NCIS Episode Recap: ''Short Fuse'' Season 8, Episode 3

The "Short Fuse" episode of NCIS presents a terrible quandary for series historians. For whoever is counting the all-time number of head slaps that Mark Harmon gives Michael Weatherly - and we know you're out there - does Gibbs slapping DiNozzo's cardboard standup count, or not? Debate.

The comic subplot of "Short Fuse" was Tony being trailed on the job by a public affairs agent who planned to use his image on a recruitment brochure. Or, as the lead player in the main murder plot put it, "You brought your publicist with you to a bomb threat?" Well, of course he did it - had to be a little lonely out there in the field without last week's interns around.

The morally ambiguous bomb tech was Sgt. Heather Dempsey (Abby Brammell), who shot and killed an apparent burglar in the opening scene. As the team eventually surmised, she'd been in the carnal company of a top FBI honcho at the time, although she was the target of what turned out to be a hit man, not her adulterous partner. But was Mr. FBI unrelated to the case? Of course not. She'd been sleeping with him to extract information about the whereabouts of the informant/gang member who shot and paralyzed her do-gooder brother. Tony correctly deduced - and McGee (Sean Murray) agreed, even though "I usually hate Tony's movie analogies" - that she was playing Kathleen Turner to the FBI fellow's William Hurt. Except that Heather was a good femme fatale, who, as Gibbs guessed in the closing minutes, was destined to be let off by a sympathetic jury of her peers.

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