NCIS Database

Skeletons is the seventeenth episode in NCIS Season 4 and also the eighty-seventh episode of the entire NCIS series.


NCIS investigate an explosion at a military cemetery mausoleum with the discovery turning up the dismembered bodies of many victims, leading the team to believe that they're dealing with a serial killer.


At a military funeral in James River National, as six military soliders stand guard over a coffin, the priest reads, stating in pain, may they find comfort, in sorrow, hope and in death, resurrection.

A while later, the same six soldiers assume the position and now armed with guns, fire off two shots on the instructions of their leader.

As this goes on, Kenneth Dixon walks the cemetery before he turns around and heads into the mausoleum.

As he reaches another area where his friend, Lloyd Jackson is, Dixon tells Jackson that they're almost finished out here.

Jackson just wonders what Dixon wants to tell him before Jackson says that he can't get the damn thing open.

"Stripped?", Dixon wonders.

Jackson disagrees, stating that it's catching and it's just stuck or something.

Dixon wonders when was the last time Jackson himself opened of these?

As Dixon walks by, taking off his coat, Jackson states that this is the first tandem since he's been here.

"That's like what a decade?", Dixon says.

Jackson agrees

Dixon then tells Jackson to let him try.

As the military song echoes, Dixon now holding the tools struggles to open the crypt at first but then announces seconds later that it's moving.

Jackson wonders what that smell is.

Suddenly, a huge explosion erupts, catching both men off guard and sending them to the ground.

As they both sit up, both men realize that they're now covered in some kind of goo which has them disgusted and greatly frightened.

Jackson wonders if Dixon's okay.

In the now open crypt, various piles of goo along with human bones and a skull are emerging with the goo itself dripping onto the floor.

As they both struggle to come to terms with what's happened, Dixon looks over.

It then cuts to show that in the center of the first pile of goo along with a single bone is also a human skull.

Act One

Gibbs and Ziva after Ducky has told them he believes that the NCIS team are searching for a mass-murderer.

Act Two

Act Three

In the elevator with Mann and Gibbs, Ducky is stating that if the bodies recovered from the mausoleum were the result of mass-murder, then one might except a certain modicum of consistency in the manner of death.

"One might", Gibbs replies and as they enter the morgue, Mann covers her nose, obviously disgusted by the smell.

"Yes and one would be wrong", Ducky states before revealing that the victims were shot, stabbed, strangled, bludgeoned before heading to the remains that contain Miss Undetermined Torrance.

He then states that the victims were composed of three women and two men with the age range varying from 19 to 70 and that three are Caucasian, one Asian and one African-American.

Act Four


  • The footage of the Marines performing the gun salute at the funeral which is played at the beginning of the episode is actually footage that first aired during "Coming Home", the Season 9 episode from NCIS's parent series, JAG.
  • Ziva reveals that Roy Sanders, from the previous episode, has died from the radiation poisoning.
  • Brian Markinson (Sgt. Trask) and Susanna Thompson (Col. Mann) both later appeared together in the pilot episode of the CW series Arrow.
  • Abby is upset over her abrupt break-up with Marty Pearson, who does not appear in the episode; Pearson was written out of the show after his actor, Michael Gilden, passed away on December 5, 2006.


Series Regulars

Name Portrayed by Role
Leroy Jethro Gibbs Mark Harmon NCIS Special Agent in charge of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Anthony DiNozzo Junior Michael Weatherly Senior Special Agent and second-in-command of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Ziva David Cote de Pablo Mossad Liaison to the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Abigail Sciuto Pauley Perrette Chief Forensic Specialist, NCIS.
Timothy McGee Sean Murray Junior Agent of the NCIS Major Case Response Team.
Jennifer Shepard Lauren Holly NCIS Director.
Donald Mallard David McCallum Chief Medical Examiner, NCIS.

Recurring Cast

Name Portrayed by Role
James Palmer Brian Dietzen Ducky's assistant.
Hollis Mann Susanna Thompson A Lieutenant Colonel with Army CID.

Other Cast

Name Portrayed by Role
Len Grady Corin Nemec A jack-of-all-trades salesman and a serial killer.
Natalie Dalton Alexandra Lydon Grady's girlfriend, a butcher and a serial killer.
Dan Trask Brian Markinson A Marine Sergeant with the EOD.
Lloyd Jackson Philip Anthony-Rodriguez A former Marine Lance Corporal.
Kenneth Dixon Chris Tardio A man caught in the explosion at James River National.
Jacob Torrance Brian Cousins Madeline's husband.
Madeline Torrance Erinn Bartlett Jacob's wife.
  v - e - dNCIS Season 4
Shalom (episode)Escaped (episode)Singled Out (episode)Faking It (episode)Dead and Unburied (episode)Witch Hunt (episode)Sandblast (episode)Once a Hero (episode)Twisted Sister (episode)Smoked (episode)Driven (episode)Suspicion (episode)Sharif Returns (episode)Blowback (episode)Friends and Lovers (episode)Dead Man Walking (episode)Skeletons (episode)Iceman (episode)Grace Period (episode)Cover Story (episode)Brothers in Arms (episode)In the Dark (episode)Trojan Horse (episode)Angel of Death (episode)