Been curious about Kasie’s past? We get a peek into the life of the affable forensic scientist this week when her best friend is accused of murder.
She and Dante Brown have been fast friends since they joined forces in the playground in fifth grade. But when his cellmate Trey turns up dead from shiv wounds shortly after being paroled, NCIS focuses on Dante as the culprit.
Trey’s 25-to-life stint ended after seven years when his conviction was overturned thanks to mishandled evidence. The person he’d been seen around town with was Dante, who’s also listed in a prison incident report as having been shivved by Trey.
When NCIS turn up to question Dante, Kasie’s there with him and his big German shepherd Theo, who is a very good boy. As Dante’s escorted away, Gibbs assures Kasie that her belief that Dante isn’t the murderer is significant for him. Then he asks her to collect Theo’s fur to see if it matches the hairs found on Trey’s body.
In questioning, Dante flatly denies brawling with Trey and says he just wanted to help him transition to post-prison life. NCIS holds him for violating his parole by associating with a felon.
Kasie’s frustrated that this is causing Dante to lose his interview slot to be a dog trainer at Paw Palace, which is willing to give him a chance even with his record.
When Torres gives her a hard time for asking them to help her guilty-looking friend, she hotly explains that his prison record comes from minor-league parole violations: popping a wheelie, possessing fireworks. Heck, even his initial sentence was for helping protect Kasie’s 15-year-old brother when he got jumped by a rival gang.
At the prison, the guards tell Gibbs and McGee that Dante was the standout trainer in their K-9s for Cons program, which allows inmates to work with unadoptable dogs to get them ready for forever homes. The guards don’t remember the specific Dante/Trey fight, so the team leaves with a month of surveillance to review.
Bishop and Kasie head to Dante’s, and does it even matter if I complain about Kasie being allowed anywhere near the evidence in Dante’s case? This is one of NCIS’s most consistent head-scratchers. Anyway, she explains that Theo was Dante’s K-9s for Cons dog. She also finds the bloody shiv in Theo’s dog house and hides it from Bishop.
Thankfully, she comes clean as soon as she runs the tests. Although the dog hair doesn’t match Theo, the blood on the shiv matches Trey, and it’s a relief to see her sticking to her rigorous forensic standards even when it could put away her best friend. Gibbs allows her to say goodbye to Dante before he’s taken into custody, knowing in his Gibbs way that she’ll try to extract the truth from him.
Dante, relieved that she doesn’t believe he’s capable of murder, provides a list of people who might want to frame him for the murder. But Kasie’s infuriated when she finds McGee, Torres, and Bishop watching footage of Bishop’s perky blond high school nemesis, now a meteorologist in Oklahoma, instead of reviewing prison footage for information about the fight. Vance calls Kasie into his office, not to tell her to back off but to encourage her to fight for her friend while being careful not to be blinded by love and loyalty.
Alas, McGee finds video footage of the Dante/Trey fight, so a heartbroken Kasie visits Dante at the prison to ask what else he lied to her about. He says he thought it happened outside of the view of the cameras and didn’t want to give NCIS a motive. Kasie understands why he’d lie to NCIS since the system’s let him down, but to lie to her? “You are them, Kasie,” he tells her. He begs her to keep the faith, but she informs him they cleared his list of possible suspects, which means they’re out of leads.
As she’s leaving the prison, though, Bishop calls with a break in the case: she’d been listening to phone calls for references to fights and instead heard talk about Trey being murdered to protect a scheme that allowed a laundry service to smuggle drugs into the prison. Trey was their inside guy, and when he got unexpectedly released, the men in charge needed to keep him quiet.
The plan required someone inside the prison, so Kasie collects hair samples from all the dogs in the K-9s for Cons program. The dog that matches goes home every night with one of the guards who spoke with Gibbs and McGee earlier. At first, he blusters about thugs, and Trey and Dante having “beef,” but his laundry-owning partner gets busted on his way out of the country and rolls on the guard, who planted the murder weapon in Theo’s dog house. Gibbs gives us the biggest smile of the episode at the thought of sending a corrupt guard to the slammer.
At the end of the episode, Kasie helps Grant tie a tie for his Paw Palace interview. They agree to team up to help others in the legal system who need assistance that someone with Kasie’s skills and connections can provide. Then Kasie hugs Dante, and he and Theo head into his interview. Theo, after all, is his walking resume.
- How great to finally get a glimpse at Kasie’s personal life! Do I wish it had been something a little less stereotypical than gangs and prisons and ex-cons? Sure. But Diona Reasonover’s such a delightful addition to the show that I’m grateful for any extra screen time they give her. Her quiet anger at the system, her coworkers, and her friend tonight was powerful.
- Poor Bishop. She’s crushed when her invitation to be the grand marshal of her hometown’s Tater Tots parade is retracted and given to her nemesis, the perky weather lady. Guess she’ll have to keep struggling to make it through life as a hot, willowy blond who’s attracted the interest of a man who looks really, really good in a sleeveless shirt.
- Speaking of Torres, he’s totally in therapy, right? Probably with Dr. Confalone?
- In conclusion, Theo is a very good boy, dogs-for-cons programs are real and beneficial for all involved, and Gibbs can tie a tie while I’m wearing it annnnnny time.
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