“Friends and Lovers” first aired February 13, 2007.
The NCIS writers use the cheapest convenient coincidence convention to create the most delicious plot twist of the season. And it has nothing to do with the dead sailor found in an abandoned building, whose cause of death is a bit mysterious.
A couple returns to the place of their first meeting to seal the deal on marriage. While proposing, the erstwhile groom stoops to a knee in proposal and notes a dead body, replete with maggots, killing the moment. The team is meanwhile receiving knife training from Mossad Agent-on-loan Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), trainees including the delectable NCIS Special Agent Michelle Lee (Liza Lapira), who almost skewers Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) before he orders the team to Georgetown to pick up the stiff.
Things move quickly. NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (David McCallum) notes advanced liver disease and a high blood alcohol. First indications show death through overdose misadventure as several other agents were identified in the sailor’s blood. Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) identifies the toxic agent that killed the sailor as oleandrin and neriine, naturally-occurring cardiac glycosides similar to digitoxin, derived from the oleander plant. The sailor was murdered.
But that is just the boring subtext to the story. The Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) - Dr. Jeanne Benoit (Scottie Thompson) story hits a high note the day before Valentine's Day. Over a romantic martini, DiNozzo and Benoit are interrupted by Benoit’s persistent former boyfriend, whom DiNozzo wants to help out of the picture and who Benoit wants to take care of herself. Later, DiNozzo shows bigger balls in his exchanges with Benoit than previously regarding this mysterious suitor and her reluctance to dispatch him when he discovers that he and the mysterious suitor both arranged for an island getaway with Dr. Benoit. Tony waffles none at all, making his displeasure and suspicion perfectly clear.
At headquarters, Ziva looks at a police sketch of a woman seen at a local bar with the dead sailor, shortly before her death. Noting a resemblance to pop star Shakira, Ziva proceeds to shake her assets in DiNozzo’s face, mimicking the beautiful Latina, while he looks for an intimate vacation for him and Dr. Benoit. City detectives J.D. Morris (Michael Whaley) and John Carson (Jonno Roberts) interrupt the proceedings, bringing Gibbs a junkie with the dead sailor’s credit card. The junkie implicates himself as hanging around long enough to rob the sailor before he died.