‘NCIS’: What’s With That Guy in the Diner? Is He Why Fornell Disappeared?

NCIS Season 18 Episode 3 ends with Fornell missing. Did the creepy diner guy have anything to do with it? Who was that guy, anyway? Here are a few of Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s theories about the latest NCIS episode.

Fornell didn’t show up for a meeting with Gibbs

Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Joe Spano as Tobias T.C. Fornell |  Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon as NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Joe Spano as Tobias T.C. Fornell | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is helping Fornell (Joe Spano) find the leader of an opioid ring. Fornell desperately wants to know who is responsible for supplying his daughter, Emily, with drugs.

Fornell tells Gibbs he might have a lead and he wants him to stop by the take-out window at the fast-food restaurant where he works. Fornell was supposed to update Gibbs on his progress. However, when Gibbs drives up to the drive-through window, he’s met by Fornell’s manager, Chad. He goes on to tell Gibbs that Fornell hasn’t shown up for work in two days. Where could Fornell be?

The guy at the diner (and his daughter) look suspicious

Mark Harmon and Joe Spano on the set of NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Mark Harmon and Joe Spano on the set of NCIS | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Toward the middle of the episode, Fornell enters the restaurant with a tray of food and drinks. There’s a teenaged girl (dressed in Gucci) standing in front of the doors. She’s having a conversation on her phone about her nose job. What’s a girl dressed in Gucci doing at a fast-food restaurant? That’s definitely a red flag.

Fornell tries to get by her, but she doesn’t move far enough out of the way and he drops the tray. One of the drinks gets on the girl’s high-end shoes. “Look what you’ve done,” says the girl. “If this stain doesn’t come out, you’re getting a bill.”

The girl tells Fornell to get her some napkins, but her father (the creepy guy in the diner) says he will get them for her. We’re wondering if he might have something to do with Fornell’s disappearance. Could this be Merriweather?

When Fornell was showing Gibbs the drugs he found in the freezer, the guy and his daughter were still in the restaurant. It seemed like they were close enough to see Fornell hand Gibbs the packet of drugs. If this guy has something to do with the drug ring and he saw Fornell giving his product to Gibbs, he might conclude his drug operation is being investigated. This would be a motive to abduct Fornell.    

Fornell might have gone rogue

Another possibility is that Fornell decided to handle the investigation on his own. Perhaps he figured he could get more work done without Gibbs. Fornell initially got too involved in the case when he and Gibbs first began investigating. Fornell saw a girl around his daughter’s age, and he became emotional and almost blew his cover.

Was Fornell killed?

Another possibility is that Fornell was killed. Maybe he was sloppy with his detective work and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fornell can be impulsive, so this is a possibility.

Wherever Fornell is, we hope he’s OK. Gibbs has lost enough people in his life.

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