NCIS (2003– )
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Heart Break 

While recovering after heart surgery, a commander dies due to an internal flash and the resulting fire without an apparent external cause; the Gibbs team investigate. Abby says it's murder, then she finds a key fact, and the gang solves it.


Dennis Smith


Donald P. Bellisario (created by), Don McGill (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Harmon ... Leroy Jethro Gibbs
Sasha Alexander ... Caitlin Todd
Michael Weatherly ... Anthony DiNozzo
Pauley Perrette ... Abby Sciuto
Sean Murray ... Timothy McGee
David McCallum ... Donald Mallard
Jessica Steen ... Agent Paula Cassidy
Stacy Edwards ... Commander Janice Byers
Nathan Wetherington ... Ensign Evan Hayes
Michael Dempsey ... Coach Morgan
Brian Dietzen ... Jimmy Palmer
Billy Brown ... Chief Petty Officer Velat
Charles Walker Charles Walker
Derrex Brady ... Navy Corpsman
Tyler Kain ... Tiffany


While recovering after heart surgery at the Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, a commander dies due to an internal flash and the resulting fire without any apparent external source of ignition; Gibbs and company investigate. McGee suggests the possibility of spontaneous human combustion (SHC), Gibbs makes fun of it, Ducky declines to ignore it, and Abby digs it. However, Abby says that it's murder. Tony sees again a friend from Gitmo, then a party in a hotel room leads to a missing officer at a swimming pool. Ducky wines and dines the woman surgeon, but he later becomes disappointed in her. Abby finds a key fact, then the team solves the mystery. Written by DocRushing

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

30 November 2004 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 2.0)



Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The ring-tone on Kate's cellphone is the NCIS theme song. See more »


Tony claims that oxygen is flammable. It is not. It supports combustion but does not burn. A fuel will burn in oxygen. See more »


[first lines]
Nurse Dooley: Tell me he's asleep.
Navy Corpsman: Dr. Byers saw to that. Gave him Percocet before she left.
Nurse Dooley: If I were her and he called me in at two in the morning, I would have killed him.
See more »


References Masterpiece Theatre: Bleak House (1985) See more »


Darkwave Sphere
Written by Dominic Kelly
Performed by Dominic Kelly
Courtesy of Addax Music Company
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User Reviews

10 August 2015 | by SuperCriticalSee all my reviews

The show was based upon oxygen in a hospital recovery room blowing up and killing a patient.

This story line ruined the entire episode. NCIS has a team of scientist and not one of them knew that oxygen is not combustible. Oxygen will promote combustion but alone does not burn nor explode.

It is unfortunate that NCIS would perpetuate misinformation and help to spread non truths though the population. I would hope that future shows use a technical adviser that understands science to prevent the continuous dumbing of the population. It would also help make the show more real than fantasy.

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