NCIS recap: Return to Sender | EW.com

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NCIS recap: 'Return to Sender'

A prison escapee with a grudge against NCIS takes out a longtime ally (and remains on the loose)

(Bill Inoshita/CBS)

NCIS

Season 13, Ep. 21 | Aired Apr 19

NCIS deals with the worst kind of British invasion this week — the murderous kind — but more importantly, we finally get to the bottom of an enduring mystery: How Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo affords his swanky pad.

Let’s open with the latter mystery. McGee’s on the hunt for a new apartment, and it’s caused him to question his very existence. Bishop agrees, calling it a sandpit of crushing self-realization.

“That expensive, huh?” DiNozzo asks blithely. Slowly, his compatriots realize he owns — owns! — his elegant, spacious apartment with a doorman and a view. They freak and demand to know how he could afford it, particularly because he bought it when he was still a probie.

“Loan from your dad?” Bishop asks.

“Generous cougar?” McGee guesses.

“Dead body,” Gibbs says. Oh, but he’s not playing the game. He’s telling them to roll out to a family funeral home, which took delivery of a shipping container of knockoff caskets. However, inside, they find evidence that someone was living in the container, and there’s a body in one of the caskets. “They already come with customers. That is a good deal,” the daughter deadpans. Hey, she really puts the fun in — well, you know.

The container nest is full of pillows, junk food, and fashion magazines for the two-week ocean crossing (or, as Bishop describes it, “pretty much nirvana”). The body in the casket is a woman dressed in a prison guard uniform, and when NCIS finds discarded jumpsuits, they realize they’re looking at a prison break/hostage situation.

The escapees are Cassio Chavez, who murdered his mother when she flushed his heroin stash, and Jacob Scott, a former MI6 agent officer who was convicted of espionage after trying to sell nuclear intel to a Russian buyer post-9/11. Although there’s no Navy connection and the FBI is in charge, our buddy Tobias Fornell called them as a courtesy because NCIS was the agency that put Scott in prison.

Vance consults with Homeland Senior Division Chief Thomas Morrow, who was the NCIS director when Scott was arrested and handed over to England. In the end, NCIS nabs jurisdiction. But what ho? That sly dog Fornell wanted nothing to do with the case and called Gibbs to the scene hoping he’d fight to take it over. “Are you kidding me? International and state borders? It’s a paperwork nightmare,” Fornell chortles. “Tell me how it turns out.” Ah, not so fast. Vance tells Fornell that the FBI still needs to ride shotgun. Insert Nelson Muntz laugh here.

The investigation reveals that one of Scott’s visitors in prison was Miranda Okafor, a former MI6 agent who immigrated to the United States five years ago and opened a laser tag business. Of course Fornell hates places like that. I adore that cranky little gnome. Unfortunately, they’re too late to catch the escapees — or to stop them from murdering a janitor. Gibbs moves further into Lazer Zone and announces, “It gets worse.” Man, when certified ray of sunshine Leroy Jethro Gibbs says that, you know it’s true.

It’s Okafor; she and the janitor are dead from gunshot wounds. “Tag. She’s it,” Fornell says. Weirdly, he does not put on his sunglasses as the Who wails in the background. He does, however, keep getting calls on his fancy new smartphone (Gibbs looks bummed that he’s now alone as a flip-phone Luddite).

Meanwhile, DiNozzo’s been investigating the building as only DiNozzo can: in full laser tag gear. He turns up a secret room with a busted keypad and missing cash and weapons, which explains why the escapees headed here. But if Okafor gave them what they were looking for, why kill her?

Vance and Morrow confab about whether Scott wants to get back into the espionage business. Morrow assures Vance that when NCIS caught him in 2001, his Russian buyer was killed in the raid, leaving him with no family, no country, and no allies.

At NCIS, Gibbs and Fornell board the Elevator of Schemes and Secrets. When Fornell’s fancy phone rings yet again, Gibbs stops the elevator and demands to know who the woman is. (I assume so he can marry and divorce her?) When Fornell drops the words “sex life,” Gibbs starts the ‘vator back up again. But Fornell stops it himself and explains online dating to Gibbs, guessing it’s Gibbs’ worst nightmare. “No, this conversation is,” Gibbs replies, particularly when Fornell reminds him that his wife (and Gibbs’ ex-wife, lest we forget) died a year ago.

Speaking of death (yeesh, worst transition ever), the guard’s cause of death was slow asphyxiation from asthma. Furthermore, she was injecting herself with the chemicals women take when they’re trying to get pregnant. And Abby determines she was in that container by choice since all the supplies seemed to be pre-packed and the magazines came from her house. This makes her an accomplice, not a hostage. Oh, and they also find a picture of Scott, Okafor, and an unidentified blond woman. (Like Chekhov’s gun, this will come into play later.)

NEXT: Forget about the murders — what’s the deal with Tony’s apartment?

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