A body on the NCIS HQ roof kicks off an infiltration that strands our agents throughout the building, leading to one of the most fun episodes of the season.
The agents are in various stages of reading Ducky’s memoir while the good doctor heads back to New York. (Well, not Torres, who can’t get past the idea that the first five chapters are 311 pages with zero pictures, or Gibbs, who hasn’t taken the time.) Then an explosion rattles the building and a body hits one of the glass pyramids on the roof.
At first, it looks like an AC repairman got caught in a transformer explosion, but further investigation reveals there’s no such company as District HVAC System, and the man was actually killed by a pipe bomb in his toolbox.
Also, the NCIS rooftop is home to a secret break room, complete with a folding chair and umbrella, perfect cell phone service, and the scent of donuts from the bakery on the corner. Torres, McGee, and Bishop all disavow previous knowledge of this hideaway.
The attempted bombing results in an evacuation of the building while the bomb squad is called, but Gibbs negotiates with Vance to let his team remain for another 30 minutes to continue reviewing the evidence. Speaking of evidence, Palmer finds Bishop in Abby’s lab and grumbles about the idiocy of having to move all the active evidence into the evidence garage — a protocol that Bishop approved when she was still at NSA.
Elsewhere, DiNozzo Sr. picked a heck of a day to meet Gibbs at NCIS for a drink, and with those plans obviously on hold, he ends up in the morgue with Abby. She orders him to put on Ducky’s lab coat so he can help her move the bomber’s body into the evidence garage and clucks over the news that he’s quit the Sherlock Consortium, although he’s still carrying the group’s magnifying glass.
Gibbs and Torres launch a search of the building and find two abandoned HVAC coveralls in a room with a ladder to the roof. Yep, there were three names on the approved list to enter the Navy Yard, and two of them are in the building.
Then the whole system shuts down, locking everyone into place. Sloane, Vance, McGee, and never-before-seen NCIS tech Leslie Vyas realize they’re trapped in MTAC with no cameras, internet, or cell phones. Until they can get the system back online, McGee rigs a two-way radio and starts scanning frequencies, assuming that’s how the invaders are communicating,
In the morgue, a gunman enters and looks sadly at the body of the bomber, who turns out to be his brother. Senior, still in Ducky’s lab coat, identifies himself as Dr. Mallard. He calls Abby an intern, citing her clothes as evidence (ha!), and steps in front of her to keep the gunman from shooting her.
Meanwhile, Bishop and Palmer put a few pieces together in Abby’s lab when they discover that the dead man worked for Adrian Fincher, the drug kingpin of Baltimore. NCIS just took over a Baltimore DEA case, and as we all know, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. Looks like the crew is after some evidence.
Unfortunately, Bishop’s attempts to monkey with the wiring to force the locked door open ends up frying Abby’s major mass spec. Further attempts just damage more equipment, so she turns her attention to the three inches of hermetically sealed glass windows. Palmer jokes that it can only be opened with a pipe bomb, so Bishop starts assembling the materials for it. You know, as you do.
Torres and Gibbs head to the orange room to liberate their firearms from their desks (people with better military knowledge than I have, can you confirm that locking your guns away in the Navy Yard is SOP?) when gunman No. 2 prowls through.
Our former undercover agent rolls with it and puts on janitor coveralls, grooving to music and playing dumb about the “evacuation drill” with the gunman, hoping he can sneakily liberate his gun. But gunman No. 1 arrives with “Ducky” in tow. He spots Torres’ framed desk photo of himself (excellent callback — see what vanity gets ya, Nicky?) and realizes he’s an agent trying to access his gun.
The two gunmen start squabbling, and we learn that No. 1’s name is Burke, while No. 2 works for Fincher and is addicted to pills. Then Burke gets on the radio and orders someone to turn on the elevator so he can move Torres and “Ducky” into the evidence garage. (Next page: We’ve got a mole!)