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Friday, May 15, 2009

Hidden Between the Lines: An NCIS Episode

Hidden Between the Lines: NCIS Episode

Back story:
Summer 1961, the CIA and MI6 joined forces to send in a covert team into Cuba. The five member team included CIA operative Simon Erickson, Navy Seals Joshua Hanson and Roger Davis, and Leonard Mason and Donald Mallard from MI6. They were to gather both tactical and political information on the alliance between Castro and Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev. The team made contact with the anti-Castro forces through Tessa McGraw. Half British-half Cuban, Tessa found herself caught between her parent’s worlds. However, after the death of her older brother and father at the hands of Castro’s secret police, she agreed to become an informant for the CIA. When the team arrived six months later, the mid-twenty year old was already a seasoned operative. Based in homes and in the mountains, McGraw and other rebels helped the team ferret out information. Working closely together, Mallard and McGraw fell in love. When the increasing close calls forced team leader, Simon Erickson decided to pull out, Mallard arranged for her to go with them. The rebels had arranged for one last meeting, claiming they had Castro‘s advanced travel schedule. Although the information came from outside the established channels, it was too good to pass up. McGraw and Hanson drove to the meet, while the rest of the team waited in the hills over looking the house. When the secret police swarmed the house, there was nothing that could be done except retreat back to Guantanamo Navel Base. Questioning the increasing instances of bad information, Erickson demanded an investigation into the loyalty of the team; however, it was quashed by an unknown source. The team was officially cleared, yet Erickson couldn’t let it go of his belief that the team had been set up. He resigned and disappeared.

Using his experiences, Erickson had become a successful novelist. For his final book, he chose to revise his last mission by reconnecting with his team mates and asking their help in learning the truth. . After Erickson is shot at in his home, he learns that both Davis and Mason are dead. Roger Davis was killed in a car accident when his breaks failed. Leonard Mason is murdered on the street.


The car stops at the top hill. Roger Davis, Simon Erickson, Leonard Mason and Donald Mallard get out. Joshua Hanson sits behind the wheel. Tessa McGraw sits on the passenger side. Mallard leans into through the open window and kisses her. Erickson teases him that she’ll back in time for their wedding day. The car drives down to the house. The pair goes inside. Moments later the secret police converge. Shots are fired. Tessa screams once. Mallard tries to run down the hill. Erickson and Mason stop him; there is nothing they can do to save them. They force him to leave.

Ducky wakes up in his own bed. Crying, he pulls out an old picture of himself embracing Tessa.

Ducky sits at this desk reading the letter Erickson sent him. He is upset and tired. Gibbs asks for the autopsy results of Lance Corporal Stevens; he needs to know if it was suicide or murder. Hiding the letter, Ducky uncharacteristically snaps back that he will get the result when the report is ready and not before. He immediately apologizes, explaining that he hasn’t been sleeping well. Gibb asks him about the letter. Ducky ignores the question and goes to work.

Momentarily torn, Gibbs opens the drawer and reads the letter; after which, he has McGee research the three remaining members of the team. Gibb orders him to keep the research off the books.

McGee has trouble finding information on their mission; not all of the CIA’s historical records have been added to the data base. However, he was able to learn from secondary files in found in the FBI archives that Simon Erickson was part of a five man recon team, which was sent into to Cuba in 1961. The details of the mission and the end result had been cleansed; however, after cross referencing the smaller details, he found Erickson’s requests for an investigation of the team and his suspicion of a traitor in the group. McGee was able to find more current information about Erickson. Although he disappeared for nearly a decade after he resigned from the CIA, he reappeared in the early 1970’s as part of the peace and environmental movements. For a short time, he was politically active, running for Governor of California as a Democrat against Ronald Reagan. He is a novelist known for writing murder and spy novels. McGee was still looking into the other members of the team.

Ducky finds himself reliving his time together with Tessa. Abby asks about the blood and tissue sample was supposed to send. Annoyed, Duck asks why suddenly everyone is questioning his work ethic and breaks the connection. Worried, Abby contacts Gibbs; he tells her that he is looking into it.

Gibbs contacts Fornell to ask for help. Annoyed, Fornell reminds Gibbs that he isn’t old enough to have been around at the time of the Bay of Pigs, but that he wasn’t to sure about Gibbs. After Gibbs tells him the reason he needs the information, Fornell agrees to look into it.

Ziva and Tony continue to investigate the death of the marine. Instead of murder, the evidence has begun to lean towards suicide. Both are curious about McGee’s research; they don’t understand why they have been kept out of the loop. Gibbs orders them to keep their minds on their own case.

Fornell delivers a file on the mission to Gibbs. Erickson’s questions did initiate an investigation into the mission, but General Joshua Hanson Sr. had the results sealed Gibbs questions why the General would want the circumstances of his son’s death kept quiet. Unlike Davis and Mason who recently met unfortunate ends, the General is still alive. Fornell suggests that Gibbs ask him and offers to drive. Gibb tries to decline; Fornell withholds the file, he going to be there when the grand-daddy of all son of a bitches kicks Gibbs’ asses or Gibbs can try to get the information elsewhere. Gibbs reluctantly agrees. The file lists both Roger Davis and Leonard Mason as deceased without any details of how they died or what they had been doing for the last 40 years. Of the five man team, only Duck and Erickson are still alive. Gibbs doesn’t like it and orders McGee to find out how Davis and Mason died as well as the current location of Erickson.

Erickson calls Ducky at the morgue. Ducky nearly hangs up on him until Erickson tells him that his life is in danger. Erickson convinces him that they have to meet. Reluctantly Ducky agrees. Erickson is parked outside Ducky’s house. Ducky takes personal time for the rest of the day and immediately leaves

Gibbs asks Ziva and Tony how Lance Corporal Stevens died. They are fairly certain it was suicide; however, they are waiting on the autopsy report. Tony calls down for the results and learns that Ducky mysterious left early. Gibbs sends Ziva to find Ducky and watch over him until further notice. However, she is not to let him know. She asks why and is told because he said so. Through his cell phone, McGee tracks Ducky to his home.

Gibbs and Fornell leave to visit General Hanson. Tony picks up the file and decides go back to the beginning and investigate Erickson’s charges that one team members was a traitor.

After Ducky finds Simon Erickson (Robert Vaughn) waiting for him in the shadows near his front door. Although at one time the two men were very good friends, Ducky has nothing to say to him. Erickson asks him if Tessa’s memory deserves the truth. Ducky reluctantly agrees. Ducky makes tea; he asks if Erickson still takes his with Brandy. Both men feel guilty and responsible, but for different reasons. Erickson still believes there was a mole in their group. Ducky no longer cares; he wants the past to stay buried. Erickson doesn’t believe him; Ducky loved Tessa too much to forget her. He questions if that is the reason Ducky never married. Ignoring the question, Ducky asks why dig up the past now? Erickson needs not only to understand what happened, but he also wants to find the truth so they all can find peace.

Ziva arrives at Ducky’s home. Through the window, she sees him having tea with a man she doesn’t recognize. All seems well. She doesn’t understand what she is doing there spying on a friend. From the sidewalk, a man in his late 60’s (Joshua Mathew Hanson) stops and watches her. They make eye contact; he smiles and tips his hat before continuing down the street. Just of her line of sight, he stops and angrily looks back. He walks toward the house next door.

Gibbs and Fornell arrive at General Joshua Hanson’s home. It is a modest, yet secluded home in the country. The housekeeper lets them in. The General just left for his daily constitution around the gardens. She offers them coffee while they wait. The living room is filled with four generations family photos and mementos of the General’s military career. Fornell comments on the resemblance between Hanson’s sons; he speculates if they were twins. Obviously family is very important to the General. The housekeeper brings in the tray of coffee. They asked her about the family photos. She started working for the General fifteen years ago after his wife died. She never knew Joshua; the son in the pictures is Mathew. Pictures span his entire life; the current pictures show that he is the man that Ziva saw. . Although she has never met Mathew’s wife, Theresa or the rest of the family, she recently met him for the first time. The General usually winters with them, but she wasn‘t quite sure where. He was always very secretive about their location. Before they are able to ask more questions, the General arrives.

In his 90’s, the General is mentally and physically fit even for a man twenty years his junior. He orders them out; he won’t have a couple of spooks in his house. Gibbs points out there is only one spook; he retired as a Gunnery Sergeant. A marine and a spook working together--obviously, Gibbs is a disgrace to his uniform. They ask why he quashed the investigation into his son’s death. Instead of answering, Hanson blames the jackasses in Washington for the loss of his son. Joshua was the logical choice to lead the mission; he had all the experience and contacts in Cuba. The General met wife while he had been stationed at Gitmo. At the time, they still had family who were willing to help, including Joshua’s fiancée. If Joshua had been leading the mission, he wouldn’t have had to lose his son. Gibbs asks to see a picture of Joshua. The General refuses and orders them both out of his house. Gibbs and Fornell leave; both know he is hiding something.

McGee discovers that both Davis and Mason died under mysterious circumstances, Davis died when his breaks failed and the car went over a cliff into the sea; his body had been found. Mason was shot on the street; the case was still unsolved. He was able to trace Erickson’s recent movements through credit card receipts and airline tickets. In both cases, he had been in the area when the men died. He had been seen with Mason shortly before he was killed. The police questioned him, but could prove nothing. He was also involved in another shooting two days before. He was still working on getting the details. According to his credit card, Erickson flew into town last night.

Tony has back checked the individual members of the team. He is surprised by some of the things he found in Ducky’s history. Joshua Hanson and Roger Davis were part of a Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT); they volunteered when the Chief of Navel Operations created the Seals. Both were well trained, but the General had pulled strings to fast track his son’s career; he was the original team leader until the CIA put Erickson in charge. According to Davis’s widow, both father and son were furious over the change. One of the reasons Hanson volunteered for the mission was to bring back his fiancée, Tessa McGraw. After his tour of duty, Davis returned to his family and led an unremarkable life. Leonard Mason returned to England and was assigned to other duties. SIS was unwilling to share any further information.

Erickson has always felt guilty and responsible for the deaths and failure of the mission. If he had listened to his gut and followed procedure, both Hanson and Tessa would still be alive. Instead he had allowed his ambition to blind him to the risks; Ducky reminds him that they all knew what could happen before they set foot on the beach. Erickson always through there was more going on than they knew. Someone had enough power to squash his requests for an investigation. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Erickson was able to gain access to more information about who was involved with the planning of the mission. Most of the most sensitive material had been blocked out. But there was enough for him to find back doors to go through. He wrote to the three of them to not only back check his own memories, but to see if any of them had remembered any details that they hadn’t shared. Ducky asks what the other remembered. Erickson tells them that they didn’t get a chance to tell him; they were murdered. The night before someone had shot at him in his home; it was the reason he showed up on Ducky’s doorstep.

Ziva calls in. She doesn’t understand why she is spying on a friend. . In the background, Joshua Mathew is seen watching her from a concealed position. She would find it easier to do her job if she knew what she was looking for. Tony reminds her Gibbs always has his reasons; he doesn’t always share them. “It’s not for us to reason why. Ours is just to or die.” Gibbs and Fornell return to base. Gibbs chimes “Kill, no. I’d just kick your ass.” Ziva tells them that the street is quiet; the only person she’s seen was an elderly gentleman taking a walk. Both McGee and Tony share what they learned. The question if the old man was still capable of killing. Fornell speculates that it is more likely the brother. Gibbs asks about the brother. McGee tells him that the General only had one son, Joshua Mathew. Gibbs calls Ziva; she doesn’t answer her phone.

Ducky had thought it was odd that Joshua Hanson was the one who brought the tip in; up until that time, Hanson had been reluctant to deal directly with the locals; he had always refused to go into town. Erickson agreed that it was one of the details that had always bothered him, especially after he learned years later of the Hanson family’s close connection to Cuba. There is a knock at the door. Ducky isn’t expecting anyone. Erickson hides out of sight as Ducky answers the door. Through the peep hole, he sees Ziva and tells Erickson to relax. It’s a friend. Ducky opens the door. Hanson is holding a gun on Ziva. For moment, Ducky doesn’t recognize him. Erickson does. Seeing both men, Hanson calls it a two-for; he will finally get his revenge on the men who tried to steal what belong to him. He pushes Ziva into the house and closes the door.

Ducky doesn’t understand why he did it; what had they ever done to him. Ducky had tried to steal his soul mate. Erickson had tried to steal his command. But he had been too smart for both of them. He had made a deal with chief the secret police. In exchange for information, the secret police helped him. The original plan was that they would have been killed trying to rescue him and Tessa. When they that failed, secret police told Tessa that the four of them had been killed. They played it up that Hanson had betrayed his country in order to save her life. Ducky asks what happened to Tessa. Tessa was so grateful for him saving her life that she married him; they have lived happily every after with their four beautiful children. Hanson thanks Erickson for stirring up the past. He always felt a little cheated out of revenge. How much fun is it when your victim doesn’t know how much he’s lost? Killing them now will be even sweeter.

Erickson tells him that he won’t get away with it. Why wouldn’t he. The world thinks he’s been dead for forty years. Instead, the world will think Erickson had another break down only instead of just committing suicide; he went on a killing spree before turning the gun on himself. Hanson has Erickson’s gun.

If he is to die, Ducky asks him to tell him where Tessa is. Gibbs walks out from the back of the house, pointing the gun at Hanson. No one has to die. Tony comes in through the front door. Smiling, Hanson looks from Gibbs to Tony to Ducky. “I’ll tell you when I see you in hell.” He shoves Ziva toward Gibbs and shoots himself in the head. Gibbs asks if Tessa’s given name was Theresa. Ducky believe it was, but she hated the name. Gibbs tells Ducky about the family pictures at the General’s house.

Gibbs is driving Ducky, Fornell, and Erickson back to the General’s house. They are passed by two fire trucks. When they arrive, the General’s house is fully engulfed. The bodies of the General and the housekeeper had already taken out; nothing of the structure or contents could be saved. Gibbs promises Ducky that he will help him find out what happened to Tessa. Erickson agrees to help as well; what better ending to the book than the two lovers being reunited.

1 comment:

Joyce Anthony said...

Good storyline! Seeing that this is one of my favorite shows these days, I was able to picture the events--I think this is a winer!