An internet service provider (ISP) in or near Washington, DC, goes down, and a gunfight breaks out at the ISP facility, then electric power goes down in a cascade manner throughout the entire metro area; a woman Navy lieutenant dies, so Gibbs and company investigate, using old-fashioned methods. The victim was a proud third-generation member of the Navy. Abby provides a lead to a car, which leads to an ocean shipping container, which yields clues; Abby also makes a manual hard-copy fingerprint match, which leads to two more bodies and another string of surprises. With the help of another woman Naval officer, the gang fit the pieces together and grab the real bad guy behind everything, then the juice comes back on, and life goes on.
A woman Naval officer dies during a break-in at an ISP facility in or near Washington, DC, then electric power goes down throughout the entire metro area; Gibbs and company investigate in the dark; they solve the case and grab the bad guy.
- A game dork is near slaying an elf or something on-line when suddenly his Swift Cast Internet connection goes out.
Cut to the HQ of Swfit Cast, where a gun battle is taking place between security guys and masked gunmen. One of the gunmen triggers something and we see the power go out all over DC.
Cut to NCIS where they're handing out walkie talkies and the back-up generator is feeding lights and MTAC. Ziva and McGee have been stuck in the elevator for nine and a half hours.
Tony starts talking to them through the door, telling them about the explosion at the substation that caused a cascade failure that knocked out power to half the district. Tony jokes that Gibbs is handling it well, you don't need electricity to use hand tools or drink bourbon.
Gibbs calls Tony to a scene, a dead sailor at an Internet provider. They hook the elevator up to the generator and Ziva and McGee are free, just in time to go to the scene.
The victim is Navy Lt. Emma Paxton. She was one of the masked gunmen.
The security guards tell Ziva and Gibbs that there were three of them. A guard who was shot in the arm says he caught the woman and cuffed her, and when he came back, she was dead. The gunmen killed her.
They were after the server farm, which they were able to access once the power was out.
McGee finds that his camera batteries are dead so Gibbs hands him a notepad.
Ziva reports the outtage has spread to the tri-state area, the power might be out for days. They wonder how they're going to access facial recognition and fingerprint programs. Gibbs pulls out a Polaroid.
Back at the office, they use a cork board instead of the big screen to report on Paxon. She was a booking agent for Armed Forces Entertainment, which sets up concerts for sailors overseas.
Her record is clean, she's married and attends church.
Tony goes to put out a BOLO of the sketch the security guard gave of another gunman, but finds the fax is dead. McGee tries to look up her husband, but finds the computers dead. And Ziva tries to make a call, but finds the phones are dead.
In the lab, Abby is going old school -- trying to make her own Caf-Pow in beakers. She's also trying to ID a tire tread by hand.
Upstairs, the team is trying to figure out how to work a mimeograph. McGee says they need to find a Brontosaurus who knows how to use it, and Gibbs shows them how it's done.
Gibbs meets with Paxton's husband, who claims his wife was a victim. He claims she was a proud American, third generation Navy.
McGee interrupts to tell Gibbs that Swift Cast has gone through their inventory and found that nothing was taken.
Ziva and Tony duck out to interview Paxton's supervisor, leaving McGee to sort through hard copies of her bank and credit card statements.
Gibbs checks on Duckie with Palmer in the morgue. She was killed by two shots to her heart at close range. She has bruises on her wrists from the handcuffs, suggesting the gunmen tried to yank her free before they shot her.
He can't explain swelling in her limbs and blood work will be hard to do without power. He also found evidence of old trauma, including stab and gunshot wounds and multiple breaks. But her record says she was never in combat.
The next day Tony and Ziva meet with her C.O, Commander Reznik. She's sniffley and meek and says Paxton called in sick three days ago. They learn that she wasn't going to Baghdad like she told her husband. And Reznik says she saw Paxton walking down the street with a man after she called in sick.
McGee works his way through the stacks of papers when Ziva and Tony come back with nothing.
Abby joins them with an ID on the tire tracks, which belong to a Chevy Impala. McGee remembers hearing a report about an abandoned one on the police scanner.
They check it out. There are bullet holes in the rear window and a blood trail to a nearby shipping container. There's a command center inside with computers, maps, guns and multiple passports for the victim under different names.
Ziva recognizes the set up as a sanctuary operatives use to run their ops.
Tony looks at tire tracks and finds another car leaving the scene.
They find blue prints from Swift Cast inside, along with another fake passport -- for Mr. Paxton.
Back at HQ, Gibbs shows the passport to the husband, along with Polaroids from the sanctuary. He tells Gibbs again that his wife is the victim.
He says he suspected something was up, but he can prove she wasn't doing anything wrong. He hired a PI to follow her.
McGee reviews the PI tapes in MTAC. Tony tries to horn in to get out of hand filing custody documents, but is shooed away.
McGee tells Gibbs there are hours of footage of Emma going to the park, getting a manicure, etc. Gibbs notices the same guy in a ballcap in the background of two different days, taking pictures of Emma. They see him touching a wall. McGee goes to lift the prints.
Back in Abby's lab, McGee brings the print card and Ziva brings lemons, which Abby rigs to power her boom box. They get to work examining prints by hand.
Eight hours later, Abby has a match: Donovan Graham. He looks like the sketch from the break in. He's known as a gun for hire.
The team goes to his house, where they find two dead bodies inside, including Graham's. Commander Reznik startles them all by walking in. She says the two dead men were roommates and they shot each other. She's impressed, despite her attempts to mislead them, they tracked it all down.
She shows Gibbs her credentials. She's with the NSA, so was Paxton.
Back at NCIS, Reznik explains that the NSA had a deal with all the security agencies to program a back-door into iris scanners. Paxton's eyes were one of two sets hardwired into all of them. Reznik's are the other.
They traveled all over the world with AFE as their cover, assisting agencies with covert missions. Reznik says they have no idea what Paxton was up to, but the husband's fake passport may be nothing -- she could have had it made in case her cover was blown and they had to disappear.
Reznik says the NSA was hoping to figure out what Paxton was up to on its own, but NCIS seems to be getting farther.
Gibbs checks with Duckie in the morgue where he's working on the two dead gunmen. He says they didn't shoot each other, the crime scene was staged. They were shot from behind.
Duckie says one of them had lots of dirt under his nails, he was digging.
Tony and Ziva return with a server they found buried under Graham's shed. It's from Swift Cast, which means the gunmen put a duplicate in its place. The only way to swap them without the system noticing was during a power outtage.
They think it was an attempt to bug the Internet used by every government agency.
Abby pops up with news on Paxton's bloodwork. She took a lot of a blood pressure medicine, which explains the swelling Duckie found.
Reznik said they weren't allowed to take such drugs because they can dilate the blood vessels in their eyes. Abby thinks Paxton did it so a scanner couldn't read her eye, which means she wasn't part of the break in.
Abby found Paxton's prints only in the bathroom of Graham's house. She thinks Paxton was kidnapped and took the pills she found to try to stop the break in. The label is ripped off the pills, but Abby says she found the drug in a blood swab from the scene of the shoot out so she knows whose it is.
Back at Swift Cast, Ziva and Gibbs show Mr. Paxton's fake passport to the wounded security guard, who positively IDs him. Ziva says with the eyewitness confirmation and forensics they should arrest Paxton. They turn to leave and the power comes back on.
Cut to the security guard heading to the server farm where he flips a switch to reroute something. And then Tony, Ziva and Gibbs close in.
While shooting himself was a nice attempt to divert suspicion, they tell the guard it left his blood, which had the medicine in it.
Gibbs radios McGee standing at a generator outside. Once he confirms they got their man, he turns it back off.
Back at NCIS, with the power still out, they tell Mr. Paxton the guard used to work for Russian intelligence. They think he met Mrs. Paxton on an op in Kiev. They tell her husband she tried to stop the break in and when she couldn't she cuffed herself, knowing someone would investigate her death.
Gibbs says that choice makes her a hero.
Back in the office, Tony appreciates the quiet of no electricity. And then it all comes back on and each dives into their keyboard.
Gibbs repacks his emergency old person's kit with notepad and Polaroid. Then he turns off his computer.