Bill Inoshita/CBS


S16 E11
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TV Show
January 08, 2019 at 11:03 PM EST

Vance tries to spin his agents’ actions as “shrewd computer tactics” and points out that they’ve implicated Hartgrave in moving enough chlorine gas for a major chemical attack. Crawford’s still livid, but I’ve got faith in him. He’s just living up to the legacy of AD Skinner, who always harrumphed and stuck to the rulebook before eventually seeing the wisdom of what his rule-breaking agents were up to.

Anyway, Hartgrave refuses medical treatment and admits that he discovered the gas in storage and slipped it out, riding along with Grant so he could unload it himself. But Grant got there first and accidentally punctured a canister, dying on the spot.

Hartgrave’s proud to say he’s sending the gas to Syrian freedom fighters so they can have a chance against a government that’s killing its own citizens. Even though Gibbs and Sloane point out that Hartgrove can’t control where the chemical weapons will actually end up, he refuses to give tell them its current location.

At this point, Sloane texts McGee a request that he buy them more time. (Her name is spelled correctly in his phone, for the record.) McGee and Torres hatch a hasty plan that has McGee locking down the room using the aforementioned SCIF protocols, while Torres just reaches for his gun. Naturally, this only further incenses Crawford, who now believes he’s being held hostage. Since they’re stuck in the room with no cell service, they turn to the closed caption TV, where they watch Hartgrove’s interrogation.

Said interrogation’s interrupted by a commotion in the hallway. Then Gibbs and Sloane storm in and turn on the local news, where an anchor introduces a cell phone video of a gas attack, complete with fleeing, screaming, coughing civilians and bodies in bags. Hartgrave’s horrified that this is where the gas ended up and offers up the name of the customs agent he gave the chemical weapons to.

Ah, but it was all a ruse: The agents at the Freemont Inn conference volunteered to play the role of terrified citizens, and the reporter in attendance delivered the fictional newscast in front of a green screen to NCIS’s closed circuit TV. That’s some tidy circular storytelling!

At a shipyard, Bishop and Gibbs secure the incredibly old canisters of chlorine gas, and when Gibbs arrives back at HQ, he obeys Crawford’s commands that he add his badge to the growing pile collecting on Vance’s office table.

But then he points out that Trine lied about destroying the gas so they could save millions by just sticking it in storage. And whaddya know, Crawford’s a Trine shareholder and close friends with the CEO.

Crawford’s horrified at the coincidence and argues that he didn’t know, then realizes that it’s easy to assume the worst about people. And with that, he completes the classic Walter Skinner turnaround, as the gruff, uncompromising lawman acknowledges that his agents acted in good faith for the safety of the country.

Once the case is wrapped, Torres apologizes to Bishop for canceling her date. She tells him she has to be able to trust him and asks why he did it. For a moment, it looks like he’s ready to confess something – something pretty major that I suspect they both know – but in the end, he just wishes her good night.

Torres isn’t the only one keeping secrets this week. Kasie’s wise to the ways of tech companies and tells McGee that they only send those goodie bundles to prospective employees. McGee admits he’s being head-hunted. It’s flattering that a cutting-edge tech company’s interested in him, and they are offering quite a bit of money. Is our stalwart agent ready to jump to the private sector?

We close this week with one more secret: Crawford may have had less of a change of heart than we realized. He sits down to a meal with Westley Clark, the CIA agent who’s been surveilling Vance. Crawford orders Clark to get him all the intel he’s gathered, refusing to specify if he wants it for business or pleasure.

Stray Shots

  • It’s bold of NCIS to give us an episode called “Toil and Trouble” that doesn’t involve witches, no?
  • Exchange of the week comes courtesy of the amorous bridal party couple, having just discovered a roomful of bodies. Him: “Should we look for a bathroom?” Her: “I’m not in the mood anymore!” Aww, wedding receptions are magical!
  • So what do you think, friends? Can you picture an NCIS team sans McGee? Let me know in the comments!

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