“Lost and Found” further develops the character of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) against the backdrop of a plot that borders on 30 seconds of human interest on “Good Morning America.” But effective it is, making this episode one of the more touching ones in the series history and certainly the most touching this season so far.
Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee (Sean Murray), in keeping with his wholesome, all-American image, turns out to be the leader of a boy scout troop. The episode opens with McGee and his troop inspecting NCIS Forensics Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) laboratory where he is specifically demonstrating the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). Abby gets a volunteer from the scout troop, Carson Taylor (Dominic Scott Kay) who has heckled her for her tattoos and has a budding interest in the cinema like one of NCIS’ own. Abby runs the young man’s prints and voila, hits a match for a child allegedly abducted with the date of last sighting.
The NCIS Team divines that the father, Brian Matthews/Taylor (Chris William Martin), technically abducted his son when his in-laws won custody of the child. Naturally, the NCIS Team would like to have a chat with Mr. Taylor and Gibbs goes and interviews Taylor’s second wife, Navy Lt. Elaine Taylor (Karis Campbell). She explains that her husband provides survivalist training and currently has a class in the wilderness. She claims he has no phone and that she has little knowledge regarding his past before meeting her. The team gathers up Mr. Taylor’s computer and discovers from his fingerprints, that he is wanted for a long cold murder.
Ziva telephones the DC Metro cops cold case squad, who assure her they will hand-deliver their file on the old murder. DiNozzo chides Ziva for having fallen for an old ruse as hand delivery means the Metro cops want in on the collar, helping themselves to the NCIS headquarters. Gibbs is nonplussed as he is turf-conscious. However, a subdued Gibbs dispatches the Metro boys out of the picture without breaking a sweat.
Gibbs proceeds to have a sit down with the Director, who is reading the Stars and Stripes where she pursues an article about Lt. Col. Hollis Mann who is retiring after 22 years and moving to Hawaii. That little tidbit of information pretty well puts the Gibbs-Mann question to bed (pardon that bad pun). Mann saw the writing on the wall in Ex-File and baled big time on the difficult Gibbs. The Director closes the paper, receiving Gibbs who desires the Director’s signature on the social services paperwork for Carson as the team cannot continue looking after the young man. The Director elects to take Carson home with her instead. She then sits down to look at the paperwork, realizing that Gibbs instead left her the case file, having set her up for the experience of being a mother for a bit. Chaucer would have liked Gibbs’ sense of humor.
So home with the Director goes Carson. He lifts the Director’s cell, calling Gibbs over. Gibbs arrives finding Carson in an easy chair listening to jazz, drinking cocoa, and bearing more than a passing resemblance to the well-known NCIS film expert. Carson owns that he lured Gibbs over under false pretenses, but proceeds to question the special agent. Gibbs treats Carson as an adult and Carson responds in kind.
The Director has been watching from the door, remarking to Gibbs how good he is with children. Gibbs explains Carson could not sleep because he was worried about his father. The Director comments to Gibbs that this is the first time they have been alone and not "working" since...and Gibbs says "Paris". She reveals that she would not be opposed to Gibbs staying the night but Gibbs does not bite. The Director makes her play now that Hollis Mann is out of the picture. But, Paris is still very real to Gibbs, a betrayal that he has yet to get beyond. He just nods and leaves.
Ziva and DiNozzo drive to the scene and hike through the night to locate the survival campsite used by Carson’s father using a map that McGee had found on Brian Taylor’s computer. Ducky and NCIS Medical Examiner Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen) conduct a "forensic psychoanalysis" of Brian Taylor, concluding he is a angry loner capable of murder). Abby finds Taylor’s satellite phone number using the Director’s cell phone, which Carson purloined again to warn his father that the Feds were looking for him. Gibbs notifies Ziva and DiNozzo that Carson alerted his father to their mission. They track Taylor via his cell phone which they find in the bed of a pickup truck driven by an unknowing man.
A set of clues worthy of Poe or Doyle lead the NCIS Team to a friend of the pater Taylor. Once located by Gibbs and McGee they find the potential witness dead as a mackerel: stabbed with the murder weapon in situ. Taylor’s friend’s telephone has blood on it and 911 was punched. Ducky opines that the assailant certainly knew the victim because of the absence of defensive wounds. The story is fleshing out to appear as if Brian Taylor killed this man who had been an accomplice in the dime store hold up and shooting (the cold case murder in which Taylor is implicated).
At NCIS Headquarters, the cold case Metro drones are George Bushing the idea that Taylor is the bad guy into the NCIS Team’s head. Abby finds the Metro drone’s forensic efforts lacking. She discovers planted evidence (a hair found in the evidence contained a artificial color not available on the market at the time of the cold case murder, indicating that the local suits planted the evidence to shorten a dead end case.
Gibbs receives a call from Brian Taylor who says he wants to talk. The call is traced to payphone in Rock Creek Park, where Metro cops and Ziva and DiNozzo arrive with Gibbs and McGee, to find Taylor. One of the Metro drones stumbles across the Taylor and lifts his gun to shoot him. In their conversation (the plot life support system considering that the cop could have simply shot Taylor and claimed self-defense and that would have been that), the Metro cop confesses that he committed the murder and by chance was able to frame the Taylor for the crime.
Gibbs (with the help of Abby) had already figured this out and steps out in time to alert the Metro drone that he was at gun point and Taylor reveals his NCIS flak jacket and that he was wired to capture the confession. Team bags the cold case metro cop leading to the conclusion where Dinozzo is trying to beat Carson’s top score on a Hollywood Trivia quiz. Carson is so similar to DiNozzo in what appeals to him that everyone has fun at DiNozzo’s expense. As Tony answers the last question that will let him take over the kid's quiz score, he thinks he has the answer right but has misspelled it (and not on purpose) allowing Carson to win. Tony bows to Carson, who graciously says a mere handshake will do. Carson’s folks show up to take Carson home. All is warm and fuzzy…and well).
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon)
Special Agent Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly)
Mossad Agent-on-Loan-to-NCIS Ziva David (Cote de Pablo)
Special Agent Timothy "Tim" McGee (Sean Murray)
NCIS Forensics Specialist Abigail "Abby" Sciuto (Pauley Perrette)
NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum)
NCIS Director Jennifer "Jenny" Shepard (Lauren Holly)
NCIS Medical Examiner Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen)
Carson Taylor (Dominic Scott Kay)
Brian Matthews/Taylor (Chris William Martin)
Navy Lt. Elaine Taylor (Karis Campbell)
Det. Marshall Collins (J.R. Bourne)
Det. Danielle Hamilton (Candice Coke)
Survivalist Trainee #1(Jeff Marlow)
Survivalist Trainee #2 (David Raibon)
Writer: David North
Director: Martha Mitchell
This review was first published in Blogcritics.org
© Copyright, C. Michael Bailey, 2007