Gibbs Mentions, Help From [Spoiler] & Fun ‘NCIS’verse Moments in Crossover (RECAP)

Gary Cole, Vanessa Lachey, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Noah Mills, Katrina Law, and Brian Dietzen in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Spoiler Alert
Sonja Flemming/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the NCISverse Crossover, “Too Many Cooks” on NCIS, “Deep Fake” on Hawai’i, and “A Long Time Coming” on Los Angeles.]

For the first time ever, three NCISes cross over for a three-hour event — and not only is it a success (and pure entertainment), but it’s fun, with a case that makes sense for all these agents to be working on together, and gives us some great team-ups. And, to quote Callen (Chris O’Donnell), “all in all, I think it went pretty well. We should maybe think about doing this again sometime.”

First, a quick recap of the case: Agents from all over are flying in to DC for a FLETC professor’s retirement party. However, the professor is then found dead of an apparent suicide, and agents from NCISHawai’i, and LA all jump in to investigate. The action moves from DC to Hawai’i — as do Tennant (Vanessa Lachey), Palmer (Brian Dietzen), and Sam (LL Cool J), when they’re kidnapped — and the CIA gets involved. It’s there that they learn that the hitman they’ve been after, Simon Williams, is actually a CIA assassination program. It was shut down, then restarted, and all the people dying are connected to it — including one operative who was going to testify at a high-level intelligence hearing.

The case moves to L.A., and the danger hits especially close to home when it’s discovered that Kilbride (Gerald McRaney) was part of the program — and is missing. But it’s actually Rountree (Caleb Castille) who’s kidnapped, and Kilbride reveals himself by taking the shot that kills the final CIA operative who was holding the agent (after members from all three teams working together subdue the men working for her).

Now, scroll down as we take a look at the most entertaining moments of the crossover, from the various team-ups to the mentions of Gibbs (who has connections to characters on all three shows) to the help they received from a surprising source.

Katrina Law, Vanessa Lachey, Wilmer Valderrama, and Chris O'Donnell' in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Everyone knows Gibbs

When McGee (Sean Murray) mentions that he had lunch with the professor and he seemed happy about retiring, Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) asks, “happy, like Gibbs is in Alaska?” And since they assume he knew the professor, “any chance of Gibbs showing up to the party?” Knight (Katrina Law) wonders.  McGee doubts it, though adds, “the professor did mention that Gibbs and him went on a few fishing trips back in the day.” Knight suggests that means “there’s a chance,” but Vance (Rocky Carroll) makes it clear there’s not, due to the professor’s body being found.

Later, Torres brings up Gibbs’ rule #3, always double check, and Callen tells him (as viewers know from NCIS‘ introduction of LA back in Season 6), “you don’t have to quote Gibbs’ rules to me. He and I go way back.” Callen suggests they bet on how the professor was killed, Torres says there aren’t any rules against that, and Tennant interrupts to mention 15, leading to a debate about which rule that actually is. (It’s “always work as a team.”)

The case leads them to Gibbs’ cabin, thanks to the team having his fireplaces memorized. “Hard not to, it’s kind of his thing,” Torres explains to Knight. They figure that the professor hid a flash drive there since he knew Gibbs was gone. And when someone starts shooting at them, Knight asks, “think Gibbs came back from Alaska and doesn’t know it’s us?” No, Torres tells her, since “if it was Gibbs shooting at us, we’d be dead right now.”

LL Cool J and Sean Murray in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover

McGee reunites with Sam and Callen

In the hall outside of the professor’s apartment, the other agents are surprised to see Palmer walking out with his body. Sam and Callen authorized it, he explains. “It’s been a while,” Callen remarks upon seeing McGee (referring to the aforementioned NCIS Season 6 episode.) “Yeah, what the hell are you guys doing here?” McGee asks. “I guess it hasn’t been long enough,” Sam replies.

And later, when Palmer remarks that he hasn’t been to either the Hawai’i or LA office, McGee says he hasn’t either, “at least not since OSP moved into that old Mexican restaurant,” referring to the change made for LA between the backdoor pilot and the series premiere. (Palmer thought it was a Spanish mission.)

Gary Cole, Vanessa Lachey, Sean Murray, Wilmer Valderrama, Noah Mills, Katrina Law, and Brian Dietzen in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Sonja Flemming/CBS

New spinoff? 

When Tennant comments on the number of senior field agents at the crime scene, Parker (Gary Cole) quips, “I heard the NCIS Great Lakes office is on their way, too. I’m kidding.” But hey, you never know…

Sean Murray in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover

Sam and Callen interrogate McGee

When it turns out that the professor used McGee’s log-in information — under the guise of wanting to see photos of his kids at a lunch — to get the data he stole, Sam and Callen are the ones to interrogate him, and it’s fun, with McGee offended and Sam and Callen playing the bad guys, even though they don’t think he’s actually guilty. There’s McGee pointing out that he had to show them where Interrogation is (when Sam uses the excuse they didn’t know where the conference room is for why they’re where they are).

And when Sam asks, “you expect us to believe the computer guy lost his password?” McGee points out that he’s one to talk. “Says the car guy who once lost his favorite car, Charlene, right? And Agent Callen, didn’t you get your entire identity stolen last year? So let’s not get too judge-y about lost log-in info.”

Vanessa Lachey and Wilmer Valderrama in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Are Torres and Tennant together?

The two certainly greet each other warmly when Torres (and Knight) find Tennant (and Noah Mills’ Jesse) in the squad room. And it seems that Palmer’s heard some things since he suggests that he, Knight, Tennant, and Torres meet up for a double date. Tennant glares, and Knight shakes her head at Palmer, causing him to quickly call it a professional meal as colleagues.

But then while Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) and Torres are talking to arms dealer Nina Barnes (Lesley Boone) in LA, she asks about the agent’s relationship status. “It’s complicated,” Torres says.

Gary Cole, LL Cool J, Vanessa Lachey, and Noah Mills in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Karen Neal/CBS

Parker gets comfortable in Hawai'i

After Tennant, Palmer, and Sam have rescued themselves from their CIA kidnappers, Hawai’i‘s boss finds Parker using her mug — and drinking her tea. “I am very happy that you feel comfortable here,” she tells him. “Like a home away from home,” he confirms.

Alex Tarrant and Chris O'Donnell in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Karen Neal/CBS

Kate and Kai meet Callen

We’re going to excuse the fact that Kate (Tori Anderson) is looking at a wall that has Callen’s photo on it when she trains her gun on him and doesn’t recognize him because we get to hear a bit more about his past. Considering no one is who they say they are — they have two CIA operatives using the same name — there is a question of identity going on at the time, with Kate identifying herself as FBI and Callen as … the Good Humor man because it’s Callen. It’s when Callen hears Kai’s (Alex Tarrant) name that they actually get anywhere, since he knew the younger agent’s former boss. She loves Callen, Kai recalls, adding, “she told us all these stories about your crazy cases.” According to Callen, “she made a lot of those stories up because I made a lot of those stories up.”

Brian Dietzen and Jason Antoon in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover

Ernie's still a bit hung up on Knight

Just because Palmer and Knight are together doesn’t mean that Ernie (Jason Antoon) doesn’t still care what she thinks about him. And so when Palmer says that Knight called him “eccentric,” he quickly backtracks to find a word that Ernie doesn’t mind, going from “kooky” to “quirky.”

Wilmer Valderrama, Kavi Ramachandran Ladnier, and Vanessa Lachey in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Tennant takes charge in LA

When the action moves to L.A., Kilbride is already MIA, and Tennant is surprised that not even his assistant, Shyla (Kavi Ramachandran Ladnier), knows where he is since as head of OSP, he needs to be reachable 24/7. He’s not exactly a team player, Sam offers as an explanation. Then he and Callen are surprised to learn that Tennant sent all nonessential personnel home. As SAC of the Hawai’i field office, she has jurisdiction over the entire Pacific Rim and promises, “I won’t make you clean your rooms.”

Vanessa Lachey, LL Cool J, Wilmer Valderrama, and Gary Cole in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-'LA' Crossover
Sonja Flemming/CBS

Who has a complicated relationship and history with the CIA?

The simple answer: more than some expected. Callen has Shyla reach out to Sabatino to see what he knows, leading to the comment that they can “probably” trust their former CIA contact, which Tennant finds encouraging. And yes, Callen is former CIA, too, which is news to Tennant, but he says the assassination program was urban legend when he worked there — and reveals he knows about her own past with the agency. “They had a great health plan,” she says.

Eric Christian Olsen and Wilmer Valderrama in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-LA' Crossover

The street dog meets the lone wolf

When Deeks shudders at Torres’ suggestion that Kilbride and Nina have a sexual history, the agent says he was warned that the other man is “the sensitive one.” (Torres is also surprised to learn that Deeks is an investigator, not agent.) Deeks, of course, denies that: “Who warned you that I was … I’m not the sensitive one. That’s definitely Sam, big and tough on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, he’s like a human Hot Pocket. … I’m more of a street dog, lone wolf.” Torres (whom the professor had referred to as a lone wolf) immediately fires back with, “that explains the lack of grooming.”

Linda Hunt in 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Robert Voets/CBS

Hetty helps!

After an earlier mention of all of Hetty’s houses under her various aliases, Callen and Sam search her office space for anything on the CIA program … before receiving an encrypted email and anonymous text, respectively. The text is the password to open the email, and once they do, an audio message plays.

“Sounds like you’ve gotten yourselves in a bit of a pickle. I warned Hollace his Simon Williams days would come back to bite him in the ass. You are all quite capable and far be it for me to tell you what to do, but you might want to contact an old friend,” Hetty(!) suggests, pointing them in the direction of a casting agent to enlist the help of a Kilbride double. She also has a message for Parker: “Don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten about the $600 you still owe me from the Monaco fiasco.” He claims not to know what she’s talking about.

Tennant’s confused, since Hetty is currently AWOL and has been for months, so how does she know what they’re doing? “Behold the many mysteries of Hetty,” Sam says. “Some say she’s a witch,” Parker adds. “Easy,” Callen cautions. Sam sees the upside because “at least we know she’s still alive.”

LL Cool J in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-LA' Crossover

Introducing the visitors to the boatshed

With plans to set a trap at the boatshed for the operatives coming for Kilbride’s double, Tennant assumes that anyone watching the place will know simply be seeing people walking in. “They’re not going to see us walking in,” Callen assures her. “You got a secret tunnel?” Parker asks. “Something like that,” Callen says.

And so Sam and Callen introduce Tennant and Torres to the trapdoor in the interrogation room of the boatshed, with the visitors complaining about the water, lack of visibility, and smell after they swim in. As Sam sees it, the smell is just the marina. “You’re like the two crazy old cat ladies who don’t even realize their own house smells,” Tennant tells Sam and Callen.

Gary Cole and Gerald McRaney in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-LA' Crossover

Office swap?

We have to admit, we kind of wish Parker would seriously consider Kilbride’s suggestion. Though Parker brushes off any praise for looking after the agents while Kilbride was MIA, the head of OSP insists, “you worked really well with them and I truly think they could benefit from spending more time with someone with your experience. I don’t mind staying in Washington for a bit. I thought maybe we could work out some sort of an exchange?” Parker passes (and makes off with some of Kilbride’s cigars).

LL Cool J, Vanessa Lachey, Wilmer Valderrama, and Chris O'Donnell in 'NCIS'-'Hawai'i'-LA' Crossover

Goodbye ... for now?

With Tennant, Torres, and Parker flying home, it’s time to say farewell to the LA team. “All in all, I think it went pretty well. We should maybe think about doing this again sometime,” Callen suggests. Tennant and Torres turn him down. But we think it would be a great idea.