"Evil Eye" unveils a surprising murder weapon of the week.
harmonc (2)
S20 E13
Show MoreAbout NCIS
  • TV Show

When's the last time an NCIS villain gave you the true heebie-jeebies? Because I'll admit it: tonight's bad guy made me give a loud, nervous laugh when his unsettling gaze locked on the camera before one of the commercial breaks.

Things were already in give me the willies territory from the jump when Lt. Renée Harlan is pursued through the Norfolk Ship Museum by a food delivery robot chirping that it has a delivery for her. And that delivery? A severed head.

A severed head that the show KEEPS SHOWING IN CLOSE UP, incidentally. I hope you weren't mid-dinner, friends!

The team is joined on the scene by superstar actress Chloe Marlene (Tania Raymonde), who's shadowing Knight (Katrina Law) to better portray the role of Cheyenne Fuentes, an NCIS REACT agent. (Knight thought the request was a joke at first, but Vance tells her they're hoping Chloe will do for NCIS what Tom Cruise and Top Gun did for the Navy Fighter Pilot program.)

Chloe observes the action in her gorgeous cream-colored coat and thigh-high camel boots, which intrigues the museum volunteer and the tourist who witnessed the action.

Knight's a great mentor, coaching Chloe through the question-asking stage of the investigation, and the actress rises to the occasion with strong contributions. Then Knight removes the insulation on the delivery robot to reveal a pipe bomb with less than thirty seconds left.

Everybody scatters as Knight tosses it into the water to safely detonate. At that point, she tries to send Chloe home, but she stays put. After all, her acting coach taught her that the secret to staying calm in the face of chaos is a little thing called disassociation.

So the team gets to work. Palmer's (Brian Dietzen) blown away by the fast, clean cut that separated the head from the body of a Louisville salesman who's been missing since last week.

Kasie (Diona Reasonover) searches the man's socials and learns that he had a pacemaker, which allows them to trace its GPS to a barn where Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Parker (Gary Cole) find the man's body alongside an entire freaking guillotine.

Yep, you read that right. That explains that sharp cut Palmer was so impressed with. And it was used two other times as well, with two more bodies and severed heads in the barn. We've got a serial killer! And what's more, all three victims have heterochromia, or different-colored eyes. Oh God, somebody check on Max Scherzer.

The next morning, Chloe arrives dressed like Knight in a tweed jacket and neutral button-down­ —adorbs!­ — and confides in Jess that the disassociation stopped working once the sun went down. Jess admits that it never really gets easier for her either.

Katrina Law as NCIS Special Agent Jessica Knight
| Credit: CBS

In the big orange room, Chloe's horrified to learn what they found in the barn, and this time, she takes Knight up on her suggestion that they wrap up her job shadowing. Both women have clearly impressed one another with their smarts and work ethic, and as they say goodbye, Chloe makes Jess promise they'll catch the guy.

Meanwhile, Palmer delivers a history lesson to Parker and Vance (Rocky Carroll): in 18th century France, people with heterochromia were believed to be possessed, and they were often executed by guillotine, including women pregnant by two-color-eyed men.

That answers a piece of the mystery: Harlan, who has the same color eyes, is pregnant, and her husband has heterochromia. Off McGee (Sean Murray) and Torres go to the Harlan house, where they find the couple missing and the house in shambles.

The team's next stop is the local company that manufactures guillotine blades. It sold one last month and then a second one today, presumably because the killer needed to make another one after NCIS confiscated the guillotine in the barn.

Nobody in the episode brought this up, but I will: ummm, why is there a company near D.C. that's making special-order guillotine blades? I just… I have some questions about that.

Anyway, the man who shows up for the blade turns out to be the tourist from the museum, and he immediately flips into creepy mode, sing-songing, "They're not back there!" when Parker looks inside his van.

He's Sam Novak (Andrew Ellis Miller), who left his job as a professor of French history when he sustained a head injury in a car accident and declared himself no longer fit to teach.

Novak's absolutely unsettling in interrogation, inviting Knight and Parker to have a seat when they enter the room. He admits to the murders and waits to be thanked for eradicating evil from the planet. As for the Harlans, he'll only tell Chloe Marlene where they are.

And the clock's ticking. Torres found a stopwatch with less than three hours on it, along with a photo of the Harlans chained up near a pipe bomb.

Parker and Knight pull Chloe from her movie to help. She's scared to go into the interrogation room alone with Novak, so Jess suggests she disassociate her butt off.

Novak's ickily excited that Chloe's in the room with him and gets under her skin almost immediately, telling her he's proud that he killed the people with the "evil eye" and then threatening Chloe's mother for good measure.

Chloe does her best, but she's not a trained agent, and she's clearly out of her element in this interrogation. Novak scoffs that he thought she was a better actress than that, and she leaves the room in tears, horrified that she didn't get the Harlans' location out of him. It's here that Novak looks into the camera with such creepy intensity that I wanted to crawl out of my skin.

Once we're back, Torres saves the day by suggesting that since Ducky's psych profile says Novak's a narcissist control freak, maybe they should let him think he won.

The plan needs Chloe, though, and it takes a little work for Knight to get her to try again. But she tells her that this is what agents do. It works, and Chloe goes back into interrogation. With defeat in her voice, tells Novak that he won and shows him the stopwatch with only one minute left on it.

He celebrates this news by popping out a brown-colored contact to reveal a blue eye. He has heterochromia too, so that's how he knows that his kind is evil. From behind the two-way glass, Torres murmurs, "I was not expecting that."

When the stopwatch hits zero, Chloe gives a little sob, and Knight storms in ready for revenge. Novak realizes that the bad cop, sad cop routine is because they want to know where to find the Harlans' bodies. He spits out the address, and both women drop the act, gloating that they advanced the time on the stopwatch. There are actually fifteen minutes left. "And you said I was a bad actor," Chloe says with a smile.

Parker and McGee locate the Harlans just in time, and McGee uses a hatchet to hack apart their chain so they can sprint to safety. McGee was barely in this episode, but his face is priceless when Parker asks how confident he was in that precision hatchet swing. Ha!

The episode ends with Chloe giving Knight a heart-felt thank you and offering Torres a small role on her film, which he's been angling for all episode long.

And we end with Torres' professional acting debut as a corpse whose situation is summed up by Cheyenne Fuentes thusly: "And that's why you shouldn't smuggle guns."

Stray shots

  • Congrats on the big-yikes bad guy tonight, NCIS! Great guest-star work from Miller and Raymonde both.
  • For the record, TBIs are linked with an increase in violent behavior, although that's still a few steps away from becoming a serial killer inspired by centuries-old French bigotry. Ye Olde Google was less quick to turn up any links about heterochromia and persecution in 1700s France, although the Nazis conducted cruel experiments on people with two-colored eyes.
  • Bless Kasie for wanting to unload on Chloe about the poor depictions of forensic scientists in the movies. We've all been there when we see our jobs being misrepresented in Hollywood!
  • In case you were curious, a guillotine and a close-contact bomb aren't so different because they both cause decapitations. *the more you know*

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

harmonc (2)
  • TV Show
  • 20
stream service