A botched hit, a long-absent father figure, and a big bad named Peaches make for a busy, if slightly disjointed, NCIS episode this week.
The feds have wanted to nab drug dealer Michael Deegan for ages, and when a hit Deegan ordered goes awry, they finally have their chance. NCIS stages death photos of his intended victim, a Lt. Johnson, and strike a deal with the hitman Deegan hired: If Tommy “Peaches” Mulligan will wear a wire and catch the big fish, Peaches will walk.
Bishop and Torres snuggle up at the bar where the sting will go down, but Deegan avoids Peaches’ attempts to capture a taped confessions. Back at NCIS, they accuse Peaches of tipping off Deegan, but Peaches swears he’s too scared for his life to do that.
So they decide to hold Peaches a little longer and take Johnson, who has no idea why anyone wants him dead, into protective custody. Then when Bishop and Torres confront Deegan at the bar, he gloats about how easily he made them and hands them the bug they stuck under his table.
Then Johnson’s protective detail hits a snag when he, well, dies. The probie on the overnight shift has both a snippy attitude and an eye for detail, so at least she’s able to provide an eye witness sketch of the fake room service employee who delivered an omelet full of poison.
Cause of death was carfentanil, a concentrated form of fentanyl used to tranquilize elephants, and gee, there’s little ol’ Deegan, sitting there with access to bootleg pharmaceuticals. Bishop blames Johnson’s death on her and Torres getting made at the bar.
To figure out the why, McGee and Torres head to an auto repair place that Johnson visited twice before his death and request the surveillance footage. Torres also borrows cash from McGee to grab a bag of bacon and brown sugar chips for Bishop, who loves them. (Also, he still owes her for canceling her date last week via text.) The machine doesn’t cough up any change, so Torres uses the whole amount to buy all the bacon and brown sugar chips. Smart man; that’s probably the easiest way to Bishop’s heart.
The trip was worthwhile, not just for snacks, but for the security footage that shows Johnson handing an envelope of cash to a blond man who matches the sketch of the poisoned omelet courier. The video also shows the blond man opening the vending machine, and Bishop starts to worry that she’s eating evidence. Ah, but such delicious evidence! Multiple calls to the machine’s service 800 number go unanswered, so NCIS gets a warrant and hauls the whole thing to the Navy Yard.
The vending machine’s like nothing Kasie’s ever seen: bulletproof glass, vibration alarm, HD camera, no visible lock. A mega X-ray machine reveals an internal deadbolt that she throws with a huge magnet. Alas, when the machine swings open, it delivers a nasty jolt of electricity that knocks her to the ground, unconscious. Thankfully, McGee’s there to catch her and make sure she gets immediate medical treatment. And hey, the Kasie-shock knocked the power out, so now the team can examine the contents.
Given the extreme security, likely no viewer was surprised that the machine held containers of Kicker Mintz, a fake product with pills inside. Feed $300 into the machine, and you’ll get a nice oxy high.
A fingerprint and touch DNA leads them to the blond man, Oliver Sherry, who’s terrified of spilling what he knows. “I talk, I die,” he says. But a little Gibbs pressure has him admitting that Johnson got $600 back in change when the vending machine screwed up, so Johnson called the 800-number to report it. Then he started asking more questions and had to be eliminated. And here’s where it gets interesting: Sherry laughs at the thought that Deegan’s the big boss.
That’s right! Keyser “Peaches” Soze’s been the big boss all along, with Deegan dancing to his tune. This time, NCIS is ready, and Bishop and Torres arrest Peaches in spite of his attempts to put on his sniveling weasel act. (Next page: Journey to Gibbs’ past)