The “NCIS” team meets Bishop’s husband, NSA Attorney Jake Malloy, in the Tuesday, Nov. 25 episode, “Grounded,” and Jake gets to see what his wife does at her new job when travel plans and a case collide. Jamie Bamber guest stars as Jake, and Abby is right when she describes him as “adorable.” Jake can stay. Or possibly/hopefully return in the future.
Despite this “NCIS” episode being a bit different from others – the team is split between the airport and the office/motel crime scene – it’s one of the best ones of the season so far. Yes, it’s impossible not to miss having the team together at work and the case feels a bit different from the ones they usually work, even though there are dead bodies and the team dynamics are the same, but it’s still entertaining. It’s always great to see Tony take the lead, as he does in the field in this episode, and the case itself is one that’s intriguing enough to keep our attention throughout the episode. And as stated above, Bamber is “adorable” as Jake in a way that makes it hard not to love him, even as he stumbles and has to get used to his wife’s new job. In a way, Jake makes Bishop seem more likable for some reason.
Jake’s introductions to Bishop’s teammates goes pretty much exactly as expected. Abby hugs him, McGee welcomes him and Gibbs gives him the Gibbs stare that stays with him even after they have arrived at the airport. It’s at the airport that he meets Tony, who’s waiting for his father’s flight to land, and because of the nature of the case, Tony is the teammate he spends the most time with, and that’s a good thing because their dynamic is so much fun. Tony also gets to hear their meet-cute story, but he’s too distracted by his hatred for couples in genera, but not them, he assures them. (Turns out he went to Jamaica last Christmas and his resort was couples-only. Ouch.)
As for the case, after Bishop and a fellow airport passenger bump into one another, the guy is rude and Jake steps in to defend his wife. It could come off the wrong way, like he thinks she can’t defend herself, but Bamber plays it in a way where it doesn’t. However, there’s something about that guy that gets to Bishop, who swears she recognizes him from somewhere, and so she keeps her eye on him, and when she and Tony notice he’s carrying a gun, they confront him. Airport police get involved, and he shows his Air Marshal badge, but in the first scene of the episode, he killed the real Air Marshal. He’s an imposter, which Tony suspects because he doesn’t react to a joke about his last name – “Beers” – from Tony like Jake does about his name, and so he has McGee look into him.
They try to keep it from Gibbs until they know for sure, but Gibbs is Gibbs and he knows when he joins Abby, McGee and Palmer in her lab. (Gotta love Gibbs’ “come here” to McGee.) It’s not until Tony, Bishop and airport police try to corner the imposter in the bathroom and find him dead (stabbed) that they can get an ID: a notorious chameleon, Norman Dopps. Bishop recognized him because he’s on the most-wanted updates she reads every week. This is also when Jake gets to really see his wife at work, and he notes how different she is, how she just “goes” and is now a person who can talk over a dead body like it’s nothing. It’s not so easy to go from being a couple that can debrief one another at the end of the day to a couple that can only talk about her work catching bad guys while she now doesn’t have the clearance to hear about his day, but it seems like they’re making it work and it probably helps that he sees her in the field like he does in this episode. Hopefully. Again, Jake needs to stick around.
Meanwhile, there has been terrorist “chatter,” and it keeps changing during the episode until Homeland thins it’s an assassination plan. Norman’s job was to kill the Air Marshal and get his weapon into the terminal. The assassin is one of the passengers, and they realize that the target is on one of the flights about to land. Since McGee can’t access the airport security cameras, Jake sets up his tablet so he can use that to see everyone in the terminal. Abby discovers that a cartel member wanted for the murder of a rival cartel leader is coming in on the London flight with two Columbian federal agents. There’s their target. But who’s the assassin? “Dapper Don,” as Tony had nicknamed him, and Tony spots him and shoots him before he can take his shot.
It may be just one line, but Gibbs’ “Senior, he never disappoints,” is worth noting once he finds out that Tony’s father missed his flight and never told Tony and Tony’s going back to the airport the next day. While Tony and his father’s relationship may have improved from where it was when his father first appeared on “NCIS,” some things don’t change and Senior never disappoints to disappoint. Gibbs’ comment is completely understandable considering Senior has plenty of time to let his son know he missed his flight and seems to only do so after Tony texts him to tell him to stay on his plane to stay out of danger.
“NCIS” season 12 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 9 “Grounded”?