A dead officer, a crushed drone, a stolen driver’s license, and a pair of kissing cousins all converge during a family trip at sea.
Vivian Mills’ body is discovered in a trash compactor onboard a Naval ship en route to Naval Station Norfolk as part of a tiger cruise, in which family and friends (not spouses or significant others) are able to join their loved ones aboard the ship for the last few days of a cruise.
Gibbs, Quinn, and Palmer are choppered to the scene to investigate and are greeted by Commander Rey, who remembers Quinn’s nickname from her one-year shipboard stint: heartbreaker. “Something like that,” Quinn breezes.
Although Palmer doesn’t cotton to Quinn breaking the rules about onboard fraternization, he’s not surprised. “She is a very handsome woman.”
News of the murder spreads quickly, and to the whole world, when teen popstar Kasey Powers, who’s onboard doing a goodwill tour, tweets it to her 3 million followers using the hashtags #MurderBoat and #NCSI. Hee!
Back on land, McGee’s making Bishop and Torres crazy with his elaborate plans to propose to Delilah. (It involves mathematical symbolism, the Washington monument, and the sun setting at the perfect time and angle six months from now.)
While Bishop assures McGee that Delilah will love it, she does question the lengthy timeline, particularly because actually having the ring in his possession has made McGee a jumpy, cranky person. He’s Gollum, basically, leading McGee to ask, “Eleanor Bishop, can you please be my Frodo?” She says yes but doesn’t do an impression. Sorry, but if somebody asks you to be Frodo, your job is to immediately respond, “Sam!” or “Elevensies!” Geez, Bishop.
Naturally, McGee starts bugging Bishop about where she’s going to hide the ring for the next half a year. Apparently, in the locked drawer of her desk in a secure federal facility isn’t good enough, particularly because McGee says he broke into that desk all the time. Oh, but only with Kate and Ziva, he says, and man, he drops those names into conversation really casually. Sad face.
At sea, Quinn and Gibbs overhear an argument and find a tiger dad pressuring Kasey’s manager to get him an autograph for his 9-year-old. They shoo him away from the irritated (and irritating) manager, Curt.
But he’s quickly forgotten when they realize that the woman who found the body, Seaman Baxter, was supposed to have her mom and brother on the cruise with her. She says her brother couldn’t make it because of car trouble. And yet somebody signed in as him. When Abby discovers that Baxter’s brother’s car was tampered with and somebody stole his driver’s license, it’s confirmed that there’s an imposter onboard. DUN DUN DUN!
Furthermore, a crushed drone remote was found with Vivian’s body, so now the team needs to determine what could’ve been smuggled on or off the ship, possibly with the help of the imposter.
One possibility is Vivian’s cousin, David, who’s on board the tiger cruise and has experience with drones. (He’s played by Michael McMillian, best known as True Blood’s Rev. Steve Newlin; although sadly, at no point tonight does he declare his love for Jason Stackhouse.)
Quinn tries to get David to open up to her by dealing him into her card game and casually asking him about drones. Turns out, her nickname was actually Queen of Hearts because she used cards as a way to get to know people. Unfortunately, her attempts to interrogate David fail, as do her attempts to get the commander to drive in circles around the ocean to give them another day to investigate. Instead, they dock in two hours.
On land, Palmer points out that Vivian’s clock-necklace is inscribed with the words, “Time with you is never wasted.” Because there’s nothing Ducky can’t make you feel sadder about, he says, “It’s a reminder of a young life cut short.”
NEXT: Tim decides not to waste any more time