The episode begins with a few Marines training; and one of them leads the pack. But when he gets to the top of the wall, his nose begins to bleed and he falls to the ground dead. At NCIS, the team is discussing about Craig and Tony is not at all happy with his new boss. McGee tells him to accept Craig the way he is. Gibbs arrives announcing the body of the week; a dead Marine at Quantico. Craig is not able to do the office thing and so he asks Gibbs if he knows when Vance will be returning. At home, Vance is going through his wife’s files and he finds a bank statement with a huge balance and keys to a safety deposit box. Next, the victim is Lance Corporal Gabe Crowe.
Tony talks to the fellow Marines Holland and Sykes and they say that they didn’t see anything unusual. Gibbs thinks that the fall from the top of the wall could have killed Crowe. But Duckie tells him that the victim has bruises on his head, nasal bleeding and weird cuts on his legs. It looks like somebody roughed him up badly. At the bank, Vance is not allowed to close Jackie’s account because it is Jackie’s name only. But Vance has access to the safety deposit box and he checks the contents of the box. It has their marriage certificate, some jewelry, files from Mathison and Burke law office and a thick wad of hundred dollar bills. He goes through the papers. At NCIS, McGee tells Gibbs that Crowe had a spotless record; but during his early days, he did spend time in juvi for petty crimes. He then cleaned up after high school.
McGee finds nothing from his Army files but he manages to get access to his private emails and also the chats on a social chat network. In one of the chats, he does mention that he is in trouble. Ziva comes in and tells the team that Crowe’s mother spoke to him three days ago. She also tells the team that Crowe used to send her cash to help her with her mortgage payment. But the records don’t show that Crowe had a side job to support the cash flow. Just then Private Holland arrives at NCIS and he tells Gibbs that no one knows that he is here. Holland tells Gibbs that Crowe wasn’t a bad guy. He was involved in illegal backroom fighting clubs in DC. He saw Crowe sneak off the base and return in the middle of the night; he looked pretty beat up. Next, Vance goes to meet Jackie’s lawyer, Abe Mathison, and he wants answers.
He wants to know why she was trying to separate their property. Mathison tells him that she hired him last May and beyond that he cannot discuss anything with him because she has left no instructions. Later, Vance calls someone and asks the person to pick up the kids from school. In the morgue, Duckie tells Gibbs that Crowe’s injuries are consistent with numerous beatings over the past few weeks. The COD has cerebral hemorrhage due to repeated blows to the head. There is a recent puncture wound that has been stitched up. Duckie says that he found some sort of plastic in that wound. Crowe’s nails are spilt and the killer might have wounds. Next, the team watches the video of a backroom fighting that McGee pulled out from the chats. The fight took place at the William Fruit Company. Gibbs tells them to check that place.
Ziva points out that this is where Crowe was getting the money from. Just then Vance arrives and he tells Craig that he will work with Gibbs and the team on the floor. Gibbs tries to ask him questions but Vance does not give him any answers. He settles on an empty table. Tony and Gibbs arrive at Williams Fruit Company and they talk to Rueben Williams, the owner. He is not aware of the fight club; but when they show him the picture, he recognizes that the guy who was fighting with Crowe is his employee, Chucky Bang. Chucky is in interrogation and he tells Gibbs that he did not kill Crowe. He tells him that he hadn’t seen Crowe for the last three months. He says that last night he was at the ER and he had nothing to do with any fight with Crowe. Chucky’s alibi checks out.
Vance does some digging and he tells Gibbs that Holland was written up two times for fighting with Crowe; including three days before Crowe’s death. He also made the 911 call 30 minutes after Crowe’s death. Vance and Gibbs pick up Holland from Quantico. At the interrogation, Holland tells them that the write ups are wrong and that he called the ambulance late because they were trying to save Crowe. He has no marks on his hands. Next, Gibbs goes to the lab to meet Abby. Abby tells him Crowe’s side and leg wounds came from a jagged fiber glass tool. The wound was badly stitched and she thinks that he Crowe stitched it himself and he did that more than once because of the same injury happening again and again.
Gibbs asks McGee to check if Holland has any past medical problems or mental disorders. Gibbs finds that Tony and Ziva are missing and Vance tells him that he sent them on an assignment. Tony and Ziva are at Vance’s house looking after his kids. Later, Vance tells Gibbs about the safety deposit box and its contents. He tells Gibbs that he wants answers. Gibbs tells Vance to go home and be with his kids and come back when he is ready. McGee tells Gibbs that Holland did not have any mental issues. The weapons used for training was kept under lock and key after training; but one Marine had access to the weapons after hours. It was Holland and he had accessed the weapons room two nights ago. Tony is running behind the kids with a pizza box and Vance arrives. He is happy to hear his children laugh.
Ziva apologizes to him; she feels that Jackie would have been alive if her father would not have visited them for dinner. Vance tells her that it is okay and not to worry about it. He thanks them for watching over his kids. Next, Gibbs and McGee go to arrest Holland but they find him lying dead in the bathroom. Duckie tells Gibbs that Holland also was beaten up like Crowe; but the beating wasn’t as severe. Holland’s spleen got ruptured due to repeated blows on the torso and he bled to death. Gibbs asks McGee to pull up medical records and Gibbs sees that there are three other Marines with similar injuries. Vance thinks that it has to be someone who had access to all of them. He asks McGee to pull up the background on the CO. McGee briefs Vance and Gibbs about Jonah Ellis.
He was serving in Afghanistan and this is the first unit he is handling after his return. McGee also tells them about Jonah’s younger brother, Caleb, who was killed in Afghanistan. He was tortured. Duckie looks at Caleb’s pictures and sees that the wounds are similar to those on the bodies of the two dead Marines. Duckie calls this a case of emotional transference. Next, Vance and Gibbs go to talk to Jonah. He tells them that the Marines need to be tough and they should be able to endure any amount of torture. Gibbs tells him that they know about his brother. Jonah eyes get filled with tears and he tells them that Caleb was treated like an animal and he lost his baby brother. He was not going to let that happen again. He says that Crowe and Holland were not tough enough.
Case Closed. Next, Vance comes to the basement and finds Gibbs polishing the cast iron structure. Gibbs explains to him that Jackie made those papers after the attack on NCIS. She was preparing for life after him. She couldn’t have told him; else Vance would have left the job he loved the most. Vance now understands; he is glad. Vance then asks Gibbs what he is building; but Gibbs doesn’t say anything. The episode ends.