Gibbs and company struggled to understand a new weapon.
Hypnosis was the controversial focus of NCIS Season 17 Episode 5.
Marine Corporal Laney Alimonte was the unfortunate soul at the center of the case of the week.
It was hard not to feel for Laney, an insomnia sufferer with a cabinet full of drugs that weren't working for her.
Her insomnia was so bad that it was going to cause her to leave the Marines.
Desperate, she resorted to being hypnotized to see if that would let her sleep through the night.
It worked, but after she found a bloody gun in her refrigerator, she couldn't be sure what she did while under hypnosis.
Camryn Grimes, moonlighting from her daytime role as Mariah on The Young & The Restless, was fabulous as the tortured Laney.
This continues a long-running tradition of CBS soap actors popping up on primetime procedurals.
Of course, with fewer and fewer daytime dramas, that tradition is destined to end.
A question that should have gotten asked much sooner in the episode was who wanted Joe Cortez dead badly enough to concoct such an elaborate murder plot.
Besides Joe's murder of crows, that is.
Laney had no idea who Joe was, nor did her hypnotist, Dr. Pershing.
Motive, people, motive!
The why for the crime was severely missing, so the team focused on the how instead.
Everyone has seen the classic example of the show hypnotist making an audience member cluck like a chicken.
A person doing something embarrassing while hypnotized is one thing. But isn't the general theory that a hypnotized person won't do anything that's against their true nature?
That certainly didn't explain why Laney would attack one of her fellow Marines with scissors, which caused enough concern that paperwork was drawn up for her dishonorable discharge.
Most likely she was just a woman at the end of her rope who couldn't function at all normally without drugs, which is why she turned to Pershing and hypnosis.
Hypnosis has long been a tool used by law enforcement to help witnesses with amnesia or repressed memories.
But can hypnosis cause a person to commit a crime? There are examples of such incidents on the Internet, but not in any great number.
Even Dr. Grace, herself a hypnotist, seemed to consider it a longshot, requiring extended programming of the right subject by a skilled practitioner.
Vance was correct when he refused to give any credence to crime under hypnosis, not wanting to give lawyers another way to get criminals off.
It was odd that the team seemed so skeptical about hypnotism considering that at least half of them have been hypnotized (McGee, Jimmy, and now Torres for sure).
It was great to see Dr. Grace again, back for the first time since NCIS Season 16 Episode 23. What an inspired idea by Jack to bring her in to inform the team about hypnosis.
It's also fun because she makes Gibbs squirmy. I don't think he puts a lot of stock into doctor-patient privilege and she knows too much.
That left Bishop to be her victim, even though you just knew macho Torres was the one who would get hypnotized. It's always the biggest skeptic.
It would have been great to see some of the things Torres did while under hypnosis. Him singing Beyonce would have been a hoot.
But maybe it's better left to the imagination, as Bishop kept tormenting him about his actions, real or made up.
Those two need to get together. It's obvious to everyone but them.
Once Kasie and Jimmy discovered reasons that Laney couldn't have been the murderer, things picked up speed.
As much as I loved Abby, Kasie is growing on me. The way she hauled Gibbs into the lab to reveal her findings shows how comfortable she has become in a short time.
So now that they've proved Laney was framed, let's go back to motive. Who wanted Joe dead?
Once they uncovered the affair which Joe was crazy, it was a short leap to find his lover and then her jealous husband.
Yes, it was very convenient that Roger was also a patient of Dr. Pershing, which enables him to find the perfect patsy in Laney.
It was touching at the end when Laney received a general discharge because of her mental illness, instead of a dishonorable discharge which could have haunted her the rest of her life.
Now let's talk about Gibbs' new neighbors.
First off, what did that boy do wrong that his mother Sarah named his Phineas? That's not going to help him fit in at school. It must be an old family name.
It's encouraging that Gibbs is now doing something more when he goes home than just sanding that boat in his basement.
Gibbs needs more of a life outside work than that.
Phineas is a charming little waif. It was sweet how he left a note of apology and his lunch money for Gibbs' broken window
Is it time to give Gibbs a new romantic interest as well? Sarah certainly would be different for him, someone outside the military or law enforcement.
Besides, based on Gibbs' batting average since Shannon, he can stand someone different.
It will be intriguing to learn more about Sarah beyond overworked single mother. She also didn't seem adverse to Phineas having a strong male authority figure in his life.
To revisit this young season, watch NCIS online.
Did you ever think Laney was guilty?
Were you suspicious of her hypnotist?
Will Gibbs and Sarah get together?
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Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.