Last time on NCIS, Gibbs demonstrated his innate understanding of Jack by telling her that he knows that she has secrets. Is it possible that Gibbs may know some of these secrets? I guess we will have to wait and see.
This episode of NCIS, "Family Ties," focuses on Vance as he deals with some family problems with his daughter, Kayla. I also really hope that we get more Abby-centric episodes this season.
A Deadly Discovery
We kick off with a woman squabbling with her fiance as he slowly drives next to her. Finally, Phillip gets out of the car to try and persuade his fiancee, Rachel, to get back in. She refuses, he gets out of the car, and Rachel jumps back in before zooming off in a cloud of dust. I do believe that it has something to do with the lacy red bra that Rachel found in the glove compartment. Phillip looks over the wooden rail at the side of the road and spots a body in the water. I think it is safe to say that Phillip is not having a great day.
Meanwhile, in the Vance household, Kayla tries to give her Dad a breakfast shake, but he is meeting Gibbs at the diner. Kayla's friend Mandy arrives to drive Kayla to school, and Vance subjects Mandy to some awkward moments of "parent chat." Vance gets a call from Gibbs because Gibbs has caught a case.
The victim near the roadside is Marine Lance Corporal Scott Jenkins. Palmer estimates that he died seven to eight hours earlier. Jenkins loved to run at night, so the timing fits. Torres finds some fragments of broken glass and plastic and theorizes that Jenkins was hit by a car. Poor Bishop is subjected to Phillip's flirtatious banter while trying to interview him, and she is not a fan. McGee finds the lace bra, which Phillip claims is his.
One Wild Night
Back at headquarters, the team figures out that the car that hit Jenkins was traveling about 60 miles per hour, and there was heavy fog that night. Still, the car made no effort to stop. An agitated Vance appears and summons Gibbs to tell him that Kayla has been arrested for shoplifting.
Palmer is in autopsy, fumbling around with his eyes closed. He got some glass in his eye from the victim. Yikes! Gibbs helps Palmer flush out his eyes, and Palmer implores Gibbs to look in his eyes and asks if he sees anything. Gibbs replies, "Your soul." I love it! Although Jenkins died from drowning, he also sustained terrible damage to his internal organs from the accident.
Abby has pieced together the pieces of a headlight, and she determines that it is a blue specialty 2013 Maserati. There are only three in the area, and Abby hands off lists with the owner's information.
Torres and Bishop go to talk with the owner of one of the vehicles, which causes Torres to muse about how sexy his undercover alter ego would like in a Maserati - along with Charlie/Bishop by his side. There is some serious flirting going on, and Bishop is just fine with it.
The duo discovers a smoke alarm going off and break open the door. They discover a man, John Kendall, passed out on the couch, and a seriously burnt pizza in the smoke-filled kitchen. Torres heads to the garage to check out the car. It has a broken headlight and other damage to the body.
Vance meets with a detective and finds out that Kayla was stopped by mall security and arrested for shoplifting. Kayla is not only caught with the merchandise, but she readily admits to her shoplifting spree. The store owner plans to pursue charges, and Kayla never mentioned to anyone that her father is the director of NCIS. Vance's 17-year-old daughter tells him that she made a big mistake. Kayla denies that her friend Mandy was involved and wants to be taken back to school for her chemistry class. Vance is seriously angry, and worried.
McGee sits down with Kendall in interrogation. McGee confronts him with a copy of his astronomical bar bill from the night before. Kendall estimates that he had about 12 drinks that night, and Bishop isn't impressed when she finds out about his history of DUI arrests. Kendall denies driving and insists that he took a cab.
Torres and Abby check out Kendall's stylish ride and discover that there are no fingerprints anywhere inside the vehicle. Torres finds a bracelet on the floor of the car, but Kendall is divorced. They also discover a breathalyzer that is court-mandated. If Kendall was drunk, the car would not start. So, who was driving the car?
Abby is certain that Kendall's car is the one that hit Jenkins. Kendall states that he left the garage unlocked and his keys in the cupholder. There is an image on the bracelet, and it has a pirate on it, which is the mascot of the nearby Mid-County High School. The bracelets are worn by students to show their school spirit. There are initials engraved on the inside -- "GLB." There is only one female student with those initials. Genevieve Lynn Bell is a 15-year-old sophomore. Genevieve posted a photo to social media at 9 p.m. the previous night.
Torres and McGee go to the Bell home, intent on asking the teen about the photo, and the name of the other girl that is in it. Genevieve has stayed late at school for volleyball practice. The agents talk with her parents, Christopher Bell (played by Jamie Kaler) and Julie Bell (played by Gabrielle Carteris.) Her parents are horrified to learn that their daughter may be a witness to a fatal hit and run. Genevieve was at her friend Maya Guzman's house for a sleep-over, and Maya is the other girl in the picture. The Bells are freaking out when they identify their daughter's bracelet and learn that it was in the car involved in the accident. Mr. Bell tells McGee and Torres that he will meet them at the high school so that they can talk to Genevieve.
Gibbs and Vance have a chat about Kayla, and Vance believes that if his wife were still alive, Kayla would never have shoplifted in the first place. He feels guilty because he isn't there more for his kids. Gibbs urges Vance to take the rest of the day off to spend with his daughter, reminding Vance that "some of those moments you don't get back." One again, Gibbs cuts to the heart of the matter.
Torres and McGee go to the high school to speak with Genevieve. By all accounts, both Genevieve and her best friend Maya are good kids. Maya is there at practice, but Genevieve received a call from her mother and left. McGee goes back to the Bell residence.
Vance is at home when Kayla arrives after school. Vance wants to know the reasons why his daughter skipped school and stole a purse. She apologizes, but refuses to explain her actions, even when her father explains the penalties for committing larceny. The strange part is, she has done research to find out about the court proceedings, diversion programs, and maximum penalties. They scream at each other, and Kayla storms off.
Later, Vance goes to talk to his old pal, Jack. She reminds him that he could ask for a favor to help his daughter, and that he has, in fact, called in favors to get Jack into NCIS. He answers that in Jack's situation, it was "a matter of life and death." Vance doesn't want to ask for special treatment for Kayla.
McGee goes to the Bell house, and finds a strange man entering. He is the homeowner and reveals that he just received a call that the Bells were moving out. The family cut up their credit cards and left their cell phones. McGee hears a car starting, and dashes outside as the Bells pull out of their garage. He tries to stop them, but they swerve and keep going. McGee is ready to purse the family but discovers that the Bell left him a going away present -a screw driver lodged in his tire. So long, McGee!
Bishop and Gibbs sit down with Maya and her father. Bishop presents the photo, but Mr. Guzman tells the agents that Maya is not going to answer any questions. He is acting as Maya's father, and attorney. Mr. Guzman knows Kendall because Kendall is his neighbor. Bishop shows the teen her best friend's bracelet.
The team learns that the Bells cleaned out their bank account, and their car was a found on a residential street. The team believes that Genevieve must have been driving the car that killed Jenkins, but Gibbs and Torres think that the family's actions are overkill. Both the parents have a spotless record, except for a conviction for Mr. Bell for a fight at the age of eighteen. Gibbs' famous gut is telling him that two established teachers don't become fugitives for no reason -- they are hiding something.
This time, Gibbs brings Maya and Mr. Guzman into the interrogation room. Mr. Guzman tells Gibbs, over Maya's protests, that he stole Kendall's car and hit Jenkins. Gibbs asks Maya if that is the truth, and she says that her father is lying. Kendal's car had GPS, and NCIS tracked it to a convenience store. The security footage clearly shows Maya and Genevieve getting in the car, and Maya is the driver.
Maya dissolves in tears and admits that they went for a joy ride. She also admits that they heard a loud bang, and that they got out and searched the area but didn't find anything. They thought that they hit a deer. The girls wiped their fingerprints off the inside of the car and went back to Maya's house.
Notes from Biology Class
Abby pulls Bishop and McGee down to her lab. She is examining the photo of the Bell family, and notices that both parent have blue eyes, but their daughter has brown eyes. Abby ran DNA from the toothbrushes at the Bell residence, and there is a cause for concern -- Genevieve is not biologically related to the Bells. Abby gets her hands on the birth certificate from the high school, and it states that the Bells are Genevieve's biological parents. It is fake, and that leaves everyone to conclude that the Bells kidnapped the girl when she was an infant.
That evening, Vance is cooking in his kitchen when Mandy knocks on the door. She is surprised when Vance answers, and asks to see Kayla. Vance responds that she is at the library, and that Mandy should not come by again. She agrees but knocks on the door a minute later. Mandy tells Vance what a wonderful person Kayla is, and how much Kayla believes in her. Kayla is even helping Mandy apply to colleges.
Abby puts Genevieve's DNA in the system, and a familial match comes back to Martin Curtis. Curtis has been in and out of prison for assault and robbery. He is listed as the father on the birth certificate of Genevieve Curtis, who was born on the same day as Genevieve Bell in West Virginia. Genevieve's birth mother, Brittany Rudd, died six months after giving birth. Rudd died of a drug overdose. There were no other relatives, so Genevieve should have been placed in foster care. There is no trace of Genevieve Curtis after 2002. Julie Bell was Rudd's English teacher. One week after Brittany died, the Bells picked up and moved to Virginia with the baby. I guess no legal adoption would be a reason to run. NCIS is required to notify Curtis that he has a daughter, and no one is happy about that.
Abby calls McGee down to the lab. She notices on the photo that Genevieve posted on social media that she has Bluetooth head phones around her neck. There is a head phone app on Genevieve's phone, and alerts the teen's phone when she uses the headset. Genevieve is at the Harvey Motel in D.C. Abby is on fire!
Genevieve talks to her father at the motel. She asks if running away is the right thing to do, and he replies that it is the only way to keep their family intact. Genevieve feels guilty because the accident led to their secret being exposed, but Mr. Bell responds that it is his fault.
Mrs. Bell opens the door and tells them that she spotted NCIS agents in the lobby. The parents want to escape through a sliding door, leaving their suitcases behind. When McGee knocks, a sad Genevieve opens the door, telling her parents that she doesn't want to hide anymore.
A Daughter's Plea
Jack sits down with Curtis, while Gibbs talks with the Bells. They explain how they would watch Genevieve when Rudd would go to work, but then Rudd was partying and staying out all night until she overdosed.
Jack asks if Curtis knows that he has a child, and he responds that Rudd had sent him photos. He also charmingly states that he has no money to give to his daughter. Curtis wants to sue the Bells to acquire some cash because they stole his daughter. The Bells couldn't legally adopt GenÃ¨ve because of the fight that Mr. Bell had been in as a teen. The Bells ask Gibbs if they will ever see Genevieve again.
Jack brings Genevieve to meet her biological father. Curtis doesn't even know what grade his daughter is in. Genevie asks Curtis one question--is he going to let her go? If Curtis pursues a lawsuit against the Bells, then he would have to take legal custody of Genevieve. The teen begs Curtis to let her live with her parents. Curtis asks if they are good to her, and she replies that she loves them very much. Curtis tells her that he chose her name, and he agrees to sign the paper granting legal custody to the Bells. Genevieve embraces her father after he signs the paper.
The team watches the tearful reunion of the Bell family. Later, Vance tells Kayla the story about Genevieve. Vance also explains that he knows that Mandy is 18 years old and has shoplifting charges against her. Another charge would derail Mandy's college aspirations, so Kayla pretended to be the shoplifter.
This episode of NCIS was only "okay" for me. It was a bit convoluted, and the reveals were obvious.
Do you agree with what Kayla did for Mandy? Did you expect for the Bells to be granted legal custody of Genevieve? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
(Image courtesy of CBS)