What an excellent episode showcasing the NCIS agents’ techniques in solving the murder of a Navy seaman. We get to see Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his boss, Leon Vance working together to salvage Leon’s career. Despite political pressure, all ends well. Yet, we wonder if Gibbs will ever speak to Vance again. More on that subject later. This episode is well written and features a not too uncommon situation where a careful and political executive (Vance) tries to supervise a gung-ho subordinate (Gibbs) whose means to success is an ever-present threat to the boss. For those viewers who record the episode, you’ll find this one is even more compelling when watched a second time as it delves into the changing times for federal agents.

When Navy Seaman Apprentice Brian Dokes robs a drug dealer and sports bettor working in the back of a lingerie shop, it’s discovered that a discredited former NCIS agent Kip Klugman, who went to prison in a case worked by Leon Vance, is involved. Now paroled, Klugman pretends to be an informant who can help solve the murder/robbery. He claims to have inside information from an “anonymous” source. Because of Vance’s past with his nemesis, he rejects working with him. At this point, we viewers wonder if Klugman is for real or is he setting his sights on discrediting Vance.

For those alert to the technical adherence of the “law,” this show had two events requiring a search warrant. Abby is terrific in her role as capable lab tech. She uncovers a concealed tracking device (probably not a realistic device) in the money bag and then is able to track backwards to the cell phone App being used to monitor the device from the lingerie shop. This provides Tony with enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant for the shop. Getting the warrant and executing the warrant at the shop were accomplished off-scene. DiNozzo and McGee use the additional evidence found in their search to interrogate Kobe “Beef” Carver. He is the creep who operated his sports betting and drug dealing from the back room of his fake shop.

During their surveillance together, much is revealed about differences between Gibbs and Vance. Gibbs has recovered from being shot and has retained his sharp edge as an agent. On the other hand, Vance has lost his. He boasts that he has moves Gibbs and SecNav haven’t seen yet, and then isn’t even able to figure out what to do after following Klugman to his lawyer’s office. And he mocks Gibbs’ “sorry” old phone that isn’t a computer. Later, Beef’s security guy, who goes by the fitting moniker “Lump”, disarms Vance and Gibbs, and steals the cash evidence as it’s being transferred to Alexandria. In a spectacular move, the team uses Gibbs’ “sorry” old cell phone (hidden in the money box) to track “Lump” and the money to his lawyer’s office.

On a side note, when the lawyer first appears, Diane just knew she was doing more than defending criminals. Here, the agents need to obtain a second search warrant. In exigent circumstances, law enforcement agents can enter without a warrant, a home or office to prevent death or injury, or even destruction of evidence. There is case law permitting such entry, BUT as soon as the people inside have been secured and all persons and evidence are safe, the agent then applies to a judge for a search warrant BEFORE beginning any search. In this episode, the securing of “Lump” and his lawyer turn kind of messy. In actuality, a search warrant would have been obtained after the injured received help.

To get back to what we mentioned above, in real life a lasting problem would result from Vance double-crossing Gibbs. How did he double cross him you ask? By disarming Gibbs and surrendering to “Lump”, an armed criminal, Director Vance put both their lives in danger. We’ll be watching to see if the show’s writers gloss over this troubling occurrence in future episodes, or if Gibbs keeps Vance at arm’s length. Also, what do you all think of SecNav in this show? Was she doing her job in threatening to remove Vance from office or was she looking out for her own political skin?

Be Blessed, Diane and David Munson