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S17 E19
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This week’s NCIS takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, which by my estimation was 19 YEARS AGO in the real world.

It opens with a quartet of squabbling criminals that quickly dwindles to a trio of squabbling criminals when it becomes clear that their getaway driver blabbed their robbery plans to his wife.

And look, I know that loose lips sink ships, but did the head criminal Max really need those three extra shots after the first one dropped poor, unfortunate Danny?

His body ends up dumped in a Navy recruiting center dumpster, which summons NCIS. They interact with the most Irish police force since… umm, insert some kind of politically correct joke here.

Anyway, officers Kerrigan and Donnelly are on hand to explain that their ME whisked the body away to clear the decks for the highly anticipated St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’ll be delivered to the Navy Yard in an hour or two.

With an unexpected hour to kill, Palmer heads to the diner for a spot of breakfast, where he encounters Kasie getting a to-go order and applying eye drops to her new contact lenses. They grab a booth and order pancakes, and Palmer explains to Kasie that although he woke up grumpy, his lifelong policy is to fake happiness until you actually feel it, so he’s determined to make this a good day.

Alas, their booth is adjacent to the one occupied by our criminal crew. And those dudes are jerks. They start hassling Elaine the waitress, and Palmer and Kasie hotly come to her defense. The two henchmen, Lenny and Bobby, immediately escalate the situation until Max pulls them away. Once they’re gone, the whole restaurant applauds, and Elaine explains that those creeps have been taking up a booth for weeks, being rude and leaving no tip.

Then Palmer and Kasie’s spidey senses start tingling when the creeps head into the jewelry store across the street, and almost immediately gunfire rings out. The people inside the diner watch in amazement as the robbers race out of the jewelry store and engage in a gun battle with the armored truck guards who'd just arrived at the jewelry store.

In the fracas, Lenny gets winged by a bullet, panics, and backs the getaway car into a fire hydrant, forcing them back into the diner. So what happens when you kill your driver on the eve of the heist?

Most of the patrons manage to clear out, but Palmer and Kasie are left behind with Elaine, Shayne the cook, and a pregnant patron. Palmer tries to insist that the robbers just head out the back door, but they decide to stand their ground.

Around this time, the folks at NCIS HQ start to realize that Palmer and Kasie are missing, and when the news of the standoff hits ZNN, they scramble to the scene. That’s when the diner’s wall phone starts ringing. Elaine fearfully answers and turns to Palmer to say, “It’s for you.”

He manages to inform Gibbs of the criminal-to-hostage ratio inside before Max hangs up the phone, and then Palmer sums up the entire premise of NCIS’s 17 seasons: there's a man outside who's “a federal agent-slash-envelope-pushing silver-fox renegade,” and he might be able to help. Heck YES he is and heck YES he can!

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

So Max gets on the horn with Gibbs and demands a helicopter while Kasie patches up Lenny’s injured arm and Palmer tries to talk Shayne-the-cook out of pulling the gun from his ankle holster and making things worse.

While the robbers help themselves to some iced tea, Shayne makes his move, pulling his gun and opening fire. Both he and long-haired creep Bobby end up shot in the chest. As plans go, it’s wasn’t great, and the men with guns insist that Palmer and Kasie tend to Bobby, not Shayne. (There’s also a scary moment when it looks like Max is going to straight-up execute Shayne, but he decides to let him die slow. What a prince.)

Outside, Bishop and Torres investigate the jewelry store crime scene, where they learn that the armed guards were there to collect a trove of diamonds the owner had on display. To their confusion, they find an empty condom wrapped amid the shattered glass of the display.

That puzzling finding’s explained by the security footage, which shows the robbers dumping the diamonds into condoms and swallowing them. Vance speaks for all of us — and every other character who hears about it afterward — when he mutters, “That’s commitment.”

At the same time, the original getaway driver’s wife Melissa arrives at NCIS to ID her husband’s body and share what she knows about the plan. It gives NCIS enough of a leg up that when Max steps outside with Kasie as his human shield (she insisted that she’s the best choice because Gibbs loves her like a daughter, “or at least a favorite niece”), Gibbs calls Max by name and lets him know that NCIS knows about the smashed glass cases, the swallowed diamonds, and the Argentina flight plan.

Back inside, Palmer breaks the news that Bobby’s gone, and Max, in a disgusting yet inevitable move, coldly insists that Palmer slice him open to retrieve the loot. He and Kasie make a quick whispered plan as he works. Since neither of them is really the “kill or be killed” type, they launch some psychological warfare to distract the two remaining baddies from the inevitable Gibbs incursion.

To wit: Palmer slices the condom open and he and Kasie exclaim loudly that Bobby ingested broken glass with the diamonds, and it shredded his stomach from the inside. And come to think of it, don’t the other two have abdominal pain and stomach cramping from the internal bleeding?

This Jedi mind trick totally works on Lenny, who bursts out of the diner to plead for medical help. Kasie seizes the opportunity to bash Max with a pitcher, and Palmer leaps on him and punches him in the face until Gibbs pulls him off.

After their ordeal, Palmer and Kasie share a glass of what I can only assume is fine Irish whiskey with Gibbs and Vance, who offer them all the counseling they might require with Sloane or Dr. Grace Confalone.

While Palmer wants to believe they hoodwinked two hardened criminals with their effective blarney, astute observers know what helped that trick along: Kasie’s eye drops, which cause abdominal distress if ingested in, say, iced tea.


Stray shots

  • Kudos to Rocky Carroll on directing a tense hour of TV that only let up for welcome pops of humor.
  • So do you think you get a discount on diamonds that were removed from a condom sliced out of a dead man’s stomach?
  • Look, I’m just gonna say it: I have a fairly sizable crush on Dr. Jimmy Palmer most weeks, but after this episode? It. is. off. the. charts.
  • It appears as though the next episode will serve as the season finale thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown. See you April 14. Until then, stay healthy and stay inside!

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