“Brothers in Arms” first aired April 24, 2007.
The Le Grenouille storyline on NCIS has its roots in earlier episodes “Suspicion” and “Blow Back”. “Suspicion” had NCIS Director Jenny Shepard (Lauren Holly) directing Special Agent Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) in an undercover operation without the knowledge of DiNozzo’s boss, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon).
DiNozzo was covertly watching a group of alleged international arms dealers. In “Blow Back”, we were introduced to Le Grenouille (Armand Assante), a major ringleader in the arms trade, who is associated with the group under DiNozzo’s earlier surveillance. Seasoning the storyline is a CIA operative in deep cover with Le Grenouille, who saves the arms dealer’s life at the end of “Blow Back.” Early hints of a personal relationship between Shepard and Le Grenouille were revealed in her pathos surrounding her covert operation.
“Brothers in Arms” opens with Shepard meeting a man alone in homeless community. The two speak by cell phone as Shepard approaches the site of the meeting. She and the man exchange words and she assures him he is doing the right thing. As the director exits her car, a second car starts up and speeds past, riddling the scene with automatic weapons fire. The director empties her pistol through the back window of the retreating car, and asks her contact if he was hit. He fails to answer because of the bullet holes in his head and throat.
The NCIS team arrives at the crime scene. An expensive cell phone is recovered from the scene, while Mossad Agent-on-Loan-to-NCIS Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) queries DiNozzo about whether the director was working on a covert operation, doubting the veracity of DiNozzo’s negative answer.
The director tells Gibbs her contact is named Troy Webster (Peter Birkenhead). She then approaches the team, who are trying to find witnesses to identify the car. The director provides everything but the VIN number and the question is raised as to who was the target, Webster or the director. Back at headquarters, the team discusses Webster, who was an accountant closely associated with Le Grenouille’s operation. The director asserts that Webster possessed information on Le Grenouille’s past, present, and future arms deals. Webster was having a change of heart and was going to provide her information that would lead to Le Grenouille’s arrest.