On Christmas Eve two gunmen with silenced pistols kill a Navy captain in the doorway of a hotel room; Gibbs and company investigate; in the room Gibbs receives an unusual call on the landline telephone, which the gang pursue; Gibbs, Tony, and Ziva visit a mall and find Emma, the woman friend of the victim, who is a pregnant Marine first lieutenant, and who says that she's the real target. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, McGee and Abby figure out why attention turned to Emma and her unborn child; then a Russian bad guy turns up at the mall, but the gang and Barney Fife handle him. In the chat room Tony and McGee use an unconventional method by which to obtain answers. Gibbs, Ziva, and Emma have trouble with their car, and Emma has trouble of her own. Two more Russians show up, so Ziva looks after them while Gibbs looks after Emma and her child. Tony and McGee help. Everything works out. Palmer talks with his future father-in-law, and Tony talks with Gibbs.
A Navy captain dies by gunfire; Gibbs and company investigate; the gang meet Emma, a pregnant Marine first lieutenant, who says that she's the real target. The team figure out the pieces, and they deal with the problems and the bad guys.
- A man tries to check in to a hotel but the premiere suite is the only thing available. He doesn't care how much it is, he takes it. He goes upstairs in a rush and locks all the doors. He makes a call, telling someone he thinks they're clear and he's on his way down to get them. He opens the suite door and is met by two pistols with silencers. He's shot repeatedly.
It's Christmas Eve at the office. Ziva and McGee are enjoying the Christmas card Tony got from Wendy, his former fiancée.
Palmer is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his soon to be father-in-law Ed Slater, to whom he will be giving a tour of NCIS. Brina thinks her father isn't a fan of his job.
McGee comes in with the festive body of the week. Navy Captain Jake Marsden was stationed in Charleston. The guns were different calibers and there's no fingerprint evidence.
Outside the hotel, Tony and McGee go over his car and find a Marine duffel bag with a bra inside. The room phone rings with a northern Maryland number. A woman is calling, asking what happened. She wants to know if Gibbs killed him, but he says he's NCIS.
Back at the office, McGee sees Marsden's outgoing call was his own cell phone. Palmer arrives with Ed (Larry Miller) and makes introductions. Gibbs talks Palmer up. Ed gives Gibbs a hard time about being a government worker and making his team work Christmas Eve.
The phone call to the hotel came from an outlet mall two hours away.
In the morgue, Ed shuts Palmer up to talk to Duckie. Duckie kicks them out. He shows Gibbs dried blood he found on Marsden's pants.
Gibbs finds Abby hiding from Ed in her lab. Abby goes over the outlet mall footage and finds a blonde woman on the phone. As she hung up, she told Gibbs if he was who he says, he'll find her. She flashed her shopping bag to the camera as she said it.
Gibbs, Ziva and Tony go to the outlet mall and meet up with a county deputy. Ziva and Gibbs check the dressing rooms and find their mystery woman. She's eight and a half months pregnant. She tells them Jake wasn't the target, she is.
She's Marine Liuetenant Emma Reynolds. She doesn't know who's after her. She was stationed outside Kabul and met a nice local man named Amir and got pregnant. She forfeited two months pay. They sent her home. Then last week she noticed she was being followed by three separate SUVs, registered to the Department of Defense.
Jake Marsden was an old friend who was going to drive her to her parent's place in Ohio. The SUVs ran her and Jake off the road. She cut her hand in the crash. They went to the hotel. She waited in the car while he checked in. She doesn't know who she can trust.
Back in MTAC, McGee talks to the DOD and learns Amir was killed in an IED explosion months ago. The guy denies the DOD is involved, but says he couldn't tell them if they were.
The snow is really coming down at the outlet mall. Abby finds Amir was the sole male heir to an extremely land-wealthy family in Afghanistan. McGee finds the DOD is trying to build a road through that land in Afghanistan. The baby could give them access to it.
McGee hears knocking from the other side of the lab and finds Ed and Palmer locked in Abby's office. She put them in timeout after Ed said girls with tattoos are easy. Ed reconfirms Palmer knows there are jobs in the private sector where he could make twice as much and have better hours.
Tony reports the roads are closed. They notice no one has seen the deputy for a while. They head outside to the car, where a tough looking man comes around the corner holding a gun on the deputy. He demands Reynolds. Gibbs, with gun drawn, says no way.
Ziva sneaks up behind the man. He drops his gun.
As Tony cuffs him, he notices he's missing the tips of a few fingers. It's part of a Russian prison gang initiation.
Back at NCIS, Duckie finds Palmer sulking in the hallway. Palmer's bothered because Ed offered him a job at the funeral home, working with Brina. He doesn't want to take it.
On a snowy road, Reynolds tries to process her situation. "Russian mercenaries want to take my unborn child because they believe he's the heir to land in Afghanistan?" she says.
As they're driving out in the middle of nowhere, the car sputters to a stall. Gibbs realizes the engine was sabotaged. They roll into a gas station.
Back in the office, McGee is irritated by Ed munching loudly. Tony has made it back alone, but they can't reach Gibbs. The fingerless man is wanted by Interpol. The cookies Ed is inhaling give Tony an idea.
Ziva and Gibbs look under the hood and see they need to do some wiring. They're taking shelter in a convenience store.
Gibbs assures Reynolds it's OK if she's scared about being a mom.
Tony and the Russian hitman munch down on cookies. McGee asks questions. They say they see hesitation when they ask if he's following Reynolds. When they ask if he's working for Amir's tribe in Afghanistan, he chokes on his cookie.
The only number stored on his prepaid cell phone was six digits long. McGee guesses it's a radio frequency.
Reynolds comes out of the bathroom in the garage and announces her water just broke.
Back in MTAC, Tony asks the DOD guy for help tracking the Russian hitmen. He says no.
McGee tracks the gunmen's radio frequency and hear them mention a gas station. They find one in the area of the radio signal and think Gibbs is holed up there in trouble.
When Tony and McGee leave to go find Gibbs, Ed mocks their efforts and earns a chewing out from Palmer who tells him he has to at least respect NCIS agents put their lives on the line. He puts him in his place, telling him to sit down and shut up until he figures that out.
Back at the gas station, Reynolds's contractions are two minutes apart when Ziva looks out the window and sees two black SUVs pulling up.
Gibbs tells Ziva to handle the birth, but Reynolds wants his Marine support. Ziva takes her gun outside and stalks the Russians' car. She pulls one guy out of the driver side and whacks him in the face, knocking him out. The second SUV is empty.
She hears a noise. The second gunman pries open the convenience store door and sneaks in.
Gibbs is telling Reynolds to push when Ziva opens fire on the gunman.
Gibbs concentrates on delivering the baby in the back seat of the car while Ziva uses two guns to shoot at the gunman. They both run out of ammo. She charges him. He tosses her around the convenience store. She gets him in a chokehold, as the sounds of crying come from the back seat of the car. It's a girl.
The next morning, Brina comes looking for her dad and Palmer, who have fallen asleep in a cubicle. They wake up. Ed is pleasantly surprised to hear everything worked out with the baby.
He understands now why NCIS agents put in the long hours and says he understands if Palmer doesn't want to leave.
Tony finds Gibbs in his basement working on a pink bike for Mike Franks's granddaughter. Tony went to Wendy's and sat outside for 20 minutes, but didn't go in. Gibbs thinks he made a mistake. Tony points out NCIS doesn't leave much room for family. Gibbs urges Tony not to be like him, to learn from it.
Gibbs invites Tony to Christmas dinner at Mike Frank's daughter-in-law's house. He told her last week Tony would be coming.