This popped into my head for no particular reason and I thought I would throw it out there and see if anyone thought it had merit.
“Palmer, James Palmer.”
Jimmy was burning out in his final year of med school and his professor convinced him to take a year off and recommended a 6-month physical training course run by a friend.
(The friend is a NATO general who runs agent training programs. The professor is a clandestine recruiter).
Jimmy is horrified when he realizes what is going on but can’t back out (threat to his med career) and it turns out, he’s very good at the ‘work’; so much so that the general offers him a job.
He refuses and vows never to use the skills he’s acquired or the attitudes which go with them. He travels for the next 6 months (odd places?), learns a type of denial-meditation to control his new skills and then returns to his studies successfully.
One of the reasons he got the job at NCIS was that Ducky knows the general and that recommendation is very valuable.
Jimmy is in the squad room and gets a visitor, the general, who now uses a walking stick (“the law of averages caught up to me!”). He was visiting friends and, on a whim, wanted to see Jimmy and congratulate him of turning his back on the ‘work’– he didn’t think he could do it. Ducky arrives and they leave together. Jimmy returns to the lab.
McGee tries to search for the general in their databases but nothing comes up. They are joined by Vance who was hoping to see the general. He tells them some history:
The general is ex-Australian special forces, seconded to US, UK and NATO, runs the best counter-terrorism unit ever made, considered a tactical genius, his agents are the best in the world – very few survive his training, most wash out.
The team realize Jimmy was an agent. Knight is both shocked, angry and curious. She confronts Jimmy later and he bares his soul – can’t be that sort of person – the temptation to do harm is too strong. It’s why he got into pathology instead of patient-based medicine, he knows he doesn’t relate to people well and would end up a monster. Knight is deeply touched.
Ducky and the general having coffee. Discuss much including Jimmy and Gibbs who the general has just visited – he trained Gibbs – one of his first students.
The team is at an abandoned navy warehouse where several sailors have been found dead when their escorts are killed and they are taken prisoner by a masked team and shackled. The team wants Navy Yard access codes. Knight attempts to negotiate using her training and the leader shoots her dead. Everyone is shocked but something in Jimmy breaks.
The team are separated and taken individually into a room for interrogation. Jimmy undoes his handcuffs, flings a chair into the guard and kills him easily, taking his weapons and freeing the others. He is in command and a very different Jimmy. Over an extended period, they silently take down to the rest of the assault team (Jimmy is ruthless) and break into the interrogation room where Torres is being tortured. The leader throws a knife at Parker but Jimmy snatches it out of the air and underhand flicks it back to pierce the leader’s femoral artery. Jimmy walks towards him matter-of-factly explaining how he’s bleeding out then does a reverse straight kick sending him flying across the room. They free Torres who says “took your time”.
Parker and Jimmy find the 2IC terrorist and with a knife, Jimmy tortures him – they are Chechen mercenaries hired by radical Chinese faction who want to invade Taiwan. They wanted access to the Navy Yard (MTAC) to launch a US first strike on the military islands in the South China Sea (US has ships in the area) to justify invasion. They have a cyber team waiting outside the Navy Yard. Jimmy gets the location and Parker organizes a take-down.
Jimmy has thwarted a major world catastrophe.
He and Parker go to Knight’s body to mourn and Jimmy reflexively checks her vitals – she has a faint pulse. They perform emergency surgery there and then to stabilize her and get an ambulance sent over.
The team is just a little freaked out around Jimmy, who as the ambulance leaves, sits on the ground and sobs.
A few days later, in the hospital Knight is kissing Jimmy from her bed and the nurse is tut-tutting. Jimmy is his old self again. Knight will be laid up for weeks but Jimmy swears he’ll look after her.
Ducky and the general are in Vance’s office. “That went well” says Vance. The general laughs. Ducky says the investment was worth it, wonders if Palmer, James Palmer will ever surface again. Vance grunts and says he’d settle for Gibbs coming back and glances meaningfully at the general.
Cut to a lake and a close up of a man loading a lure onto his line, with a gun tucked into a belt holster visible briefly.