Parsons confronts Morrow (about the sidelined investigation), and the latter rebuffs him; moments later a bomb explodes at the site of a formal dinner, thereby killing the SecNav and injuring Morrow and others. Gibbs strides into the office, meets with Vance and McBride's CO, and volunteers for a highly sensitive special operation; Gibbs goes to Iran; Tony makes plans to go to Tel Aviv. Soon Gibbs gets into a gunfight in Tehran and runs into Parsons, who makes a semi-apology; Gibbs and Parsons investigate. Ducky and Palmer deal with an intruder. Before Tony leaves, someone shoots up his pad; Tony chats with Vance; Tony calls McGee, whom Fornell intercepts and takes to a meeting at Tony's place; Vance visits Morrow, who says that Ziva is the next target. Gibbs and Fornell find out who changed McBride's orders; they do business in Arizona; Tony talks with Adam, who tells him about Ziva and her activity. [To be continued.]
Parsons gripes about his project; then a bomb explodes, killing the SecNav; Gibbs volunteers for a spec op, which takes him to Iran, where he runs into Parsons, and where they investigate. Tony tries to pursue Ziva in Israel. [Continued.]
- Four Months Ago
Parsons approaches Homeland Security Director Tom Morrow at a function at a hotel. Parsons knows Sec Nav Jarvis is inside and he wants to talk to them about his case against Gibbs. He thinks the "cowboy" mission Gibbs was sent on was just a ruse to get Gibbs away from the investigation. "Gibbs is being given a 'get out of jail free' card," Parsons says. Morrow tells Parsons he's just getting in the way. "There's a line in the sand, Parsons, don't cross it," Morrow says. Morrow turns and goes into the function, leaving Parsons on the street.
Parsons walks away, and as he does, a blast explodes from the hotel behind him.
Later, at NCIS, Abby, Duckie and Palmer watch news reports that say Sec Nav was killed in the hotel bombing. Abby blames Parsons for his investigation leading to the departure of Gibbs and his team, who she thinks would have prevented it.
Suddenly, in comes Gibbs. Vance meets with Gibbs and Captain Dominick Wayne, who mentions the bombing might be tied to the death of Lt. McBride, the head in the box. Vance suggests Gibbs lead an off-book investigation into the bombing and Wayne volunteers that he has an overseas informant.
Tony wakes up in the middle of the night and sees he missed a video call from Ziva. She chats with him instead, saying she's on a bus to Tel Aviv and thinking about him after hearing of the bombing.
He asks if she wants some company and gets a "Yes :-)" He tells her to count a million and he's on his way. He looks into flights to Tel Aviv. "This is good," he says.
McGee meets with Delilah in a café. He hates being on the outside of the investigation and wonders why he hasn't been called in. She tells him more than once source is saying the device wasn't Middle Eastern, it was American. He wants to go in to at least talk to Abby, but Abby appears. She tells him Gibbs is headed out of town.
Vance drops by Gibbs's house as he packs. He's off to see Capt. Wayne's informant in Tehran.
Overseas, Gibbs walks through a street market and checks his watch, waiting. He pulls his gun, feeling like he's being watched. Suddenly, someone shoots at him from behind a car. Gibbs ducks behind a wall and takes out a second gun and starts firing. A shooter is coming right at him when someone takes him out. Parsons pulls up in a Jeep and saves Gibbs.
"I knew when they got Jarvis, you were next," Parsons explains. He couldn't call because the phones are tapped. "You're in danger, Gibbs. I came to save your life," Parsons says.
They sit down to talk it over. Parsons thinks NCIS is being set up and that Gibbs was sent to Iran to separate him from his team. Parsons thinks they should talk to one of McBride's coworkers, JSOC Operative Lt. Eric Kagen. Gibbs doesn't believe him. "If I've learned right things, Gibbs, it's that people do the wrong thing for the right reason," Parsons says. "Speak for yourself," Gibbs says. "I am," Parsons says.
Duckie comes down to the morgue and finds a strange man on the computer. The man goes after Duckie and then knocks Palmer over when he comes to help. Palmer is about to freak out when Duckie beans the intruder with a bed pan and knocks him out.
Gibbs and Parsons talk to Kagen, who tells them McBride's orders were canceled. He was recalled after just 24 hours, but Kagen didn't see him get on the transport plane.
Back at his apartment, Tony is all packed and ready to leave for the airport to fly to Israel to see Ziva. He says good-bye to his fish, Kate. "I know it's not the brightest idea, but we're not coworkers anymore, so all bets are off," he tells the fish. He texts Ziva to check that it's still OK to come. She says yes and signs it "xo."
Tony looks down at his chest in the dark and sees the telltale laser sight of a sniper's rifle. He ducks just as shots start flying through the windows.
At NCIS, Vance pours Tony a drink and tells him to lay low following the shooting. Tony says he was on his way to Israel on a "personal trip." Vance isn't buying it and makes sure Ziva knows he'll be delayed. Vance wants to give him protection, but Tony offers to just stay at NCIS, with his Visitor pass.
Tony heads to interrogation, where the man Duckie and Palmer subdued is being held. Vance interrogates him as Tony and Duckie watch. The man is Victor Cheng, a private computer contractor who used to work for the FBI. He got a call promising him $20,000 if he came in and hacked NCIS's database. He says he doesn't know who hired him.
Vance gets a call from Gibbs in MTAC, along with Agent Parsons, who Gibbs is now working with. They believe Chad McBride was a decoy and wasn't killed overseas.
Tony wakes up at his desk to see Murray, the large new IT guy at Ziva's desk. Palmer runs the big screen rundown. Cheng was fired from the FBI for moonlighting as a hacker for hire.
Someone has been trying to hack NCIS files from the outside, they were mostly after former personnel.
Tony calls McGee and tells him to ditch his phone. He does but dark sedans pull up. FBI Special Agent Tobias Fornell gets out.
Fornell takes McGee to Tony's place, where he and Vance are waiting. Fornell tells them about Benham Parsa, a young extremist who claimed responsibility for killing Sec Nav. He's the son of slain parents from Karachi. He started a new terrorist cell and is brokering deals between terrorists and US companies to rebuild after attacks. Fornell says Homeland has known about it from day one.
Vance goes to confront Tom Morrow in the hospital. He's recovering and won't lose his leg. Vance demands to know if Morrow's involved. He swears he's not but says Ziva is the next target. "Eli knew too much, they think she does, too," Morrow says.
At NCIS, McGee works to establish a secure email to communicate with Ziva. Gibbs re-introduces Parsons, saying he's OK now. Tony and McGee both want their badges back. Parsons says he'll see what he can do, now that the investigation is over.
Parsons explains someone went to great lengths to make it look like Iran killed McBride, but it was a local terrorist cell.
Down in the lab, Gibbs, in his wordless Gibbs way, explains that Parsons is OK now because Parsons saved his life. Abby explains the sand found on McBride was partially Middle Eastern and also from the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Vance gives Tony and McGee their badges back. He wants ideas on how to find Ziva. Tony has one. He goes to MTAC to talk to Ziva's old Mossad friend Adam Eshel about tracking her down, knowing that he's one of the few people that Ziva trusts.
Gibbs and Fornell have an elevator brainstorm, realizing the best person to sent McBride to Iran and cancel his orders was his commanding officer. They check his bank records and find no pay-offs. Gibbs asks McGee how his handwriting is.
Gibbs and Fornell pay Captain Dominick Wayne a visit and show him the letter from McBride (presumably forged by McGee) saying Wayne changed his orders. Wayne says he didn't know McBride was going to be killed. They blackmailed him using his affair. He got one call to change McBride's order and another to send Gibbs to Iran. Wayne is facing prison time and court martial.
In Vance's office, he introduces Tomas Mendez with Public Anti-Terrorism Coalition, which helps facilitate cooperation between the government and business to stop terrorism. He shows them surveillance footage of Parsa from one of his buildings in Miami. They mention Arizona.
Tony ends up in an uncomfortable elevator with Parsons. Parsons stops it and gives Tony a file on farm property in Israel that secretly belonged to Eli David, where Parsons suggests Ziva might be hiding out.
Gibbs walks Fornell to his car. Gibbs wants to know how long he knew NCIS was in danger; Fornell says he came to Gibbs as soon as he learned. "No matter what happens with this, I've got your back," Gibbs says.
Back in the office, Abby runs a trace on the shrapnel removed from the bombing victims. It matches a bombing in Yemen and a white supremacist group. The bomb was in the frame of a mountain bike, the method used by The Brotherhood of Doubt, based in Yuma, Arizona.
Gibbs, Fornell and a team head to Yuma. They find handcuffs where McBride was kept and photos of the NCIS team, Sec Nav, Tom Morrow and Tomas Mendez.
Later, Gibbs gets Mendez and takes him to protective custody.
In Israel, Adam leads a raid with a team into Ziva's dad's farm house. He finds three dead men.
Adam reports back to Tony from MTAC. Ziva left her Star of David necklace behind, so they'd know she was there.
Later at night, home alone, Tony looks at a picture of Ziva and wonders where she is.