NCIS recap: Who would have a medieval flail?

NCIS -- Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express
NCIS -- Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS -- Acquired via CBS Press Express /

NCIS Season 16, Episode 15 sees a case of the medieval when Jimmy suspects a flail as the cause of death. Meanwhile, Torres gets stuck with mentoring teenagers.

Being late isn’t good for work. Torres learns that the hard way when he ends up stuck with teenagers to mentor on NCIS Season 16, Episode 15, titled “Crossing the Line.” Meanwhile, the team investigates the death of a man overboard — only he didn’t drown. This man was possibly killed by a medieval flail.

There are certainly plenty of cases that have been “weird” on the show, and this is one of them. What happened and how did Torres deal with the eager teens?

Torres starts mentoring

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After an initial cold open to the case, we see Torres turn up to work late with a story only McGee and Bishop should hear. However, they’re not there. Vance is the one around with three teenagers who had won the NCIS Outreach Essay Contest.

At first, he tries to get the teens to do all his admin but Vance quickly pulls him up on that. So, Torres takes them to Kasie’s lab while he gets information from Jimmy about the case. Of course, that just annoys Kasie.

One of the teens, Max, keeps wandering off. When he ends up in Jack’s office, it’s clear that he entered the competition for other reasons than shadowing NCIS agents. Jack figures out that Max is connected to one of the agents who lost his life in the Navy Yard Bombing (from the Season 9 finale). So, when Max goes missing, Jack heads to the morgue and sees Max there, trying to gain some closure.

As Torres gets angry at Gibbs for not telling him who Max was, Gibbs points out that Torres should have given all teens the NCIS experience regardless of their parents. So, after a heartfelt talk with Max, Torres decides to take the three teens on a real tour of a ship to bring the full experience to them. It’s a sweet ending to this side story.

Getting to the case

The case initially looks like it’s medieval weird. After pulling Petty Officer Olsten from the water, Jimmy sees blunt force trauma that is the shape of a medieval flail. However, he later realizes that it was part of the ship. Drowning and blunt force trauma were not the causes of death. The petty officer died of sudden cardiac arrest.

A heart attack at 24 with no history of heart issues? It gets weirder. Kasie finds out that his blood work (which she ran twice to verify the results) showed he died of a drug overdose.

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But this was a squeaky clean petty officer in the tech division. Olsten had risen from recruit to petty officer in less than six years, which is virtually unheard of. And while his bunkmate (the one who found him but didn’t mention his connection) says Olsten didn’t have friends, he didn’t have any enemies. Olsten was a good guy, so why was he murdered — and was he?

It soon seems like he does have enemies. He overdosed on a synthetic drug but Olsten’s sister knows that he didn’t chose to take them. However, he was being harrassed by another sailor, Andrew Townsley. It turns out Townsley was discharged after testing positive in a shipwide drugs test, which is something Olsten got set up after finding out Townsley had taken drugs while in Columbia. (Keep that country in your mind for later.)

Another victim on the ship

Townsley isn’t all too cooperative but does make it clear Olsten had other enemies. If only we could get more about that. Instead, the case moves on with another victim: Olsten’s bunkmate, Brown, is found collapsed and unresponsive.

At first, NCIS wants to believe that the bunkmate brought the drugs on, but it’s soon clear that his energy drinks were unknowingly laced and the only time that could have happened was while in Columbia. (See, told you!)

Fortunately, Brown does make it through alive. Brown immediately realizes that Olsten was killed by the drugs too because the drinks were set to him as a care package. Olsten’s sister had sent the drinks but she accidentally mailed them to her brother instead of her dealer. She was a distributor of the drugs and is able to give a list of names of all those involved.

Was Townsley one of them? It’s something we’ll never know but it’s that’s the case wrapped and it’s quickly onto the next one.

Next. NCIS recap: What's so special about McGee's high school computer?. dark

What did you think of the ending to the case? Were you surprised that it was all an accident? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

NCIS airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on CBS.