Gibbs and his team investigate when the body of a missing Navy commander is discovered in a barrel in a stolen truck. To their surprise, they discover that Tobias Fornell is involved, as he'd also been searching for the man.
Fornell, having lost his job at the FBI, now works as a private investigator. Though he seems remarkably sanguine about the whole thing, he reveals that Gibbs has been avoiding him ever since the Hicks trial.
Meanwhile, Gibbs has been working with Jack Sloane to try to dig up proof that Hicks was actually the killer they knew him to be, and Gibbs feels incredibly guilty knowing that Fornell had been right about Hicks all along.
Working with Fornell, the team find out that two fired crime scene clean-up technicians were responsible for the body dump, though the crime was carried out by a professional hit-man.
Fortunately, the clean-up guys are idiots and give up the hit-man in a heartbeat. They are able to save his next target, who turns out to be the Navy officer's lover.
Gibbs realizes that the commander's wife, angry about her husband spending all their money on his dying mother and his clandestine affair, hired the hit-man.
Jack Sloane talks with Hicks' lawyer, who reveals that she has quit as the man's counsel and urges Sloane to keep digging -- right before the lawyer's car explodes with her inside, sending Sloane flying.