Cliff Lipson/CBS
February 06, 2018 at 11:28 PM EST


TV Show
Action, Crime
run date
Mark Harmon, David McCallum, Pauley Perrette
Current Status
In Season
We gave it a B

When the Barretts arrive at the restaurant mid argument, Torres nabs one, and Fornell drops the other with his Taser, which Gibbs then smashes on the pavement. He’s at the height of his powers when he’s grumpy, no?

Gibbs puts the bickering brothers into the interrogation room together, assuming they’ll keep fighting and confess absolutely everything, which they immediately do. Fornell’s impressed: “It’s like I want to be mad at him, but I just can’t.”

The brothers say a hitman hired them to clean up after he killed Willis, but Crime Scene Tru-Clean fired them before they could steal enough lye to finish the job. Michael’s infuriated to hear that Joey didn’t dump Willis’ body as planned but instead held onto it as they waited for the call about the second “clean-up.”

This attracts everyone’s attention, and the brothers explain that the hitman told them to wait at their hotel to answer his call on the landline with the time and location of the second clean-up.

When Gibbs and Bishop arrive at their hotel room, they find Fornell already there, having just finished christening the bathroom. Bishop beats a hasty retreat, and the two old friends settle into an uneasy wait. Fornell suggests they play charades and starts with “sounds like brass mole,” then tells Gibbs that he expects him to avoid other people when the situation gets as fraught as theirs is, but “this is me. This is me.”

And the Gibbs floodgates open. He tells Fornell that he was right all along: Hicks was guilty and should’ve stayed locked up. Gibbs sank his career for nothing. Fornell is hurt that Gibbs didn’t inform him of this until now and immediately wants to jump into the Hicks investigation, if only to help erase the way his daughter looked at him after she learned what he’d done.

But Gibbs brushes him off and says he and Sloane are handling it, and in the end, both men realize they don’t know how to trust each other anymore, which is heartbreaking. Bishop returns with food in time to catch Fornell’s exit. Then the phone rings with the deets on the second clean-up, and the team scrambles.

The address belongs to Patrice Jansen, another Hathaway jury member who’s just returned from an overseas. Gibbs and Bishop arrive at her dark house and check it, room by room. Bishop hears a noise in the closet, but it’s that old horror movie jump-scare favorite: a cat! However, the distraction lets the lurking, masked hitman grab her, and Gibbs runs in and shoots him dead.

Most importantly, the kitty’s okay.

Patrice then arrives home to find two armed NCIS agents and one dead assassin in her house. When she learns that fellow jury member Willis is dead, she’s shocked and starts to fiddle with her necklace, a stylized honeybee.

And then Gibbs starts to put things together. The jury was sequestered for months, and even though Willis was married, maybe the two of them got close? Patrice confirms that they did, and she fell in love.

Voila, the dead hitman with no connection to Hathaway turns out to have a record of phone calls and a money transfer with Sarah Willis, who tells Gibbs in questioning that her husband spent their life savings on experimental treatments for his mother and then cheated on her. “I deserve his life insurance. He owed me that,” she says. WOW, that’s cold, lady.

The case concluded, Gibbs calls Fornell from his garage office, having picked the locks, and offers him the box of evidence that he and Sloane have gathered on Hicks. “So you ruin me, you punish me for ruining me, and now you’re asking me to do this with you?” Fornell asks. But of course, he wants in, and the bromance is back on! As they unpack the evidence, Gibbs opens his mouth to apologize, but Fornell cuts him off before Gibbs breaks rule No. 6. Instead, Fornell tacks a photo of Hicks to the center of his empty corkboard.

Sloane’s making some progress on Hicks, too. When Jessica busts her lurking around Hicks’ apartment with a high-powered camera, her friend accuses Sloane of running a long con on her to gather intel. Sloane reminds Jessica that Hicks was exonerated because he was a righty and the murder was committed by a lefty, but Sloane and Gibbs witnessed Jack’s ambidextrousness at the batting cages after his release.

Although Jessica threatens to go public about NCIS harassing an innocent civilian, she does some digging and asks Sloane to meet her again. She says privilege prevents her from sharing any of the information she learned, but she’s resigned as Hicks’ attorney and urges Sloane to keep digging.

Then Jessica gets into her car, and it explodes, knocking Sloane off her feet. Sloane was on the phone with Gibbs at the time, and he’s left shouting her name over and over while she’s unconscious and bleeding from the ears.

Stray shots

  • Some cliffhanger, huh? Bad news: NCIS is taking a break during the Olympics, so we’ll have to wait until Feb. 27 to learn Jack’s fate. But oh, buddy, am I glad that they’re bringing back the Gabriel Hicks story line. Although the man himself didn’t make an appearance in this episode, I’m already anticipating his creepy menace in the future.
  • Tonight, we learn the secret to McGee super-agent/super-dad routine: Caf-Pow. He’s on a giant hamster wheel, feeling guilty about leaving the twins when he’s at work and leaving work when he’s with the twins. Abby and Reeves tell him to cut the Caf-Pow, and he agrees…but come on, he’s totally lying, right? Are we heading toward  Timmy McAddict story line?
  • Fornell’s suggestion for charades with Gibbs? “Sounds like brass mole.” I’ll admit, it took me a beat, and then I laughed and laughed. Here’s hoping that’ll tide us over for the next three weeks!
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