NCIS opens with a intrusion via a dead man smacking into the window looking in at a poker party at Sec Nav's pad with heads of CIA, FBI, and ICE. After the credits roll we are finally sans spin-off debacle cast. As Tony, McGee, and Ziva banter back and forth outside the crime scene the credits on the bottom show that FBI Special Agent Fornell (Joe Spano) will make an appearance. Inside the residence is a well-loved turf war over the case- Gibbs wins territory. ICE agent Foster-Yates in charge of security left an open spot in the perimeter, allowing for someone to penetrate and place listening devices. Abby's lab with Abby and McGee geek-talking back and forth about the bug stomping by Foster-Yates… whom McGee refers to as 'Jules'. Abby analyses the poker game, noticing something must be up.

Director's office with Gibbs and Fornell, Leon was not invited to the game, also hinting at the fact that something is amiss. Tony and Ziva are outside the crime scene with Foster-Yates , Tony discusses Ziva with Foster-Yates, Ziva answers them from up a tree- classic 'NCIS' scene. Cuts to Ducky in the morgue with Fornell and Gibbs, Ducky showing Fornell the sleeper hold Ducky thought was performed on the body. They find the attack was not meant to be fatal. Tony, Ziva, and Foster-Yates are in the elevator, and Ziva shuts it down and asks Foster-Yates if the game was a cover.

The game was a cover for an intelligence summit. Fornell's comment on the reveal of the game as a intelligence summit, "seems like a classic contradiction in terms" is a fantastic continuation of the classic back and forth between Gibbs and Fornell. The Sec Nav talks to Gibbs and Fornell in the Director's office. Ooh, a good time listening to the political ideology of the creators… so fun. I have a feeling that this is going to lead back to Michael Rivkin somehow (the Moussad agent Ziva was found in bed with in the previous episode). Apparently Callen (Chris O-Donnell's character in the spin-off crew) is in critical condition, having unfortunately survived the drive by shooting. And I was right, Ziva is caught by Tony on the phone with Michael. Back to the lab with Foster-Yates, McGee, and Abby. Abby gives Foster-Yates a good dressing down for her bug crushing actions. Leon's car was caught outside the Sec Nav's residence, he was confirming it was taking place.

Image © CBS

Tony calls Ziva away from lunch Michael and as she leaves, Tony sits down in front of Michael, questioning his motives. Ziva gets back into the office, noticing that Tony is gone. McGee and Foster-Yates are explaining the breach to Fornell and Gibbs. Ziva flips through Tony's trash, finding out that he went after Michael after listening in on her conversation. Ziva calls Tony out, they fight over Michael's intentions. Gibbs and Fornell accuse Jules of killing the agent. She says there is a hole in security because he didn't operate as part of the team. This is a good, subtle parallel in the growing dissention between Ziva and Tony. Tavel, the man they were searching for, bit down on the suicide pill and died. Gibbs, Fornell, Ducky, and the Director discuss his possible reasoning.

The case is closed up, and McGee walks Jules out to the elevator. Ziva and Tony are left alone in the office. Ziva goes to leave, Gibbs walks up to Tony mentioning rule 11. Gibbs asks him what is going on, Tony mentions Michael. Both men are bothered by Michael, Gibbs tells him to stay on Michael. Finally, a shot in Gibbs' basement with Sec Nav, a bottle of whiskey, and his boat. Gibbs hands him Leon's CIA file. The Sec Nav opens it, planning on reading it, unlike Gibbs. Sec Nav tells Gibbs that Leon is going to be point man on an investigation, dealing with Ziva possibly being a compromised position. Tony goes to Ziva's and Michael opens the door. Tony and Abby had found that the dead terrorist links back to Ziva's internet connection at her house. Sec Nav tells Gibbs to follow Leon. Tony tries to arrest Michael for the murders, Michael lunges at him and they fight. Michael pulls a shard of glass out of his side and goes after Tony, who is then forced to shoot him. Ziva walks in, and the episode ends.

Overall, this is a fantastic set up for the finale!

McGee nicknames: 0
Tiva moments: 3
McAbby moments: 3
Ducky/Corpse Convos: 0
Gibbs' Slap: 0
Tony's Film References: 'Heat'
Overall Episode Rating: 4/5

NCIS cast: Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sasha Alexander, Pauley Perrette, Pauley Perrette, Alan Dale, Lauren Holly, Cote de Pablo, more

Story by Sarah Lafferty

Starpulse contributing writer