On NCIS, did a Naval petty officer really steal a master key that controlled hundreds of combat and surveillance drones?
That was the question the NCIS agents needed to answer Monday night in Pledge of Allegiance. It was the first new episode for NCIS after taking a month-long holiday hiatus. It didn’t disappoint. There even was a reference to Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and maybe a tease for his return.
Now, let’s break down all the NCIS good stuff.
As the episode opened, we see a woman named Kay. She was trying to see a rose-gold necklace via Zoom. And yes, she had the necklace in gold, too. Then suddenly, a military SWAT team breaks in. Rafi Nazar, her fiance, allegedly stole the technology for a master key that controls a number of drones the military uses to spy on enemies. Plus, the key maintains the combat drones as well.
NCIS director Vance “was coming in hot,” because the Secretary of Navy was giving the case the highest priority. The military couldn’t even tell the NCIS agents how many drones the key controlled. The information was classified.
So where to begin? The agents decided to focus on Kay, who said she and Rafi met nine months ago and fell instantly in love. Rafi was born in Afghanistan but enlisted in the Navy the day after he earned his American citizenship.
“Now that’s patriotism,” Kay told Torres and Knight. Remember that detail. The agents then tracked down a noted, very talented hacker. He was the conduit for the theft of the key. However, the agents found him dead.
Agents also needed to figure out a motive. Rafi’s fellow pilots all stood by him. But he also had an uncle with connections to the Taliban.
Jess talked Kay into setting up a meeting with Rafi. But as her boyfriend approached their favorite restaurant, Kay waved him off. She couldn’t allow the NCIS agents to arrest him, so Rafi runs. He ends up at the Afghan Embassy.
The Afghan ambassador allows for a meeting with Rafi and Parker. He’s there to tell Rafi that Kay would be charged with three felonies that would lock her up for almost 30 years. “She’ll be 56 when she can walk down the aisle,” Parker tells Rafi. “Have a nice flight to Kabul.”
Rafi gives himself up and hugs Kay, who was outside the embassy. But suddenly, we hear gunfire. Someone shot Rafi. The paramedic who treated Rafi in the ambulance told Parker, who was doing a ride-along, that Rafi would live. So Parker demanded the ambulance swing by NCIS headquarters. Besides, Parker said Jimmy could treat him.
Rafi agreed. “I want to clear my name. Please. I want to go to NCIS.”
As Rafi is interrogated, he finds out that whoever stole the key used a three-step identification process to clear site security. He asked whether his eyes needed to be open for the face ID to work.
So who stole the key, then gave it away. You’ll never guess. It was Kay, who no one would suspect of being a terrorist. She thought she’d erased all her social media posts. But Torres explains that the posts never go away. When you post “America needs a bloody insurgence,” someone sees it.
“Sometimes war is necessary to wake up the infidels,” she says. “I didn’t sell (the key), I gave it away – a heroic sacrifice for the cause.
“What I did wasn’t evil, it’s divine retribution,” she told the agents. “And you will witness it soon.”
But Torres tells her that the key was disabled, so it no longer works. “Now that is divine retribution,” Torres tells Kay.
It turns out that Kay was radicalized by a man in West Virginia. And she targeted Rafi because he was Afghan. It was easier to set him up because folks assumed he’d be the terrorist.
Now, let’s get back to the Gibbs moment. He hasn’t been on NCIS since October. But throughout Monday’s episode, we learn that both Jimmy and McGee received surprise $10,000 deposits in their checking account.
Vance calls Jimmy and McGee into his office and explained that Gibbs gave them the money to help pay for their kids’ college tuition. It seems Gibbs did the same for Vance’s kids years ago. Gibbs set up a college fund for his daughter. But when she died, he kept adding to it. He anonymously gives the money to his fellow agents.