Paper Soldiers - Recap

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The episode begins with a man walking out of the LA Department of Coroner’s office. A man sitting in a car on the opposite side of the street clicks his pictures. Later, the photographer gets out of his car and breaks into the coroner’s office and picks up a report from the drawer. It belongs to a man named Edwin Prietto. He then leaves. He gets into the car and is about to read the report, when someone who is in the backseat slits his throat and takes the report. At the precinct, Deeks arrives and declares that Kensi is in a bad mood as one of her plants has died; it is a cactus.

San tells her that it is the job, which keeps her away from home and so she doesn’t have time to care for the plants. Eric, who is practicing mime, tries to call them to the Ops for a briefing; but in the end he ends up using his voice to explain his actions. Nell tells them about their latest victim, Stewart Westridge, a private investigator. Hetty tells them that the Navy has expressed interest in one of his cases that was commissioned by a widow of a Marine. Antonia Prietto, the widow of Edwin Prietto, wanted an autopsy report to the County morgue’s office and hired Stewart to investigate her husband’s death. Edwin was killed in the Pakistani border during a routine security sweep or it could be a cover to hide the truth.

Callen and Sam go to meet the widow and ask her as to why she is suspicious about her husband’s death. She tells them that the guy from the Casualty Assistance Core’s office told her that Edwin died on the Pakistani border; but she knows that he was posted in Kandahar as he called her from there the day before he died. She tried talking to other people but she felt they were stone walling her. Neither has she seen her husband’s body or the report. Deeks and Kensi examine Stewart’s car. The car has come up clean. So this means that the killer was a pro and his aim was to kill Stewart. Kensi wonders what if the Marine Core was trying to cover up something.

In the morgue, Antonia arrives to see her husband’s dead body. She notices that his hands are significantly lighter and the coroner tells her that this happens once you donate bones and tissues. But Antonia says that Edwin wasn’t a tissue donor. She is now sure that the Core is definitely hiding something. The Marines had the morgue strip Edwin’s body so that no one could find out what happened to him in Afghanistan. Callen and Sam question Rose as to how this could have happened. Ian arrives; he is the same guy who Stewart clicked pictures of. Rose asks Ian about the prep he did on Edwin. Ian tells them that he removed tissue as it was there on the paper.

But he sees that the file is missing. At the ops, Eric tells Callen and Sam that Stewart broke into the Coroner’s office and walked out with a file; could be Edwin’s reports. Just then Nate arrives and Sam figures out that it is the annual psych evaluation. Oh no! The four at once get out of Ops and that leaves Eric and Nell with Nate. Eric immediately blurts out that Nell and he kissed. That is a surprise for Nate. Not happening!! Deeks and Kensi check Stewart’s house. They find that Antonia’s papers are missing. So the killer killed Stewart, came to his house and took Antonia’s file along with Stewart’s computer.

Deeks manages to fish out a wireless hard drive hidden in plain sight. Nate knows that Hetty has some other agenda for calling him; a psych evaluation is just a charade. But Hetty doesn’t disclose the real reason. So, he is just a pawn in her new game. But she tells him never to underestimate the power of a pawn. Sam and Callen talk to the officer who told Antonia about Edwin’s death. Sam wants to see the copy of the paperwork that was sent to the morgue. The papers show that Edwin was a tissue donor. Sam feels that Antonia is hiding something from them. Just then they find out that Antonia, who worked for a grief support group, has now gone public with Edwin’s story. The story says that Edwin had been harvested for tissues. Either they are dealing with a distraught widow who is looking for answers or a woman with a different agenda.

Nell and Nate arrive telling Hetty that another soldier was injured on the day Edwin died and he is now recuperating in a hospital. Kensi and Deeks are assigned to go to the hospital, Callen and Sam go to talk to Ian and Nell and Nate try to get Eric dig deeper. Nate tries to talk to Callen and Callen plays along by building up a fake story. Nate realizes what Callen is doing but he plays along. Kensi and Deeks talk to the Sergeant and he isn’t of much help. Ian tells Callen and Sam that the COD was consistent with the Marine Core report. Kensi and Deeks go to the Director of the funeral home and he too did not know that Edwin was a donor. Eric hacks into the wireless hard drive and finds out the surveillance pictures taken by Stewart.

They are shocked to find Rose’s pictures in it. So from a friend, she is now a person of interest. Nate is having a hard time believing it as she is more than just a friend to him. Hetty wants Nate to interrogate Rose. So, this is why Hetty brought Nate in. This is his assignment. Nate brings Rose to NCIS and Rose realizes that she is being interrogated. He wants to know why an investigator would investigate her. Kensi and Deeks go to looks around Rose’s house. They find Edwin’s morgue report on her dining table. They are shocked. Callen and Sam walk into the interrogation room with the file. She cannot believe that they doubt her. She tells them that the signature on the file is not hers; close but not hers. Nate confirms it. Eric and Nell find something.

They find that the county morgue has a spike in the number of tissue donors. And they were buried by the Fairfield Manor funeral home; the same home that buried Edwin. Nell states that Ian’s signature is there on the all the transfer papers. So Ian and the funeral home are working together and stealing tissues from dead bodies and selling them in the black market. Next, Hetty and Nate go to the funeral home as a mother-son pair. They meet the Director, David. Kensi and Deeks break inside the home to search for Ian. But they found him dead in a coffin. Looks like the partnership went south. Callen and Sam going in as people whom Ian owes money. David asks them to leave but they get hostile. Hetty tries to intervene and Sam who is in character calls her “shorty” and asks her to learn to keep her trap shut.

Hetty and Nate leave David tries to run but to no avail; he is arrested. The team attends Edwin’s funeral service and Antonia thanks the team. Nate tries to talk to Rose; she hopes that she can forgive him. Hetty tells Sam and Callen that Edwin was on a classified mission. That is why the Core could not tell Antonia about Edwin’s location. Callen leaves but Hetty asks Sam to stay back. She wants to discuss about his undercover performance which sounded very genuine. So, she gets started. She wants to know what he meant when he called her “shorty”. The episode ends.