NCIS Database

Short Fuse is the third episode in NCIS Season 8 and the 165th episode of the entire NCIS series.


NCIS investigate when a Marine Sergeant shoots dead an intruder but things grow intense when it's revealed that the supposed intruder was actually a hitman.


In the bedroom, as he puts his shirt on, Gary Tolin remarks that he has a staff meeting on Thursday night that will probably go late.

As Joss Stones's "Every Time I Turn Around" plays in the background, Heather Dempsey emerges from the bathroom as Tolin asks her if she's free around ten.

"I don't think so, Gary", Heather replies.

Suddenly, the sound of a door rattling catches Gary and Heather's attention.

"What was that?", Gary wonders.

Heather then shuts off the speaker and remarks that someone's downstairs.

She then races over to her locker, revealing that she's a Marine due to the USMC tattoo on the inside of her right hand. She then produces a gun, examining it.

"What are you doing?", Gary wonders.

Heather simply cocks the gun before bracing herself.

Gary calls her name but Heather tells him to stay there.

Gary just finishes putting his trousers on.

Meanwhile, Heather heads down the stairs and spots the intruder, Heather telling him to hold it.

The intruder attempts to fire but Heather's too fast, firing back instantly.

With just one shot, the intruder falls to the ground, dead.

It then cuts to Heather who stands there, her face giving nothing away.

Act One

Act Two

Gibbs after learning from McGee that one of the cell phones is in fact a secure phone registered to the FBI.

In the bullpen, the team are discussing Sergeant Dempsey with Ziva stating that Dempsey grew up in Greenough, Montana.

Tony also informs them that Dempsey became a local celebrity when she filled a lawsuit against the board of education who wouldn't let her play high school football.

Ziva remarks that Dempsey did one year of junior college before enlisting in the Corps and that Dempsey did basic training at Paris Island.

Act Three

Act Four

Act Five


Series Regulars

Name Portrayed by Role
Leroy Jethro Gibbs Mark Harmon Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Anthony DiNozzo Michael Weatherly Senior Agent and second-in-command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Ziva David Cote de Pablo NCIS Probationary Agent and also a member of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Timothy McGee Sean Murray (actor) Junior Special Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Abigail Sciuto Pauley Perrette Chief Forensic Specialist of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Leon Vance Rocky Carroll Director of NCIS.
Donald Mallard David McCallum Chief Medical Examiner of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.

Recurring Cast

Name Portrayed by Role
Tobias Fornell Joe Spano Supervisory Agent, FBI.
James Palmer Brian Dietzen NCIS Assistant Medical Examiner.

Other Cast

Name Portrayed by Role
Heather Dempsey Abby Brammell An explosive ordinance technician and also a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.
Jason Kelly Larry Herron Master Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.
Larry Krone David Sullivan (actor) NCIS Agent.
Ron Sands Benjamin King NCIS's Public Affairs Officer.
Judd Dempsey Zack Weinstein Heather Dempsey's brother who was left permanently paralyzed after getting caught in a shootout between two drug gangs.
Kathy Tolin Jacqueline Hahn Gary Tolin's wife.
Gary Tolin Robert Curtis Brown Kathy Tolin's husband, Heather Dempsey's lover and the assistant director of the FBI.
Gene Abbott Lorenzo Callender The man responsible for shooting and paralyzing Heather Dempsey's brother, Judd.
Mary Roberts Rayna Tharani A woman who appears in the episode.
Naval Photographer Monica Ford Uncredited role
Naval Photographer Assistant Evan E. Yu Uncredited role.