Marine Down is the ninth episode in NCIS Season 1 and the 9th episode of the entire NCIS series.
During a funeral, a woman is left stunned when she gets a phone call from her supposedly dead Marine husband. The NCIS team investigate the circumstances of the call and soon discover that not only is a rogue CIA agent involved and also responsible for the series of events that are threatening to jeopardize the entire case but that he may have taken another Marine hostage.
At a house, numerous people are attending a wake.
It then shows Jim's widow, Sarah Kidwell sitting on a sofa, looking grief-stricken and completely numb.
Her phone rings and she answers it but soon drops it in shock, causing O'Donnell to come over to her in great concern and ask what's wrong.
It then cuts to the phone from where a man's voice is heard, stating that he is Jim Kidwell and that he isn't dead.
Just before the first siren goes off, Tony asks Kate if she's nervous.
Kate sarcastically tells him she's shaking.
Seconds later, the siren goes off, prompting all the agents to begin shooting with both Tony and Kate reloading their weapons.
Another siren goes off and the man's voice tells the group to cease fire, lock their weapons and then go check their targets.
As Tony and Kate study the targets, each one showing a mean-looking man holding a screaming woman hostage, it's shown that Kate has given the male target a double tap in the head with her other shots going to the man's side which means that in a real life situation, the perp himself would almost certainly be dead.
Tony on the other hand has managed to get every shot into his own target but unfortunately, he's also shot the female hostage's right ear off.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs emerges from behind them and gives Kate some encouraging advice by telling her to relax her shoulder before giving her a shoulder rub for good measure.
He then gives Tony praise in regards to the tight-grouping on his shot on his target.
He then decides to up the stakes by taping Tony's beloved NCIS cap and Kate's trusted PDA to their respective targets.
Tony and Kate protest but Gibbs simply ignores them.
As everyone begins heading back to resume target practice once again, Tony and Kate make a pact that will see them breaking into Gibbs's house and then setting his boat on fire.
Gibbs's phone rings and he tells Tony and Kate that they've caught a case involving a Marine wife who buried her husband yesterday and that in a sick, twisted joke, someone called her, claiming to be her supposedly dead husband but that can wait as Gibbs wants to see how Tony and Kate will fire with their respective possessions on the line.
"I'll bring the lighter fluid", Tony says.
"Deal", Kate agrees.
Seconds later, the siren erupts and everyone begins shooting again.
An hour or so later, Tony is back at NCIS HQ, in mourning for his cap which now has two 9mm holes in it. Abigail Sciuto is admiring it and feeling he doesn't need it anymore, Tony gives to her much to Abby's joy.
She then asks him what she's here for and Tony tells he's trying to get records on the dead Marine, Jim Kidwell but for some reason, his security access won't go through.
Abby tries to help but the result's still the same.
She tells Tony that his security clearance isn't high enough and when she wonders how the Marine died, Tony tells her that's what Gibbs wants him to find out.
"Then it sucks to be you", Abby says gleefully before leaving the bullpen, still wearing her new cap as Tony hopelessly pounds on the keyboard in frustration.
Gibbs and Kate have arrived at the Kidwell household and are interviewing Jim Kidwell's widow, Sarah.
While Sarah attends to a newborn baby, presumably her new son or daughter, Gibbs tells her that in cases that involves this type of prank-call, it's usually an old boyfriend or a colleague.
Sarah tells them that they may find this hard to believe but she believes the voice was Jim's.
While Kate attempts to comfort Sarah, Gibbs unsurprisingly gets straight to the point by interrupting and demanding that NCIS be given permission to place a trace on the phone just in case another call similar to what Sarah received comes to her land-line.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings and Sarah goes to answer it while Gibbs and Kate have a silent talk with one another.
Sarah opens the door and a woman with two young children, a boy and girl step into the house.
Tag-teaming, Sarah and Lisa tell Gibbs and Kate that all they got back were two sealed caskets and now Sarah gets this call from Jim or someone impersonating him, Kate adds.
Sarah and Lisa add that as Marine wives they did their part, that they played the game but all they got back were two sealed caskets and no information from their husbands's command.
"Are you telling me you wouldn't start to wonder?", Lisa asks, her voice emotional.
Gibbs and Kate later arrive back in the bull-pen where Tony tells them he hasn't been able to get anything regarding Kidwell's information.
As it turns out, DiNozzo has lost his security clearance due to his paperwork being screwed up with that of another agent's.
As a result, the admin of NCIS believe that DiNozzo died in a car crash the previous month and now DiNozzo has to go get a medical to get his clearance back.
Kate tries to get into too but is denied much to her surprise, stating that she had clearance for Air Force One.
"So did an Al Qeada operative", Gibbs replies.
Gibbs arrives and attempts to log in as well.
While Gibbs does that, it shows Kate glancing at her PDA which has a single bullet hole right through the center and she looks very sad at the realization her PDA is no more.
Gibbs's efforts are in vain because he's been blocked too.
He returns to his desk and in the process, his phone rings. He answers and then hangs up before telling Tony and Kate that the person at the other end was Kidwell and Peary's C.O and that NCIS are being blocked from the information they need for the investigation.
"Okay, I'll admit. That is strange", Kate says.
"He wants to meet with us", Gibbs announces.
"When?", Tony asks.
"Now", Gibbs replies. "Let's roll".
The team grab their belongings and head out just as Tony thanks Kate for his new cap. Kate tells it's not a problem and that she only wishes her warranty covers bullets before dumping her now-ruined PDA in the bin.
They eventually arrive at Quantico where they meet Lt. Colonel Walsh. He tells the team that Kidwell and Peary were in Central America on a mission and as such, went native to preserve their respective careers but a prostitute killed them with formaldehyde, supposedly over an unpaid bill.
Gibbs demands to see the paperwork.
Walsh tells him he'll do what he can and leaves.
As he leaves, Kate remarks that his body language matches of someone telling the truth.
"Or he's one Hell of a liar", Gibbs says.
As they're heading back to the car, Gibbs's phone rings.
It's Abby who tells him that the NCIS techs installing the trace on the Kidwells's line discovered another trace and they tried to get to the location but Gibbs figures out it came from the Marine Base at Quantico.
Snapping his phone shut, Gibbs storms back to the office with Tony and Kate following.
The three head into Colonel Walsh's office and although the Colonel's aide, James Travis tells them the Colonel in question is in a meeting, Gibbs ignores him and barges into the meeting, demanding to know where Lt. Colonel Walsh is.
Fortunately, they meet the real Lt. Colonel Walsh.
It then cuts to Gibbs who stares at Walsh.
As it turns out, the fake Lieutenant Colonel Walsh's a tall, Caucasian man in his mid-forties while the real Lieutenant Colonel Walsh's an African-American man in his early forties.
The real Walsh has no idea how his men died nor does have any idea who they were working for and every inquiry he has made so far has been shot down.
Gibbs and Tony realize that this means that one of the other federal agencies could be responsible.
Before they leave, Gibbs asks if Walsh even stopped to check and see if the closed caskets contained those two Marines before they were sent to the families.
It then cuts to the NCIS stairway where Gibbs and NCIS Director Thomas Morrow are discussing the possibility that someone wants them off the case.
Morrow believes that they died serving their country.
Gibbs would agree except if there are two Marine wives caught in the middle and he also states that he doesn't buy the story: either Kidwell and Peary died doing something they shouldn't have done in the first place or Jim Kidwell really did make that phone.
Gibbs then asks Morrow for help with Morrow stating that he'll see what he can do.
In Abby's lab, Kate and Tony are having a heated argument in regards to what the fake Colonel looked like.
Abby is on the verge of losing her cool when Gibbs comes in, carrying Abby's Caf-Pow and breaks up the argument much to Abby's relief.
Gibbs asks what the photo in question is and Kate and Tony are telling him they're debating what the fake Walsh looks like.
Tony counts that they hadn't quite settled on the nose yet. Gibbs then assigns Tony to pull the Marines's L.E.S (Leaving and Earning Statements).
Surprisingly, Kate puts herself forward as the person to do it and tells Gibbs that Tony has a much better grip on the program than she does.
Gibbs agrees and Kate drags Tony into the next room to find the meaning of LES's and where they're available from.
Abby then resets the program, setting the face back to its original, blank structure.
Armed with the information, Kate heads upstairs and once she's on the phone, produces a sketchpad and pencil before she begins composing something on the page.
She eventually arrives back to the lab to find the others glancing at an image of a very young-looking Ducky.
Dragging them away from the scene, Kate shows them her rough drawing of the fake Colonel Walsh which has Gibbs and Abby impressed.
Unsurprisingly, Tony can't leave things alone and grabs her sketchbook, flipping through it.
He then finds a drawing of himself drooling after a blonde woman in a skirt.
On the next page there's a drawing of Abby as vampire bat and Abby falls in love with the drawing of herself and tells Kate that she has to hang it up.
Once she's reclaimed her sketchpad from Tony, Kate tells Gibbs that the LES's will be about twenty-four hours.
Never one to agree with deadlines, Gibbs wants them in twelve hours instead and then tasks Abby to run the drawing of the fake Colonel Walsh through the military databases.
At Major Kidwell's grave, Gibbs rubs his hands, shivering against the cold before kneeling down to rearrange some flowers.
In the distance, someone is busy taking photographs of Gibbs at the gravesite.
The next morning, while Tony and Kate are getting the LES's in order despite Gibbs stating that the twelve hour deadline passed fifteen minutes ago, Sarah Kidwell and Major O'Donnell arrive in with Sarah telling Gibbs that there was another phone call.
While Abby works on the tape against the current voice-recognizing software on her computer, Major O'Donnell tells the team that Kidwell left a message on his answering machine the same day he called Sarah and that O'Donnell didn't check his messages until today.
Abby soon plays the message for the team and it's shown that the voices match, confirming that Kidwell did indeed make those phone calls.
The team soon get permission to have Kidwell's casket dug up and they bring the casket into Autopsy with Gibbs and Tony undoing the screws before Gibbs removes the lid off the casket.
What they see before them shocks them all in silence with Tony remarking that he didn't expect that and Kate chimes in with that the person inside looks alive.
The camera then cuts to inside the coffin where the body of a young man dressed in his Marine uniform is.
He looks almost lifelike except for the fact that he's dead.
Major O'Donnell then takes one look at the body and then confirms Gibbs's worst nightmare: the body inside the coffin is that of Major Jim Kidwell.
Tony and Kate look at each other, stunned.
It then cuts to Gibbs who looks grim.
Up in the squad-room, Gibbs has given the devastating news to Sarah Kidwell who breaks down, weeping as the news that her husband is really dead hits her with Major O'Donnell comforting her.
As Tony and Kate look on, Kate remarks that they screwed that up although Tony states that it still doesn't explain the cover-up or even the fake Colonel.
There's some debate about Gibbs being married with Kate claiming that it's been four times but upon Gibbs putting in an appearance, the two tell him that they're discussing the case or a lack thereof.
As Kate gets the LES's ready for him, Gibbs tells her it was three times, not four.
Gibbs and Tony arrive in Autopsy where Donald Mallard and Gerald Jackson are studying Major Kidwell's body. Ducky tells them that Kidwell has embalmed with Gerald remarking that whoever did the job was a professional.
The cause of death is going to be difficult to determine as a result of the body being embalmed.
Gibbs remarks that Kidwell's official cause of death was in the line of duty two weeks ago although Ducky argues that line of duty implies an injury or a wound of some sort received in combat.
While Kidwell on the outside looks perfectly healthy for a dead man, the inside's another story as Ducky has found that Kidwell's blood has been replaced with embalming fluid.
Upstairs, Gibbs gives Tony and Kate the LES's, telling them that it's going to tell them where Kidwell was stationed and who paid them.
He then tells them they've got one hour to break it down for him before leaving the bullpen.
Tony soon remarks that he's ticked off at the fact that these guys get paid more than he does which has Kate shaking her head.
As Gibbs rounds a corner, he gets a phone from Lisa Peary who tells him she doesn't appreciate being interrogated by a man calling himself Special Agent DiNozzo who's seen talking to Peary's two young children.
Catching a glance, Gibbs sees DiNozo standing at Kate's desk, talking on the phone.
Realizing something's up, Gibbs tells Lisa Peary to keep the fake DiNozzo there and that he'll be there in fifteen minutes.
In the morgue, Ducky is studying the incision in Kidwell's and discovers it has been filled with newspaper.
After berating Gerald, he sends him up to Abby and then resumes glancing at the incision before jumping away, horrified and then grimly states he knows how Kidwell died and states, "May the Lord have mercy on your soul".
Gibbs has arrived at the playground and meets Lisa Peary, showing her a copy of Kate's sketch of the fake Colonel Walsh. She confirms it's the fake DiNozzo and he tells her to go get her kids and go home.
As Lisa begins calling for her kids, Gibbs chases after the man, having figured out where he's heading and gives chase. Gibbs eventually spots the fake DiNozzo and runs after him.
However when someone starts shooting at him, Gibbs draws his own gun and continues to chase before shooting at a bullet-proof car which then drives away.
"That's twice", Gibbs vows. "Next time you are mine".
At the bullpen, Tony and Kate are inputting the information they've managed to get from the LES.
Gibbs returns from the field and tells Kate and Tony about his encounter which leaves the two younger Agents stunned.
Kate tells him that she's learnt that in September, Kidwell and Peary were transferred to a new unit but no other information is available as the number in question wasn't in the database for the Marine Corps.
Gibbs then states it was the CIA they were working for. After all, how many agencies would use armored cars?
They then head down to the morgue where Ducky grimly informs them that Major Kidwell was embalmed when he was still alive, leaving the team shocked.
In Abby's lab, she's busy going through the scraps of newspaper that Ducky found in Kidwell's neck.
She tells them that some of it was unreadable but what she does read is in Spanish which has Kate believing that Kidwell and the fake Colonel were in Central or South America.
DiNozzo's fluency in Spanish has him realizing that the date on the paper is December 12 while Kidwell's "funeral" was on December 8th with the current date December 14th.
"They knew we were going to dig him up", Kate says.
"They killed him and hoped we wouldn't notice", Gibbs replies.
The team gather in the bullpen again where Kate states that it's becoming increasingly clear that Kidwell was murdered and that the fake Colonel Walsh is involved but one pending question remains: is Major Peary still alive?
Abby then arrives with ground-penetrating radar and tells Gibbs that she's only back from half of the Marine embassies. She then tells Tony and Kate that they're both going grave-robbing tonight.
It then cuts to a cemetery late at night with Tony and Kate going through the graves, searching.
When Tony complains that they couldn't have done this during daylight, Kate then proceeds to ask Tony if he's scared of ghosts.
"No, the only thing I'm afraid of is getting shot for trespassing", Tony replies.
After a lengthy search but not before Gibbs makes an appearance, scaring Tony, the team eventually move the ground-penetrating radar to a lone grave of Miss Agatha M. O'Leary and Fluffy, the poodle which Gibbs remarks must have been pissed, causing Tony to go "Oh" and Kate to go "Eww".
They then eventually move onto the grave where Major Peary is supposedly buried and it's shown that there is no body in the graveside but actually cinder blocks.
It cuts to Gibbs who looks up.
In her lab, Abby is busy printing out of a copy of the identity thief. She tells Gibbs his name is Jack Canton and that his name came from the Marines attached to the Colombian embassy.
Once he's gotten a copy, Gibbs remarks that it should be enough to get the CIA Director out of bed.
As he prepares to leave, he tasks Kate and Tony to find where the newspaper that Ducky found inside Kidwell's neck came from despite Kate complaining that it's 3am.
Gibbs and Morrow are holding a late-night conference call with Bob (CIA Director) who tells them that Kidwell and Peary belonged to a task force hunting down a drug dealer but insurgents kidnapped them and killed them by poisoning them.
A photo of Canton appears on screen with Bob confirming that Canton was the agent who paid the ransom.
When Gibbs tells Bob that NCIS believe that Canton kept the money for himself, Bob remarks that it's a pretty bold accusation on Gibbs's part and if there's any proof of this.
Gibbs tells him that Major Peary wasn't in his grave and that Kidwell was alive four days ago.
Morrow prompts Bob to give up Canton's location. Bob tells them he's going back to Colombia and that if this is true, the CIA themselves will handle it and they don't need NCIS playing internal affairs for the CIA. Once Bob has signed off, Morrow tells Gibbs to go get Peary.
The team grab a late-night priority ride to Colombia by means of a cargo ride and it's a very uncomfortable ride as Kate is violently sick, throwing up in a paper bag every few minutes, Tony entertains himself by reading a magazine and eating a hamburger and Gibbs, he's sleeping rather peacefully.
In the early hours, Gibbs awakens and sees that Kate and Tony have had a restless night, bouncing around like ragdolls.
Kate then has to go to the bathroom and learns there's no bathrooms of any kind on a cargo plane.
Gibbs offers her a plastic bag and the privacy of going behind those boxes just behind their seats.
Dismayed, Kate remarks that she misses Air Force One.
They get into Colombia where they meet Canton's partner, Gonzales who tells the team they've lost Canton after tracking him to an insurgent camp.
Tony then remarks the paper in Kidwell's neck came from a town called Bosa and Gonzales remarks it's about ten miles from their destination.
The team gather outside a funeral home where they spot Canton's car.
Kate and Tony deliver the hard-hitting truth to Gonzales in regards to Major Jim Kidwell being embalmed while he was still alive and that the whole thing is nothing more than a mere cover-up.
Gonzales is left shaken, calling Canton "a sick bastard".
When Gibbs, Kate and Tony get their guns ready, Gonazales insists he has to call the locals in on it but they ignore him, rushing off for the funeral home inside while Gonzales mutters that he now knows why everyone in the CIA hates NCIS.
The team move in on the funeral home, checking for any sign of danger.
Gibbs peeks into a small window and sees a middle-aged man smoking a cigarette about to embalm a bound and very distressed Peary.
Gibbs whistles, causing the man to look up and Gibbs responds by shooting the man, leaving the team free to invade the funeral home.
They eventually make their way down to the stairway where Tony gets shot at.
Gibbs and Kate approach from a corner but then a grenade is thrown at them.
Fortunately, Gibbs spots it in time and the two rush for cover but not before the grenade explodes, causing a lot of damage.
Kate realizes that there's blood dripping onto the ground and wonders if it belongs to her.
Gibbs assures her it isn't and it's shown that he has been wounded in the right shoulder, his blood all over the floor.
From the corner area, it's shown that Canton has emerged and is holding Peary hostage. He demands Gibbs come around the corner, unarmed.
Gonzales attempts to reason with Canton and takes a step forward but Canton, too far gone for any kind of reasoning with responds by shooting Gonzales in the heart.
Gonzales winces in pain before slipping against the wall and crumbling to the floor, dead while a horrified Tony looks on, completely appalled by Canton's ruthlessness and cold-blooded willingness to kill his partner.
Canton demands Gibbs again, threatening he'll kill Peary next.
"He dies. You die", Gibbs vows. "You don't get past me".
Gibbs urges Kate to relax her shoulder and upon glancing at Tony who silently nods in agreement, throws his weapon aside and then comes into the room where Canton, his weapon trained on Major Peary unsurprisingly begins gloating about how the two million dollars rightfully belongs to him but that NCIS wouldn't give up investigating.
He then wonders if Gibbs really thinks that Canton's gonna let Gibbs walk out of here.
Gibbs figures that Canton was gonna say that.
Canton then snidely remarks that he can't believe that Gibbs trusted Canton.
Gibbs remarks that Canton sounds just like an ex-wife of Gibbs's.
Canton aims his gun to shoot Gibbs but Kate and Tony, having silently signaled each other, emerge from the corner in the nick of time and begin shooting.
There's a haze white light and it then cuts to the yard of the Peary household where the two young Peary kids are kicking a soccer ball while their mother looks on.
Suddenly, a car drives up, revealing it to be an NCIS Dodge Intrepid.
Once the car's parked, Tony, Kate and Gibbs who is now bearing a sling on his right arm all emerge.
Seconds later, Major Peary emerges from the passenger seat of the car and his children run to greet him, stating that they missed him.
While embracing his kids, Peary thanks Gibbs, Kate and Tony for what they've done.
Peary's wife, Sarah, approaches him and begins to cry, obviously overwhelmed at seeing her husband after the two have been separated for so long.
The camera then heads around to the right and it's shown that there's a bandage wrapped around Major Peary's right ear which hints that someone shot it off.
Sarah tells Peary about his missing ear but Peary, shaken with emotion tells her that he'll live.
With that, the two embrace.
From a distance, Tony and Kate argue over who's responsible for costing Major Peary his right ear.
They then decide to ask Gibbs but their question goes unanswered as the Mysterious Red-Head shows up, beeping her horn to announce her arrival.
Gibbs gets in and kisses her on the cheek.
It then cuts to an overshot of the car driving off, leaving Kate and Tony by themselves.
- The NCIS Shooting Range is seen for the first time.
- The song playing in the lab while Kate and Tony along with Abby are trying to remember what the fake Colonel looked like is "Isolated" by Chiasm.
- The NCIS Cast once mentioned hidden sides of dialogue hidden in the scene so that the actor can glance upon them if necessary. In the scene where Tony is denied access to information on the dead marine because his security clearance won't go through, you can see on the computer monitor, lines of dialogue scribbled on a post it note. This can be seen when Abby arrives at his desk and when Abby types in her security clearance codes.
- If you look quickly enough while Gibbs types his password into Tony's computer at the start of the episode, we can see that Gibbs's NCIS clearance userID is 'lj_gibbs_NCIS'.
- Gibbs makes a reference to the events in Yankee White (episode) after Kate tells him her access codes have been denied. This reference is due to the fact Kate was not only cleared to be on Air Force One but about how she and her Secret Service colleagues having seemingly vetted all the journalists before they got onto the plane let one on board, unaware that he was actually an Al-Qaeda operative pretending to be a journalist.
- The young-looking Ducky on Abby's computer is actually that of Illya Kuryakin, a fictional Russian spy from the 60s TV series, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E" and who David McCallum (Donald Mallard) played during his time on the show.
- Kate believes that Gibbs has been married four times. Gibbs corrects her, saying that he has actually been married only three times. Later in the season, it is revealed that Kate was actually right about Gibbs being married four times as the history concerning Gibbs's first wife and young daughter was later revealed in the Season 3 finale episodes, Hiatus Part 1 (episode) and Hiatus Part 2 (episode).
|Leroy Jethro Gibbs||Mark Harmon||An NCIS Special Agent in charge of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Anthony DiNozzo Junior||Michael Weatherly||The Senior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team and also the second-in-command.|
|Caitlin Todd||Sasha Alexander||A Secret Service Agent previously assigned to the Presidential Protection Detail on Air Force One and who is now an NCIS Special Agent as well as Tony DiNozzo's partner.|
|Abigail Sciuto||Pauley Perette||A Goth who is also the Chief Forensic Scientist for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|Gerald Jackson||Pancho Demmings||Assistant Medical Examiner for NCIS.|
|Thomas Morrow||Alan Dale||Director of NCIS.|
|Mysterious Red-Head||Vivienne Bellisario||Gibbs's red-haired friend.|
|Jack Canton||Erich Anderson||A rogue CIA agent.|
|Walsh||Richard Brooks||Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps and Jim Kidwell and Craig Peary's C.O.|
|Bob (Marine Down)||John Rubinstein||One of the many Directors for the CIA.|
|Gonzales||Carlos Sanz||Canton's partner.|
|Danny O'Donnell||Jason Brooks||Jim Kidwell's friend and also a Major in the United States Marine Corps.|
|Zack||Victor Bonavida||A young boy who is presumably the son of Marine Major Craig Peary.|
|Lisa Peary||Rebecca Boyd||Craig Peary's wife.|
|Craig Peary||Ron Baker||A Major in the United States Marine Corp and an unofficial CIA agent.|
|Sarah Kidwell||Jennifer Tighe||Jim Kidwell's wife.|
|Laura||Crystal Allen||A mourner at Jim Kidwell's "funeral".|
|James Travis||Michael Sarysz||A Corporal in the United States Marine Corps assigned to the Marine Base at Quantico.|
|Crew Chief (Marine Down)||George Stumpf||A man who was a member of the crew of the late-night flight Gibbs, Kate and Tony take to get to Colombia to rescue Craig Peary.|