Naval Air Station -- Base Housing, Pleasant River
A woman comes home for the holidays to find her neighbor stringing lights. She comes in the door to a dark house, pile of mail and a terrible smell. And a dead husband in an easy chair.
On the scene the next morning, Megan Huffner explains to Gibbs she last spoke to her husband Noel at Thanksgiving and she'd been deployed in the Gulf for six months. She knocks him as an "unemployed Navy husband."
There's no sign of forced entry and he's been there three or four weeks. He has no visible wounds.
Back at the office, Tony gets a notification his dad's flight into town has been delayed. He's not looking forward to the visit, which is bound to lead to an argument.
Abby goes bonkers with decorations in the lab, setting up an entire village. Palmer brings her the victim's personal items including a phone and cash, including a weird looking $100 bill.
At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Gibbs and Tony learn from Assistant Director of Operations Donald Linder that the bill is authentic. But it hasn't been put into circulation yet or even left a Treasury building.
It has all the latest security features, including color-shifting ink, raised printing and a 3-D liberty bell -- it's counterfeit proof. It was supposed to be introduced in February 2011, but there were production issues, including creases in the notes. It's possible fully 30% of $110 billion in bills were printed with flaws.
Tony's dad calls. He tells him to take a cab.
The bill's serial number is from a batch that was shredded 18 months ago.
Secret Service Special Agent Ashley Winter joins them, she says she's taking the $100 as evidence, but Gibbs sets her straight.
Back at the office, they can't connect Noel to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Abby brings in Anthony DiNozzo Sr. (Robert Wagner). He informs Tony he's staying with him. Abby tells him about their tradition of watching "It's a Wonderful Life Together."
Down in the morgue, Duckie tells Gibbs the cause of death was a broken neck. Noel was also a heavy drinker.
At Tony's place, he has a flat screen and grand piano but no decorations. He greets his goldfish, her name is Kate. He has a spacious modern kitchen, with only pizza and water in the fridge. He's lived there 12 years.
Tony sets his dad up in his bedroom, with a single bed. He doesn't have women over. His dad thinks he's missing intimacy and commitment.
In the lab, Abby lifts prints from her family's ornament dating back to the 1890s. She used to fingerprint all her relatives. She found Noel's print on the $100, and another belonging to Justin Cannady, who was fired from the BEP.
In the office, Ziva and McGee report that the Secret Service had Cannady's place locked down. Tony is working out his couch kinks on the floor. He reports Cannady had horrible credit and was broke.
Agent Winter arrives to brief them on Cannady, who was fired for being drunk on the job. He lost two fingers on the job in a shredding machine. She reports they found nothing at Cannady's. Gibbs won't let her people go through Huffner's house.
Megan Huffner tells Gibbs and Ziva that her husband over-drew their credit cards. He was always at Gillespie's Saloon.
At the Huffner's, Tony gets McGee to crack his back. Tony Sr. calls Tony to ask where his roasting pan is. He's preparing a traditional DiNozzo Christmas dinner.
Tony tells McGee about his dad not being around a lot and his dad breaking the tradition of passing down a signet ring on the son's 21st birthday. He thinks his dad pawned it.
McGee inspects a dying fichus and finds a false bottom with a bag of the new $100s.
Gibbs and Ziva head to Gillespie's, where the owner Pat says Megan calls the bar when she can't find her husband. Gibbs appreciates Pat's old time pick-up truck. He says Noel and Justin Cannady were like Cliff and Norm.
Tony comes home to find his dad trimming a Christmas tree. He moved Tony's piano and baked snickerdoodles using Tony's mom's recipe. Tony gets all huffy about his dad being in his space.
Tony ignores the knocks of his neighbor, a cougar. Tony gets a text that Cannady's body was found.
At the park crime scene, they find his body crawling with maggots. Gibbs is annoyed when Agent Winter shows up. He diverts her from the body.
Back at the office, they find that Noel had $400,000 in $100s. They wonder if Huffner bought the $100s at a discount because Cannady could use them until they were in circulation.
In the lab, Abby tells Gibbs that fibers on the bills show they left the Treasury in the trash.
Agent Winter comes down to the morgue to ask if the body has been ID'd at Cannady. Duckie distracts her while Palmer calls Gibbs down.
Duckie reports it is Cannady and his neck was also broken about three or four weeks ago.
Gibbs and Winter go back to talk to Linder, who doesn't understand how the money got stolen. He says the money was destined for the Adam County Landfill in Virginia.
Back at the office, Tony Sr. comes by in a Santa hat, bearing gifts. He tells Ziva he might be trying to make up for too many missed Christmases.
At the landfill, McGee is surprised to recognize Stewie, an old MIT classmate who says he found his calling in trash. He tells Tony that McGee was the school mascot, a beaver. Stewie recalls where the trash from the date 18 months ago is buried, and he remembers they had a break in that night. He remembers the date because it's the night the SEALs killed Bin Laden.
Tony comes home to find even more decorations. He's impressed and thanks his dad. But then he opens the door to his bedroom and sees his dad busy with his neighbor.
"I'll have to burn the bed now," Tony says. "You nearly pulled it off, it was almost like old times. You have to go just a little too far."
He's upset with his dad for breaking the rules of his house, his sanctuary. He wants his dad to leave.
The next day, Winter reads Linder the riot act. Gibbs calls her to access archival surveillance of the DC area, which was stepped up that night after the raid.
Back home, Tony says good-bye to his dad.
Down in Abby's lab, they watch the surveillance footage of the landfill break-in. It's dark and poor quality, but Gibbs recognizes the old pick-up.
Back at Gillespie's, they serve Pat with a warrant to search for $100s. Gibbs thinks Pat Gillespie stole the money with Cannady, then killed him when he sold some of it to Huffner. Gillespie is a retired Marine and could have accessed Huffner's house on the base.
Gillespie watches nervously as Ziva searches his office. He tells them where to find his safe.
Tony tells McGee he's not in the mood for "It's a Wonderful Life" and he left the DVD at home. He goes home to get it and sees his dad's Santa has and a photo of his mom.
He turns on his tree and sees a small box under it -- it's the heirloom signet ring.
Later, in MTAC, they watch as Agent Winter takes full credit for the investigation at a news conference.
Tony joins them late. He thinks his dad wanted to make amends and Tony blew it.
Abby shows up for the screening, with Tony Sr. in tow. Tony hugs his dad and tells him he loves him.