After a congressional aide blows the whistle on a series of death threats, Team Gibbs looks into the dark side of political territory. Also, Reeves has officially transferred to NCIS for an international assignment, to the dismay of Quinn.
- The Atoner: Reeves' mysterious mistake that almost got him canned from MI-6 is hinted at when Quinn tells him that he's essentially signed up for a suicide mission but he "has [his] reasons".
- Chekhov's Gun: The protein bar from the opening proves vital in solving the case.
- Death by Falling Over: The congresswoman's aid essentially dies by this, drowning in a pool after getting a concussion while initially appearing fine.
- Ho Yay: Reeves and Torres start up, for lack of a better word, a bromance.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: How they get along, which worried people who assumed they were going to fight. They *are* going to fight, though, 'cause they gotta know who's better.
- Hot-Blooded: Congresswoman Fleming does not like being seen as weak, chafes at Director Vance's protection, and utterly despises being unable to do anything about the case. She even goes so far as to confront her aide's killer herself, spoiling the chance for the team to pin them down in interrogation. Must be from her ancestor Attila the Hun.
- Promoted to Opening Titles: While the promotion occurred in a prior episode, it took until now for Reeves' position at NCIS to be made official.
- Reality Ensues: When McGee and Torres track down a teenaged suspect at a Driver's Ed course, she freaks out and attempts a high-speed getaway. She only gets about a hundred yards before the instructor slams on the back-up break in the shotgun seat.
- Running Gag: Aside from Reeves' being Separated by a Common Language from the rest of the team, there's also the aide's embarrassingly named Self Love protein bars which help solve his murder when his girlfriend's elaborately decorated nails show up in his last photo of them before his death.
- You Dirty Rat!: A suspect makes their opinion of the congresswoman's plan to shut down their local navy base known by planting a dead rat with a note in the Congresswoman's car.
- Visual Pun: It's a literally gutless rat to boot.