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'NCIS: Los Angeles' 'Zero Days' recap: Kensi faces her past

'NCIS: Los Angeles' season 5 episode 18 "Zero Days"
'NCIS: Los Angeles' season 5 episode 18 "Zero Days"
Michael Yarish/CBS

The Tuesday, March 25 episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles," 518, "Zero Days," sees the focus on Eric when a college friend of his is at the center of the investigation. Meanwhile, Kensi finds out what someone from her past has been up to for the past nine years.

"Zero Days" is one of those "NCIS: LA" cases that has you on the edge of your seat, only not, because you know that they're going to get the job done in time and a missile isn't going to hit San Francisco. But that's not what's important about this case. Instead, this case allows Eric to shine, as it's his hacker friend at the center of it. While the two are busy playing an online game, Ira's loft is attacked, and the team is on it because the hacker for hire specializes in finding Zero Days, code flaws in computer systems, and he works for the DoD. When Sam and Callen go to look in his very fancy loft, he's there – and he tells them federal agents tried to kill him.

With Ira convinced of a government conspiracy, they decide to give him one, by sending Nell in and telling him Eric has been charged with cyber-terrorism – and that he enlisted Ira's services. It works – and Nell is very good as she pretends to be with the DoD – and it turns out that his Zero Day exploits a weakness in a Russian GPS that allows someone to gain control of nuclear missiles and the DoD didn't hire Ira. In other words, it's just another day at the "NCIS: LA" office.

The deal was set up through Neidra Industries, and in order to get into the flawless system, they use it to their advantage and it's another team effort that gets the job done. Eric gets into the system and discovers who has the Zero Day USB, but they're too late, and it falls into the wrong hands.

It wouldn't be this show without a race against the clock, one that puts Eric in the field, working side by side – and ordering around and showing up – Ira, and with just seconds left and a huge shootout going on around him, Eric gets the job done. Earlier, Ira had suggested Eric freelance with him, making a real difference and money, wondering if NCIS appreciated him, and when Ira brings it up again, there's no question of where Eric's spending his time in the future. He's not going anywhere.

Meanwhile, as Granger tries to find Kensi but only manages to get his hands on her satellite phone, Kensi sees Jack in the cave, and when she calls out to him, he's knocked out and later dragged in and left with her. He tells her that he heard she'd been captured and was trying to talk them into releasing her. She explains her mission – to kill him because he's helping the militants – but he denies it. He only helps the people from his village.

He left because something inside him broke, and he just couldn't stay. He's found a place where everything from his past fell away, and he's free. He's converted to Islam, has been accepted by a moderate tribe, has found peace and has gotten married and had a kid. After his wife was killed in a drone attack, he contacted US authorities, but they only sent CIA operatives to recruit him. Throughout his explanation, Kensi's crying, and it's heartbreaking. What a performance from Daniela Ruah!

Kensi comes up with a plan to escape by throwing their clothes into the fire to smoke up the place and give them a chance to escape when their captors investigate, but that's when two men come in, take Jack away and put out the fire. But is Jack telling the truth? And where is Sabatino?

As the episode ends, Granger clues Hetty in on Kensi's disappearance and warns her that if she knows something he doesn't – it was her choice to send Kensi on this mission – now's the time to tell him.

"NCIS: Los Angeles" season 5 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS. What did you think of episode 18 "Zero Days"? What did you think of what Jack told Kensi?

© Meredith Jacobs 2014

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