'NCIS' season 17 episode 3 gives us a taste of classic procedural drama amidst a violent tale of two brothers
A garden gnome for a murder weapon and trailer park tenants turning into an angry mob overnight has the team circling back and forth around the same suspect.
This article contains spoilers for season 17 episode 3.
This latest episode of 'NCIS' aka season 17's episode 3, took us back to the classic procedurals with a signature twisted drama, where the investigation opens on a multitude of arcs, but finally circles back to the same point for closure.
Titled 'Going Mobile', the episode sees our team of experts trying to figure out who killed Elijah Buck -- co-owner of a trailer park with his brother, Peter. Elijah's body was found under an 18-wheeler, where it had been lying for two to three days, approximately, based on its level of decomposition. The vehicle's driver spotted the body during a routine naval yard check and tipped off our agents, who found -- to everybody's shock -- a blood-smeared garden gnome lying next to the body.
Bizarre as the murder weapon might be, the case also incorporates an element of shock as to how spiteful one can be to kill someone else with a garden gnome, of all things. The immediate suspect is Elijah's brother Peter, with whom he owned the trailer park. Peter, however, claims that the team needs to look further away from home, as the Bucks recently garnered a lot of animosity from their trailer park inhabitants for raising the rent. According to him, the tenants turned into an angry mob overnight after they hiked the rent, with their hatred targeted more towards Elijah as they knew he was the one behind the hike.
This whole fracas saw the Bucks move out of the vicinity and live elsewhere, and even though Peter claimed that he didn't know how intense the hatred for Elijah was until he was murdered, the story takes a sudden twist as the owner of the garden gnome -- one of the tenants -- ends up reporting the missing gnome. The team picks up on this odd development and shifts their focus to the people living in the trailers. To the team's shock, the trailer parker residents didn't seem to hate Elijah all that much. In fact, according to them, Peter hated owning the park as it was all Elijah's idea to earn some fast cash and Peter was never really into it.
With this fresh new incentive for Peter, the team goes back to interrogating him. And this is when the story twists again, with Peter bringing in a note left on his windshield that said: “You’re Next." With Peter's faith in the team running thin, he asks them what they are going to do to ensure his safety, considering his prime suspect is one of the park-dwellers, Esther Daniels. Esther, an old lady, was the front-runner for a team of inhabitants who wanted to buy back the park from the Bucks, saw Elijah as the only hindrance in their way. The only odd piece of the puzzle here is how the lady's drawing pencil (she loved to sketch with her grandkids) did not match the writing on Peter's note.
Yet, something even stranger happens later that night, as someone throws a Molotov cocktail under Peter's car. Luckily, it wasn't anything serious and Peter survives the attack. But this only intensifies the team's suspicions against one of the lot-owners being behind the entire crime. So when they come across a former convict in the list of tenants, they think they might have found their perp. The man, Vince, was once arrested, but as he claims he left that life behind and he then gets an asthma attack in custody. Vince tells the team that his attacks became rampant once his tomato crops started dying opening up a whole new angle of investigation.
Turns out the soil in the area was contaminated with toxic chemicals from a nearby company, who - -in due course -- spilled to the team that they financed the Bucks, especially Peter to push the inhabitants out of the trailer park before people found out about the contamination. While Peter jumped at the opportunity to earn fast cash, Elijah developed a conscience about it eventually, and voila -- Peter took him out. Peter confessed to the crimes and was put away while the team made sure that the good people of the park, like Esther and Vince, were taken care of.
'NCIS' season 17 airs on Tuesdays at 9pm only on CBS.