‘NCIS’ ‘Phoenix’ Recap: A Cold Case Gets Very Hot

Filed in Gather Entertainment News Channel by on October 9, 2012 0 Comments

NCIS season 10 continues with episode 3, “Phoenix.” It begins with Ducky having a body exhumed. He doesn’t have a case number. When Tony gets to work, he finds Ziva and McGee talking about life recorders. McGee’s a beta tester. Gibbs tells the team about a murder on his way down to autopsy to talk to Ducky about the body he had exhumed. Commander Bruce Roberts died 12 years ago, and while Ducky had concluded he drank himself to death, he read that his father died two days ago of a rare liver disorder. There are poisons that could have mimicked alcohol poisoning. Bruce could’ve been murdered.

Tony, McGee, and Ziva are more interested in questioning Jimmy about Ducky’s behavior than the crime scene, and when Gibbs walks in, he tells them it’s a cold case and gets them back on track. Their victim, Hill, died around midnight from carbon monoxide poisoning. They find $50,000 in his home. He was about to go UA since he wasn’t authorized for travel but was leaving for Malta. They don’t have anything, but Abby does. Roberts was poisoned, and his exhumation order was one of the last things Hill was looking at on his laptop. With the two cases connected, Ducky thinks that means he’s off it, but then Gibbs brings up rule 38.

Ducky has point; there’s no arguing with rule 38. Roberts taught avionics before he died and had been denied by aviation school, flight programs, and even NASA. His daughter, Ellen, had blamed herself and thought he’d be alive if she had been there. Ducky promises her they’ll get to the bottom of her father’s murder, but when she leaves, Ziva reminds him that he may not be able to keep that promise—and Ellen has motive; she inherited four million dollars.

Jimmy discovered chemical burns on Hill over a decade old. These could be burns he got trying to create the poison that killed Roberts. Hill may have been running because he saw Roberts’ body was exhumed. Abby’s radiation alarm goes off, but it’s a false alarm. There were trace amounts in a dust on Roberts’ clothes. The dust is JSC-1, a lunar soil simulant. Dr. Blackwell from NASA tells them that some was irradiated, but it should’ve all been destroyed. It could be used to make a dirty bomb.

Ducky calls Roberts the key, but what could he have wanted with a dirty bomb? His old CO admits that while he was her finest officer, he didn’t take rejection well. He started making veiled threats, but she thought he was just letting off some steam. Abby figured out that someone infected the system with a virus to disable the smoke detector alarm. She also found the link between the victims: they were emailing one another arranging a buy. Roberts was the buyer, but something seemed to go wrong since he threatened to turn Hill in. Then he ended up dead. Was there another buyer?

Jimmy goes to Gibbs’ to tell him he thinks Ducky’s losing it, but Ducky’s sitting in the corner of the basement. After he leaves, Ducky says Jimmy’s overwhelmed in his new position, which he understands. He’s not sure he’s up to the task. Abby calls with the news of another buyer, and Gibbs leaves Ducky with a broom in his basement. Gibbs joins Tony and McGee, and Tony won’t stop laughing. Apparently McGee testing the recorder was a mistake. “D.F.’s” electricity usage is way above the norm, and Ziva joins them after scouting the place. Someone’s inside. When they burst in, the guy tries to run. When he learns they’re agents, he mentions he played a benefit concert. He’s Del Finney, and he has posters of himself all over.

Del Finney was a one-hit wonder who blew through his money in the ’90s. Though he claims not to know the victim, Ducky can tell he’s lying. He claims he ran because he thought they were fans, but he owes a lot of people a lot of money. He asks for a lawyer, but Ducky gets him to talk by singing his own song about standing up. Hill had been selling moon rocks, and it’s illegal to even own one. Twelve years ago, one had been stolen from a museum, but it had been recovered. The rock that Del Finney bought was a knock-off, and Hill was running a con, taking advantage of the theft to sell “moon rocks.” However, Del Finney sent a sample to NASA to be tested before he bought it. Dr. Blackwell was running the lab, and Hill was doing protective services in the lab then. Blackwell lawyers up. Case closed.

Ducky feels like there’s something he’s forgetting; that’s when Ellen comes over and thanks him. Gibbs sends Ducky to autopsy. He’s cleared for duty. “We are finally whole again,” Ziva says as he walks away. Ducky finds Jimmy clearly overwhelmed, and when he finds out Ducky’s cleared for duty, Jimmy hugs him. There’s already a body waiting for him. Ducky’s back!

What did you think of NCIS season 10 episode 3 “Phoenix”?

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/CBS

© Meredith Jacobs 2012

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College graduate, television fanatic, writer.

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