“Sharif Returns” first aired January 23, 2006.
Traffic lights go haywire, spelling “SOS” in Morse code. This leads authorities to an underground utility room where the local guts of the traffic signal system are. There is a dead man sans his right eye. The dead man is Marine Major John McGuire involved with nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare preparedness and now NCIS has jurisdiction.
It is determined that McGuire was locked in the facility. Just prior to this, NCIS Medical Examiner Dr. Ducky Mallard (David McCallum) determined that McGuire died from hyperthermia, or high body temperature, most likely brought on by some type of chemical exposure. The Marine’s missing eye is found in his stomach, Ducky determining that the Marine had plucked his own eye out and swallowed it.
Abby’s forensics indicates the Marine was poisoned with a chemical warfare agent that induces hallucinations and psychosis, explaining McGuire’s ocular enucleation. A video remote camera is found by NCIS agents and it is returned to headquarters where Forensics Specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) determines it was being monitored in a nearby bowling alley.
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), Mossad Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), Special Agent Tim McGee (Sean Murray), and Special Agent Tony Dinozzo (Michael Weatherly) go to the bowling alley and find a covert interrogation taking place. The NCIS team barges in to find none other than Army Lt. Col. Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson) and her CID investigative team following leads in a possibly related case. Gibbs and Mann last worked together in ”Sandblast”, where their personal rapport was provocative to say the least.
With the entry of the fetching Col. Mann, Gibbs’s demeanor changes completely and he almost behaves like a schoolboy with his first crush. Mann behaves likewise, injecting a heady love levity into the episode. Gibbs and Mann discuss the presence of a terrorist, Mamoun Sharif (Enzo Cilenti), who has recently entered the U.S. Sharif is thought to have stolen the nerve gas that killed the Marine officer. DiNozzo brings intelligence that NCIS and CID’s cases are related. Sharif was previously a bomber, now turned to chemical terror. Ziva allows that Major McGuire had the duty of delivering samples of nerve gas to analytical labs for testing, sending her and DiNozzo to track down where McGuire had been. In the meantime, Gibbs and Mann have a brow-raising conversation that piques McGee’s interest in the pair. Ah, love is in the air again. Gibbs and Mann decide that Sharif was testing the chemical agent on McGuire.