"NCIS" The Inside Man (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • A critic of the NCIS has published (on his own website) many negative comments about the NCIS, complaining about an alleged cover-up of the death of a Naval officer; he falls to his death; Gibbs and company investigate concurrently with the Metro PD; friction promptly heats up between the gang and the Metro detective in charge. Gibbs gets an exhumation; when Ducky and Abby open the casket, they find no body but steel weights. Tony and McGee check out a car, but they run into trouble. Ziva suggests a theory, McGee finds evidence, then he and Tony find the body. McGee experiences a moment of illumination, then he and Tony finish finding the pieces and putting them together. Ziva asks Gibbs to sign a form so that she can become a special agent of the NCIS; he tells her that she'll need to resign from the Mossad; she says that she's already done so, in an e-mail note to her father; Gibbs picks up a pen and then pauses.

  • A critic of the NCIS has severely complained about an alleged cover-up of the death of a Naval officer; the griper falls to his death; both the NCIS and the Metro PD investigate; the Gibbs team figure it out. Ziva seeks Gibbs's signature.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A blogger updates his website, saying he's about to meet a source that's going to blow the story wide open. He waits on a bridge. Below him, workmen bicker over coffee. Then the blogger plummets down next to them, getting speared on some rebar.

    McGee gets a call that he has to retake his annual polygraph. Ziva assures him it's probably a mistake, while Tony tells him it could be a career-ender.

    Gibbs calls them to head to scene for the dead blogger, Matt Burns. Tony refers to him as "the pond scum who's been kicking our a-- on the Internet."

    Duckie comes to talk to Gibbs, but says it can wait. Ziva stays behind because her status hasn't been cleared up.

    The victim had a website called BeltwayBurns.com. On the scene, DC Metro detectives are already there. Tony introduces himself to rookie detective Megan Hanley (and kindly advises her not to wear scarves at crime scenes because they leave fibers). Detective Sportelli is also there, surly. He says Burns wrote that NCIS was trying to cover up a case. Sportelli and Gibbs get Alpha Male on each other.

    They watch Burns' vlog, about Lt. Rod Arnett, who died in a car crash that NCIS ruled an accident. He said Arnett was involved in insider trading from his position with the Pentagon.

    Burns also got a judge to withdraw from his from Supreme Court consideration. Tony goes to talk to the judge.

    Duckie loses a battle with a portable X-ray machine. When Gibbs comes down, Duckie asks him about Ziva. Gibbs says Ziva hasn't said anything about what happened to her. Gibbs asks Duckie to review his autopsy of Arnett, just in case. Abby's also reviewing the evidence.

    Tony meets with the judge, who's not sad Burns is dead. He now teaches business law at community college. Burns accused him of plagiarism. The judge says he borrowed some phrases from a book he read, which was dumb, he admits. But Burns accused him of infidelity, taking kickbacks and cheating in law school. It became embarrassing and he withdrew his nomination. Tony sees Sportelli and the rookie coming and runs off.

    Gibbs meets with Arnett's CO, who says the insider trading allegations make no sense because Arnett had money. His project officer, Lt. Jessica Summers, an attractive young woman, says he did drive fast. She says she doesn't know anything about his personal life. We can see Gibbs doesn't believe her.

    Abby carps about having to review the smashed car, which she says was clearly an accident, while McGee worries about retaking his polygraph. The only other person Abby knows who had to retake their test was fired.

    Following Gibbs' hunch, Ziva has found a lot of calls between Jessica and Arnett that stopped abruptly a month ago. Tony goes to bring in Lt. Summers.

    Ziva has been going through Burns' archives. She says a lot of his stories were made up. She shows a video log of his in which he says he was in Atlanta, but his credit card shows he was at a D.C. bar.

    Gibbs greets Lt. Summers by accusing her of lying. She says Rod was seeing other women and dumped her. Gibbs makes up evidence, accusing her of being Burns' Pentagon source. She admits it.

    She remembers a government contract going through with McAllister Industries and Rod celebrating the next day with champagne saying he made a lot of money in the stock market. Watching the interview, Tony and McGee realize Burns' and Arnett's deaths are linked and they might have botched the Arnett investigation.

    Duckie tells Gibbs that he redid everything and Arnett's death was an accident from multiple injuries. Duckie gets a call from Metro's coroner who says Burns' death is being ruled a homicide, which makes it seem even more like Arnett's death wasn't an accident. Duckie tells Gibbs he could run more tests if he had Arnett's brain, but his family rushed them to bury him. Gibbs orders him to get it.

    Gibbs and Tony meet with an SEC Investigator who says he found no evidence of insider trading. They did find a guy named Will Sutton who made $2 million on McAllister stock. He owns a sandwich shop but has no ties to the Navy or Arnett.

    Gibbs goes to save Abby in the lab, where Sportelli has come for all their evidence in the Arnett investigation. He has a court order. Gibbs tells Abby to turn it over.

    Tony meets with Sutton, who says he doesn't know Arnett. He says the SEC froze his funds and he had to hire a lawyer, so he's made nothing.

    Back at the office, McGee reports he's found no link between Arnett and Sutton. They're completely different and seem to have never met.

    Duckie prepares to open Arnett's coffin with Abby. There's no body inside, only free weights.

    Gibbs isn't looking forward to telling Sportelli the body is gone. Tony and McGee go to interview the funeral home who picked up the body. Gibbs says he'll handle McGee's polygraph appointment.

    The polygraph agent looks for McGee in the office, saying he missed his appointment.

    At the funeral home, a woman tells McGee the funeral home was locked while his body was there overnight before the viewing. The woman, her brother (also business partner) and mortician are the only ones with keys.

    Ziva texts McGee about the polygraph examiner looking for him. He assumes Gibbs forgot to talk to her.

    The funeral home owner comes back, saying she just remembered the security alarm went off that night, leaving a 20 minute window when someone could have removed Arnett's body.

    In her lab, Abby has found no evidence on the weights, they were wiped clean, as if somebody knew the coffin might be opened. They deduce Burns must have stolen the body to keep his story going and was counting on him being exhumed. McGee has an idea about how to prove it, but it involves getting at Burns car in the Metro impound lot.

    Tony and McGee creep around the police impound lot. McGee takes out the surveillance camera with a shot of fake bird poop from a rifle. Tony is confident there are no dogs inside, so they climb the fence and break into Burns car. McGee fiddles with the steering column and downloads the car's navigation system. And then, naturally, the dogs come for them.

    They race across car tops and make it to the fence, but get stopped by the dogs and security. But not before McGee has time to send the navigation info to Abby.

    In her lab, Abby and Gibbs check out McGee and Tony's mug shots, recently added to the system. Abby says Burns' nav system shows he was outside the mortuary when the security system was down. Then he went to Seneca Creek park in Maryland.

    McGee and Tony walk in, sprung by the director.

    Stuck at her desk, Ziva tries to start an email to her dad. Abby comes to tell her that Tony and McGee found Burns' body in the park. Abby thinks Ziva should be excited since it was her theory. She tries to get Ziva to come out, but she says she has something she has to do.

    Ziva gets back to her email.

    McGee sits for his polygraph, but has a hard time remaining calm when he checks out the hot examiner. She babbles about his rescheduling meaning she missed her regular morning train. The machine shows his blood pressure spiking when she comes near him. She begins the exam, but is soon asking if he lives alone or is in a relationship. Then something she said about taking the same train strikes McGee and he gets up and leaves.

    McGee goes to the lab and looks up Burns' Metro Railpass. He thinks Arnett and Sutton rode the same train to work every morning.

    They need to look at Sutton's Rail Pass. Tony and McGee go talk to him. They think Sutton and Arnett had a deal to split the $2 million and Sutton got lucky when Arnett died. But they think he got nervous when he read Burns' made up stories and killed him.

    They turn Sutton over to Metro PD in exchange for the charges being dropped against Tony and McGee. McGee tells Gibbs he has to go retake his polygraph, but Gibbs explains there was nothing wrong with the first test. McGee doesn't get it. He made an impression on the examiner.

    Ziva tells Gibbs she's had a lot of time to think at her desk. She wants to be an NCIS agent, she's already resigned from Mossad. She just needs Gibbs signature. He thinks it over.

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