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NCIS: Los Angeles
Black Widow Recap
Author: Dragonbelle

Airdate: September 21, 2010

In Cyprus, a man enters a hotel lounge and notes the security camera at the entrance before sitting down at the bar. A woman takes the seat next to him and makes small talk. As they chat, he also observes a cocktail waitress serving other guests, and an Arab sheik talking on his cell phone.

The man leaves the lounge and enters an elevator, avoiding the security camera while checking the gun hidden under his jacket. On his floor he passes a couple in golf attire, then pauses to upload a file from his PDA before entering his room. As he takes a bag from a chair and throws it on the bed, another man comes up behind him and jabs a syringe into his neck. The victim dies within seconds.


The killer leaves the hotel and gets into an SUV in which the golfing couple, the sheik, the flirty woman and the cocktail waitress are waiting. The sheik removes his kaffiyeh as they drive off. In the room, an NCIS badge lies on the floor next to the dead man.

Kensi dresses for a lunch date while Deeks tests her knowledge of classic paintings -- or rather, her lack thereof. Kensi’s best friend from childhood is in town visiting, and she thinks Kensi is the curator at an art gallery. Hetty points out that everyone in their line of work has this regrettable, necessary choice. “Either be a hermit, or be a cover story.” Kensi says that a cover story is just a more dignified name for a lie. Hetty replies, “Well, sometimes it’s better to just leave the lie in place. If a loved one really cares about you, the lie won’t matter.”

The lunch plans go out the window when Eric whistles. On the way upstairs, Kensi asks if anyone’s heard from Nate. Sam replies no. Callen comments that they don’t even know where Nate is, shooting a pointed glance in Hetty’s direction.


Eric presents the team with “the anatomy of a perfect hit.” The previous day, NCIS Special Agent Dan Williams was in Cyprus meeting a contact in a hotel lounge. The team observes from the hotel security video that Williams knew he was being watched there. The flirty woman was running interference for a man caught on another camera entering Williams’ room. Williams had been alert to threats in the lounge, but not upstairs. The woman’s long hair concealed her face, as did the Arab sheik’s kaffiyeh. The cocktail waitress avoided the camera by serving only guests facing it, and the golf-hatted couple outside Williams’ room kept their heads down. The couple tipped off the killer that Williams was returning.

Williams had uploaded a file from his PDA to NCIS just before he was killed. It was corrupted in transmission, and Eric’s cleaning it up now. However, that will take some time. Williams was killed with an injection of succinylcholine, which causes instant cardiac arrest and initially gives the appearance of death by natural causes. Twenty minutes ago, “Jon White” arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from London on a Canadian passport. INS matched his photo to a hotel security camera image of the man getting into the SUV in Cyprus. The airport has detained him for what he was told was a routine search, until NCIS can get there.


The team decides the best course of action is to release White and tail him to see what he does. Callen and Sam leave for the airport, and Hetty assigns Kensi and Deeks to look into Williams’ investigation. He had been investigating a rebel group in Chechnya which he suspected was buying small arms from a corrupt source inside the Navy.

White emerges from the airport terminal and gets into a taxi, with Callen and Sam following. When the taxi drives in circles, they realize that White is meeting with the driver. The driver and White spot the tail and run for it. White eventually bails out, and Sam pursues on foot and collars him while Callen continues after the taxi. The taxi runs a stop sign, collides with another car, and slams into a parked truck. By the time Callen arrives, the driver’s gone.

Kensi and Deeks review Williams’ file on the Grozny Emirate, an Islamic radical group with ties to Al Qaeda. The group was founded nine years ago by a man known only as Vakar, who was killed seven years ago by Russian forces. The best picture they have of him is a semi-profile image of a man with longish hair and full beard and mustache. Hiring a high-caliber hit squad like this one costs big money, which Williams’ file indicates the Emirate doesn’t have. Perhaps the hit on Williams was personal?


Callen and Sam interview White at the boathouse. White is Jon Craig, British subject and former Special Air Service. He demands to be either charged or released. Callen replies that they don’t have to do either; since Craig is a foreign national and a suspect in the murder of a federal agent, he’s classified as an enemy combatant. Craig reveals that his squad is in Los Angeles for a hit, but he doesn’t know yet who the target is. They won’t find out the specifics until they meet at a predetermined rally point. Each member has a backup in place, to step in if the member can’t. Craig’s backup will go in if he doesn’t hear from Craig within the next hour.

The backup has never met the other squad members, so Callen proposes taking his place and saying that Craig didn’t check in. Once Callen finds out the specifics, Sam can have a tactical team in position when the squad moves on the target. Sam knows this is the only way to get the entire group, but he’s still not thrilled about the plan.

Callen and Sam order Craig to check in with his backup, and to give them the backup’s history. Craig replies that his squad members are all former military or intelligence, and scoffs that Callen won’t last five minutes with them. Callen says, “That’s my problem. I appreciate your concern, Jon.”


Craig’s backup is Nathan Wilson, former Green Beret and buddy of Craig’s from their contracting days in the Green Zone. Armed with a button microphone on his shirt, Callen goes to the rally point with Sam, Kensi and Deeks listening from outside. He enters a warehouse where the rest of the squad is assembled, asks for Thierry, and introduces himself as Craig’s backup Wilson. A man, presumably Thierry, says, “I don’t know you. Why wouldn’t Jon check in?” Callen replies, “I don’t ask questions. I just stick to the plan.” The taxi driver who picked up Craig at the airport says, “Well, this is all very interesting, because I’m Nathan Wilson.”

Deeks wants to move in immediately, but Sam says to wait because Callen hasn’t given the distress word. When Thierry says the two Wilsons have ten seconds to sort this out and the loser will die, Sam changes his mind. The team is about to move in when the taxi driver says “I’m impressed”, and Thierry congratulates Callen on passing the test.

Then the squad gets down to business. Their target is Emma Mastin, who lives in Sherman Oaks. Eric runs a background check and learns that Emma is a stay-at-home mother, and she and her husband Clay Mastin are both clean. Sam wonders why a professional hit squad would be hired to take out an easy-to-reach target. He sends Kensi and Deeks to visit Emma while he stays to watch Callen’s back. Kensi tells Eric they’ll need help with their cover story.


Thierry tells the squad that Emma goes to the same local market every Tuesday at 4:00 pm. They will be inside posing as employees. Callen asks why they picked that location, as opposed to the parking lot or Emma’s house. His asking questions when he previously said he doesn’t ask questions, isn’t lost on the taxi driver. Thierry replies that the market is near a police station, and Emma’s neighbors might remember something out of the ordinary. Callen observes that the market has multiple exits and easy access to three freeways. There’s a security camera blind spot which the squad will steer Emma into, at which time Callen will strike with a syringe. If he misses for any reason, Thierry will complete the job. Sam calls Hetty and orders the tactical team.

Kensi and Deeks go to Emma’s house as home security specialists sent to fix the malfunctioning house alarm. While Kensi and Emma examine the alarm, Deeks tries to look around and gets busted by Emma’s six-year-old son Joshua. A few moments later the boy speaks to his mother in a foreign language -- Chechen.

Kensi reveals their real identities and tells Emma about the hit squad. Emma tells Kensi to leave, but Kensi persists. They’re there to protect Emma, not to arrest her. Emma sighs and says, “Sometimes it’s easier to just leave the lie in place, isn’t it?”


The hit squad prepares to leave for the market. Thierry and the taxi driver converse in Farsi, which Sam listens to from outside. Sam calls Deeks and informs him that Grozny Emirate founder Vakar is alive. Williams’ file was wrong. Vakar sent the hit squad after Williams, and now he’s sending them after Emma Mastin. Told that Vakar is alive, Emma looks at Joshua and then tells Kensi that even if NCIS stops this squad, Vakar will just send another one. To end this now, Emma suggests letting the squad come and volunteers to be the bait. If Vakar is behind this, she needs to send him a message back: “It is not going to be easy.”

Hetty arranges to meet with a source, who comments, “NCIS must be in real trouble if the Duchess of Deception is meeting me in person.” She asks who Emma Mastin is. He answers that she’s a former shahidka, Chechen for “black widow”. These women lost their terrorist husbands in action, and Islamic groups take advantage of their grief to turn them into suicide bombers. Emma hadn’t been a typical black widow. She started out as an operative with the Grozny Emirate, and was as skilled and deadly as any man. Her transformation from terrorist into stay-at-home suburban wife and mother was a typical Cinderella story.

Sam fills in Kensi and Deeks on the plan. In the market Callen will let Thierry move on Emma, then intercept him. Sam will be in the parking lot with the tactical team, and Kensi and Deeks will watch Emma. Eric reports that the file Williams sent from his PDA has been restored. It’s a first-trimester sonogram taken in January 2004, the same month Vakar was supposedly killed. The unborn child is Joshua Mastin.


Hetty reports that Emma, the onetime Grozny Emirate operative, thought her husband Vakar was dead. He was seriously wounded by the Russians, but survived -- barely -- and let everyone think he had been killed. Pregnant and apparently widowed, Emma gave up the terrorist business and made a new life in the United States. Williams found out that Vakar had a child. When Vakar learned that Williams knew, he sent the hit squad after the agent. Now he’s sending the squad after Emma because he wants his son.

The tactical team takes up positions in the market parking lot. Inside, the hit squad ties up the employees in the back and takes their places out front. Callen takes his position in the security camera’s blind spot, and Thierry reiterates that he’ll step in if Callen loses his chance at Emma. Kensi and Deeks watch from their vehicle as Emma drives up and parks. Kensi comments that Vakar sent professionals after Emma because she’s not a soft target; she just looks like one.

Emma enters the market and goes about her shopping, fully aware of her surroundings. In an aisle a squad member “accidentally” drops a jar and makes a mess, forcing Emma to change direction. Another member steers her to Callen, who tells Thierry the syringe is malfunctioning. But Thierry doesn’t appear, and Emma checks out and leaves.


Emma returns to her car, fully aware she’s still being watched. She drives off with Kensi and Deeks following. Callen reports that Thierry’s gone, and Sam doesn’t see him outside either. The tactical team moves in, and Sam realizes this squad was a decoy. The real hit will be made on Emma’s way home. Callen and Sam race out of the market to Sam’s vehicle.

Emma turns a corner and encounters a road construction crew. Trucks pull up behind her and behind Kensi and Deeks, cutting off the agents. They immediately recognize the setup and get out of their vehicle. One of the “road workers” takes out a silencer-tipped gun and approaches the stopped Emma. He’s taking aim when she suddenly pulls her own gun and puts several shots into him. Kensi and Deeks take out the two workers in the truck behind them, then make their way around the truck in front. Emma gets out of her car and crouches down beside it as Thierry, on the passenger side, sprays the car with automatic rifle fire. Callen and Sam arrive, and Sam exchanges rifle fire with Thierry while Kensi and Deeks take out the remaining workers. Sam pauses to reload, and is about to fire on Thierry again when the latter suddenly freezes, gasps and collapses to the pavement. Callen sneaked up behind Thierry and nailed him with the “malfunctioning” syringe.


Back at her home, Emma tells Kensi that she’ll tell her husband anything he wants to know about her past. But she can’t tell him about Vakar’s being Joshua’s biological father. Remembering what Hetty said about a lie not mattering if someone really cares about a person, Kensi encourages Emma not to hold back that part of the truth.
At the office, Deeks reports that the Mastins have been given new identities and new lives in a new location. Eric shows them surveillance video of the firefight. Vakar was there.


Hetty is about to leave the office when Kensi returns from seeing her friend. Kensi takes her driver‘s license from her wallet and tells Hetty, “I blew it.” She felt that her friend saw right through her cover story. After Kensi leaves, Hetty returns to her desk and unlocks a drawer containing several fake driver’s licenses and passports. She chooses the license identifying her as Sylvia Martin, and sighs “Oh, Sylvia” as she closes and relocks the drawer.



























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