And that’s why you don’t steal packages off of porches, kids.
McGee and Torres are in the middle of a hangman game on the big board when a harried agency attorney bustles in to announce that the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled against cell phone tower location tracking without a warrant.
A great outcry arises among the Young Turks, and although pinging is McGee’s superpower, he also understands valuing privacy over security. Then Gibbs hustles everyone out the door for the case of the week. (In case you were wondering, the hangman phrase McGee selected, and Torres couldn’t guess, was “grab your gear.”)
Two package thieves were killed when they opened a box addressed to Todd Nichols, a Navy SEAL whose wife stars in the hit reality show Real Wives of War — which counts McGee as an enthusiastic fan.
Naturally, the rest of the team get super judgey about his viewing choices, but McGee’s able to fill them in on the show, including Sheba’s status as the wholesome, virtuous wife.
Yeah, a wholesome wife whose husband thinks she’s the one who sent the bomb. Stardom changed Sheba, but she won’t divorce Todd for fear of losing her reality show money. Todd made up an affair hoping she’d end things, and instead, she threatened him with castration.
That sounds neither wholesome nor virtuous, which is exactly what Bishop discovers during questioning when Sheba’s crocodile tears quickly dry up as she wonders if her producers can use the interrogation room footage.
McGee’s bummed that Sheba’s reality persona is an act, but he and Delilah seem to be the only people who didn’t catch on to her fakery. The Real Wives of War message boards are full of Sheba hate, including my favorite new insult: “The most ratchet hair I’ve seen on a rich person.”
The team also discovers that a Leonard Finnik had made online death threats against Todd, so McGee and Torres head to his apartment. Although it initially looks innocuous (“No mad bomber in the history of mad bombers had a welcome mat,” Torres insists), what they find in Finnik’s bedroom is disturbing: a photo-heavy Sheba shrine, complete with a lifesize standee lying stiffly on the bed.
It turns out Sheba knows Finnik and has kept all of his love letters and stuffed animals. “A fan’s a fan,” she shrugs.
McGee’s frustrated not to be able to trace Finnik’s cell phone, but Gibbs orders him to find another way. So he follows Finnik’s credit card history to parking lot surveillance footage to red light cameras and eventually, he and Torres track Finnik down on the street, where the man’s holding a large box.
They order the civilians to clear out and start to bring in the bomb squad until Finnik opens the box to reveal a diorama that’s somehow even more upsetting than the bedroom shrine. It features him, Sheba, their love child, and a dead buffalo in a loincloth/nature scene.
Finnik claims Sheba speaks to him in his dreams and communicates through her show, but as unsettling as it all sounds, a second bomb detonation takes the life of a Patricia Everett and gives Finnik a solid alibi.
Palmer, who had to piece chunks of the first victims back together, found a blob of melted metal on their bodies. Kasie examines it and declares it a little like a brooch, which she goes to great pains to explain to Gibbs is fancy older lady jewelry. (Hey! My brooch collection and I object to the “older” label!”) When she shows Gibbs the melted brooch from the second bomb, he mutters, “Budweiser,” and walks out, leaving Kasie confused but still chipper.
Gibbs, of course, recognized the melted metal as the Budweiser trident pin awarded to all SEAL graduates. With this new information, the team looks for recruits who washed out of Todd’s SEAL class. By narrowing it down to people who made it through the bomb training but who failed their psych evals, they come up with a list of one: David West, whose psych evaluator was a Dr. Patrick Everett. (Next page: Vance flirts with danger)