A case involving the poisoning of a Navy musician, fortunately, didn't hit a sour note.
McGee got to be in charge of the case after Gibbs abruptly left the office on NCIS Season 17 Episode 8.
Jack also responded to an unexpected text as well, but there was a scant resolution to either storyline.
The weighty case, though, got solved on this surprisingly humorous episode.
Making things worse was the Secretary of the Navy making noise about closing the case so that the publicity-generating Anchor Ensemble could perform at a special Washington D.C. date.
What an effective opening it was, when an impromptu jam session of "Swing Swing Swing" got cut abruptly short when a clarinet player threw himself out the back door of their bus, crashing through the windshield of the follow car.
Talk about the day the music died.
It certainly didn't take Jimmy long to determine that the apparent suicide of the clarinetist suffering from depression was actually a murder.
A bizarre murder, it turned out, with a poisoned reed as the murder weapon.
And the dead man wasn't even the intended victim.
What a comedy of errors that was with the murder victim being innocently provided a poisoned-laced reed to replace his broken one by another musician.
Instead, the reed should have ended up in the mouth of a saucy band newbie who had been ruffling feathers with some of her proposals.
Emma Bell, best known for her role on TNT's Dallas revival, was a hoot as the insecure Hannah, who couldn't figure out who wanted her dead when interviewed by McGee, who couldn't get a word in edgewise.
But she did give them a suspect, the stalker "The Nugget Creeper." Were we to believe that Navy bands have obsessive fans?
Andy the stalker gave up a weird angle -- a secret society within the band that was killing off new members. Three recent members had disappeared, and the conductor was missing, too.
Gibbs never would have bit on that one, and Vance tried to laugh McGee out of the office.
And they were right since the three missing musicians all got tracked down, and the conductor wasn't answering his phone because he was having an affair.
The big secret was a special musical ceremony held annually to honor band musicians who had died that year, including the most recent one, the clarinetist.
Boy, didn't McGee look embarrassed?
Leave it to Kasie -- who was also inspired to take up an instrument after analyzing them all -- to discover the motive for the murder.
What a clever use of those instrument cases -- smuggling heavy metals inside them! If Kasie hadn't noticed the strange difference in weights for those cases, then the equipment manager would have gotten away with his scheme.
Instead, he made the mistake of trying to kill Hannah, whose suggestion to tour Europe would have ruined his smuggling operations.
How did McGee do in charge? Well, he effectively herded the cats which are NCIS, so I guess that's all you can hope.
He can't yet expect the instant respect Gibbs gets with a pithy, firm command.
Torres continued to prove he's one weird dude.
After chastising McGee and Bishop for their nerdish tendencies, he turned around and decided to learn how to play the piccolo.
McGee got it right when he said that Torres would never have the patience to master such a difficult instrument.
Still, it would be enjoyable to watch him try.
And Torres just didn't understand how much it would mean for a father of young children to have a couple of days of free time to himself if only to do boring things.
It's all about having the opportunity to act rather than react.
I bet even the single Bishop understood that.
This episode was probably the most effective use of Ducky this season.
He was able to identify the obscure poison used in the murder for Jimmy.
Also, he was there for Jack when she needed someone with whom to talk. After all, who shrinks the head shrink?
I understand that David McCallum might have chosen to cut back. But less Ducky is never a good thing.
Jimmy can handle Autopsy. But Ducky is too much a fount of knowledge to waste.
Poor Jack. She didn't even recognize her own daughter's cell phone number when she received a text from it.
I suppose that shouldn't be surprising since Faith had declared Jack out of her life when last they met.
The nervous Jack got chatty after she arrived at the coffee shop, overwhelming the old lady with her saga of Faith, and causing her to flee rather than listen any longer.
Then Jack had to jump to worst-case scenarios just because Faith wanted her to fill out a medical history form.
I understand it's likely that Faith is going to need a vital organ. But it could be as simple that Faith, as a doctor, understands the diagnostic value of having a complete medical history from her biological mother.
I mean, don't read so much into it.
Who the hell knows what Gibbs was up to doing something that wouldn't require his phone, wallet, and badge?
It certainly wasn't sturgeon fishing.
But it likely wasn't supporting Fornell because Emily had to go into rehab. That's something he could handle after work hours.
Maybe it's Gibbs that has some kind of medical condition, and the text came from his doctor. But then, he would have gone to a doctor first. So that's probably not it.
So now we have two more ongoing storylines: What's up with Faith, and what is Gibbs up to?
To refresh yourself about Faith, watch NCIS online.
Did the case of the week hit the right notes?
Who masters their instrument first, Torres or Kasie?
What's up with Gibbs?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.