Last time on NCIS
, Bishop and Torres went undercover as criminals, and it was an enlightening experiment. I loved feisty, take-no-prisoners Bishop!
This episode of NCIS, titled "Dark Secrets," brings back a familiar face from JAG. JAG Navy Captain Bud Roberts Jr. (Patrick Labyorteaux) is the commanding officer of a Navy lieutenant who commits suicide.
A Not-So-Happy Birthday
The episode kicks off with a set of parents arriving to surprise their daughter for her birthday with balloons and a cake. Their plan is to use their spare key and set up a surprise for Melissa when she returns that evening. The parents are unfortunately the ones who are surprised when they find their daughter hanging from a noose in her living room.
In the squad room, McGee is proudly showing off pictures of Morgan and Johnny. Torres thinks that the twins look the same as they did yesterday, but McGee is beaming with fatherly pride. It is great to see McGee so happy. Gibbs arrives and asks to see the newest pictures of the twins. Gibbs is avoiding another kind of photo; it is the final day to get his photo taken for his new credentials. Torres is trying to avoid his horrible photo and bemoaning the fact that human resources will not let him take another. Maybe McGee can give you a hand with that, Torres.
The team sets off to investigate the death of JAG Lieutenant Melissa Newhall. Palmer thinks that the time of death was around 7am. There is no suicide note, and the parents maintain that their daughter, Melissa, would never commit suicide. Melissa was upbeat and loved her job as a JAG lawyer. She also had recently become engaged to David Crocker. Mr. Newhall notes that the only thing out of the ordinary was that Melissa's house alarm was off, and she always had it on.
Melissa, who was an only child, struggled with high school but did well at a junior college and earned a scholarship to Georgetown. She even graduated at the top of her class at law school. Bishop called her commanding officer, Captain Bud Roberts, but he was in court. Gibbs smiles and tells the team that he knows Roberts. No one has been able to reach Crocker, Melissa's fiance.
A Mysterious Phone Number
In autopsy, Dr. Palmer discovers bruising on Melissa's body, which suggests a struggle, and some older bruising. Meanwhile, McGee is in Abby's lab when she walks in. She has been at the coffee cart with Jack and has a splinter in her finger. She would like McGee to keep that quiet as she fears that Gibbs will dig it out with a knife or something.
McGee is inside Melissa's computer, and there is no suicide note. Abby tested a sample of Melissa's blood and found that she was sedated with Diazepam. McGee wonders if this could mean it was a murder. They discover an app for a video diary. Melissa made video entries every day until three days before her death. She seems very positive and happy about her upcoming wedding.
Bishop is still on the hunt to talk to Crocker. He wasn't at the public relations firm that he works for because he made an unplanned flight to New York that morning at 9am. Isn't that convenient? He is returning that afternoon, and Torres will be at the airport to greet him.
Melissa's most recent calls were to her parents, her fiance and Kerry Lyons, her best friend. Kerry is a social worker and spoke to Melissa about an hour before her death. Melissa also made some calls to a prepaid phone number, and the voicemail has a sultry-sounding recording from a woman named Rita. Bishop left a couple of messages. None of Melissa's co-workers, or even her family or friend Kerry, know someone named Rita.
Everything to Live For
Gibbs meets with Bud Roberts, and he does not believe for a second that Melissa committed suicide. Roberts states that she was well-liked and a great attorney who handled both defense and prosecution cases. As for enemies, there was a case where Melissa prosecuted Petty Officer Carlos Valencia for abusing his spouse, and he threatened her in court. Valencia went to prison in 2015, but Roberts is shocked to discover that he was released two weeks ago. McGee pulls up the video diary from the date of the court marshal proceedings, and Melissa explains how she was surprised when Valencia threatened her. Gibbs suggests sending the diaries to Jack so that she can analyze them.
Torres and Bishop have a chat with Crocker. He seems very nervous and distraught. He explains that she had been acting unusual the past three days and seemed preoccupied. Torres presses Crocker about the bruises on Melissa's body, and he explains that Melissa wanted to remain celibate until they were married. Torres looks mighty confused right now. There is a knock on the glass window, and Bishop goes outside to get the latest update. Melissa had sex in the last 72 hours, and Abby is hoping to identify her partner through DNA. Well, that is confusing.
Jack dives into watching Melissa's diaries. Bishop goes to see Jack to pick her brain about Crocker's assertion that he and Melissa were never intimate. The dead woman's video diaries confirm this, and so far there is no indication that Melissa was seeing anyone else. Bishop wonders if Melissa could be a victim of rape. Before leaving, Jack invites Bishop to take a lollipop, and Bishop chooses green -- just as Jack predicted. Bishop stops when she hears Melissa's voice on the video diary and asks Jack to replay it. Abby runs a voice comparison to the recording from mystery woman Rita, and it is a match. They are one and the same.
Secrets and Lies
Kerry and Melissa's mother are laying out her white dress uniform for the funeral, while Melissa's father tries to locate her important documents. Torres knocks on the door so that he can interview Kerry. Kerry didn't sense anything strange when she spoke to Melissa, and they even joked about past birthdays. I am with Gibbs and Roberts; this may just be a murder. Kerry adds that Crocker is Melissa's perfect man and that she was saving herself for marriage. She goes even further and tells a stupefied Torres that she believes that Melissa was not sexually interested in either men or women.
McGee clears Valencia because he was 200 miles away in a mandatory parolee program at the time of Melissa's death. He also gets a special delivery of the team's brand-new identity badges, and Torres is jealous that Bishop's photo is model perfect. He even thinks that Gibbs is using his old photo. Poor Torres!
Bishop asks McGee to ping the prepaid number, and he gets a location. McGee, Bishop and Torres trace the phone to a hotel on a busy street. The clerk at the seedy hotel identifies a picture of Melissa as Rita, and the trio heads up to her room. Her closet is full of leather, lace and bondage gear. Surprise! McGee finds the prepaid phone and notices the same diary app that Melissa has on her computer. This diary is all about Barry, features Melissa in leather bondage gear and details how she craves pain. She has several male names in her phone and a prescription bottle for Diazepam in her name.
Kerry meets with Jack and Bishop, and she refuses to believe that Melissa had a secret life. Jack explains that if a person leads a double life, it is usually connected to a traumatic event. Kerry is distraught about losing her friend, and she begs the agents not to reveal Melissa's secret to her parents.
McGee and Torres speak to Barry Goode at a bar. He denies knowing Rita at first but then admits that they had sex a few times and that he only did what she asked him to do. He also claims that he was working at Dulles Airport at the time that Rita/Melissa died.
Jack is showing Gibbs clips of Melissa's video diary from the same day a month prior. She is at home as Melissa, telling her fiance that she had to work late, then out later at 3am as Rita. It is very weird and sort of creepy. Jack tells Gibbs that Melissa has a dual life; she is the same person who is conscious of all her actions. Jack adds that the consistency with which Melissa posted her video diaries means that she is crying out to be heard but thinks that she isn't. It is Jack's theory that Melissa developed these feelings during her childhood.
Gibbs and Jack go to see Melissa's parents at Melissa's home and ask if Melissa kept a diary as a child or teenager. Her father admits to reading some of his teenage daughter's diary before Melissa stopped him. He confesses that she became a troubled teen, and he sought insight in her diary. Her senior year, Melissa turned her life around, but no one knows why.
Bishop and Palmer are in the squad and see Torres embracing a mystery woman. Bishop asks Torres who she is, and he confesses that Jody is new in the human resources department. Jody has given Torres his new credentials with a new model-worthy photo.
Gibbs knows that the key to everything is in Melissa's teen diary. They just need to find it. In Abby's lab, Palmer preps for the surgical removal of the splinter in Abby's finger. Abby is upset that Melissa didn't turn to her family, fiance or friends for support. McGee is also in the lab, and he is upset. He noticed days ago that Melissa had googled the newspaper from her hometown but never had the chance to check on it. There was a headline about the body of a missing teacher, Emmett Paul, being found. The teacher, who had been missing for 14 years and was suspected of abusing some of his female students, disappeared before any charges were filed.
Bishop brings Crocker to Melissa's house. He knows that Melissa kept all her important items hidden in the living room under a fake drawer. The shell-shocked fiance gives Bishop the diary. Jack discovers that Melissa, in the final entry in her teen diary, mentions how creepy the teacher is and that she and Kerry intend to school the teacher.
After Paul disappeared, girls at the school told authorities that Paul had molested them. McGee also discovered that the first time that Melissa had ever looked at the town newspaper's site was the day that the body was discovered, and she checked the site for the next three days leading up to her suicide. Jack thinks that Melissa became Rita to punish herself after murdering her teacher 14 years ago. She is also certain that, faced with all her secrets coming out, Melissa chose to take her own life.
Gibbs and Jack sit down with Kerry in interrogation. Gibbs shows Kerry her friend's diary. Kerry admits that she and Melissa had planned to scare Paul. They lured him into the woods near the school, and he was excited when he was shown the rope that the girls brought. They tied him up, and Melissa broke out her camcorder to videotape his confession of molesting students. The teacher panicked and had a heart attack. The two friends buried the teacher and spoke no more of that horrible night -- until Paul's body was found.
Melissa was terrified, even though Kerry tried to convince her that they could never be linked to the death. The morning of Melissa's suicide, she told Kerry that "her life was over." Kerry raced to her friend's home and entered with her own spare key. She turned off the alarm and found her friend hanging. She took Melissa's suicide note, which implicated them in Paul's death. Kerry kept the note and worries about what will happen to her. Gibbs tells her that it is up to the Pennsylvania authorities.
After a tough day, Torres offers to buy drinks at the Adams House. Bishop and Jack are in, but Gibbs needs to talk to Melissa's parents. Jack tells Gibbs to wait, and he confides that this is the hardest part of the job for him. Jack mentions that it is hard when people keep secrets, and Gibbs hits the nail on the head when he responds that he thinks she is speaking from experience.
I liked this episode of NCIS, even though it was dark. I would have liked to see more of Bud Roberts, though.
Do you think that Torres and Bishop are getting flirty? Do you think that Gibbs knows something about what Jack is hiding? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.