“NCIS: New Orleans” Season 1 Episode 1 “Musician Heal Thyself” aired on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. on CBS. In this episode, the New Orleans team dealt with a case that was close to home, as the victim was a young Navy officer that was mentored by NCIS Special Agent Dwayne “King” Pride (Scott Bakula) himself. However, all is not what it seems, as what they thought was just a gang war was something more sinister in reality. Meanwhile, newcomer Special Agent Merri Brody (Zoe McLellan) looked for a new apartment. Read on to learn more about this episode.
The episode opened with two men fighting on the docks near a crate of shrimp. However, when one of them got knocked into the crate, a severed leg was discovered.
As Special Agent Merri Brody and NCIS Special Agent Dwayne “King” Pride approached the crime scene, Brody was relating on how she could not sleep the night before because of kids and gangs shooting at each other.
At the crime scene, they were greeted by NCIS Special Agent Christopher La Salle (Lucas Black) and their consultant, medical examiner Dr. Loretta Wade (CCH Pounder). La Salle confirmed that the case was theirs as the severed leg was wearing a Navy-issued boot. According to Loretta, based on the decomposition, the owner of the body had been dead for a week. Despite all their speculations, she believed that the cause of the amputation of the leg was a single clean blade and that the owner of the leg was African American. Pride decided to return to the office, while La Salle and Brody coordinated with the Coast Guard to organize a search to find the rest of the dead officer’s body. La Salle also offered to help Brody find a new apartment.
Back at headquarters, Pride was greeted by Captain Peter Lee who informed him that an officer that Pride had mentored, Petty Officer Second Class Calvin Parks, had been missing and on unauthorized absence for several days. Lee hoped that it was probably nothing and told Pride that he had done Calvin a big favor, as Calvin used to run with the gangs in that area. After Lee left, Pride had a feeling that the leg that they had found was Calvin’s. In order to confirm his suspicions, he contacted the morgue, where he was greeted by Loretta and Forensic Scientist Sebastian Lund (Rob Kerkovich) who showed him the computer simulation he had made based on the leg. Pride then asked if it was possible for the leg to belong to a man with Calvin’s description, and they said that it was possible. He then visited Calvin’s father, a trumpet player at a jazz club, to see if he had seen Calvin lately. However, Calvin’s father said that he had not seen him in a couple of days already. While he played another set, Pride got the confirmation from Loretta that the leg was a match to Calvin Parks.
The next day, Brody and La Salle entered headquarters to find Pride cooking up some breakfast. Brody and La Salle reported that they were able to get Calvin’s laptop, and it was currently being processed as it was password protected. La Salle then offered to go to the morgue instead of Pride, as he was too emotionally attached to the case. However, Pride insisted on going to the morgue himself, while Brody and La Salle checked out the wharf as Calvin worked at the Pier Side Fleet Logistics Center, doing inventory on Food and Equipment that gets loaded onto Navy boats.
At the wharf, they were able to speak with the civilian Longshoreman Supervisor, who told them that was a good kid, but he had heard rumors that Calvin was getting mixed up with some gang members that he used to hang out with before. The supervisor was also eating something that he constantly got from a cup in his hand.
At the morgue, Loretta revealed that they had found the entire body and that his body was buried in plastic and placed in a shallow grave along Highway 11. He had bled to death after his leg was cut by a sharp object. His leg was dumped in the body of water, and the body was wrapped and moved. Loretta found contusion marks on his knuckles, meaning, he did not go down without a fight. Loretta also found a tooth that did not belong to Calvin, which meant that the killer was missing a tooth. She also found a fresh Delta Crew gang tattoo, suggesting that he may have started to hang out with his former friends. Because of this, La Salle went to visit the Delta Crew, while Pride and Brody visited the rival gang, the 113’s.
Along the way, Pride told Brody that in New Orleans, wherever you choose to live defines you. For example, La Salle lives at the French Quarters because he loves French food.
At the hang out of the Delta Crew gang, La Salle found out that none of the gang members had seen Calvin recently, and the Delta Crew members became mad at the thought that Calvin might have been killed by the 113’s. This led to a drive by shootout by the Delta Crew on the 113 gang, while Brody and Pride were interrogating them. However, they learned that none of them had seen Calvin recently.
At headquarters, Councilman Hamilton (Steven Weber) tried to get Pride into giving up some names with regards to the death of Calvin as he had organized an anti-gang task force. However, Pride could not really give up any names as they were not sure whether the gangs were involved in Calvin’s death.
Pride found the entire setup strange. The Delta Crew did not know that Calvin, their former member, was dead and had retaliated via the drive by, but the 113 did not retaliate. Loretta then asked Pride how he knew Calvin. He revealed that he had been a friend of Calvin’s father for a long time and that he had met little Calvin when he tried to rob his house. Instead of reporting him to the police, he had mentored him, gotten him out of the gang scene and directed him towards the Navy. He could not believe that Calvin had gotten back into the gang world, and neither could his father, who, for the first time, could not bring himself to play his trumpet until they found out what happened. Meanwhile, Pride got annoyed at Councilman Hamilton, who was trying to use the case to drum up publicity for his anti-gang task force.
While Brody and La Salle were looking at emails, La Salle inquired why Brody did not want La Salle’s help to find an apartment. She insisted that work and personal life should be kept separate, but La Salle insisted that in New Orleans, “everyone is family.” They then noticed that Calvin had been emailing himself some big repeating numbers, followed by some smaller numbers. One number that stood out was 34593, as Brody was sure that she had seen it before. After pulling an all nighter, with some bread pudding on the side, Brody realized that the numbers were identification markers for products. The numbers 34593 stood for pineapples, and the smaller numbers were weights. She explained to Pride that all the products were first weighed in Guatemala before being shipped to New Orleans. At New Orleans, the products are unloaded then weighed a second time before being loaded on Navy boats. The smaller numbers were the difference between the weight in Guatemala, and the weight before being loaded on Navy boats — someone was smuggling something into the country.
Loretta then discovered that Calvin’s tattoo started to disappear. After consulting with Dr. Mallard (David McCallum), from the “NCIS” team at Washington DC, she revealed to Pride that the tattoo was disappearing because it was applied after Calvin had died. It was disappearing because there was no fresh blood that it could hold on to. Thanks to Sebastian’s analysis, Brody, La Salle and Sebastian were able to trace the tattoo ink to a tattoo shop nearby. The owner told them that the person who asked for the ink and the needle paid him $500 and left. Luckily, the tattooist was able to draw a sketch of that man. While they were there, it was revealed that La Salle and Brody had tattoos, but Brody did not reveal where hers was.
Back at headquarters, La Salle used Bruce, their facial recognition system, to identify the man in the sketch. The man was identified as Harold Werner — someone who worked at the wharf as well. However, a visit to his trailer revealed that he was killed and stuffed in a closet. However, he was not the killer as he had a full set of teeth. This meant that he had an accomplice, so the team decided to go back to the wharf to look for the mysterious toothless accomplice.
At the wharf, they spoke to the Longshoreman Supervisor who seemed shocked that Harold Werner had something to do with Calvin’s death. He then mentioned that Harold had been receiving some money recently, which was odd for him. As the supervisor went to the office to get the list of other workers at the docks, the trio realized that what the supervisor was eating ice chips — something used to dull the pain when someone has just lost a tooth. The supervisor ran but was eventually caught by the team. Upon closer investigation, they found that what was being smuggled in was heroin, and they also found the axe that had killed Calvin. Calvin had discovered that heroin was being smuggled in and was killed so that he would not report it to his supervisors.
However, at interrogation, Pride realized that the supervisor had only been in New Orleans for two years and would not have known of Calvin’s past with the gangs. However, he would not say who told him about the tattoo. Pride realized that Councilman Hamilton had to have a hand in this, especially as the docks were part of his district. Pride deduced that the Councilman had set up the tattoo, knowing Calvin’s past with the Delta Crew, in order to organize an anti-gang task force that he would head.
Later at the jazz club where Mr. Parks played, the group enjoyed some drinks together. La Salle had found Brody a nice apartment, but what she did not know was that it really belonged to Loretta. In the end, Mr. Parks, in gratitude for solving the case, let Pride play the piano during the next song.
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And that’s it for the recap on “NCIS: New Orleans” Season 1 Episode 1 “Musician Heal Thyself.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “NCIS: New Orleans” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
Catch “NCIS: New Orleans” every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.
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