The episode begins with a woman in the shower. She steps outside the shower and starts cleaning the foggy mirror. She senses someone standing behind her. She turns around, and the attacker stabs her several times. Gibbs is getting a haircut when he sees Bart Crowell on television, reporting the death of the woman. He also reports the return of the famous serial killer, “The Dead Rose Slasher”. Gibbs’s barber doesn’t want to hear anymore of all this, and turns off the television.
Gibbs asks his barber, Frank, about his fishing trip. Frankie tells him that he did not go for the trip. He says he is worried about his son, Cameron, who has been acting strange since he returned from the Navy. He says that the sketch of The Dead Rose Slasher matches Cameron. The Slasher murders started four years ago, in Hamilton, when Cameron was a student there. The murders then stopped for three years, when Cameron went to the Navy, and now they have started again after his return. Gibbs thinks that it is a coincidence. Frankie tells Gibbs that Cameron, who was the best quarterback, was thrown out in his sophomore year because he was accused of date rape. The charges were dropped, but he was still thrown out. He adds that, during the last two killings, Cameron wasn’t home.
At NCIS, Tony tells the Probationary Agent, Ned, that Vance is reinstating a very difficult test. Ned is tensed. Abby arrives, and shows the team surveillance footage. On the tape, from three days ago, Lance Corporal Douglas Alexander is driving off base at Norfolk with another passenger. He stole $120,000 from the office he was assigned to. Abby says that she has managed to identify the passenger, Melissa Tourney, a civilian. Gibbs arrives, and the team tells him that Vance is looking for him. Instead, Gibbs leaves. At the crime scene, Gibbs asks the detective in charge for some information. The detective tells him that they don’t have any forensics, but they know for sure that the killer is left-handed.
At NCIS, they learn that Melissa is a stripper. No one has seen Melissa for the last three days, and McGee finds out that she bought a ticket to the Bahamas. They are sure that Alexander will show up, and so Gibbs sends Tony and Ned to the Bahamas. Gibbs goes to meet Duckie, and tells him that he wants his help. He wants Duckie to find out some information from the Metro ME, to help rule out a suspect in the Slasher case. McGee warns Ned to not let Tony pull rank on him, on the trip. Gibbs wants McGee and Ziva to look into Dean Cameron. He says that he is trying to help a friend. Ziva and McGee are ready to help with whatever Gibbs needs. Vance visits Gibbs, with brownies, and he asks him why Gibbs is sticking his nose into the Slasher case. Gibbs tells him that he is doing it for a friend. Vance realizes that this friend is very important to Gibbs. He doesn’t question further.
McGee is at a bar, and he is keeping an eye on Cameron. He notices that Cameron has been eyeing a girl at the bar for a while, so McGee messages Ziva. Ziva arrives and tries to distract Cameron, but fails. The girl leaves, and Cameron follows her. Ziva and McGee follow Cameron. In the Bahamas, Tony is relaxing by the pool and also keeping an eye on Melissa. There is no sign of Alexander Douglas. At NCIS, Ziva and McGee tell Tony that they followed Cameron, but they did not find anything on him. Metro Detective Bill Shard arrives and asks Gibbs to give him the name of the suspect he is looking into, but Gibbs doesn’t say anything.
Duckie tells Gibbs that the two recent murders are identical to the ones committed three years ago, and the killer is definitely left handed. He also says that the Metro ME did mention the fact that the women were IV drug users. Duckie tells Gibbs that he thinks that there is something they are not telling them. There is a third killing, and Bill calls Gibbs to tell him that they are picking up Cameron for questioning. Gibbs wonders how he got Cameron’s name and Shard tells him that he saw Ziva was reading his file and he read the name, despite it being upside down. Gibbs tells McGee to find Cameron before the Metro finds him. Gibbs goes to meet Frankie, and tells him what happened. Frankie is upset, and regrets that he confided in Gibbs.
Gibbs is interrogating Cameron, and Cameron tells him that he was following that girl from the bar because one of his Navy friends wanted him to. He tells Gibbs that his friend, who is located in Bahrain, thinks that his wife is cheating on him. He asked Cameron to keep an eye on her. Shard arrives and tells Vance that they have no jurisdiction in this case, so he is going to take Cameron with him. Gibbs arrives, and tells him that Cameron was following a Navy dependent, so they are going to hold him. Vance tells Shard that he has spoken to the Metro Chief. The Chief has agreed to send over the case files, on the previous murders, because he thinks that a fresh set of eyes might be helpful.
Alexander Douglas arrives at the hotel. Tony intercepts him and he tries to run, but Ned and Tony manage to get him. In the elevator, Vance tells Abby to help his daughter with her science project. Abby is thrilled. They arrive at the garage, where Ramsey Boone, Metro’s chief forensic specialist and an old friend of Abby’s, is waiting for her with the Slasher case evidence. McGee confirms that Cameron’s friend did ask him to follow his wife and also that Cameron did visit the construction site, looking for work. Tony and Ned arrive with Alexander. Gibbs arrives at the lab to meet Abby. Abby tells Gibbs that Duckie was right about Metro hiding something from them. She tells him that the killer left silver bands in the mouths of his victims after he killed them.
Only three people knew about this, Boone, the Metro ME, and Shard. She also says that they found DNA on the rose, that the killer left on one of the victim’s chest, and it belongs to Leo Winkler. The problem is that Winkler died three years ago, shortly after the last murder. This means that Cameron is clean. They deduce that the recent ones are copycat murders. Duckie tells the team that Winkler was born to an unwed, drug-addicted mother, and her name was Rose. That is why Winkler left a rose on the dead bodies of the victims. It was symbolic. Winkler was killing women, like his unwed mother, to prevent them from having children like him. Cameron wants to know why he was suspected, and Gibbs tells him the reason. Cameron is upset and leaves. Gibbs explains things to him.
Vance and Gibbs ask Shard who else could have known about the wedding rings. Shard says no one, but then he remembers that he gave a copy of the redacted report to Bart Crowley. McGee goes through the report, and finds that Shard missed blacking out one reference of the wedding band. Ziva tells Gibbs that Bart did not have any new stories to cover in the last three years, and he was about to let go. Things changed recently, because of the killings. They go to find out where Bart was yesterday morning. Vance finds Ned studying for the test, and tells him that they haven’t given that test for years. Ned tells Vance that Tony asked him to study, and Abby tells Vance that Ziva played along because Tony pulled the same trick on her and she studied for three months.
Vance thinks that they need to teach Tony a lesson. Ned arrives with a Red envelope and looks around for Tony. Ziva tells Shard and Gibbs that she found out that Bart’s car was parked two blocks away from the recent crime scene. His cell phone was off during the time of the murder. Ned tells them that Bart is left handed. Shard leaves to get a warrant, to search Bart’s house, and Ned leaves the red envelope on Tony’s desk.
Bart is giving a report on the recent murder, when Gibbs and Shard arrive. They tell him that they found a knife, red roses, and silver band in the copycat killer’s apartment. They arrest Bart, and Bart’s crew record his arrest. Case closed.
Tony takes a look at the red envelope. He sees that his Bahamas expenses have been denied, and that he is being audited for the past two years. Tony is shocked, and McGee smiles. Gibbs leaves Frankie’s shop after a haircut and Cameron enters the shop. Gibbs watches the men talk and he calls his father. The episode ends.