"NCIS" Playing with Fire (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Gibbs and company continue to investigate an explosion and a fire; McGee goes to the carrier involved; Abby finds a clue, which opens a whole set of new questions; Gibbs, Tony, and Ziva meet McGee when the ship arrives in Norfolk from the sea. Abby finds also a connection between the two shipboard thermite fires; Ducky too finds such a connection; McGee and Abby break a code. Next Tony and Ziva fly to Naples, Italy, and meet another NCIS special agent, then they all go aboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, where they nab a bad guy (before he does his dirty work), who tells who hired him and why; McGee and Abby figure out which particular person with a certain name is the man behind the scheme. [To be continued.]

  • Gibbs and company continue to investigate an explosion and a fire; Tony, McGee, and Ziva work aboard aircraft carriers; Ducky and Abby provide much support. Tony and Ziva nab a bad guy, who tells who hired him and why. [Continued.]


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • U.S.S. Brewer at sea A sailor checks his phone, looking at family photos. He drops it under the stairs. Meanwhile, a man rigs an electrical box with a small charge.

    The sailor gets his phone and the man lights his charge. The wires ignite, but the man can't get out of the room because the sailor is blocking his exit. He goes for an escape hatch, but the room blows.

    In MTAC, Admiral Theodore Tully briefs everyone on the threat to the ships. He's glad the casualties weren't worse; but Gibbs doesn't think it's over. Vance is away at a NATO conference until the end of the week.

    McGee preps to hop a flight to the Brewer, which will be back in Norfolk tomorrow.

    They have no leads on their dead arsonist Bruce Johnson.

    In the morgue, Duckie has a personal matter but tells Gibbs it can wait. Duckie doesn't have much from Johnson's body.

    Gibbs visits Abby in the garage with Johnson's car. She went through Johnson's cross cut shredder and found a document with Korean characters. She can't reconstruct the document, but wonders if it means N. Korea was behind the attacks.

    Ziva promises someone they'll reschedule and they can try to get their deposit back.

    NCIS Analyst Emma Park drops by and reports no N. Korean chatter. She knows about Ziva's weekend plans.

    Gibbs and Tony talk to McGee aboard the Brewer in MTAC. The victims were Erik Ramsey, the sailor, and Tobey Abbott, a civilian with Norton Turbine following up repairs to the ship's power plant. McGee suggests they have to consider Abbott a suspect. McGee pauses to hurl, wracked with sea sickness.

    Tony and Ziva visit the arsonist's widow, who scoffs at the idea he knew Korean. They were getting divorced.

    They talk to the postman, who says Johnson was getting mail from Switzerland.

    Duckie drops by Gibbs' house. Duckie confesses he's come in to a lot of money from his mother's passing. Duckie's redoing his will and wants Gibbs to be his executor. Gibbs would be honored.

    U.S.S. Brewer Gibbs and Duckie board the Brewer in port. McGee joins Tony and Ziva in Abbott's quarters. They find an envelope from Switzerland with a letter in Korean inside. Even McGee knows Ziva's weekend plans.

    Back in the office, Emma Park tells Admiral Tully and Gibbs the Korean is jibberish. She's checking to see if it's a code.

    In the office, Tony finds Abbott wanted to join the Navy but got rejected twice.

    In Abby's lab, she knows Tony is going nuts not knowing about Ziva's weekend. It's just Pilates weekend with her landlord. Abby finds the residue from the Brewer fire was the same as in the other fires.

    The magazine locker was right below where the fire ignited. If the room had gone, it could have sunk the whole ship. Instead the tanks in the machine room ignited and the explosion created a vacuum.

    She checked the Swiss-Korean envelope for DNA but doesn't have results yet.

    Ziva talks to Abbott's boss, who says Abbott lobbied for the assignment.

    Duckie gets choked up thinking about Ramsey's family.

    In MTAC, Gibbs and Tony talk to NCIS Special Agent Stan Burley, who's in Naples, Italy and just got the faulty wiring alert. The Benjamin Franklin is coming in to port. He found a thermite device in the warehouse that would resupply the Franklin -- a nuclear aircraft carrier.

    Tony and Ziva head to Italy.

    Gibbs wakes Abby up in the lab, where she slept on the floor and Mcgee sleep on the computer. They broke the code on the Korean message -- which was a simple code, typed on an English keyboard but printed in Korean. It gave Abbot instructions on when, where and how to attack the Brewer.

    Naples, Italy Burley greets them. The Benjamin Franklin is in port. They swapped the thermite out of the device and the three of them are going undercover on board to wait to see who comes to arm it. There are 32 civilians onboard.

    Duckie brings Gibbs his will. Most of his estate is going to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

    On the Franklin, Burley and Tony stake out the room with the bomb. Ziva brings food, but Tony's feeling seasick. They see someone approach. A man goes into the room they're guarding and checks his instructions.

    Burley waits as the man cuts into a sealed palette, going for the bait. But the man hears something and picks up his knife and hurls it. Burley makes a noise like he's hit. Tony and Ziva go in. They find burley down, but still breathing. His weapon is gone.

    The suspect creeps around with Burley's gun. Tony and Ziva close in on him and Tony clocks him with a chain.

    In MTAC, Gibbs sees that Burley is OK.

    The suspect is Andre Fullerton, a tech rep with an Avionics Communications firm. Gibbs tells Fullerton he has no rights and they're invoking the Patriot Act to fly him to Guantanamo as a terrorist.

    Gibbs asks who hired him.

    Fullerton says the man's name is Harper Dearing, but Fullerton never met him in person. All he knows is he had a slight Southern drawl. He did it for the money. Gibbs orders Fullerton brought back for trial.

    McGee checks Southern Harper Dearings and finds one (Richard Schiff) born in Georgia who is the CEO of Dorado Hills Investments, a venture capital group, and lives in Virginia.

    Gibbs sets Abby on comparing his DNA to the code envelope.

    Abby finds Gibbs cleaning his weapon in her lab, waiting for her. Dearing had a son in the Navy, she had his DNA compared to the envelope. There's a familial match. Gibbs takes off.

    Gibbs and a team head to Dorado Hills Investments to arrest Dearing. Vincent Maple, the company president, greets them. He doesn't know where Dearing is -- he hasn't seen or heard from him in over a year.

    In the office, Gibbs calls everyone to attention and puts Harper Dearing on their Most Wanted wall.

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