Patrick McElhenney/CBS
Sara Netzley
May 08, 2018 at 10:52 PM EDT

NCIS

type
TV Show
genre
Action, Crime
run date
09/23/03
performer
Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette
broadcaster
CBS
seasons
15
Current Status
In Season
tvpgr
TV-14
We gave it a B

After 15 years in her NCIS home, Abby Sciuto has packed up Burt the hippo and exited the building. As goodbyes go, it was emotional, bittersweet — and flashback heavy. Let’s recap.

While Abby struggles for her life in the ER, Ducky arrives at the morgue to find Torres, Bishop, and Palmer circled around Reeve’s body on the autopsy table. Torres lashes out in pain and rage, then he and Bishop exit to do their jobs and find his killer while Palmer steps up to assist Ducky on the procedure. “Don’t worry, Clay. You’re in good hands,” he whispers, stroking his friend’s head.

Following surgery, Abby’s stable but critical, and Gibbs stands over her bed to apologize for letting her down. Then we flash back to them huddled together in “Kill Ari” as Gibbs promises to always keep her safe. In the present, he strides out of Abby’s hospital room to do just that.

This leaves McGee to keep watch over Abby until she wakes up, no matter how long it takes. Palmer encourages McGee to talk to “the indomitable Abby Sciuto” while she’s unconscious, but McGee doesn’t even know how to begin telling her what she means to him.

In the big orange room, grief doesn’t keep Torres from a tight t-shirt or Bishop from her snacks, although in her case, they’re chips that Reeves special-ordered and kept in his desk for her. She regrets not telling him that he was like a brother to her when she had the chance.

Police have ruled the shooting a mugging gone wrong since Reeves’ wallet and Abby’s purse are missing, and Ducky found bruises on Reeves’ hands consistent with a struggle. Palmer took his clothes to the lab for analysis, but who will do it?

The job falls to Bishop and Torres, who fumble their way through Abby’s equipment and find blood on Reeves’ shirt matching dishonorably-discharged Army Specialist Ken Marshall. When the team burst into Marshall’s home, they find a gun, the missing wallet and purse — and Marshall, his throat slit from ear to ear. He also had a dossier on Abby, which turns this into a murder-for-hire investigation.

So which of the hundreds of people Abby helped put away might have wanted revenge? One suggestion is Terry Spooner, who ordered a hit on Abby before his 2006 embezzlement trial. But he’s on probation and walking the straight and narrow with a location-tracking ankle monitor to prove it. So that’s one red herring eliminated.

Sloane then suggests that the actual murderer is calculating, connected, and holding a serious grudge, which leads Gibbs to Alejandro Rivera. The inmate takes great delight in asking Gibbs if someone died, but a literal Gibbs ear twist forces Rivera to spit, “If I was going to order a hit on anyone, it would be you, not Abby.” In fact, Rivera tried to warn Abby back in the day about the cloud of death that follows Gibbs. “It’s the ones closest to you who end up paying the price,” he taunts, and Gibbs flashes back to the deaths of Kate, Ziva, and Mike Franks.

In the hospital, McGee takes a call from DiNozzo. Although we only hear McGee’s end of the conversation, we learn that Tony doesn’t come up with any McMean nicknames, and he forces Tim to say “I love you” back to him before handing up. Awww! A tearful McGee tells Abby how scared he is and begs her to wake up. When she finally does, her first question is about Reeves.

Two days later, nobody’s slept. Abby remembers nothing from the shooting, and the team can’t find anyone matching Sloane’s (super vague) profile. Then they discover that Marshall was stationed at the same security post as Robert King, who tricked Abby into developing a bioweapon for him in season 6 and has a variety of black ops killers on speed dial.

But the slippery King has escaped from solitary confinement by forcing a guard to take his place in his cell by threatening the man’s grandchildren. The guard tells Gibbs that King plans to leave the country once he’s tied up some loose ends.

Speaking of loose ends, it took McGee 10 tries to master the art of symmetrical pigtails; he’s helping out since one of Abby’s wings is in a sling. They’re in her apartment, which looks…well, exactly the way you’d expect. The coffin, the ornate goth touches, the contents of her closet lovingly on display, even a mini-lab. Remember last season when everybody was complaining about the cost of housing in the area? Well, dang, Abby must’ve made some smart investments, is all I’m saying.

Anyway, she feels guilty that Reeves died when she was the target, and she’s frustrated that she can’t remember the shooting. But she does discover that the email invitation to The Cooler dinner was a setup to get her in that particular location, and she’s able to track the IP address of the sender. (Next: Abby decides how to honor her friend)

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