NCIS Database

My Other Left Foot is the twelfth episode in NCIS Season 1 and the 12th episode of the entire NCIS series.


NCIS investigate when the leg of a Marine is discovered in a dumpster in the small town of Clarksburg, West Virginia and they soon meet a mother and her daughter, both of whom are hiding a secret concerning the dead Marine in question...


It's late in Clarksburg and a van pulls up with Mr. Green, a dumpster diver emerging from said van. He begins digging around the dumpster, searching for something.

He then produces a boot which is in perfect condition but, unfortunately, there's half a leg attached to it.

With a gasp, he throws it away in horror.

It then cuts to Green who looks horrified.

Act One

The main NCIS squadroom is already busy just as Agent Caitlin Todd arrives for work.

Her partner, Anthony DiNozzo, greets her and then asks about a date she had the previous night.

Kate realizes he's been eavesdropping on her and then tells him that the date was cancelled because of surgery.

When Tony asks what was wrong with her date, Kate retorts that her date wasn't having surgery: he was performing it instead.

Abigail Sciuto makes an appearance and asks about the date to which Kate gives her a look.

Tony tells Abby that Kate's date cancelled and used surgery as an excuse with Abby admitting it's a good one.

Their boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, arrives in and tells the team to grab their gear as they're going to Clarksburg, WV to see a leg.

Tony and Kate express some puzzlement about the leg with Tony even throwing a few John Denver song references in before Gibbs glares at him, forcing Tony to stop.

Kate wants to know why they're going there, Gibbs tells them a leg was found, one that belongs to a Marine.

"How can you tell from a leg?", Tony asks.

It then cuts to the crime scene in Clarksburg where the NCIS team have arrived on scene.

A close-up of the leg reveals that it not only has a Semper Fi tattoo on it but there's an emblem belonging to the Marine Corps on the heel of the boot in question.

The local Sheriff meets them at the entrance to the scene and begins cracking jokes about the leg.

Unsurprisingly, Gibbs isn't impressed by the Sheriff's lack of respect for the Marine missing the leg.

NCIS Medical Examiner Donald Mallard arrives as well but cannot get too much information; when Gibbs presses him on the subject, Ducky states that the limb was severed postmortem.

When Gibbs asks for a time of death, the answer cannot be determined because there simply isn't any body at the scene.

Eventually, Ducky tells them that the limb has been dead for less than twenty-four hours.

After finding a seed in the sole of the leg's boot, Kate and Tony discuss the tattoo experience.

While Abby and Ducky work on the respective evidence, discovering a suspicious fingerprint on the leg and the fact that the ankle joint was replaced with an artificial one (made of titanium).

After Tony and Kate work together to find where the surgery took place, Gibbs goes to interview the surgeon, Captain Brent Peters with Peters revealing that the young Marine Private First Class Thomas Dorn before revealing that Dorn died two years ago.

Gibbs after learning from Marine Captain Brent Peter that Marine Private First Class Thomas Dorn died two years previously.

It then cuts to Gibbs who looks grim-faced.

Act Two

Tony, Gibbs and Kate are walking through the squad-room while Tony and Kate tell him what they've managed to get the service records of P.F.C. Thomas Dorn.

Tony mentions that Dorn had only been in the service for eleven months and was on the verge of getting a medical discharge when he died.

Kate then produces a sheet, stating that it's the death certificate which Dr. Sylvia Chalmers, a doctor in Harmony, West Virginia, signed.

It reveals that the cause was due to Dorn suffering a myocardial infarction (which is the medical term for a heart attack) - the team agree that it's quite unlikely at the age of 22.

Kate also states that while the doctor signed the death cert, that's it: no autopsy of any kind was performed.

Tony remarks it's small towns and they can get away with murder.

This pisses Gibbs off and he responds by snapping at them, telling them that they are to find where the doctor is, find out why no autopsy was performed, then find where PFC Dorn is buried, get a court order to get the body exhumed and ensure that the body is shipped back to NCIS so that Ducky can perform an autopsy on it.

With that statement, Tony and Kate both grab their respective bags and weapons before leaving the bullpen, the town of Harmony the next destination on their mind.

In the lab, with Ducky visiting her, Abby is going over the Marine's sock, remarking she could wear his sock as a legwarmer before she eventually finds a small piece of evidence on the sock.

In the car, with Tony driving and Kate in the passenger seat, the two are debating about their upcoming visit to Harmony.

Kate is looking forward to it, claiming that small towns have that peace and quiet feeling which is "a slice of Americana".

The two are still talking as the journey to Harmony continues.

Back in the squad-room, Abby tells Gibbs that she ran the partial she got off the leg through the Marine database but she found a piece of straw. "The hay kind: just your regular, basic straw", she tells him.

She apologizes for having nothing and Gibbs thanks her.

After a long drive, Tony and Kate arrive in Harmony with Kate remarking that Harmony is just how she pictured it, although Tony is as unimpressed as he expected.

They reach the Doctor's office and Tony begins flirting with Darlene, the receptionist, much to Kate's disgust.

Back in Abby's lab, she tells Gibbs that the seed she pulled from Dorn's sock belongs to a Platanus Occidentalis (more commonly known as a sycamore tree), which pretty much grows everywhere.

In Harmony, Tony and Kate are busy interviewing Sylvia Chalmers who tells them that Dorn simply walked into her office, out of breath and suffering chest pains which is the classic sign of someone having a heart attack.

He wasn't able to go to an exam room because apparently, the Thomas twins were in there with the measles at the time and when Dorn collapsed, Chalmer's assistant, Thelma Bowman called for an ambulance but it was out at a car accident in Turtle Creek and by the time they finally got there, Dorn was dead.

When Kate asks why the coroner didn't do an autopsy, Chalmers states that she didn't feel the need to with Tony expressing disbelief at the news that she was also the local coroner.

Chalmers defends herself, stating that she did some blood tests and found elevated levels of cardiac enzymes, so the death was considered natural.

Kate says those arguments aren't sufficient anymore, stating that they're going to get a court order to exhume the body, but Chalmers tells her that it's going to be impossible.

Kate figures out that the body was cremated.

Chalmers tells them that Dorn's sister asked for that, since she couldn't afford shipping the body back home, and was intent on scattering the ashes over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

She keeps rambling on about how the sister's emotional state affected her and that it's something that's never happened to her in all her years as a doctor.

Tony then produces a picture of a Marine and shows it to Chalmers while asking the doctor if she recognizes the person in it.

Chalmers tells him that she doesn't and wonders if she should.

Tony grimly tells her that the man in the photo is PFC Thomas Dorn.

Once they've left the surgery, Tony and Kate talk about the fact that Darlene was wearing Estée Lauder perfume which Chalmers seemed to like, about how could a sister misidentify her brother, and they even talk about how Chalmers didn't perform an autopsy.

As they climb into the car, Tony behind the wheel and Kate in the passenger seat, Tony yet again begins asking about Kate's tattoo.

Losing patience on the subject, Kate admits it's a rose on her butt.

As they drive off, Tony asks Kate which butt cheek her tattoos is on.

As she and Gibbs head down to the bullpen, Abby confirms that she found traces of Digitalis - a heart medication - in Dorn's leg.

The tox levels were so high that in Abby's opinion, the quantity within the leg alone "was enough to kill a bull".

Gibbs remarks that he does not believe in coincidences.

Abby wonder about the rock formation on the Moon that looks like Jay Leno's chin.

Once they get into the bullpen and Gibbs settles into his seat, Tony and Kate return from Harmony and tell Gibbs what they've found.

Abby grimly bawls that cremation is a dead end.

Kate soon tells them that Dorn has only one living relative: a half-sister named Melissa Dorn who lives in Maryland.

After some banter which has Tony calling Kate a chicken because she didn't appreciate his desire to improve his trip time, Gibbs sets off for Maryland, bringing Kate with him.

Tony is to stay behind and do a background check on Melissa Dorn.

Once Gibbs and Kate are gone, Tony asks Abby is she knows where Kate has her tattoo, but Abby simply answers "Yeah." and doesn't provide any other details, instead giving him a little smile.

Gibbs and Kate arrive outside Melissa Dorn's house in Maryland. Gibbs suggests Kate should keep an eye on Melissa's body language.

Gibbs soon notices there's a tree in the main garden and asks Kate if she knows what kind it is.

Kate doesn't, stating that botany was her weakest subject.

"Sycamore", Gibbs replies.

It then cuts to an overshot of both Gibbs and Kate heading for the house together.

Act Three

Once Gibbs and Kate are inside Melissa Dorn's house, Gibbs encourages Melissa's flirting with him while Kate explains the sudden interest in Thomas.

When asked about her half-brother's personal effects, Melissa states that anythings she hasn't donated was thrown away.

After Kate is left alone while Melissa offers Gibbs coffee, she started searching the house.

Outside, Kate tells Gibbs she couldn't find anything capable of giving them probable cause.

"Maybe I did", Gibbs says as he takes a sample from the sycamore tree. He then drops into Abby's lab and gives her two seeds, allegedly from the same tree, asking her to run DNA tests on them.

Abby estimates that it's going to take her six hours since Gibbs wants the tests done fast and also correct.

In the squad-room, Tony has found a possible motive for Dorn's murder.

After the Marine died, his half-sister, Melissa, got $750,000 as a result of Dorn buying life insurance three months before his death.

A theory emerges: Thomas and his sister poisoned someone whom they had posing as a Marine, and she then conned Dr. Chalmers into cremating the body without deeper investigation.

Having gotten a lead, Tony and Kate head to Baltimore to talk to Stanley Borden, the insurance adjustor who investigated the claim.

Along the way, with Tony complaining about Kate's slow driving (noting that she's going only ten miles over the limit) although Kate insists that going anything over ten miles is pushing it.

Tony then asks her what's so good about being a federal agent if you can't drive.

"You get to shoot bad guys", Kate replies.

Seconds later, the topic turns to Gibbs who Kate recalls flirting with Melissa and the fact that all of his three former wives were also red-headed, just like the Mysterious Red-Head.

It then cuts to a room where Kate and Tony are having a meeting with Stanley who tells them that Dorn, a twenty-two year old Marine, brought life insurance for 750 grand and that he kicked from a heart attack two months later.

Stanley laughs in disbelief and tells them there was no way he wanted to pay that claim.

"But you did", Tony replies.

Stanley tells him that he was overruled and when Kate asks why, Stanley states that the sister threatened to sue and that juries get angry when the insurance companies don't pay.

The three then spend the next few minutes bouncing ideas and Stanley tells them that if they can prove that the whole thing was a scam, there they'll recover something, if only satisfaction.

Back at NCIS HQ, Gibbs talks to Ducky about the case and all the dead-ends they encountered so far. Eventually, after considering who would be "eligible" for posing as a Marine, he grabs his coat and leaves with Ducky staring after him in confusion.

Down in the lab, Abby is busy working on the two seed samples Gibbs has brought in the field. She manages to get a sample into the machine and then sets down at her computer, crossing her fingers while hoping it will match.

Unfortunately, "Negative Match" pops up on the screen.

It then cuts to Abby who then realizes with dismay that the current sample is not from the same tree.

Act Four

Gunnery Vestman is telling his Marines that the manual currently states that it takes three minutes to change a tire on the LAV-25 (an eight-wheeled amphibious reconnaissance vehicle used by the USMC) and then tells the group that the manual was written by an army pogue much to the group's amusement. Vestman tells them he believes that Marines can do it in less than two minutes and asks his men what they think.

"Oorah", they reply and Vestman orders them to get to work which they do. Gibbs arrives on scene, identifying himself as an NCIS Special Agent and the two spend a few minutes remembering where they met each other, before Gibbs gets to talking about Thomas Dorn with Vestman remarking that he hadn't heard that sandbagger's name since he overdosed a few years.

Gibbs is surprised to learn that Dorn had an addiction to cocaine and wonders why would Vestman, if he knew that Dorn had a coke problem, not kick him out of the Marines?

"Car accident beat me to it", Vestman replies. When Gibbs asks whether Dorn had any buddies in the unit, the answer is some Corporal Morgan.

Actually, Morgan went UA about the same time Dorn did. He then states that Morgan and Dorn were "shacked up" with some red-headed fox, and agrees when Gibbs suggests Melissa might be her name.

Gibbs then grimly tells Vestman that Melissa is Dorn's half-sister although Vestman disagrees, stating that Melissa didn't act like any kind of sister.

Thinking out loud, Gibbs then states his theory. He believes that Dorn and Melissa killed Corporal Morgan, Melissa identified the body as Dorn, she had Morgan cremated and as a result, got the insurance money.

The Marines shout "Oorah", signaling that they've finished the task Vestman set for them.

Even though the time isn't revealed, Gibbs simply shouts "Oorah" to acknowledge their achieved goal, and they answer.

Back in the lab, Abby's freaking out over a positive match on the sample. Gibbs arrives, telling her "good work" and unsurprisingly, Abby flips out.

Gibbs then reveals the truth: Sycamore A was from a tree down the street.

Angry, Abby smacks Gibbs in the chest, outraged.

Gibbs takes the punch with good grace and on the other hand, is delighted because Dorn is now proven to have been at Melissa's house. He heads off, causing Abby to realize that the team can now search the house, having gotten probable cause thanks to the DNA match.

The team head back to Maryland in the NCIS Major Case Response Team Truck where Tony is tasked with studying the barn floor while Gibbs and Kate begin searching the house despite Melissa insisting her brother was cremated two years ago.

Gibbs tells her it was Corporal Morgan who was cremated and that Vestman didn't know that Dorn and Melissa were half-brother and sister.

During his search, a CGI scenario of Dorn's body being dismembered plays out in Tony's mind and Tony realizes that this is the place where Dorn was killed.

Kate and Gibbs give Melissa a glass of water to help calm her nerves but Gibbs then dumps the water into a jug and puts the glass in an evidence bag, while Gibbs tells Kate to send it to Abby to compare Melissa's fingerprints to the ones they found on Dorn's leg.

Tony arrives back in, confirming that the barn is the murder scene ("blood on the floor, nicks in the concrete") and stops upon sensing someone else in the house.

He and Gibbs, having drawn their guns then head upstairs and continue clearing the area, searching for the presence.

Downstairs, Kate asks Melissa who else is in the house. Melissa doesn't say anything.

Back upstairs, Gibbs and Tony find the presence hiding in a closet.

It's none other than Sylvia Chalmers and Tony introduces Gibbs and Chalmers to one another.

Downstairs, Dr. Chalmers greets Kate and Melissa states, "They know, Mama".

Kate and Tony are stunned by the revelation.

Unsurprisingly, Chalmers begins painting herself as the innocent person while hoping to convince the team that wicked Dorn was the one guilty of fraud, while Melissa merely played along with him.

Gibbs admires the fact that Chalmers is good but tells her so is NCIS.

They've identified the digitalis in Dorn's leg as hers, although Chalmers tries to argue that every hospital and doctor in the county uses digitalis.

Gibbs then states that the digitalis they found in Dorn's leg belongs to a stock that Chalmers received, identified thanks to a chemical marker added to each batch of the medicine in production.

A grieving Melissa begins acting hysterically, telling her mother that NCIS can prove everything: the murder, the cutting, the throwing away.

Chalmers snaps, slapping Melissa, causing the other woman to cry out in pain.

Chalmers states that Melissa's hysterical and then in a desperate move, states that they can't use the evidence they've gotten in court.

Gibbs disagrees. They had read Melissa her rights and she waived them at the time which means that they can use it all and that they will.

Chalmers turns on Melissa, calling her "a little fool" and that NCIS couldn't prove anything.

Melisa hoarsely remarks that she doesn't care anymore before revealing that she loved Tommy and her mother murdered him.

In the squad room, Tony states that Dorn's left arm has just been found in a garbage dump in Chiefton with his right arm being found in Katy Lick and the torso from Marshville.

They then realize that the body's nearly back together except for the fact that Dorn's left leg and head are still missing.

Abby comes in and suggests Hooterville before starting to reminisce about college, when they had a drinking game; she quickly changes stories just as Gibbs arrives in the bullpen.

Her comment leaves Tony confused, while Kate quickly catches on and responds "That's good, Abby. I'll be sure to put that in the report".

Gibbs asks if the body's back again and Kate and Tony tell him what they've found so far. Gibbs asking about any more tattoos prompts Tony to remark about Kate's tattoo, although Gibbs counters: "It's not a rose".

Kate gets tongue-tied and begins demanding Gibbs tell the team the truth.

It then cuts to Gibbs who smiles while behind him, Kate is asking him to tell them while Tony and Abby just smile.


  • The title of this episode, "My Other Left Foot", could possibly stem from the joke about someone asking someone for their right hand but are presented with their left hand in which the asker then says "No, your other right!". During the episode Ducky is talking about Christy Brown's autobiography, titled "My Left Foot", connecting it to the victim's right foot; when Gibbs then says that is a right foot Ducky's answer is "Oh, so it is. Oh well..."
  • Bonnie Bartlett who plays Dr. Silvia Chalmers and Mark Harmon (Jethro Gibbs) previously worked together on the 80s medical drama, "St. Elsewhere".
  • Kate says the population of Harmony is 1,600 but when they're seen entering the town, the sign says that the population is actually 1,607.


Series Regulars

Name Portrayed by Role
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 and who also works for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Donald Mallard David McCallum NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.

Guest Cast

Name Portrayed by Role
Melissa Dorn Stacy Haiduk Dr. Sylvia Chalmers's daughter and murdered Marine Thomas Dorn's half-sister.
Sylvia Chalmers Bonnie Bartlett A doctor in Harmony.
Brent Peters Terry Rhoads A Captain in the United States Navy.
Vestman Dean Norris A Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.
Stanley Borden Tony Pasqualini A Baltimore-based insurance adjuster.
Mr. Green Tom McCleister A junk collector who discovers the leg belonging to Thomas Dorn.
Sheriff (My Other Left Foot) Josh Holloway The head of the local sheriff department in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Darlene Kim Wimmer A receptionist at Chalmer's surgery.
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Ice Queen (episode) (JAG)Meltdown (episode) (JAG)NCIS: The Beginning (episode) (JAG)Yankee White (episode)Hung Out to Dry (episode)Seadog (episode)The Immortals (episode)The Curse (episode)High Seas (episode)Sub Rosa (episode)Minimum Security (episode)Marine Down (episode)Left for Dead (episode)Eye Spy (episode)My Other Left Foot (episode)One Shot, One Kill (episode)The Good Samaritan (episode)Enigma (episode)Bête Noire (episode)The Truth Is Out There (episode)UnSEALeD (episode)Dead Man Talking (episode)Missing (episode)Split Decision (episode)A Weak Link (episode)Reveille (episode)