Tony stared. The "Autopsy Gremlin" beamed. Gibbs patted the Gremlin on the shoulder and said "Well done Palmer", then headed out of Autopsy to get his weapon and badge. Tony was still staring.
"DiNozzo, move it!" yelled Gibbs. Tony jumped at the sound of his boss's voice but quickly followed him to the lift. Gibbs was already on his cell phone giving the order to gear up to his other officers and meet him in the garage.
Poor Tony, he was still confused. The "Autopsy Gremlin" had cracked the case! Alone! Unaided! Without Help! Unsupervised! DiNozzo turned bewildered eyes to Gibbs. The half-smile was still there and one eyebrow was hitched up. "What's wrong DiNozzo? Don't think anyone but you can solve a problem?"
Gibbs' phone rang. The caller ID showed "Abby" and he answered. He held the phone away from his ear as his favourite Lab Bat shrieked her joy at Jimmy Palmer's good work. Gibbs' finally got a word in as they exited the lift and headed towards the sedan. "Yeh Abbs, I'm pleased too. Who'd have thought Jimmy would have worked it out? We're off to get Gunny Markham now. See ya." He flipped the phone closed and put it in his pocket.
Both Ziva and McGee were waiting by the sedan, smiling. Tony still wore a puzzled expression – he was having a really hard time with this! Diligent investigation, following leads and interrogating dirtbags was what got cases solved. Not an off-the-cuff remark by an Assistant ME who was frightened of his shadow!
Ziva called shotgun and jumped into the front seat. A glum Tony sat behind her, Tim sat beside him and Gibbs drove. The journey to Markham's residence was quick; Gibbs was noted for his 'relaxed' attitude towards the speed limit when he was chasing a perp. They screeched to a halt outside Markham's residence and piled out of the sedan in double-quick time. Ziva and Tony headed round the back to cut off any escape route; Gibbs and Tim stood at the front door and Gibbs knocked loudly. After a few minutes a sleepy Markham answered and admitted the two NCIS agents. Tim deliberately left the door open and a moment later Ziva and Tony also entered. Markham stood in the centre of his living room, his face a mask of fury as Gibbs cuffed him. He was placed in the rear of the car between Tony and Tim and the ride back to the Navy Yard was very uncomfortable as there wasn't much room. Gibbs called Abby before he took his place in the driver's seat – there would be a welcoming committee for Markham.
As the four agents exited the car at the Navy Yard, dragging a desperate and furious Markham along with them, Abby and Jimmy stood off to the side of the garage and watched. He'd worked the autopsy of Markham's wife with Ducky. Cause of death was given as blunt force trauma to the head. Her skull had been fractured in several different places and but she'd obviously taken a severe beating before the fatal injuries had been inflicted. Jimmy stared at Markham – he looked so normal, so ordinary. He wasn't green, didn't have the word "killer" tattooed on his forehead. He still wore his wedding ring. Jimmy remembered Markham crying as he and Ducky removed his wife's body from the scene.
It was a throwaway remark Jimmy made that wrecked Markham's alibi. A simple phrase that Jimmy came out with as he stood beside Ducky after the completion of the autopsy. When Gibbs had shown the time-stamped photos of Markham and his wife at home the evening of her death Jimmy had piped up: "The clocks went back that morning. I wonder if he remembered to change the time on his digital camera?" Ducky stared at him; Gibbs stared at him; Tony stared at him. Jimmy started to stammer and stutter, and suddenly Gibbs smiled and said quietly "I bet he didn't – and that's blown his alibi".
That night there were celebratory drinks in a local watering hole. Gibbs attended, which was unusual. Even more unusual was Tony – he bought the first round and toasted the newest "agent" on the team. Jimmy was still smiling.