Ducky and Jack suggest that Amber could have dissociative disorder with a fugue state, meaning she committed the murders and repressed the memories until the voices and visions floated out of her subconscious. However, repressed memories are often the result of trauma, which Jack thinks might be linked to her dead daughter, Julia.
Bishop then questions Amber’s ex-husband, who said their marriage ended when he couldn’t move on from Julia’s death, while Amber did. Oh, also, Julia didn’t die in her sleep; the floor collapsed during her birthday party.
The pieces fall together: Westbay, the lead OSHA inspector, took bribes. King, the supplier of defective rebar, paid bribes. And in the end, nobody was held accountable for the collapse.
When Gibbs and Jack confront Amber with the genuinely horrific photos of the building collapse, she at first insists that her daughter died peacefully in her sleep, which is heartbreaking. Then she screams that the scumbags got what they deserved for killing her child.
The team learns that Amber learned King was under DOD investigation, hacked his computer, and linked him Westbay. Not trusting the Navy to make a case against King, she did what she felt she had to do.
A van arrives to transport Amber to a psych hospital as she awaits trial, and Gibbs busts Vance’s chops for pushing the psychic angle. Vance wants to know if Gibbs is disappointed, and Gibbs simply says there’s lots to be disappointed about in this case.
Hear, hear. Look, we’re a society of laws and all that, but I get where Amber’s coming from. I mean, don’t murder, of course. But her cause is righteous, and she’s really good at it.
You know what else she’s good at? Escaping from a psych hospital van. It had tablets installed in the backs of the seats for the passengers to use, so she hacked one to access the van’s systems. She caused a crash, but she also made sure to swerve so a looming branch wouldn’t kill the driver.
She takes the tablet with her and tries to hack King’s case files in NCIS’ system, which Gibbs orders Abby to allow. They watch as she accesses the address for Lancaster, the DOD civilian investigator.
He’s fresh from the shower in a robe when he picks up his phone to see 12 missed calls from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Honestly, who puts that full name in their phone? He deserves what he gets.
And what he gets is Amber holding a gun on him and getting him to confess that he took King’s bribes to slip him every new DOD lead so he could stay ahead of the investigation. Lancaster offers her all the bribe money, but that won’t bring Julia back. Then NCIS bursts in to arrest them both.
Turns out, Lancaster was overseas during Amber’s murderous fugue state. She repressed those memories, but the investigation uncorked her and, realizing there was one more culpable person, she opted for a confession over murder. Jack predicts she’ll use a mental disorder defense in court.
Before she’s transferred to the psych hospital, Amber thanks Gibbs for helping her remember how Julia died. Also, if he didn’t believe she was hearing voices, why did he seem disappointed that she wasn’t? Gibbs, that man of mystery, doesn’t answer. Then Amber leaves for the psych hospital accompanied by her ex, who’s discovered that she hadn’t moved on from Julia’s death as well as he thought.
Alone, a man leaning against his desk calls Gibbs “probie” and says, “Hearing voices, seeing dead people. Psychic seems like a better option than the alternative.”
It’s Mike Franks, the man responsible for Gibbs becoming an NCIS agent! Gibbs smiles and walks away, begging the question of just how many dead people Gibbs is seeing on the reg these days. Only Franks? Anybody else making return appearances? Because that has the potential to be a loooooong list of frequent visitors.
- McGee’s having twins, y’all! He and Delilah had been arguing over learning the sex, but in the end, he discovers it’s a boy and a girl, giving Sean Murray the chance to perform some overwhelmed emotions. However, pausing Game of Thrones while Delilah runs to the bathroom does not count as heavy lifting in the pregnancy, Timmy.
- Of course Gibbs makes popcorn over a fire, like a pioneer.
- Soooo I don’t love Hollywood’s propensity for so frequently making murderers of the mentally ill. Statistically speaking, people with severe mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to be victims of violence then the general public, and this skewed depiction can cultivate unnecessarily fearful attitudes in the public. That quibble aside, though, this episode worked for me as a solid mystery. How about you, dear viewer?