We gave it a B-
A young man on a rented yacht eagerly awaits the arrival of the escort he hired for the evening, but when the smokin’ blonde struts in, her angry ex-boyfriend’s hot on her heels. And while the potential john may be disappointed, the audience definitely isn’t.
That’s right, friends, it’s time for another installment of NCIS Undercover! The first episode of 2018 features Bishop and Torres working slightly outside the rules to shut down a fentanyl-smuggling ring operating out of the Norfolk civilian marina.
Bishop-as-prostitute and Torres-as-angry-ex allowed them them to clone the dealer’s phone, and they immediately intercept a text message ordering the dealer to kill the person about to arrive for a drug buy. As the pair head back to the yacht to stop the murder, the boat explodes.
The next morning, Gibbs and company find the dealer dead in the water with a bullet to the head, but there’s no sign of Bishop and Torres. They eventually emerge from hiding to get dressed down by Vance for not checking in immediately, as protocol dictates. (Naturally, Bishop wanted to follow the rules, but Torres talked her out of it.)
At least they used their time wisely, using the dealer’s phone history to uncover the identity of the likely middleman in the drug ring: Mitchell Young, who runs a boating supply store. Gibbs and Vance tell Torres and Bishop that their covers could be blown and send them to the hospital for a post-explosion checkup. They reluctantly head out, but whaddya know, when Gibbs and McGee show up at Young’s shop, they spot Torres in his undercover duds heading inside.
There, Torres introduces himself as Luis and says he and his girlfriend, Charlie, ran an identity theft con on the dead dealer, and now that they know about the drug operation, they both want in.
Although “Luis” scores a job, Vance still pulls Torres in for a talking-to. Torres is unapologetic for doing what’s necessary to bring down the drug ring. Gibbs, of course, predicted what Torres would disobey orders, and in the end, Vance reluctantly approves the plan.
He then heads to Sloan’s office, wondering if he can trust Torres after he defied orders. Sloan argues that NCIS trained Torres to follow his gut and take chances — you know, like Gibbs would. The look on Vance’s face suggests that these two risk-takers are the cause of every ulcer he’s ever had.
Bishop’s also angry at Torres, who left her at the hospital without a word. He argues that he took the opportunity because it felt right. “At the end of the day, it’s how you stay alive.”
Abby’s able to pull a serial number off the gun used in the dealer’s murder, and it leads them to 9th grade science teacher Denise Mancuso, who’s about as squeaky clean as they come. She eventually admits that her sister-in-law, Frankie, stole the gun about a year ago, and she didn’t report it. UGH, in-laws. (This message is brought to you by every holiday dinner I attended over the last few weeks.)
Back at Young’s boating supply shop, Richard Lane, the owner of the destroyed yacht, is demanding compensation. Young’s employee, Donnie, offers Lane two scuba tanks as compensation. As it turns out, the drugs are being moved in these tanks, but Lane seems to think that two paltry tanks aren’t the equivalent of an entire yacht.
Then the undercover agents show up. Donnie tells “Luis” to start loading tanks onto a trunk while “Charlie” meets with Young for a job interview. The pair kiss before reluctantly separating.
Torres isn’t thrilled with the manual labor, but Bishop clearly gets the short end of the stick when Young orders her to kill a bound, terrified Frankie as a loyalty test. (Frankie killed the dealer after he pulled a gun on her, and the powers that be have determined that she’s too much of a liability.)
Thankfully, Bishop’s been listening to Torres’ many tales of his undercover exploits, so when the fire alarm goes off and he runs into the room, she knows that he’ll knock her hand away when she goes to shoot her target, just as he did with a partner on a previous mission. The plan goes off without a hitch, and Torres tells an angry Young that they don’t want a body on their hands with the fire department on the way.
In the end, Young tells “Charlie” to take Frankie elsewhere to kill her while “Luis” stays behind to continue loading product. And okay, I haven’t ordered all that many murders, but I’m not sure I’d trust a woman I met literally five minutes ago to perform an execution, and I definitely wouldn’t trust her to do it unsupervised and off site. (Next page: Seat belts save lives)