As D.C. freezes in the Tuesday, Jan. 19 episode of “NCIS,” 13×13, “Déjà Vu,” Bishop discovers that a human trafficking ring she thought she helped shut down years ago is once again active, and it makes her rethink a couple of things. Plus, to keep warm, everyone has to get creative.
This is a much-needed Bishop episode. Since her introduction, she has had her ups and her downs, and it has been an adjustment – for her on the team, for the team with her and for fans with her. She came to NCIS as an NSA analyst and has been making that transition, and in this episode, not only is that touched on, as is the nature of another problem in her relationship with Jake, but it’s much easier to see just why she’s where she needs to – and should be. Granted, the case itself is a bit too predictable, but just like the team needs at the end, that final scene leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
McGee is reunited with his friend Stewart when he discovers a body at a Virginia landfill, and thanks to Stewart, Tony and Bishop get to see McGee all dressed up for tap. (That photo later becomes a sweatshirt design on Tony’s office gift.) The victim is Seaman Alessandra Ramos, and originally, Metro Detective Jeff Katz thinks her murder is related to a gang shooting – she was set to testify before a grand jury – but Gibbs’ gut tells him that the shooter in that case, Rubin, is at least innocent of this murder. He respect those who serve in the military – his brother serves – and he had nothing to do with Ramos’ murder, Rubin says, and it’s easy to see why Gibbs believes him. Not only is it pretty clear Rubin is telling the truth (trust Gibbs’ gut if nothing else), but they also quickly rule out a possible motive for the murder, allowing them to look elsewhere.
Ducky finds signs that Ramos was restrained and put up quite a fight, and Abby finds a college student’s hair inside her jacket. The student’s father is in her dorm, looking for her, after Jane missed their Sunday call. No one has seen her since Friday – the same day Ramos was last seen, going to a concert. Jane used her credit card at the same bar as the concert, and while someone snipped the wire on the back door camera, the front door footage shows both girls entering the lounge – but neither one of them leaves. Someone planned the abductions and took them out the back.
When Palmer reports that a micro-fragment he found in Ramos is part of a micro GPS tracker like ones people use for their pets, Bishop makes the connection and confirms it was under her left armpit. When she was new to the NSA, there was a joint task force with the FBI, and they shut down an international human trafficking ring. They took college-aged girls, micro-chipped them and sold them to the highest bidders around the world. She reaches out to her former colleagues, Daisy, now with the FBI’s counter-intelligence department and retired NSA analyst Adam Connors, whose insistence that he was just the numbers guy and just does taxes now and hope that this is just another trafficking ring is just too suspicious for him to not be involved. Daisy makes some calls and discovers that there are six other girls who went missing under similar circumstances. Concubine, as they called it, wouldn’t hesitate to kill one girl to scare the others if someone fought back. That’s what happened to Ramos. They caught them by following the money, and so Daisy is going to look at some old files.
Abby finds a serial number on the GPS tracker, and Tony and McGee visit Daly Tech Industries, where they’re first given a robotic welcome before Tiffany, who runs the chip division, joins them. She seems helpful at first, figuring out why they’re there since they’re cops, but then she refuses to tell them who the buyer is, because dogs have the same rights. Once they fill her in on the fact that someone is using her chips in human trafficking, it’s a different story. Unfortunately, all she can give them is the company’s name – Vanderhusen Industries – and a P.O. Box number.
As Palmer admits that the case affects him more now since he’s a father, it seems that they may have found a break when Daisy calls Bishop to meet because she’s close to something after looking into the money. As she gets into her car and hangs up with Bishop, it’s clear she’s not going to make that meeting. She doesn’t; Bishop and Gibbs find her dead in her car. Connors shows up at the crime scene only long enough to give Bishop his report (convenient, isn’t it?).
While Vanderhusen Industries is a dead end – it’s a dummy corporation, with superhero names – Abby is able to access the GPS trackers from the same batch as Ramos’ and finds three in the same location, at a cargo terminal. After taking out two armed men, they find three girls in a shipment container, and before she’s reunited with her father, Jane tells Gibbs that Ramos fought back and one of them spoke English. It has to be Connors, right? In fact, Bishop just so happens to be going to see Connors at the moment… She finds him with a bag at his car and calls him out on the discrepancies she noticed in his report. Numbers, names and dates were changed, she saw, and she knows he was trying to send them on a wild goose chase. He figured out it was just a matter of time before Daisy connected the dots, so he killed her. He makes the dumb move of reaching into his car for his gun – the same gun used to kill Daisy and Ramos – but all that gets him is a painful gunshot wound before he’s taken into custody.
As for the cold weather, which is made worse via loss of power for many, McGee seeks refuge at Tony’s since Delilah’s mother wouldn’t take him in too since they’re not married. However, the bad luck follows him and Tony and McGee turn to Bishop for a place to stay. When her place becomes a no-go, they turn to Gibbs and his fireplace and camp out in front of his TV, Gibbs and Bishop on couches and Tony and McGee in sleeping bags on the floor.
Meanwhile, throughout the episode, Bishop writes a letter to President Truman, which, as she notes, is unorthodox, but he’s the founder of the modern-day NSA and there aren’t many people she can talk to since she and Jake got divorced. The case made her reconsider every reason she became a federal agent, both in the NSA and NCIS. She regrets not following her instincts from the beginning because she had a hunch, and she thinks as an analyst, she should have seen things more clearly. Knowing what the girls were going through, what the traffickers were capable of, had her wondering how they keep going, how they put one away knowing there are many more out there. She knows she became a federal agent to help, but what if it’s not enough? Some people like pushing paper, she explains, like her ex-husband, a difference that she should have maybe noticed sooner, she admits, but here, they needed answers fast.
In conclusion, she writes, the case made her want to work harder, and while she wishes she could have stopped Connors from the beginning and saved the two women they lost, all she can do is look forward, work with the best team in the world and be the best agent she can be. It’s slippery ground, having her do this, but by the end of the episode, it’s a technique that works (but not necessarily one that should be used again).
“NCIS” season 13 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 13 “Déjà Vu”?