Neal dead from a self-inflicted flare gun shot to the temple. That … seems like an unpleasant way to go.
Neal left a confession apologizing for the thefts and explaining that Adam ID’d the marks, Katrina flirted her way into their homes and security systems, Bruno did the robberies, Angela fenced the loot, and he made the numbers look good though his CPA mojo. They hatched their plan at detention all those years ago as a way to get back at their parents.
At this point, Palmer says the whole case sounds very familiar: Five kids from different social backgrounds coming together for Saturday detention? A glare from Gibbs shuts down his John Hughes knowledge, and all I’m saying is, it’s a tragedy that DiNozzo’s off being a father to little Tali, because he would have been OVER THE MOON with this case.
NEXT: The team gets Keyser Sözed