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Political blogger Matt Burns is found dead after being pushed off a bridge right after following up on a tip and writing on his website that he is about to blow a story wide open.
NCIS takes a special interest in his murder investigation, to the chagrin of the local police chief. The reason Gibbs cares is because Burns alleged NCIS of covering up a separate murder.
On his blog, Burns said NCIS blew the investigation of a young Navy officer, Rod Arnett, who Burns suspected of insider trading, then worked to cover up whatever it was they found.
NCIS concluded that Arnett’s car accident was just that ... a car accident.
However, unable to oversee jurisdiction over the Burns murder, NCIS reopens Arnett’s case because they think they're going to be forced to anyway and want to be 100 percent sure they didn't blow it.
Investigating Arnett's alleged insider trading, they learn that he was given an illicit stock tip from a contact in the Pentagon, who he had relations with, but never made any trades. Only one suspicious trade on the stock in question was even made.
That was by a sandwich shop owner who Tony visits, and who claims no knowledge of Arnett or anything about the case. There appears to be no connection to the two whatsoever.
Things appear to be at a dead end and get even more complicated when NCIS exhumes Arnett’s body only to find the body had been stolen and weights placed in the casket.
The team finds a 20-minute window in which the funeral home security was burglarized while Arnett's body was there, and after DiNozzo and McGee sneak into the impound lot to grab data off of Burns' car's GPS, they realize he was there during that window.
Their theory? That Burns stole Arnett’s body so that he could fuel the conspiracy that NCIS was covering up a murder, because he knew they'd be forced to reopen the case.
If he came up with a scoop that huge, he'd have instant fame and credibility to blog about whatever he wants going forward. Gibbs is a little concerned. Well, for Gibbs anyway.
With no link to the two killings, McGee finally has an epiphany as he is re-taking his annual polygraph test (which we later learn he only has to do because the technician wants to flirt with him).
Asked how he gets to work everyday, he runs out of the exam room and concludes that Arnett gave the insider stock tip to the unassuming sandwich shop owner, who he befriended while taking the train to work.
They look into this and learn that Arnett and the sandwich guy do in fact commute together.
They agreed to split the $2 million payoff once the SEC investigation subsided, which they assumed would happen eventually, as the sandwich guy has no connection to any insider info.
This was working fine until Arnett died, at which point Burns started digging around. The sandwich shop owner, now afraid his scheme with Arnett was about to be exposed, placed the tip to Burns and met him at the bridge to kill him.
The 125-pound, kick ass elephant in the room in this episode is Ziva. She is not involved in the plot for the most part, and this is by design.
Ziva is physically back at her desk, but has yet to return to the team, both emotionally and literally (she IS still just a visitor).
She is out of place – a wallflower unsure of what to do and unnaturally calm and accepting of it all. Gibbs really added to this disjointedness with his cold shoulder throughout. Classic Gibbs.
At the end, we saw Ziva emailing (not phoning) her dad to resign from Mossad and Gibbs hesitating to sign Ziva's documents.
Is it that he still doesn't trust Ziva, or that he knows that she has yet to deal with some pretty intense emotions.