We gave it a B+
Three deaths and two births mark this year’s NCIS Thanksgiving episode, which opens with a modern-day quick draw.
When MI5 agent Nigel Ford tracks Serbian arms dealer Andre Yorka to a convenience store parking lot, both men draw their guns and fire. Ford manages to place a call to Jack before succumbing to his wound, while Yorka kills the henchman accompanying him and flees.
When the team arrives on the scene, Jack says she and Ford worked a special joint operation tracking Yorka. Ford got to town last week, and she was going to deliver the old Yorka case files to him that night. Thanks to a security camera shot, Jack can confirm that the shooter’s Yorka, and thanks to the blood trail, Gibbs can confirm that Yorka’s armed, wounded, and dangerous.
Then McGee gets a call that pulls him away from the scene: Abby and Delilah were having breakfast when Delilah’s water broke three weeks early. McGee races to the hospital, where a kindly security guard whisks him past the line and straight to Delilah’s room. He’s Morgan Cade (Dan Lauria), a retired park police officer who took the ER security job after the recent death of his wife.
He saw “that goth girl” come in with Delilah and was ready to swing into action to shower VIP treatment on “a fellow law enforcement officer” as soon as McGee arrived. Aww, their actual jobs are a million miles apart, but Morgan’s earnest excitement over teaming up with McGee is endearing. When McGee arrives on the maternity ward and panics because no one will let him see Delilah, Morgan assures him that it’ll all work out.
Back at HQ, the team studies up on Yorka, a shady operator who tends to hire local talent and then leaves them behind to take the fall when he skips town. He’s been banned from several countries, and Romania recently froze his assets. This leaves the team wondering what Yorka hired his now-dead henchman to do for him.
An emotional Jack watches over Ford’s body. She and Ford were really good friends, and they occasionally…well, you know. She tells Gibbs that Yorka’s a racist, misogynistic creep, and she wants to tear him up to avenge Ford’s death. Also, the henchman’s autopsy reveals the scent of plastic explosives on his hands, which is never good.
At the hospital, Delilah sends a nervous McGee to fetch grape soda, just to keep him occupied. When he hits the lobby, Morgan directs him to a soda machine, and en route, he spots none other than Andre Yorka in the ER waiting room with a gunshot wound to the leg. Um, what kind of crook goes to the hospital for a gunshot? Avoiding hospitals is Crime-Doing 101!
McGee sends Morgan to keep an eye on Yorka while he calls Gibbs. Unfortunately, Morgan’s super suspicious about it, and when Yorka tries to bolt, Morgan physically restrains him. Yorka pulls a gun and shoots poor overeager Morgan in the stomach
McGee draws his own gun, so Yorka grabs a terrified female hostage, prompting McGee to slide his gun over. McGee also calls Yorka by name, which means he now knows that law enforcement is onto him.
When NCIS arrives, Jack warns Bishop and McGee that Yorka needs to feel like he’s in control or he’ll start shooting. Gibbs orders her to stay hidden so she can listen and advise (and resist the urge to punch Yorka in the face), while he and Bishop head to the lobby “unarmed” in order to defuse the situation and learn where Yorka planted the bomb.
Gibbs and Bishop enter with their hands up, and Yorka sends the hostage to frisk them. Naturally, she finds multiple weapons. Meanwhile, Morgan continues to bleed from the gut shot.
Gibbs introduces them as NCIS and offers to trade themselves for Morgan and the hostage, but no dice. Yorka wants the bullet removed and safe passage out of the U.S. Then sweet, good-intentioned Morgan tells Yorka that McGee has two babies on the way. Gibbs and Bishop are all, “What’s he talking about, Willis?” but Yorka realizes that McGee will make a much more useful hostage since he likely wants to see the birth of his children.
Bishop’s dispatched to find a doctor to take care of Yorka, but everyone evacuated with the patients when the gunshots started. Now there’s one lone doctor taking care of the hospital’s critically ill patients, which means he can’t get involved in the hostage situation.
Upstairs, Abby wonders what’s taking McGee so long, then looks out the window and spies the squadron of police cars out front. She tries to act cool as she tells Delilah she’ll see what’s going on with the soda hunt. When hospital staff won’t let her leave the floor, she calls Bishop, who explains the situation. Then Bishop returns to the ER lobby, armed with advice from Jack for how to handle Yorka.
Once she’s back with the group, Bishop gets aggressive with him, demanding to know where the bomb is. Jack’s delighted to see Gibbs catch on immediately, chastising Bishop for giving up their only leverage and huffing an aggrieved, “Women.” Yorka agrees that women sure do like to talk. (Next page: The McGee babies enter the world)