‘NCIS’: McGee’s Mother-in-Law, Communication Problems & Secrets (RECAP)

Sean Murray as McGee, Margo Harshman as Deliliah in NCIS
Spoiler Alert
Sonja Flemming/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for NCIS Season 19, Episode 7 “Docked.”]

Communication is key in the latest NCIS episode — whether over app or in person, about the case or a vacation. And some are more open than others to making changes.

Take, for instance, Special Agent Nick Torres (Wilmer Valderrama), who is so against new boss Alden Parker’s (Gary Cole) idea for the team to share updates on the case on an app, he makes his feelings known … accidentally to the other man in a public post. He’s heard worse, Parker says. The point of the app was to get them talking, which they’re doing. If Torres has a problem, Parker wants him to say it to his face.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) finds himself stuck in the middle of his wife, Delilah (Margo Harshman), and her mother, Judy (Patricia Richardson), during the investigation. While on a cruise — which is just one of several things she hasn’t shared with her daughter — Judy finds a dead body in the sauna … and she knew the victim!

Read on for all about the fun, drama, and Judy’s secrets.

Meet Judy Price Fielding

The victim is Navy Commander Roger Burrows, and while the security officer suggests a sauna malfunction (and that he was wearing his tuxedo because he drank and wandered into the wrong cabin), Dr. Palmer (Brian Dietzen) notes stab wounds in his neck. They’re locking down the ship, and one of the first orders of business is to talk to the guest who found Burrows. That would be Judy Price. “Did you just say Judy Price? Mid-60s, white hair, talks a lot?” McGee asks. Upon receiving confirmation, he hurries to her cabin.

It’s then that Torres meets McGee’s mother-in-law, who told Delilah on the phone the night before she was home alone, watching a baking show. She tries to play like it slipped her mind to tell them about the cruise, but then she admits she didn’t want Delilah to know. Her daughter’s overprotective. Judy tells them she didn’t know the victim and hopes it can all stay between them. No, McGee’s telling Delilah, who reacts pretty much as they expected.

Katrina Law, Wilmer Valderrama, Gary Cole, Sean Murray in NCIS

Sonja Flemming/CBS

As McGee explains to the team, Judy is the free spirit type. Since Delilah’s father died, she feels she has to take over as her mother’s protector. Last year, when McGee tried to intervene when Judy wanted to go skydiving, he ended up sleeping on the couch.

As for the case, spy equipment was found in Burrows’ cabin. Was he spying on guests, and someone caught him and killed him for it? According to the captain, he was interested in the security measures.

When McGee and Delilah bring Judy to her condo — her daughter would rather she stay with them — the living room explodes when she uses the app on her phone to turn off her alarm. Fortunately, they’re all fine.

More Secrets

The condo manager let someone claiming to be with the alarm company into Judy’s place the day before. The timing can’t be a coincidence … and it’s not, because Judy and Burrows were involved, she eventually admits to McGee when he brings her into an interrogation room. She didn’t want Delilah to know, she explains. She also gives them their first real lead: Burrows mentioned a niece who died. Allison Howell, the daughter of a family friend, was a waitress for the cruise line and fell off the top deck. It was ruled an accident, but Burrows was looking into it. That likely got him killed.

Patricia Richardson as Judy Price Fielding in NCIS

Sonja Flemming/CBS

With the attempt on Judy’s life, she has to go into protective custody, staying with McGee and Delilah. The twins are with McGee’s sister until the danger has passed. And Delilah had gotten her mother a nice bracelet … with a hidden panic button. McGee tries so hard to get Palmer to stick around after helping to bring Judy’s bags in, but the medical examiner heads out.

Later, Judy wants to throw a party and orders food, and as they’re arguing about why she can’t have people over while in protective custody, Parker shows up to check in. Things are not good, McGee admits. Parker gets it; he was married once, and he’s still trying to figure out why it didn’t work out.

When the “food delivery” arrives, however, McGee spots the man reaching into a bag and immediately pulls his gun. But it turns out this is Harold (Tom Yi), Judy’s ex-fiancé! They were engaged for six months and broke up a month ago because she “wanted space,” he says. She was going to tell her daughter, then they broke up so she didn’t see any point. But what’s Harold doing there? He’s hoping for a reconciliation. When Judy turns him down, he demands his bag back — and among her items she dumps out to return it is an envelope addressed to NCIS.

Sean Murray, Margo Harshman, Patricia Richardson in NCIS

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Burrows put the envelope in her bag after learning about her familial link to an agent. Inside is a Joker card. And it looks like he was right about Allison: She was strangled and the accident was staged. Could it have been her mysterious boyfriend, whose identity they’re still trying to figure out?

A Break in the Case

At home, McGee finally has enough of being caught in the middle between his wife and her mother over breakfast. He tells Delilah to give her mom space and she can take care of herself. (And stop reading her emails.) As for Judy, he says she needs to stop hiding things from her daughter. They need to learn how to communicate with each other without him being involved, and he leaves them to do just that.

Speaking of communicating, McGee realizes that the cruise’s staff might have their own app like Parker tried to get them to use. It’s on that message board that they find Allison’s messages to her boyfriend, C.B.: Christopher Blaze, an entertainer on the ship. He’s a magician, with a specialty in card tricks. But while Christopher and Allison were selling drugs, he didn’t kill her. Rather, she went down to the engine room to their stash and never came back. And the card, it turns out, wasn’t a clue to the killer’s identity but has on it the material that leads to the person: trace elements of hazardous waste.

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It’s Judy who cracks the case, when she and Delilah stop by the office. While she begins looking at the surveillance footage, McGee checks with his wife that everything’s OK. It is, she confirms, thanking him for telling her what they need to hear. Parker watches their sweet moment and kiss with a smile on his face.

As for the case, Judy notices barrels of a ginger ale that wasn’t available being loaded onto the ship. That’s how the hazardous waste was being transported — by the ship’s chief security officer. But he didn’t kill Allison or Burrows: The captain did, after Allison told him what was going on and he got in on the action.

So what’s next for Judy? A safari, in Africa, with Harold. Yes, they’re back together after she found his move romantic. Delilah bites her tongue as she tells her mother to have a wonderful time, and Judy promises to email her entire itinerary … but her daughter knows that won’t happen.

So what’d you think of this fun NCIS episode? And how much do you love McGee and Delilah together?

NCIS, Mondays, 9/8c, CBS