SWAK is the twenty-second episode in NCIS Season 2 as well as the 45th episode of the entire NCIS series.
When Tony opens a mysterious letter that releases a white powder into the air, NCIS activates bio-terrorism protocols and evacuates the building due to the situation. With Tony and Kate in an isolation unit at Betheseda Naval Hospital, Gibbs, McGee, Ducky and Abby, along with Agent Cassie Yates, learn that the powder was a genetically-altered form of plague, and rush to both find a cure and locate the person responsible for sending the deadly letter.
Tony then goes into great detail about sake-bombing but Kate dismisses the idea, stating that she'll stick to hot tea and honey.
Timothy McGee appears, going through the email and DiNozzo tells him about Kate never being sake-bombing.
"Yeah, I don't think I have either", McGee replies absently.
"I work with a pair of wankers", DiNozzo snaps.
"And you make three, DiNozzo", Leroy Jethro Gibbs states, arriving into the bullpen.
As everyone gets ready, Gibbs remarks that he's never had an allergy or even a cold, causing Tony and Kate to wonder if they were a bug, would they attack Gibbs?
McGee then produces a letter with a lipstick kiss on the front of the envelope and DiNozzo unsurprisingly grabs it off McGee's hand, believing the letter is for him despite the official address being "NCIS Special Agent".
As Tony blows on it, a trace of white powder comes out and engulfs Tony, leaving him slightly concerned.
As the white powder settles down, Tony has a look of pain on his face, causing Gibbs, McGee and Kate to realize that there's something seriously wrong.
Standing up on his desk, Gibbs whistles which grabs the attention of all the other Agents and workers in the office.
He informs them that they've opened a letter containing white powder and then directs them to the southeast corridor to get to the holding room and informs them that they all know the drill.
As the others begin leaving the office, Tony grabs a bin and puts it up on his desk.
Kate responds by throwing Tony a bottle of water before hitting the Emergency button on her phone where she informs the person that a letter opened and sent white powder into the air, that they've started putting the bio-attack plan into action while informing the person that the third floor of the NCIS building is evacuating before hanging up.
It then cuts to Tony who's busy pouring water all over himself, presumably to dispel the possible effects of the white powder.
Gibbs calls on McGee, wondering if the younger Agent is up to date on procedures. McGee reveals that he is by informing everyone that they shower while their clothes will be burned and they will get their blood tested and that no-one is to leave the building until the substance is ID'd except..., he stops.
"Lucky me", Tony states. "I win a free trip to Bethesda to be pricked like a pin cushion".
Kate joins McGee and realizes that the air conditioning in the office has been shut down. She then tells Tony that they should hit the showers and heads off.
Having drenched himself with water, Tony states, "I thought you'd never ask" before leaving the bullpen. On the way out, he apologizes to Gibbs for presumably interrupting their work-day and sending the whole agency into a panic.
Gibbs is then the only one left in the bullpen with his gaze eventually coming to a stop on the letter on Tony's desk, most importantly, the envelope which has a lipstick kiss on the back of it.
In the bio-hazard room, the team, now completely naked all have showers to clean themselves. While this goes on, Tony wants to know who would sent him a letter containing anthrax.
Kate tells to pick a girl, any girl that he's ever dated.
Tony states that it isn't funny to which Kate apologizes but as it turns out, Tony's mourning the loss of his clothes while along with those of his colleagues are being burned at the moment.
McGee then suggests that it might not be anthrax which has Tony heartened. McGee then states that it could actually be smallpox, bubonic plague, cholera but Tony interrupts him.
McGee then changes the subject, stating that it might be foot powder, face powder, talcum powder.
Tony then realizes it could be Honey Dust and states that he gives to girls, women before apologizing to Kate. In her shower, Kate just rolls her eyes and sighs before rubbing her hand. Tony then tells the team that he gives it to women at Christmas-time and that it's very sensuous and that you apply it with a feather.
"You don't use the whole chicken?", Kate wonders.
McGee states that he's never heard of Honey Dust.
Kate tells him that it's because his mother raised him to respect women.
Gibbs then reveals that he knows about Honey Dust by revealing that it makes a woman's skin feel silky smooth and when it's kissed, it feels like honey hence the name.
While he says this, Tony, Kate and McGee stick their heads out of their respective showers, amused.
Gibbs then states he got a box of Honey Dust last Christmas but there was no card.
Back inside his own shower area, Tony winces before voicing his belief that the post office screwed up again. Kate interrupts to wonder if the post didn't irradiate the mail NCIS receives.
McGee agrees, stating that the Federal mail is funneled through the Ion Beam facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey and that if the letter or package has DNA, then it dies.
Tony wonders if the diseases McGee mentioned have DNA. McGee confirms that they do.Kate tells McGee that he should have let Tony squirm while Tony laughs in triumph, stating that it's no worries. Gibbs puts a dampener on Tony's hopes by stating, "Unless the post office screwed up again".
In the now-empty office, four men in bio-hazard suits have arrived with two placing the letter and envelope in question.
While two work at the desks, collecting and gathering evidence, one holding the bag with the letter and envelope heads for the lift with the lift doors opening to reveal Abigail Sciuto who's also wearing a bio-hazard suit.
She steps out of the lift and the man places the bag containing the envelope and letter into the plastic bag Abby's holding.
Abby seals it before heading back into the lift with the doors closing on her again.
In the morgue, the team have finished showering and now wearing designated NCIS uniforms. Tony and Kate are busy lounging on one of the tables and McGee paces the room while Donald Mallard and James Palmer take a sample of Gibbs's blood.
Gibbs tells McGee that he should have given the letter to him.
Kate jumps to McGee's aid by stating that McGee isn't to blame because Tony snatched it out of McGee's hands.
Tony's stunned at being blamed and when McGee tries to get his own point across, Tony says that McGee should have stopped him.
Once his blood's been taken, Gibbs grabs a mask and shield and makes for the autopsy entrance, only to have Ducky block his path who tells Gibbs that he can't leave the morgue because it's negative-pressure which means that any airborne viruses or diseases can't infect the rest of the building.
"Ducky, I have been scrubbed, sanitized, for all I know, sterilized!", Gibbs snaps. "I have an investigation to open".
While the others look on, Ducky doesn't back down, telling Gibbs that he has a possible contagion to contain and that until Gibbs's blood test clears him, he can't leave the morgue at all.
The stand-off ends when two men wearing CDC uniforms and air masks arrive in the morgue, asking who opened the envelope.
Tony pretends it's McGee with McGee defending himself. Tony then leaps off the table and steps forward, admitting that he did, causing one of the men to ask if he breathed in any of the powder. Tony tells him that he might have. The man wants to know if they took blood samples.
Ducky confirms that they have and Palmer tells the men that they've got four blood samples on ice to go.
Kate then sneezes, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. She tells them that she has a cold and that she had it before she came in this morning. Ducky then realizes that the cold might make her more susceptible to airborne pathogens and suggests that she go to hospital with Tony as well.
Kate tries to protest but Gibbs orders her to go, telling it to play safe.
"That's safe?", Kate asks.
Gibbs gestures at her to do while Tony wags his eyebrows.
Extremely annoyed that she has no choice, Kate gets off the table and she wants to know how long they're going to have to stay in isolation.
The man tells her that it will be overnight.
Tony then begins rambling on about double-beds, causing Gibbs to give him a head-slap with the head-shield.
"If I get anthrax, how will you feel?", Tony wonders.
"Not as bad as you, DiNozzo", Gibbs replies.
The little group soon leave with the morgue and unsurprisingly, Tony and Kate begin having yet another argument about being forced into isolation together.
Once they're gone, Gibbs looks back at Ducky who's not moving an inch away from the door, forcing Gibbs to drop the shield and shield onto the table in frustration.
In the lab, Abby takes a sample from the envelope and puts into a tiny capsule before giving it a shake for good measure. She then puts the capsule into a separate area and removes her hands from the protective gloves.
She then pulls another plug and gives a little smile to the man signing the clipboard.
She then takes out the capsule and places into an Evidence Bag before giving it to the man.
She wants to know how long it'll take to get to Atlanta with the man stating that it'll be about an hour.
As the man heads for the door, he tells Abby that her music is sweet before leaving the lab.
"So are you", Abby remarks.
She then places one of the other samples into the Mass Spec machine and while rubbing her hands, states, "Talk to Mama".
As the Mass Spec gets to work, Abby performs two somersaults which brings her to her computer. Gibbs's voice is then heard remarking that he didn't take her for the cheerleader type.
Abby presses a button and the camera to Autopsy comes online, showing Gibbs there.
She tells him that she isn't and that Grammy taught her that.
This leaves Palmer confused.
McGee helpfully states that one can't think logically with Abby and remarks that her mind operates like a pachinko machine.
Gibbs wants to know about the powder.
Abby tells him it was white with a hint of tan.
Gibbs as usual is demanding more but Abby tells him that she all has until her babies, i.e., her machines talk to her. She tells him she's auto-sampling for anthrax, botulism, plague, cholera and all the nasty bio-buggers in existence.
Gibbs gets straight to the point by asking how long it's going to take.
Abby tells him that it'll be a couple of hours.
Gibbs snaps that he thought the tests were fast with Abby telling him that it's not a pregnancy test.
At the hospital, Kate emerges from the toilet with a urine sample in hand.
Tony tells her that she should drink more water because her urine's too dark.
Kate tells him she has a cold and she's disgusted by that. Dr. Brad Pitt emerges, introducing himself and states that despite the name, they're not related but if they were, he'd love to meet Angelina Jolie.
As they head off, Tony remarks to Kate that if he said what Pitt had said, then she'd elbow him.
Unsurprisingly, as this goes on, Kate elbows Tony to shut him up.
They eventually reach the isolation room with Pitt hoping that they're not here.
Once they're inside one room, waiting for the red light to go to green, Kate remarks about the negative pressure.
Pitt agrees, stating that while the air can flow in, it can't flow out.
Once the light goes green, the three then head into the room where Pitt introduces them to Nurse/Lt. Emma Ingham, the duty nurse for tonight.
Pitt then announces he's giving them some medicine which has Tony chuckling. Kate tells him that prophylaxis is taken to prevent disease.
"That's why I use them", Tony replies, causing Emma to giggle.
Kate tells Emma not to encourage Tony and once they've taken the medicine, Emma tells them to take any bed they like.
Tony thanks her and they head for the bed with the two getting a little too close for comfort.
Pitt then warns them that they should keep some distance in case one of them has been infected.
While Kate stays put on her bed, Tony heads for the fourth one which puts him just two beds away from Kate. He then wants a sunlamp but it's not for him. It's for Kate.
She's puzzled and Tony states that a little sunbathing might get rid of those tan lines.
"Doctor, could you put him to sleep, please?", Kate snaps.
Tony bids farewell to Emma who leaves and soon enough, Tony and Kate are the only ones left in Isolation.
In the lab, Abby confirms that the letter is a SWAK or "Sealed With A Kiss".
Gibbs reveals that the only letters he ever got were Dear Johns.
Abby reveals that the address on the envelopes gives it as being in Annapolis, Maryland. McGee states that he's got it and begins searching for a PDA.
Palmer tries to explain that Ducky doesn't own a PDA but Gibbs sets Palmer the task of finding replacement weapons and cell-phones for himself and his team given how their original ones were probably destroyed along with their clothes. Palmer soon sets off to do just that.
While this goes on, McGee grabs a pad and pencil from Ducky's desk, having realized that PDA meant pad and pencil, not personal digital assistant.
After learning the stamp was cancelled the day before, Gibbs demands that Abby open the letter which she does. She and Ducky who has arrived in the lab after showering examine the letter, remarking how beautiful the writing is and that the paper must be 32-pound cotton rag.
Gibbs then wonders if Ducky can read it. Ducky assures him that he can but Abby states that Gibbs wants it read out loud. Ducky apologizes and begins reading the letter which says, "If you are reading this and have not initiated biological attack procedures, I suggest you do so immediately since the powder dispersed by opening this envelope contains genetically altered Y-pestis".
Ducky stops as he and Abby look at each other in horror.
"Which is Latin for what?", Gibbs prompts.
"Plague!", Ducky replies.
It then cuts to Gibbs who looks stunned at the news while in the background, McGee looks on.
Pacing the morgue, Gibbs wonders if the powder in the envelope has bubonic plague.
Ducky states that it's more likely to be pneumonic plague and states that there are three types of the plague.
When Gibbs realizes Tony must have breathed in some of the white powder, McGee tries to assure Gibbs that it's alright but Gibbs tells him that he got Honey Dust for Christmas.
Abby launches a counter-attack, stating that if she can isolate the strain, then Bethesda can hit it with an antibotic but Ducky states that whoever sent the letter has written that they've made the plague sample antibiotic resistance which means that antibiotics won't be able to treat it.
Abby is stunned, calling the person a "bitch" and stating that she created a strain that antibotics can't whack.
Gibbs then orders Ducky to call Bethesda to inform them of the situation and voices his belief that the "bitch" might be a "bastard" instead.
This prompts Abby to make a quip about a friend of hers, a transvestite, whose "lips could out-SWAK Angelina Jolie's". McGee proceeds to recall meeting the transvestite, her clothing, and her prosthetics. Gibbs, annoyed by the trite conversation, head-slaps McGee.
Abby and Gibbs then have a very short and very snippy discussion regarding head-slaps.
Abby then states that the person who sent it made a magic bullet and reads the letter, stating, "There is an antidote which administered within 32 hours of infection will eradicate the disease. To procure the antidote, NCIS must make public the true results reported in Dossier R-0377".
Gibbs scribbles it and orders McGee to use Ducky's computer to find it.
Abby then shines a light into the envelope and produces a moisture strip, causing Gibbs to realize that the bug was kept alive until the letter was opened.
Gibbs changes tactics and orders Abby to forget the cancelled stamp while stating that one way to get around irradiation is to not use the post office.
Ducky comes in and brings up the story about Dr. Brad Pitt.
However, Gibbs isn't in the mood and yells at Abby, causing her to state that she can't do anything until she's put the sample under a microscope and that she can't do that until NCID- (National Center for Infectious Diseases) gives her permission to do that.
She then tells Gibbs that the sample has arrived in Atlanta and that it should be there right now which means it will be twelve hours for DNA confirmation.
Ducky joins in by stating that it won't be long until the disease starts attacking and tells the story of how in the 14th century, plague victims had dinner with their friends and lunch with their ancestors in paradise.
Losing patience upon McGee telling him that the file they're looking can't be accessed, Gibbs tells Ducky that they're coming up with Ducky protesting that they can't.
Gibbs and McGee leave the morgue anyway.
In the Isolation Room, Tony is driving Kate crazy with his movie references and tries to make him stop, only for Tony to begin talking to Nurse Emma.
As this goes on, Kate pretends to suffocate herself with her pillow so that she won't have to endure Tony's movie references.
In the lab, Ducky's furious that Gibbs broke protocol by leaving the morgue.
Abby then tells him that while Gibbs and McGee have left the morgue, they didn't leave isolation.
Sure enough, Gibbs and McGee then waltz in, wearing two big bio-suits that make both of them look like real-life Teletubbies.
Gibbs then orders McGee to use Abby's computer to access the file they're looking for.
McGee, now at Abby's computer tries to do it normally but can't because of the gloves he's using so he opts to use two pens instead and begins typing away.
Gibbs wants Abby to pull up all the surveillance footage from the squad room, starting at 2300 when Gibbs himself left the previous night and ending with McGee arriving in this morning.
Abby tells Gibbs that he has to get another life.
Gibbs mistakenly tells her that the last thing he needs is another wife.
Abby corrects him by stating, "Life. You got to get a life".
Gibbs nods and then heads in to see how McGee's getting on. McGee announces that he's found a file which is a rape case.
Gibbs wants the investigating agent brought down here but McGee tells him that it was Christopher Pacci who was murdered last year.
It then shows a flashback from Dead Man Talking (episode) of Pacci's body in an elevator with Gibbs looking on.
Back in the present, Gibbs changes his strategy by ordering McGee to put the file up on the plasma which he does.
Gibbs and Ducky then study the case which has a picture of Sarah Lowell, a twenty-one year old woman.
Gibbs remembers the case which happened back in February 10, 2001 and had them investigating when the victim was raped at the Admiral Bay's Hotel in Annapolis.
Ducky then states that a maid found Lowell tied to the bed, naked, two days after she was raped.
Gibbs tells Ducky to contact Cassie Yates in Norfolk and that he needs her help.
Ducky agrees and go off to do that.
Abby's puzzled, voicing her belief that Cassie was working narcotics suppression but Gibbs tells her that four years ago, Cassie was Pacci's Probie.
Gibbs then remembers that the victim was visiting to register at an advanced study program at St. John's and that the local police had the case for three days before they called NCIS in.
Gibbs states that they found a dozen Navy suspect, many of them firsties or academy seniors who had just gotten their fleet assignments at the time of the rape.
Abby assures Gibbs that she's working. Gibbs then remembers that DNA testing cleared them and the case was opened.
"And someone wants it reopened", Abby replies.
Gibbs heads in and asks McGee to contact Annapolis PD for their file on the rape case.
Ducky tells Gibbs that he spoke to Cassie and that she'll be here in fifteen minutes but not from Norfolk. She'll be coming from Anacostia where she's been working a drugs sting.
McGee tells Gibbs that he can't call because of the bio-suit he's wearing and that they're not going to be able to hear him.
Gibbs grabs McGee and the younger man states that he's going to use the computer instead just as Abby calls for Gibbs.
Abby shows him the footage she's gotten including one of Tony working at the office late at night before leaving at 3am.
The footage then shows Ben, the NCIS mail boy delivering the mail by putting on the desks of the Agents whose names are on the letters or parcels he delivers.
Abby states that Ben's a vegan to which Gibbs states that Hitler was a vegan.
Abby corrects him by stating that Hitler was actually a vegetarian and that there's a big difference between vegans and vegetarians.
As this goes on, Ducky calls Abby by asking her if there's any chance that the plague could have been altered to resist irradiation.
Abby tells him that there's no chance of that happening because it's still a living organism. Gibbs wonders about the gliding in the envelope.
Abby tells him it would have too be ten mils thick but this is barely one. She begins examining the envelope with a torch again and states, "Uh-oh" upon realizing something.
Gibbs tells her that he doesn't want to hear any more "Uh-ohs".
Abby apologizes but states that the SWAK didn't bleed through and that there's another one inside.
Gibbs finally loses patience and demands that she bring the letter out here when she can study it.
Abby protests against that, stating that she has to wait for Atlanta but Gibbs interrupts her by stating that because there's no risk of infection, she should be fine before telling her they're wasting time and that she should kill those bugs.
It then cuts to Abby who doesn't look too pleased about disobeying the people in Atlanta.
Back in Isolation, Tony and Kate are arguing yet again with Kate wondering if Tony's afraid given that in the past, the danger they faced was always something that they could confront but now that they're faced with an unknown enemy, she's wondering if he's afraid.
Tony assures her that he isn't.
As this goes on, Pitt returns, grim-faced and upon switching off the mike, informs Emma that all the blood tests came back negative except for DiNozzo and that it looks like DiNozzo has been infected with Y.pestis.
It then cuts to Tony who's sitting in Isolation, unaware of the life-changing news he has yet to receive.
The squad-room is completely deserted except for a series of blue lights which are mostly over the area where the Major Case Response Team work.
It then closes up on a blue light over Tony's desk before sweeping over to reveal the letter and the SWAK-marked envelope, eventually pulling back to reveal that it's now Abby's lab.
Gibbs is impatient, demanding to know much longer.
Abby berates him, stating that patience isn't his virture. She then directs him to look at the plasma where it shows something that Gibbs believes is moldy bread.
Abby states that it's actually a microbe of the Y. pestis in the letter. She then shows him a picture of the Y. pestis that the human race has known for half a millennium and tells him that it's the one they fight with antibiotics.
Gibbs realizes that the first sample in the photo has blue tips with Abby confirming that it's the one that was altered to resist antibiotics. Gibbs realizes that it wasn't whipped up in a local meth house and Abby agrees, stating that it took a biologist and a big-bucks lab to create the bio-weapon in quest.
At that time, Mass Spec gets their attention and Abby then realizes that the Y. pestis didn't get hit because seventy-two percent of the lipstick that whoever sent it happens to be pure lead. She even comments that whoever sent it was a smart bitch given how they used the lead to bypass the irradiation system.
Cassie Yates soon arrives in and upon exchanging greetings, studies the letter, relieved it's the plague, not anthrax.
Gibbs brings her up to speed just as Ducky comes in, informing them that all the blood tests are negative except for Tony whom Gibbs figures out by himself.
Gibbs then orders Ducky to help him get the helmet off which Ducky does.
Now freed, Gibbs wants to know if Tony's sick yet. Ducky states that he isn't but that the Y. pestis is starting to attack Tony's pulmonary system.
After Ducky and Cassie exchange greetings, Ducky tells them that they're too far into the 32-hour window, that Tony will begin coughing soon and when his sputum becomes bloody, he'll only have a few hours left to live.
Gibbs then orders Abby get the letter out right now which Abby finally does.
While she does that, Cassie, obviously emotional goes over to Gibbs and help remove his suit, remarking that this is too easy. When Gibbs asks her if she knew who sent it, Cassie tells him that she doesn't but she knows who wants them to think who sent it.
Back in Isolation, when DiNozzo and Pitt realize that they knew each other from their college days, Emma breaks the news to Kate that Tony's infected with the plague which leaves Kate stunned. Pitt then tells Tony that he has the plague which instantly wipes the smile of Tony's face.
Kate then comes over and berates Tony for opening the letter in the first place, causing Tony to realize that she's infected too although in actuality, she's fine.
She then informs Tony that she's going to be making his life Hell and heads back to her bed but stops as she sneezes again.
"If I catch your cold, I'm gonna be very pissed", Tony states.
Kate just returns to her bed.
Tony then asks Pitt if Kate's going to be fine but Pitt and Emma just look at each other, saying nothing whatsoever.
Back in the lab, Cassie and Gibbs gain access to the computer. McGee then realizes that the blood tests are negative and removes his helmet, relieved and realizes that DiNozzo's infected. Gibbs then states that if DiNozzo isn't okay, then he'll be answering to Gibbs personally.
As Cassie begins typing at the computer, McGee tells her that he already downloaded the rape investigation but Cassie tells him that the notes she's looking are in her training files.
Gibbs agrees, stating that it was easier for Cassie to talk to the rape victim as she was a woman the same age as the woman would be more comfortable talking to her than a male agent like Pacci.
Unfortunately, the talk didn't help as the victim was going through traumatic amnesia at the time.
It then shows a flashback of the victim being comforted by her mother in the hospital while Cassie interviews her.
In the present, Gibbs wants to know since the victim had amnesia, who accused the midshipmen?
Cassie realizes that it was the mother: Hanna Lowell and then shows the team a photo of young Hanna at a peace-rally before closing up on the headband with Abby realizing it's a SWAK, confirming that Hanna sent the envelope to NCIS.
Gibbs wants to know if she's a microbiologist.
Cassie states that she isn't but that the best in the world work for her because Hanna is CEO of Lowell Pharmaceuticals.
Gibbs demands a search warrant which McGee agrees to get for him. He then tells Cassie to go get a change of clothes and to meet him downstairs in five minutes before ordering Ducky to go to Bethesda and keep him updated on Tony's condition which Ducky agrees to. He then orders Ducky to go find out why Kate hasn't checked in yet.
Gibbs then heads for the entrance to the lab and meets Palmer who has managed to get a single gun and a cellphone. Gibbs signs for the gun and phone before leaving the lab despite Palmer calling him back, first by "sir" and then "Gibbs".
In Isolation, Pitt is busy talking to Kate about her decision to stay despite the fact that she's not infected. She doesn't know why but Pitt is "not" going to tell Tony the truth. Pitt tells her that he's already told Ducky that she's not infected.
Kate tells Pitt that Ducky will understand but Gibbs is a different story altogether.
Pitt gravely informs that Tony can infect her and he tells her that she can't stay because the plague Tony has was altered to resist antibiotics which Kate realizes means that the IV in Tony's arm but it gives him hope to keep on fighting the plague. Tony interrupts by asking Kate to tell Pitt about the Wet T-Shirt contest she won.
Kate retorts with asking Tony to tell Emma about the dead transsexual he tongued.
Unsurprisingly, Tony goes into denial, stating that it never happened and begins coughing.
Once he's stopped, Tony sarcastically thanks Kate for passing along the cold.
It then cuts to the tissue that Emma wiped Tony's mouth with and it shows a small bit of blood on the tissue which Emma folds up before leaving Tony alone.
It then cuts to Tony who's breathing heavily with the coughing having taken a lot out of him.
The next morning, Gibbs and Cassie head to Lowell Pharmaceuticals with Gibbs announcing that he plans to shove his SIG into Hanna Lowell's face while Cassie serves the warrant.
Cassie then tells Gibbs that Hanna Lowell has been arrested at more protests than Jesse Jackson and that she won't be intimidated.
Gibbs then changes his mind, stating that he'll shoot Hanna and then go after whoever made the bug for her.
When Cassie tells Gibbs that he's not going to kill her, Gibbs insists that he will shoot Lowell, not kill her.
Cassie states that rounding up the employees and interrogating would take days before remarking that Tony doesn't have days.
As they prepare to head for the top floor, a woman at the reception desk notices the two of them arguing about where to go and her head-nod has her colleague, Security Guard (SWAK) going after the two NCIS Agents.
When he asks if they have an appointment, Cassie shows him her NCIS badge with Gibbs announcing that they've got a federal warrant.
While they head for the lift, the guard calls in a 408- a security alert.
A few seconds later, as Receptionist (SWAK) hangs up the phone, stating, "They're here", Gibbs and Cassie stroll into the office with the young receptionist letting them.
Inside, Hanna Lowell confidentially remarks that it's about time they (NCIS) showed up and she realizes she left enough cookie crumbs.
"You left more than cookie crumbs, lady", Gibbs snarls.
Hanna tells them that she regrets she had to resort to such a dramatic act but she was left with no choice when NCIS lied to protect the Academy. She wants NCIS to admit that a Midshipman raped her daughter and then, this will all end.
Cassie tries to tell Hanna that DNA testing cleared the suspects but Hanna cuts her off, saying that she knows how easy it is to dope a DNA test.
Looking around the office, Gibbs remarks that Hanna loves dramatic acts with Hanna stating that they can be very effective. Gibbs remarks that this one is going to ensure that Hanna is imprisoned for the rest of her life.
Hanna isn't too concerned and in that moment, Gibbs realizes the truth.
She tells him she's going rather rapidly which means that there's little to no chance of her being jailed for her actions.
Gibbs then tells her that judging by things, it looks like she wants to protect every living thing on the planet except for Federal agents.
Hanna re-enforces her point, stating that her daughter never recovered from the horror of that weekend and that the truth will help her heal.
She begs Gibbs to give it to her but when Gibbs doesn't say anything, she states that the antidote won't come until that midshipman comes forward.
Gibbs tells her that they don't need it and lies by stating that the post office went postal on the plague she sent to NCIS.
As he says this, Cassie gives him some handcuffs and Gibbs continues on by stating that the post office zapped it through the lead SWAK and that no-one was infected.
Hanna states that she doesn't believe him. Gibbs then drags her from her chair and while placing the cuffs on her, states that he doesn't give a damn whether she believes him or not because she's under arrest for a biological attack on a Federal agency. He then tasks Cassie with looking after Hanna while he waits for the task force to arrest the others.
Cassie begins reading Hanna her rights with Hanna insisting that she acted alone but when she states that Dr. Pandy doesn't even know that she stole the Y. pestis, Gibbs storms out of the office, questioning the receptionist from before about where Dr. Pandy is.
The receptionist gives up the area, telling Gibbs he needs clearance to enter the area while Hanna realizes that someone was infected after all and remarks that she hopes it was Westmoreland.
Back in Isolation, the plague is beginning to take its toll on Tony who's having difficulty breathing.
While Pitt takes a X-ray, Kate and Emma discuss Tony's sense of humor with Emma admitting she finds it funny, something Kate agrees with.
Back at Lowell Pharmaceuticals, Gibbs has broken into the restricted area and while holding a security guard who he's also managed to cuff at arm's length, is asking Pandy about the Y. pestis with Gibbs's own gun trained on Pandy.
The mircobiologist is wearing a suit and Gibbs talks to him via a headset with Pandy stating that he developed a vaccine, not an antidote to combat the plague and that it's of no use once the victim's been infected, stating that Hanna misunderstood.
Gibbs assures him that Hanna understood but Pandy thinks it's the brain tumor which is affecting her mind and asks why else would a woman who fought to ban biological weapons use them?
Gibbs wants to know why the company's making them but Pandy insists that they aren't.
Pandy then states that they did create the plague but only to develop a defence against it and voices his belief that antibotic-resistant diseases are potential terrorist weapons.
Gibbs snaps that a terrorist isn't killing his agent: Pandy himself is.
Pandy tries to reason with Gibbs, stating that he understands his anger but Gibbs snaps that if Pandy doesn't save his agent, then he will understand Gibbs's anger.
Pandy tells Gibbs that the plague has a suicide gene that it stopped it from replicating after 32 hours as a security precaution. Gibbs wonders if it's dead now.
Pandy states that if it's been 32 hours since the specimen was infected, then, yes it's dead.
In a rare moment of relief, Gibbs lowers his gun but has back it up again after believing that the subject might die.
Gibbs loses patience and threatens Pandy with the other man admitting that the survival rate is fifteen percent.
Outside Isolation, Ducky has arrived and he and Pitt are examining Tony's X-rays.
Pitt states that Tony is showing signs of cyanosis due to his fingernails and lips going blue.
Ducky realizes that it's because the Y. pestis is straving his body of any potential oxygen.
Ducky wonders if it's too late but Pitt assures him it's never too late.
"Until I get the body", Ducky grimly states.
Back in Isolation, Emma's treating Tony and all seems to be fine, that is until Tony starts retching. Pitt rushes in and orders Kate to leave right now.
Kate looks at Tony and then heads for the exit, pressing the airlock button. She rips off her mask to reveal that she's now crying over seeing Tony in such a weakened state and near death.
She rushes out to Ducky and breaks down in his arms with Ducky stating that she did well to stay with him.
"He's dying", Kate sobs.
"Ah, the Hell he is", Gibbs replies, announcing his presence. He then sweeps in without any masks or any warning, forcing Pitt to confront him.
Gibbs tells them that the bug infecting Tony's body was created with a suicide gene and that it's dead. It has been for over an hour which means Tony's no longer infected.
As Pitt and Emma leave and with Kate and Ducky looking in, Gibbs heads over to DiNozzo's bedside where he gives Tony one simple statement: "You will not die". Before he leaves, he gives Tony his new cell and advises him to change the number as apparently, women are calling for Spankie.
Once he's gone, Emma returns to Tony's bedside and begins stroking his hair.
At the hospital, Sarah Lowell has arrived and Cassie is interviewing.
Gibbs comes in and tells that Tony's going to make it. Cassie tells him that Hanna lost it in the car and that she began rambling, flashing peace signs, forcing Cassie to head straight for the hospital.
She then tells Gibbs that Hanna's neurologist believes that it's the tumor and that he just left but he wants Hanna released into his care.
Gibbs states that it's unlikely and that he can see Hanna as much as she wants.
They then head over to meet Sarah who during the interview breaks down and admits that she wasn't raped but that her boyfriend, Will had simply tied her up before leaving to go get burgers and shakes.
She then tells them that Will died in a hit and run accident as a driver hit him while he was crossing the road.
She even admits that she made up being raped as what else could she tell her mother?
It then cuts to Gibbs who looks silent.
In Isolation, Kate finally gets permission from Pitt to head back and spend the night with Tony.
As she lies on the bed next to him and while Emma monitors them, Tony either asleep or pretending to be tells her that this reminds him of the end of the movie, "Alien".
This causes Kate to chuckle.
It then cuts to Tony who still has his eyes closed.
- It's revealed that Gibbs and his team have their offices on the third floor of the NCIS Building.
- NCIS Special Agent Cassie Yates is introduced for the first time.
- SWAK stands for "Sealed with a kiss".
- "Y. pestis" stands for Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the three forms of plague (bubonic, pneumonic and septicemic). What Tony contracts is pneumonic plague.
- Dr. Brad Pitt emphasizes that he is no relation of the famous actor; in fact, the actor's birth name is William, but he chose to be known by a shortened version of his middle name, Bradley.
- In the hospital, just before Gibbs and Cassie Yates interview Sarah Lowell, a man can be seen signing a clipboard while talking to a nurse. This man happens to Donald Bellisario, one of the creators and executive producers of NCIS and also Sean Murray's stepfather.
- The episode takes major cues from the Amerithrax attacks, where anthrax spores were mailed in untraceable letters with gobbledygook messages to government offices, infecting and killing numerous people.
- The events of this episode were later referenced in the NCIS episodes "Bury Your Dead", "Masquerade" and "Homesick", among others, as well as the NCIS: New Orleans episode "Carrier."
- Season Two Cast
|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 Perrette||A Goth who is also the Chief Forensic Scientist for the NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Timothy McGee||Sean Murray (actor)||An NCIS Special Agent previously assigned to the Norfolk Naval Base who is now the Junior Agent of the main NCIS Major Case Response Team.|
|Donald Mallard||David McCallum||NCIS's Chief Medical Examiner.|
|James Palmer||Brian Dietzen||Gerald Jackson's temporary replacement as the Assistant Medical Examiner.|
|Christopher Pacci||Tim Kelleher||Deceased NCIS Special Agent. Archive footage. Uncredited role.|
|Brad Pitt||Steven Eckholdt||A Doctor and Navy Commander who treats DiNozzo after the Agent tests positive for Y.pestis.|
|Hanna Lowell||Mariette Hartley||The head of Lowell Pharmaceuticals.|
|Cassie Yates||Tamara Taylor||An NCIS Special Agent and Chris Pacci's Probie.|
|Sarah Lowell||Olivia Burnette||Hanna Lowell's daughter.|
|Emma Ingham||Kelsey Oldershaw||A nurse and a Lieutenant who is Dr. Brad Pitt's assistant.|
|Pandy||Rizwan Manji||A mircobiologist who works for Lowell Pharmaceuticals.|
|Receptionist (SWAK)||Bibi Amos||A woman who worked for Lowell Pharmaceuticals.|
|Security Guard (SWAK)||Ty Upshaw||A man who appears in the episode.|
|Will||Jamison Haase||Sarah's boyfriend who died in an accident. Uncredited role.|
|Bethesda Doctor||Donald P. Bellisario||Uncredited role.|