NCIS recap: Jimmy Palmer has a nemesis
some mediocre man has the audacity to show up this week where Jimmy Palmer works and make him sad, and I’m here to recap about it.
Our favorite doctor’s running late to a murder scene because his van wouldn’t start and the handle on his medical examiner bag broke and Victoria needs braces and money’s tight.
Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) is stressed, y’all — and that’s before the week’s victim turns out to be Amanda Grayson, the daughter of a U.S. senator who insists on involving herself in the case.
The team arrives at Grayson’s mansion to see her chief of staff Douglas Pritchard ushering out a rich donor in a cowboy hat. Grayson (Anne-Marie Johnson) tells them that her daughter was troubled and self-destructive, and the last time she saw her, Amanda made a scene and bolted from a party the senator was throwing.
Amanda had a teenage criminal record and landed at a school for troubled teens before joining the Navy. But she was about to be discharged thanks to her account on Curiocam, which is basically OnlyFans (but please don’t sue us).
Palmer’s bad day gets worse when he learns that Sen. Grayson’s demanding that forensic pathologist Miles Bauer (James Snyder), famous for his books and the docuseries, be allowed to consult on the case.
Palmer knows Bauer better as his premed roommate, who describes Jimmy as the “smartest, horniest guy on campus.” (I… have some questions.) Bauer immediately assumes control of the case while Palmer clings to his calm with both hands.
Parker (Gary Cole) worked with Bauer before and thinks he’s a blowhard, but Kasie’s (Diona Reasonover) a little star-struck. She also reports that Amanda’s Curiocam account was devoted to ASMR videos, and one fan in particular has a habit of leaving creepy comments along the lines of, “I think about your smell, your flesh. My soul burns for you.” Yeah, that’s a no from me.
Knight (Katrina Law) and Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) knock on Arthur Vernon’s door, and his high-in-the-middle-of-the-day roommate lets them poke around Vernon’s room without a warrant, where they find an Amanda shrine in his closet and her scarf in his bed.
Under questioning, Vernon denies killing her, claims that she sold him her scarf weeks ago, and says he was working at his Army surplus store job at the time of her murder. He’s also incredibly creepy and seems like someone who might murder a woman he knows from the internet.
In the autopsy, Palmer and Bauer are jockeying for position when McGee (Sean Murray) comes down for an update. Bauer rushes to explain that Amanda was likely killed with a rock wielded by somebody left-handed.
When McGee asks about the mark running down Amanda’s cheeks and under her chin, Bauer says it’s just like a case he once worked in Chicago and opines that the killer must’ve put a mask on her.
And that mask might well be a WWII gas mask from the store where Vernon works and where Vernon’s boss can’t confirm his whereabouts for the full two-hour murder window.
Back at NCIS HQ, Palmer confesses to Kasie what we already know: he lowkey hates Miles Bauer. Palmer was the star student and Bauer was the screwup, but Bauer was the one who ended up with the cushy Mayo Clinic internship after they called to reschedule Palmer’s interview but Bauer never gave him the message.
This is clearly Palmer’s road-not-taken, and Kasie’s ready to throw hands, but Palmer asks her to stand down. I wish he’d let her take a swing, though, based on what happens next.
Bauer’s convinced that Vernon is the guy because the gas mask matches the prints on Amanda’s face, but Palmer’s had a brainstorm: Amanda’s time of death is wrong. She was taking ADHD medication, which can raise your body temperature during physical exertion. That means she was likely killed hours earlier, while Vernon was at a doctor’s appointment.
Bauer scoffs at this hypothesis, which is weird because the body temp thing is easily verifiable. Thankfully, Vance (Rocky Carroll) sides with Palmer and tells his agents to cut Vernon loose. Bauer warns Palmer that any future murders will be on his head. UGH, THIS GUY.
On the Elevator of Schemes and Secrets, Knight hits the stop button for the first time ever to get Jimmy to open up about how he’s really feeling.
Long story short, he’s struggling with the fact that Bauer’s rich and famous while he’s scrambling for money to pay for orthodontia. It’s hard to see good-hearted Palmer so down, but Jess cuddles up and reminds him to look at all the good things in his life.
Meanwhile, the team talks to a former classmate whom Amanda had called out of the blue a few weeks ago, asking for photos from the reform school. But before they can explore that further, they learn about another body in the park. It’s a Curiocam worker whose head was crushed like Amanda’s.
Sen. Grayson demands Palmer be fired, which results in the good doctor unleashing his frustration on Bauer. You know what? Good for him. Jimmy Palmer is nobody’s doormat! Still, Vance sends him home to cool off.
The next day, the team can’t figure out why creepy Vernon would so obviously repeat his crime, which means it’s time to figure out who’s framing him.
First, Kasie stealthily FaceTimes Palmer to show him the new victim’s body on the autopsy table. He notices dried skin cream on the woman’s upper arm, but only after Kasie DROPS HER PHONE INTO THE CHEST CAVITY. Listen, we all know cellphones are filthy, but this takes it to a disgusting new level.
At the same time, Knight learns that Amanda’s former school is under investigation for sexual abuse, and the suspect is Raylan Marsh, the man they saw leaving the senator’s house. Although Marsh claims to never have visited the school he helped fund, Amanda uploaded a video before her death accusing him of abusing her. She also provides her classmates’ photos to prove he was actually there.
But Marsh wasn’t the one who killed Amanda; that would be chief of staff Pritchard, who has a unique prescription for psoriasis cream that matched the stuff on the second victim’s arm.
Pritchard killed Amanda for threatening the senator’s biggest donor, then insisted they bring in Bauer, fed him clues framing Vernon, and killed a second woman to make it look like a pattern. When Sen. Grayson learned what he did, she straight-up backhands him.
Bauer, of course, takes the credit for cracking the case, and he and Palmer finally hash things out. Bauer apologizes “if things got weird” (um, if??) and admits that he was always jealous of Jimmy.
But Jimmy made peace with the fact that NCIS is where he’s supposed to be. It’s where he met Breena, and it’s why he has Victoria and his work family. After all, it’s not Bauer who has a bedazzled “#1 Dad” on his trusty ME bag.
- Please raise your hand if think that even though Vernon wasn’t the murderer this week, he could definitely turn up on a suspect list in the future…
- Line of the episode goes to Torres! Upon learning that Detective Grizz the crime bear and Smokey “only you can prevent forest fires” Bear are two different mascots, he demands to know, “How many bears they got workin’?”
- I don’t know about you, but I’d read The Morgue, the Merrier if Palmer contributed to it.