A Navy chaplain’s murder leads the team to unravel a conspiracy at Guantanamo Bay

By Sara Netzley
November 23, 2016 at 01:37 AM EST
Monty Brinton/CBS


S14 E8
  • TV Show

Happy Thanksgiving, NCIS family! The giant turkey in the sky brought you a Bishop episode tonight!

First, can we all agree Bishop’s overprotective siblings are nightmares? They invade her apartment while she’s out, causing her to draw her gun when she hears a noise upon arriving home. But it’s just three dummies who decided to surprise her for Thanksgiving.

“For the record, I did send you a text,” one of them says.

Bishop’s confused. “You sent me three frownie-face emojis.”

“Yeah,” he replies, as if the meaning of said emojis should be obvious.

Then they realize she’s dressed up, wearing perfume, and arriving home after midnight…and suddenly, figuring out who she’s dating is job no. 1. What if he’s a serial killer or, worse, a vegan, which would tear their family apart? Bish assures them the guy was cleared via background check, leading them to guess he’s one of her coworkers.

Their interrogation ends — for now — when Bishop gets called to the scene of a crime. She and Torres carpool and emerge from the vehicle, bickering like an old married couple and leading Quinn to produce the first of many bemused looks tonight.

So, to the crime: Derrick Reza, a Navy chaplain, is found dead after his car careened off the road into a boulder. But the car went off the road after 11 p.m. and the time of death is 7 p.m. When Abby finds a brick that was used to hold down the gas pedal, all signs point to murder.

Reza was an imam and one of a handful of Muslim chaplains serving in the military, and although his family requested no autopsy, Ducky is able to determine the cause of death: a deep laceration on his head, incurred pre-car crash.

Reza’s last call was to Ronald Ayers, who runs a Zen meditation center, and he’s shocked when Torres and McGee tell him about Reza’s death. Reza had called Ayers to ask a favor and they planned to meet the following day.

Meanwhile, Bishop and Quinn meet with Gareth Bainbridge of the Armed Forces Interfaith Association, where Reza counseled members. Bainbridge said Reza spent time over the last few weeks with a Middle-Eastern woman.

Back at HQ, Bishop’s terrible brothers have gotten guest passes to the big orange room courtesy of Gibbs, and when they realize McGee is a male who works with their sister, they circle him like lions herding a weakened gazelle and barrage him with questions.

When McGee protests his innocence, the Bishop brothers corner Torres, who assures them their sister isn’t his type and offers up another suspect: Clayton Reeves. He’s a tall, British, international man of mystery with a “pretty-ass jawline.” Then Torres walks away, and the brothers agree he could’ve single-handedly taken all three of them down. Ha!

In Abby’s lab, she and McGee admit they’re dying to know who Bishop’s dating and why she hasn’t told them, particularly since it’s a coworker. (Apparently, the brothers Bishop made Pale Dale hyperventilate with their interrogations, and I am forever sad we didn’t get to see that. #BringBackPaleDale)

Anyway, Abby discovered Reza had encrypted, classified files on his laptop pertaining to Guantanamo Bay — and detainee Amir Hassan in particular. Since Amir was picked up by a US/UK task force, Reeves pops up to flirt so very obviously with Bishop that it’s clear they’re not actually dating.

The translator turns out to be Qasim Naasir, whom we last saw in season 12’s “Lost in Translation” as the brother of terrorist Rasheed Naasir. And if you noticed the way he and Bishop sprang apart when Gibbs entered the room to bring them dinner, then congratulations! You just passed Chemistry 101 and will receive your prize at the end of the episode.

While the translation is underway, Torres does something dastardly: He corrals the band of Bishops onto the elevator and shoves Reeves in with them. Hahaha forever! The brothers ascertain Reeves and Bishop traveled to Scotland together, although Reeves insists they booked separate hotel rooms. Seriously, Bishop would be horrified if she knew all this was happening.

NEXT: The secret boyfriend is unmasked

Thanks to Abby’s reconstruction of Reza’s car GPS, the team realizes he stopped at a bank and a hotel the day he died. At the hotel, they discover Amir’s sister, Samira, who insists her brother isn’t a terrorist. She says Reza had proof Amir was being wrongfully detained and was killed because he knew too much.

And sure enough, Bishop and Qasim discover the transcriptions don’t match what Amir said on the interrogation tapes; someone altered the records to make it look like Amir was withholding information. The commander at Guantanamo, where Reza was once stationed, tells them the transcription work was done by a private defense contractor named Brandon Peters.

So Bishop and Qasim head to Guantanamo, where they meet a suspicious and defeated Amir Hassan. Bishop asks that his chains be removed and tells him she knows he isn’t a terrorist. Amir isn’t prepared to trust her; it’s what he learned after 11 years in Guantanamo.

But Qasim speaks in Bishop’s defense, saying he didn’t trust Bishop or NCIS when they first met, but “I am alive because of them.”

So Amir confirms he was truthful when he said he wasn’t involved in any terror plots, but no one would believe him. He’s rocked when he learns Reza is dead, and Bishop promises she and Qasim won’t leave Guantanamo without him.

Back at the Navy Yard, Quinn’s had it with the Bishop boyfriend drama and tells Torres and Reeves, “Whichever one of you is dating Bishop, fess up.” Then Abby bursts onto the scene with a romantic compatibility program she built showing Bishop’s a 17-percent match with Torres, a 65-percent match with Reeves, and a whopping 87-percent match with…drumroll…Gibbs.

Nope. Not even as a joke, you guys. Nope nope nope.

In addition to monkeying around in Bish’s personal life, the team also discovers that private defense contractor Brandon Peters was an alias used by none other than Ronald Ayers, the Zen center proprietor.

When Reeves and Torres roll up to take him into custody, Ayers gets the drop on Reeves, which isn’t a great look for MI6. Also, somebody should tell Ayers nobody with a man bun should be allowed to be so handy with a gun. In the end, Torres disarms Ayers and wins gloating rights over Reeves for the rest of their lives.

Under questioning, Ayers admits to altering the transcripts, saying it’s what he was ordered to do. It’s why he quit, and he gave Amir’s files to Reza to make amends.

And this is when the team discovers the Amir situation was the wrong path to solving the murder. In fact, the bank where Reza stopped the day of his death confirms he asked for two years of checking-account statements that implicate Interfaith Association employee Gareth Bainbridge in embezzling from charities. Ah, yes, it’s always the bureaucratic weaselly ones.

Bainbridge immediately cops to arguing with Reza about the money, and a fight ended with Reza fatally striking his head on a desk. Murder case resolved. Unresolved, though, are Bishop’s feelings of guilt for her role in incarcerating people at Guantanamo during her time with the NSA.

“This doesn’t feel like justice,” she says. “What if there’s another Amir in there and we don’t know it?”

Qasim reminds Bishop she’s not responsible for locking Amir up, but she is responsible for releasing him. “It still doesn’t seem like enough,” she says.

“Believe me, that is everything,” Qasim replies as Amir leaves the prison a free man.

Back from Quantico, Bishop decides it’s time to come clean with Gibbs: She broke rule 12 — never date a coworker — but she won’t apologize for it.

“Gibbs, I like him. A lot,” she says. “Took you long enough” is Gibbs’ typically brusque response.

So she heads home to loop in her three meatheads, crashed on her couches watching football. She reads them the riot act for egging Jake’s car (ha!!!) and trampling all over her life. They all agree she’ll be more open with them, and they’ll start trusting her decision-making ability. And then she invites her secret boyfriend in.

It’s Qasim! He’s immediately surrounded by Bishop boys, but they’re quick to welcome him, not warn him off.

“Thank God. We thought it was Gibbs,” says George, the oldest.

So there you have it. The episode-long obsession with Bishop’s secret boyfriend is over. Being honest, I’d have appreciated this even more if they’d teased us with a secret Bishop romance all season long, but hey, it worked. As long Qaship (Bisim?) are happy, that’s what matters.

Stray shots:

  • I loved that family in the opening scene. The couple that raises a hip-hop baby and lies about their tire-changing prowess together, stays together.
  • Please, show. Please give us more details on Palmer’s turkey-frying accident!
  • Loved the Bishop brother who chomped on chips the whole episode. Guess it runs in the family.
  • Anybody have an over/under on Abby’s predicted due date for Tim and Delilah’s first kid?

Episode grade: B

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