NCIS recap: Two Murrays are better than one

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Sean Murray is joined onscreen by his daughter Cay Ryan Murray in this week’s episode.

Timothy McGee is a good dad.

Sure, we suspected he would be long before he actually had children, and we’ve seen plenty of supporting evidence of it through the years. But this week’s NCIS puts those paternal skills to the test as the team links a series of teenage house parties with a bombing death. And at the center of it is a super-hacker teenager played by Cay Ryan Murray — yep, Sean Murray’s own daughter.

A breach of Norfolk’s security system has allowed the kids on base to throw wild parties in empty homes when the occupants are out of town. They’re discovered when teenager Noah assaults a petty officer who returned home unexpectedly during a pre-party scouting mission.

Noah’s mother turns out to be a more efficient interrogator than anyone at NCIS, badgering her son into confessing that it wasn’t him who hacked the base’s keyless entry protocols but Teagan, the prickly blonde he’s crushing on.

Cay Ryan Murray as Teagan Fields and Sean Murray as Special Agent Timothy McGee
| Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Teagan’s a terminally sarcastic eye-roller who barely looks up from her phone as she tells McGee that she used C programming to exploit a flaw in the base’s system. Oh, and Noah’s not her boyfriend; that honor belongs to a hunk named Jayden, whom she met on the app BratChat. (If you believe for a second that Jayden’s a real person, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.)

The investigation gets complicated when a break-in occurs at Lt. Carl Tang’s house while the teenage party animals are all in NCIS custody. As Knight and Parker approach the house in question, a bomb wired to the TV remote explodes, killing Tang.

Parker mentions Gibbs’ rule about coincidences as they interview members of Tang’s hobby club, which includes Claudia (Jennifer Rhodes, aka Grams Halliwell from Charmed) and Ramona (Betsy Baker, aka Linda from The Evil Dead). They’re both delighted to meet Parker and his glorious head of hair. (Reasonable!)

Another club member tips them off to Tang’s electronic butler, a WALL-E knockoff that’s missing from Tang’s house along with a safe, leaving the team in search of a robber and a bomber.

McGee, meanwhile, is struggling with how similar Teagan is to his own teenage hacker self, and he’s also worried about his four-year-old Morgan’s insistence on wearing a princess dress every day. Teagan angrily tells McGee to just listen to what his daughter wants, so he takes her advice and asks her why she hacked the Norfolk system in the first place.

Teagan shows her first signs of vulnerability as she admits that she was lonely until Jayden convinced her to hang out with the other kids on the base. Now she has friends for the first time. She’s happy.

But it was her BratChat invite to a party at Tang’s house that alerted the robber that Tang wasn’t home, leading to the break-in. And that means that Teagan lied when she said she didn’t know Tang — the person who’s planning to redeploy Teagan’s mother to Latvia, meaning she’d have to move her away from her new friends. Worse, Kasie discovers that the bomb that killed Tang was made from French WWI ordnance… and Teagan’s mom just happens to be an ordnance expert.

This part of the investigation involves a surprise video call from Ernie at the Hawaii office, who’s over the moon to learn that Knight referred to him as the smartest guy she’d ever met. When Ernie asks about bringing Knight in to brainstorm, Palmer shuts that down fast. Once Ernie’s off the call, Palmer suggests that brainstorming with Knight might be a good idea, and friends, my eyebrows could not BE any higher in curiosity and excitement over this little development.

Now that the team has reason to believe Teagan built the bomb to kill the guy redeploying her mother, they discover that she’s slipped out of her bedroom. When they finally contact her mom, she tells them that Teagan’s never met Jayden in person.

Yep, Jayden’s a catfish out to frame Teagan for murder. A bit of research reveals that he’s a 40-year-old guy who started talking to Teagan three months ago when the break-ins started. “Jayden” talked her into hacking the base server and asked for the master key, and now he’s arranged a meetup at a nearby shopping center.

As the agents fan out, McGee joins Teagan on the bench where she’s waiting for her boyfriend. She’s devastated to learn that the one person who actually got her isn’t real, but McGee tells her that he gets her.

Teagan cries as she absorbs the news that she’s been manipulated, then jumps right into catching fake Jayden using the backdoor she installed on his phone along with the base security key code. She turns his phone volume up and sends emoji after emoji until the agents find him.

“Jayden” turns out to be a homeless Kenny G lookalike (Teagan’s words!) who did seven years on a hit-and-run after Tang gave the eyewitness testimony that sent him away.

It’s an elaborate revenge scheme unraveled by a teenage girl who has a nice bonding moment with McGee before her mother arrives to take her home, leaving McGee vowing to enjoy his own daughter’s princess dress phase while it lasts.

Stray shots

  • How cool to see two Murrays on screen together! No wonder McGee’s parental tenderness radiated in every scene with Teagan this week. This was Cay Ryan Murray’s first official line on her page, and I’m guessing it won’t be her last.
  • Parker is absolutely right: Gibbs Rule 62 was ahead of its time.
  • Choose your fighter on an evening when you get to leave work early: Torres, headed to his first concert in two years; Knight, off to bed by 9:30 p.m.; or McGee, bound for a parent-teacher conference. I’d like to say I’m concert-bound, but bed by 9:30’s probably going to be the winner.

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