Always look to the spouse. That’s usually what Tony thinks, but it’s not the case in the Tuesday, Sept. 30 episode of “NCIS,” 12×02, “Kill the Messenger,” and he turns out to be right. Meanwhile, Vance may be facing a grim future and Abby may have a new love interest.
Anyone else happy when it turns out that just because someone was having an affair doesn’t mean his or her spouse is the killer? It’s too easy for that to end up being true, but not with this “NCIS” episode. Overall, it’s a solid case and a solid second episode of the season episode (if that makes sense). There are a few light-hearted moments sprinkled throughout, from Abby and Moore comparing tattoos and Bishop trying to chime in to Tony getting a valuable lesson in why he shouldn’t answer McGee’s calls, but it’s the potentially heartbreaking storyline of Vance’s that stands out, as he faces an uncertain future.
After a Navy Lieutenant is found dead, first signs point to it potentially being the work of a “polite mugger” in the neighborhood when he was on his way to talk to the President – as Tony learns when he answers the victim’s phone and thinks it’s someone pranking him – but Abby does her magic with a “useless” photo of the guy from behind and leads them to a college student who didn’t even use a real knife; that rubber training knife of his couldn’t have killed Wallace.
Next, the focus moves to his wife, and since they were in the middle of a trial separation, McGee likes her for the murder, even as Tony, normally the one who would point the finger her way, isn’t on board with that theory. Tony turns out to be right, which means all suspicious behavior from her is just because…that’s how she acts? That’s unclear, because the last time we see her, she asks for a lawyer and then they figure out what really happened.
Wallace had been having an affair, yes, with Courtney Reed, and it’s actually something she stumbled upon that led to his death – and someone trying to kill her. She discovered flaws in her company’s system that could expose government documents to the public, but when she went to her boss and then her boss’ boss about it, nothing was done, and instead, she was excluded from meetings and had her clearance taken away. She called Wallace from her office phone, and he told her he’d call her after speaking to the President. When Gibbs and Courtney confront her boss, he doesn’t even try to protest. Guess he knows that there’s nothing he can say with Courtney standing right in front of him alive.
Meanwhile, after Gibbs witnesses Vance talking to Ducky about something, the Director visits him in his basement and tells him that he went in for a routine physical only for his doctor to order more tests. A chest x-ray showed spots on his lungs, and the doctor thinks it could be lymphoma – advanced stage. He admits he’s scared, but what he’s really worried about is his family because his kids have been through so much already. Gibbs tells him to stay strong, but this is not how Vance thought he’d die. (Side note: Just last week, we wanted more scenes between Vance and Ducky. We didn’t mean like this.)
The future continues to look grim for Vance as he tells Ducky he’s going in for a biopsy and the surgeon asked if he had his life in order, which he doesn’t. He hasn’t changed his will since he lost his wife, and he hasn’t made any provisions for the care of his children. He does tell Lara about what’s going on and asks her to look after them while he’s in the hospital for the next couple of days, but he plans to just tell his kids he’s out of town on a business trip. In the end, it turns out that Vance is going to be just fine. It’s sarcoidosis, not lymphoma, but he is going to have to rest, and Kayla is right by his side in the hospital because she overheard Lara on the phone with Ducky.
Elsewhere, Abby hits it off with Sergeant Moore, whom the team meets while working the case, and they even take some time to compare tattoos while he marvels at what she can do with a photo. He even takes the time to ask Gibbs about her – or at least tries to. Gibbs knows what he’s about to ask and tells him that she’s not married or dating anyone. However, while Abby thinks he’s cute, she hasn’t gone out with him by the end of the episode, and she attributes that to him maybe being too good-looking but says she’s still going out with him? So maybe there’s something there? Maybe not?
Meanwhile, Ducky’s losing sleep because of his and Delilah’s long-distance relationship, and single Tony is very interested in how intimate those calls are. However, when Tony answers her video chat call, he gets a first-hand look at how intimate they can get – and that perhaps explains why McGee ignores her calls earlier when with Gibbs. Still, we have to wonder. It’s the middle of the day, and Delilah has to know McGee would be at work…
Finally, Tony Gonzalez guest stars, and it feels so out of place. Gonzalez plays Special Agent Francis, who takes a moment to ask Bishop if she enjoys working for Gibbs because he’s heard he’s tough, only for Gibbs to be right behind him. Is it supposed to be a reminder of what other agents think of Gibbs? We don’t really need that anymore, especially not in season 12. Yes, this is part of CBS getting in the football spirit with the NFL, but perhaps they should have worked him into the episode in a different way.
“NCIS” season 12 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 2 “Kill the Messenger”?