Tuesday’s new episode of NCIS showed Hollywood putting aside its liberal bias and honoring our military. Specifically, they gave a particularly touching tribute to the brave U.S. Marine War Dogs and their handlers.
(Episode spoilers to follow …)
If your heart isn’t filled with pride and then brought crashing down in the first two minutes of the episode called Seek, then you need to check your pulse.
The CBS show begins with U.S. Marine Sergeant Ted Lemere and his bomb dog, Dex, sweeping an Afghan village for IEDs. Lemere notices two kids playing with a soccer ball, which rolls out of the village with one of the boys chasing it. Lemere yells at the kid to stop and, seconds later, the ball triggers an explosion. Lemere then orders Dex to “seek,” and he detects another unexploded IED, which they avoid, and then they both lead the boy to safety.
Moments later a single shot rings out and Lemere falls, an armor piercing round hitting him in his Kelvar helmet. Cue black and white still shot and theme music.
If this weren’t a television show you’d assume a Taliban sniper had killed the Marine. But this is NCIS, and there’s more here than meets the eye.
Lemere’s widow shows up at NCIS Headquarters with a video message her husband sent to her the day before he was killed. She doesn’t believe that the Taliban killed Ted, and she asks Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to investigate.
In the course of the episode we learn that after a handler is killed their dog is reassigned to a new handler–if they’re young enough and they’re evaluated to still be fit for deployment–even though Lemere and his wife raised Dex from a pup, “that’s what he’s trained to do,” we’re told, detect explosives.
But until he’s reassigned he stays with Lemere’s widow and ends up stopping an intruder in their home, which leads to a crucial clue in the case.
The trail leads back to the scene of the crime, in Afghanistan, where Gibbs and Dex confront a civilian contractor who was smuggling valuables looted from the homes of Afghan families who fled to Pakistan to avoid the Taliban. There Dex is shot disarming the killer.
It turns out that the civilian contractor, who was supposed to be renovating Afghan homes, was actually using Lemere and Dex to clear the homes of booby traps before looting them. When Lemere found out, he was going to blow the whistle and was killed for what he knew.
The episode ends with Sgt. Lemere’s funeral. Gibbs informs his widow, sitting in front of the casket with the flag she’d just been presented with, that Dex “isn’t serving anymore.” She naturally assumes the worst, but is soon relieved as Dex – bandaged from his bullet wound – comes trotting up to her, tail wagging. Gibbs informs her that he’s been officially discharged and is “now hers,” turning tears of sorrow into tears of joy.
McGee, Ziva and Tony are standing nearby are watching this scene, and Ziva says to Tony that he seems quiet, to which he replies, “I’ve been thinking about getting a dog.” Gibbs, walking away, overhears this and informs Tony that, “That’s not a dog, that’s a Marine.”
The episode concludes with Dex sitting at attention at the grave site of his friend, handler and fellow Marine … Cue black and white still shot.
A touching tribute to the U.S. Marines and their war dogs, one guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the manliest man.
If you missed this episode you can watch it here.