“NCIS” Season 12 Episode 9 “Grounded” aired last Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. on CBS. In this episode, NCIS Special Agent Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop (Emily Wickersham), her husband, Jake (Jamie Bamber), and NCIS Special Agent Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) discovered that the airport that they were at was on alert as there had been chatter of a threat, which could most possibly be a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, while Tony and Ellie did their best to conduct their own investigation at the airport, the rest of the team raced against time in order to figure out what the chatter was all about, especially after a most wanted person showed up at the airport. Read on to learn more about this episode.
The episode opened with a man who was listening to the news of the awful snowstorm outside while he packed a suitcase. He then reassured his wife who had called him up that he would arrive on time in Paris to slice the turkey for Thanksgiving. He was then interrupted by a man who entered and shot him dead. He then got the dead man’s ring and credentials, took his glasses and shaved himself to impersonate the dead man.
At the NCIS office, NCIS Special Agent Eleanor “Ellie” Bishop (Emily Wickersham) finally introduced her husband, Jake Bishop (Jamie Bamber), an NSA lawyer, to NCIS Special Agent Timothy “Tim” McGee (Sean Murray), Forensic Specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), and NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). They explained that they were going to visit Jake’s family in Turks in Caicos for Thanksgiving and that they were leaving that evening from Dulles. McGee then mentioned that they might run into Tony at the airport as Tony was there, waiting for his father to arrive from London.
At the airport, while they looked at the flight schedules, Ellie noticed that Jake was a little bit on edge, but he dismissed it as holiday jitters. They did run into Tony, and Tony was finally able to meet Jake. Their conversation was then interrupted by a smelly guy who turned out to be headed for Turks and Caicos and just so happened to be seated beside Jake and Ellie. However, before Ellie could change their seat, it was announced that all flights would be delayed due to the snowstorm happening outside. As Ellie moved away from the check-in counter, a man bumped into her. As he refused to say “excuse me” even if she said “excuse me” to him, her husband intervened until he said “excuse me.” After he left, Ellie told Tony and Jake that that man had seemed familiar to her, but she could not figure out why. While Jake left to have their seats changed, Ellie told Tony that she was disturbed by the fact that she could not figure out why that man, who was now talking angrily into his phone, seemed so familiar. After Jake came back, he remarked that Ellie had become more suspicious of others since she joined NCIS. Ellie countered by saying that since they could not talk about his work at the NSA, then all she could talk about with him was her work at NCIS.
Back at the NCIS office, the Medical Examiner’s assistant, Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen), and Abby Sciuto discussed baby names for Jimmy’s upcoming new baby while getting ready to leave the office. They then discovered that both McGee and Gibbs were on alert as Gibbs did not respond to Abby’s invitation of doing Snow Angels as it was snowing outside. They then learned that there was a possible terrorist chatter that involved all US airports in the Northeast. This made them all uneasy as Ellie, Jake and Tony were all at Dulles at that moment.
Back at the airport, Ellie pretended to buy a lighter so that she could engage the guy that she had bumped into in a conversation. When she came back, she told Tony and Jake that she might have been wrong about that guy. She then realized that Gibbs had called and was on speakerphone, as he informed them about the chatter and that the threat was elevated. After Gibbs asked Jake if he had heard of anything in the NSA, Jake informed him that he had heard some whispers and rumors before leaving the office. This made Ellie realize that he had been on edge because of it, but he hadn’t said anything as he did not want their trip to be ruined.
As they looked around the terminal with new eyes, Ellie noticed that the guy she had been obsessed about, who was fixing his pant cuff, had a gun. As Tony and Ellie approached him, Jake was surprised to learn that it was now a habit for Ellie to carry her service weapon with her. After they confronted the man, whose name was Mike Beers, they learned that he was a US Air Marshall, and he became upset at them as they had just blown his cover. However, before he left, Tony found him strange as he did not react quickly to a joke that he had made about his last name.
Tony then reported to Gibbs that the Air Marshall they had run into had heard of the chatter but left out the part about them blowing his cover. Instead, he called McGee and asked him to run Mike Beers’ name. After McGee glanced at Gibbs, Gibbs told him to just do it. Ellie then took a selfie by the charging station where Beers was so that she could send it to Abby who could run his face on their facial recognition software. They also learned that threat had been elevated and specifically stated that all DC Metropolitan airports should be on alert.
As Gibbs asked Abby what she had found out, the entire team at the office discovered that Gibbs had found out that Tony and Ellie were suspicious of Mike Beers. McGee informed them that Beers was a former marine and never checked out of the local motel where he had been staying at. Abby then discovered, after comparing Ellie’s picture with the photo of Beers, that the man in the airport was not Beers at all.
Gibbs then told Tony and Ellie that he was sending some back up to them. Meanwhile, Ellie, Jake and Tony guarded the men’s bathroom door as the imposter had just gone inside. Jake then told Ellie that he couldn’t believe that Ellie and Tony do this a lot, especially as this was the first time he’d seen Ellie in action. They were then greeted by Lt. Janet Lewis of the TSA, who accompanied Tony and Ellie inside the bathroom. There, they discovered that their fake Air Marshall had been stabbed in the chest. However, they became worried as they discovered that someone had taken the fake Air Marshall’s gun.
While Tony and Lt. Lewis went outside to take a look at the security camera footage, Jake helped Ellie examine the body. While this was happening, McGee, Gibbs, Jimmy and the NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard (David McCallum) headed over to the motel room of the real Mike Beers in order to examine the crime scene. They then discovered that whoever had killed Mike Beers was only planning on posing as Mike Beers for a short time only as he had only taken his badge, gun and credentials, which Ellie and Jake found on the fake one. Using some makeup and a band-aid, Ellie was able to send Abby the fingerprint of the dead fake Air Marshall so that they could figure out who he really was. Jake found everything amazing as Ellie just did what had to be done in her new job quickly, which was unlike what she used to do in the NSA. They then realized that the fake Mike Beers job was to impersonate Beers in order to deliver Beers’ gun to someone, but they did not know to whom he had to give it to.
After Tony and Lt. Lewis pacified an angry crowd outside the men’s restroom, Tony volunteered to help Lewis look at the security footage. However, she refused, as that footage was only for their and Homeland’s eyes only.
Thanks to the fingerprint that Ellie had sent over, Abby finally understood why Ellie had thought that the fake Air Marshall was familiar. The fake Air Marshall turned out to be Norman Dopps, a concierge of crime for anyone who could afford him and a notorious chameleon. The reason why Ellie thought he was so familiar was because he always popped up in the “most wanted updates” that they get every week — something that Ellie always checked religiously. However, what was strange was that he never hooked up with any terrorists. McGee then informed them that Homeland now believed that an assassination attempt was going to take place. This meant that Dopps was supposed to deliver the gun to an assassin, who was currently in the airport. Most probably the assassin was going to target someone on an incoming flight. As Gibbs wanted an extra pair of eyes on them, Jake used his tablet’s camera in order to keep up a livestream of the airport terminal they were at.
At autopsy, Ducky and Jimmy discovered that Norman Dopps had been stabbed precisely in the chest with a carbon fiber knife, which was twisted for maximum damage. This meant that the killer was an expert.
Upstairs, everyone worked together to figure out who the target and the assassin were. Ducky scanned the airport crowd, McGee continued to call his sources in order to get the flight manifests, and Jimmy and Abby looked at outbound flight manifests and passport photos.
At the airport, Tony, Ellie and Jake learned that Lewis and her team weren’t able to pick up anything on the surveillance camera and that as one runway was finally cleared, the flights from London, Athens and Brussels were going to land in fifteen minutes. This did not bode well for Tony, especially as the killer had not been caught yet, and his father was going to arrive soon. Then Lewis announced that they would be conducting a second screening for everyone, starting with the flight to Calgary.
Back at the office, McGee was able to get hold of the manifests of seventeen incoming flights into Dulles. As they looked at the manifests, Abby noticed that the incoming London flight had two Colombian federal agents and an unidentified third party whom McGee discovered was Hector Gomez, a high level member of the Dominguez Cartel. He had been extradited that morning, and from Dulles, he and the federal agents would change to a connecting flight to Bogota, which would give the assassin a window of opportunity to kill him. After looking at all those who were Colombian on the manifests, and thanks to Abby’s software, they were able to pinpoint the assassin as Mr. Alberto Velez, who had been posing as a well-dressed English man at the airport. They then informed Tony and Ellie about this.
Tony and Ellie tried to stop the London flight from deplaning, but it was too late. After Ellie received the photo of the assassin, they started to scan the area for him. Velez then drew his gun as soon as Hector Gomez came out; but before he could inflict any damage, Tony, Ellie and Lewis managed to gun him down. After examining him, Tony discovered the carbon knife which he had used to kill Noman Dopps.
At the office, McGee learned from Tony that Ellie and Jake had left already and that Tony’s father had forgotten to tell him that he had missed his flight, which meant that Tony didn’t have to be there in the first place, as his father was going to arrive the next day. The entire office then accepted Ducky’s invitation to some drinks, and Gibbs agreed to give Abby one Snow Angel.
And that was all for the recap on “NCIS” Season 12 Episode 9 “Grounded.” For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on “NCIS” and other television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
Catch “NCIS” every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.
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