The episode begins; 15th May 2012, Duckie is in the hospital; he had a heart attack. Palmer found him on the beach and is still there beside him. Duckie is glad to see him. He then ask him about NCIS and Palmer tells him that he hasn’t been able to get in touch with anyone. At NCIS, the squad is going through the wreckage after the blast and tending the wounded. Abby, Gibbs and Vance are fine. The Secretary of the Navy is there and he wants a full POA. He says that the FBI would be assisting the Navy in their search for Dearing. He wants Dearing at any cost. Ziva and Tony are stuck in the elevator. Ziva is sitting on Tony’s shoulders and is trying to open the ceiling; but it is jammed.
She slips. Just then she gets a call from her father, offering to help find Dearing. Gibbs enters the office and he finds that the whole place is a mess with papers strewn all around, ceiling fallen at certain places and dust all over. He finds McGee. McGee looks dazed. He says that Tony and Ziva are in the elevator. He is feeling hot in there, so he is about to leave to get some fresh air. Gibbs stops him as he notices a large piece of glass sticking out from his side. in the hospital, Duckie wants to get back to Washington as he feels that NCIS needs him; but he soon realizes that he cannot. He asks Palmer to leave as he feels that NCIS needs him more. The Navy Secretary is on the phone with the President and Fornell joins Gibbs and Vance.
Vance inquires about Mc Gee. Gibbs tells him that he is fine with a few stitches. Tony and Ziva are still in the elevator; that must be cozy! The Secretary tells the group that they have been instructed to locate Harper Dearing and pursue him with extreme prejudice. This comes from the President, failure is not an option. In the elevator, Ziva and Tony are discussing about their coworkers who sweat a lot. Ziva wonders what if one of them is dead. Just then the rescue team pry open the door and they are happy to see Abby. At home, Fornell and Gibbs are having beer. Gibbs is angry that Dearing hurt his family. He fears that Dearing can just disappear. Fornell wants to take the reins on this one. Next, on some street, Dearing is watching the footage of the blast; he is standing outside a store.
Just then a woman walks up to him and introduces herself as Lorraine and asks him if he wants to go somewhere. She takes him home and gets on to the bed. He excuses himself to go to the restroom. She then pulls out her gun from under the sheet and opens the door for the SWAT team to enter. They fire at the bathroom door; but they find that it is empty. She finds a ringing phone in a bag on the floor. It says: You are dead in and the countdown is on. The room explodes. The next morning, Fornell is sad as it was his team that was blown off and Lorraine was one of the best he had. Ziva tries to point out that he is no longer taunting them; they are taunting him. Gibbs wants to take the fight to Dearing and make him keep playing. In the news, they see that FBI has arrested Victoria Dearing, Dearing’s ex-wife.
Vance wants to know where she is and Gibbs tells him that she is out of the state in Federal protection. Vance fears that in retaliation, Dearing could blow up something else. Vance is a little off and Gibbs tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself. Vance is guilty that he drove the car into NCIS. Gibbs says that he wouldn’t have known about the job; but Vance thinks that it is his job to know. Next, Abby is sweeping the floor of her lab. She looks a little angry and freaked out. Abby tells Ziva to kick Dearing’s ass. Tony asks Gibbs if he talked to Dr. Ryan since all this happened. He should let her know that he is fine. Just then Vance arrives and asks Gibbs to come to MTAC. Mc Gee is there and Dearing is on the monitor. He asks Gibbs if he really thought that accusing his wife would really work.
He tells Gibbs that navy turned a blind eye to all its flaws and all he did was make sure that would not happen again. He says that he is a whistleblower but Gibbs calls him a murder. He tells Vance that if he intends to keep coming after him, then there is no better player than a man who has got nothing to lose. Mc Gee traces Dearing’s cell phone to an abandoned parking lot. They relay this information to the Secretary. The traffic cams are not responding, so they check the image through thermal satellite. They see that the car is hot and there is someone inside. They then see teams approaching the vehicle; but the car blows up. Vance tells the Secretary that Dearing took himself out; he blew the car.
But Gibbs says that they need remains for confirmation. In the lab, Palmer is examining the remains. He seems a little freaked out due to Duckie’s absence. Abby is waiting outside the room and refuses to go in. Fornell, Vance and Gibbs arrive. Abby has the DNA results and it is a 50% match. We got him! Next, it is 10 July 2012 and Duckie is back at the NCIS. Gibbs arrives to receive him and tells him they are still cleaning up. Duckie congratulates Gibbs on Dearing’s death. But he notices that Gibbs is still doubtful. Inside, Palmer tells Mc Gee that he is still freaked ot about what happened. Just then a woman arrives asking for Gibbs; she is Joan Dearing, Dearing’s sister-in-law. She tells them that Gibbs wanted to see her. Gibbs tells Joan that no one claimed Dearing’s body.
She tells him that her husband, Lawrence, Harper’s brother passed away four months ago due to a heart attack. She says that he was buried at a private cemetery owned by the Dearings. This means that Harper Dearing had access to his brother’s remains. Gibbs brings Duckie to examine the body; unofficially. Duckie checks a small fragment of the ribs and sees that this man suffered intense cardiac event before his death. Harper Dearing had no history of heart trouble; but Lawrence Dearing just died of a heart attack. So, Harper had put his brother’s remains in that car; he is still alive! Abby explains that Dearing rigged the car so that the body would be warm. Tony checks Joan’s account and sees that she has received $250,000. Days after the car exploded, her cell phone made calls to rural West Virginia.
She also purchased gas there. Gibbs asks Joan to be brought back in. Gibbs yells at her and she admits that after Harper was declared dead, she found him standing in her living room, when she returned form work. She says that he gave her the money but she did not know that Lawrence’s body was involved. Gibbs wants to know about Harper’s whereabouts. Next, we see the team entering a cabin in the woods. They find barrels of thermite, plans of bombs and photos of Gibbs and his team; looks like he wanted them to see that he was finished. Tony finds a trap door and concludes that is how he got out. In his basement, Gibbs tells Vance that he has figured out that Harper Dearing is at his house where he and Victoria raised Evan. Gibbs says that he wants to go alone to take down Dearing.
And if anything goes wrong, he tells Vance to kill Dearing. Glad to! Ziva is furious that Gibbs is going alone. Gibbs tells his team to look out for each other. Gibbs reaches the house. He hears Evan’s voice; it is a cassette player. He enters the house and finds Dearing brewing coffee. But he is unable to and so he offers Gibbs Scotch. He tells Gibbs that they are a lot alike and compares his feelings to Gibbs’ for his late daughter. He then goes to the window. Gibbs notices a gun on the sill. He takes out a knife. Dearing goes for the gun; but Gibbs is quick and stabs Dearing in his gut. Dearing is dead.
Next, Gibbs is looking at the memorial for the May attack. We then hear Evan’s and Harper’s voice on the tape. Evan says that he wants to serve his country. He says, “I am really proud that I am doing this dad”. Harper says, “Yes, so am I”. The episode ends.