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Phoenix - Recap

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The episode begins in the cemetery where we see that the grave of Bruce Roberts being dug up. Duckie then signs the formality papers and the caretaker asks Duckie for the case number. Duckie tells him that he doesn’t have one and that he would have Palmer fax it over to him. At NCIS, McGee and Ziva tell Tony about a new device that can record every moment of their lives. Theses would be stored and they can look back at any moment they want to remember. Tony asks for the cost; but it is still not available. Gibbs arrives with the dead body for the day; a dead sergeant in Brooklyn. In the lab, Jimmy freaks out that Duckie exhumed a body without proper paperwork.

Gibbs arrives and he knows what happened. Duckie tells him that he is the ME and he has the authority to do that. Gibbs reminds him that he is no more the ME as he needs to be taking rest. Duckie taunts him about going on without him. Gibbs gives in and asks him about the dead body. Duckie tells him that 12 years ago, he presided over Bruce’s autopsy and had declared it as an accidental death. Bruce was totally drunk at the time of death. But two days ago, Duckie read about Langdon Roberts, Bruce’s father. Langdon is dead and he had a rare genetic disorder that affects the liver. There is a class of poison that can mimic fatal alcohol intoxication in people with that condition. Now, this condition could have been passed on to Bruce.

There is a possibility that this was murder. Next, the team is at the current crime scene, and Jimmy arrives for preliminary examination. It appears that the sergeant was going to fly to Malta and Jimmy gives them some info about Malta. The team isn’t interested to learn about Malta, but they do want to know why Duckie exhumed a body without Gibbs’ knowledge. They try to scare him into telling them the fact. But just then Gibbs arrives and realizes what is happening. He tells them that Duckie is working on an old case unofficially. The sergeant’s name is Raymond Hill and he seems to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning (the pink discoloration of the skin is an indication) and the estimated TOD is around midnight. They also find $50,000 cash on him.

He was assigned to the Marine Corps Security Force regiment which provided security for high valued naval installations. He wasn’t authorized to travel and also had no priors. So, all they have is a dead marine and no leads. Gibbs then goes to the lab to meet Abby. Abby confirms that Duckie was right about the poisoning of Bruce Roberts. Bruce was murdered with a poison that needs to be synthesized. And the plant is found everywhere. She then continues from the cold case to the current hot one; she says that she found a copy of Duckie’s exhumation order on Hill’s laptop and it is one of the last things that Hill looked at before he was killed. What are odds here?

Next, Gibbs and McGee talk to Duckie, and asks him about the people who he talked to about the exhumation and they also need all his files on the cold case as it is connected to the hot one and Duckie is no longer an ME. Gibbs then decides to implement rule 38 and tells Duckie: Your lead, your case! In NCIS, Gibbs gives Duckie point on the case. Bruce worked as an avionics instructor but he could not get into NASA’s satellite training program as he was denied. He is a widower and had lots of money. he has a daughter who is flying in. next, Duckie and Ziva talk to Ellen. She tells them that her father was a space buff and he was rejected several times for a position that he applied for.

She blames herself for her father’s death as she was supposed to stopover that night, which she couldn’t due to some work. if she had been there, Bruce wouldn’t have had so much alcohol. But Duckie tells her that they believe that Bruce was murdered. They then show her Hill’s picture, but she doesn’t recognize him. Duckie assures her that they will find the killer. After Ellen leaves, Ziva points out to Duckie that Ellen inherited 4 million dollars and she could be the killer. In the morgue, Duckie tells Gibbs and Jimmy that he needs to be briefed about the finding as he is now the consultant on the case. Duckie sees that Hill’s x-rays are blurry and he tries to correct Jimmy; but Gibbs stops him. Jimmy continues to tell them that there are some burns on Hill that can be a decade old.

He then lists the names of the chemicals that could have caused these burns. They are the same chemicals used to make the poison that killed Bruce. So, this makes Hill the prime suspect. Hill synthesized those chemicals to kill Bruce and he was running as he learned that his old victim’s body has been exhumed and this could lead the investigation to him. Just then the radiation alarm from Abby’s lab goes off and Gibbs rushes to the lab. It is a false alarm. Abby tells him that she found some dust on Bruce’s coat which is a lunar dust stimulant. It was cooked up by NASA researchers. Tony and Ziva go to meet Dr. Felix Blackwell. Felix tells them that Johnson Space Center created this dust for their lunar engineering studies.

But also, the irradiated dust was disposed off with great care as it could be used to make dirty bombs. The team now wonders why Roberts would want a fake radioactive moon rock. Next, McGee and Tony go to Bruce’s old CO. but she doesn’t want to trample on a dead man’s grave. She tells them that Bruce was one of her finest officers but he couldn’t handle rejection very well. She tells them that after the third rejection, he started writing threatening letters against the DOD. She has those letters. In the lab, Abby tells Gibbs that Hill’s carbon monoxide detector was disabled after being infected with a virus. She also finds a twelve year old email which points out that they were arranging a buy where Hill was the seller and Bruce was the buyer and Bruce seemed paranoid about the cops.

Maybe Hill was a part of WMD smuggling ring. Something went wrong as Abby tells Gibbs that in the next email, Bruce threatened to turn Hill to the feds. Gibbs asks her to check for any other buyers. Later, Abby calls Gibbs that there is another buyer. Gibbs arrives at an address and Tony and McGee are present. They tell him that there was no name of the buyer. So, they found out the phone number which led them to this place. They enter the building and find an aged British rocker, Del Finney inside. He was a big hit in the 80’s but now he is a maintenance man for the building he lives in. they bring him in for interrogation. They then show him Hill’s picture and Finney denies recognition. At first he does say much and then Duckie quotes a line from one of Finney’s songs and he talks.

Later, Tony tells the team that Hill was selling moon rocks. It appears that twelve years ago there was a break in at the museum that had one of the rocks, but it was quietly recovered two years ago from a janitor. Abby arrives and tells them that Del Finney bought a knock off. So, now we know that Hill was a con. He had given Finney a knock off and asked Finney to send it to NASA for testing. But Abby knows that there is no way anyone would mistake that knock off for an actual lunar rock. So, who was running the lab twelve years ago?

Tony and Gibbs meet Felix Blackwell. It appears that Hill was a security guard at NASA’s rock verification lab and Felix was running the lab then. Felix asks for his lawyer. Case closed. At NCIS, Duckie is happy about his victory. Ellen arrives to thank Duckie as he kept his promise. Gibbs arrives and tells Duckie that he has been cleared for duty and he needs to be going back to autopsy. Duckie tells a flustered Jimmy that he is back on duty and Jimmy, now relieved, gives him a welcome hug. There is a body on the slab sent to them by some other coroner for a second opinion. And Duckie is back in action! The episode ends.

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