‘NCIS Sydney’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Why Did Rankin Thwart The Investigation?

Another sunny day and another case bewilder the NCIS team in episode 3 of the series NCIS Sydney. In the previous episode, there was a snake responsible for the death of an American in Australia, and in this episode, there is a shark angle to the homicide. Jim, Mackey, and the others regroup and try to solve the complicated case, ultimately discovering the presence of some high-profile people. We are kept entertained by Bluebird’s quirky behavior while she helps crack the case. The use of technology is one aspect of the investigations that the episodes frequently bring forward. Previously, it was the gait-recognition equipment that had helped NCIS solve the case, and this time, there is a dive computer and the GPS tracker on a shark that simplify the case. To keep things light-hearted, Bluebird is given a surprise. While it was supposed to be her last week, as MacNamara, Penrose’s original assistant, was returning, she was pleasantly surprised to find she was going to stay on as a permanent member.


Spoilers Ahead

Whom Did The Severed Arm Belong To?

Shark attacks have been a rarity in Australia, but when the members of a swimming group found a shark with a human arm in its mouth, they had to contact the NCIS. The severed arm still had a dive computer wrapped around the wrist, and it read US SEALS. The victim of the shark attack was definitely an American, and he was a Navy Seal, if that was his dive computer. Bluebird figured out everything about the man’s death except his identity and his place of death. The GPS in the dive computer had been tampered with, which was reason enough to suspect that he was a victim of foul play. The arm had the tattoo of a ‘bone frog,’ which was a symbol ex-Navy Seals often use to honor a fallen member. Jim and Mackey approached the team of Navy Seals practicing at the ‘Penguin’ Naval facility in order to find out if they had a diver missing. They had their unit intact, and perhaps the shark victim was part of a unit and working individually. Ultimately, Roy Penrose worked his charm and found out who the severed arm belonged to through the fingerprints. He recovered them from the severely decomposed arm, and the identity of the man was uncovered. The arm belonged to Petty Officer Philip Coleman.


How Were The Ex-Navy Seals Involved?

Philip had been honorably discharged from the army, and his pensions went to an address in Neutral Bay. First, Jim and Mackey visited the address to see if he had family there. But he found two ex-Navy Seals living in the house. Jim and Mackey interrogated them about Philip’s whereabouts, and they behaved as if they weren’t even aware he had gone missing. Apart from the two Seals, Hamish and Charlie, there was a third member in the house named Simon. They all ran an ‘underwater wedding videography’ service. Jim and Mackey had seen Hamish throw a man out of the house because he had not paid for their services, which is why he was seen shouting ‘the deal’ was off. Although there was no proof against any of them, something felt off to both Jim and Mackey. Later, Evie and DeShawn went to the address as undercover officers disguised as a couple wanting to have an underwater wedding. Evie found out that there was a huge amount of MDMA hidden in the divers’ oxygen tanks.

How Did Jim Know Philip Was Murdered?

The trio were investigated, and they blurted out pretty much the same story. Philip worked with them, and they were hired on contract to salvage a party’s valuables from the ocean. They recovered bags and returned back on deck, having no clue it was a criminal amount of drugs present in them. The man they had thrown out was the middleman, and they didn’t want him to contact them ever again as they hadn’t agreed to salvage something illegal. According to Simon, Philip was worried about Hamish and Charlie and wanted to dive himself. It was a stormy night, and he perhaps got lost and was attacked by a shark. The trio claimed that they didn’t inform anybody, as they wouldn’t have been able to explain the drugs, and that it was nobody’s fault that Philip was attacked by a shark. Jim distorted a key fact, noticing the trio’s reaction and surmising that they were all telling a concocted story. He mentioned ‘cocaine’ instead of MDMA, and nobody corrected him. The case was still a complicated one, as the body had not yet been discovered. Bluebird figured out a way to locate the body. She matched the time Philip’s heartbeat stopped with the GPS location of the shark, and voila, the body was recovered. Dr. Roy Penrose was shocked to find an injury on Philip’s head beneath the dive suit, meaning somebody murdered him, then put the suit on him and threw him in the ocean. The case had taken a turn into homicide, made complicated by the missing ‘Unmanned Underwater Vehicle’ (UUV).


Why Did Rankin Thwart The Investigation?

The presence of the UUV on the day Hamish and others went to dive to salvage the drugs made the NCIS curious if the trio were involved in something much more sinister than just drugs. The UUVs are used to spy on naval operations or smuggle drugs from an area. This specific UUV did not belong to either the Australian Navy or the American one. It was being used by a third party, perhaps to gain some classified information. After finding the injury on Philip’s head, the trio were arrested and shown the missing UUV. Jim and Mackey were sure that the ex-Navy Seals were definitely after the UUV after they had made the deal with the mystery man Hamish had thrown out of his shop, but they were unsure why they killed Philip. The truth came out when Simon confessed. He had to, as all evidence collected from Philip’s dive computer pointed to the fact that Philip died at sea level and not while he was underwater.

The missing UUV was a spy drone with a camera to record underwater activity. Philip saw something on the footage that he didn’t want to give away to the mystery man, while Simon was only in it for the money. He killed him and told Hamish and Charlie that Philip had gone diving and never returned. Through Hamish and Charlie, who contacted the mystery man regarding the ‘deal’, NCIS got closer to solving the case until Colonel Rankin from the US Department of Defense arrived and took the mystery man away. It turns out that Rankin knew about the leak in the DoD and had finally found the man responsible. Mackey suspected the UUV to be a CIA drone and made a deal with Rankin to ensure that Philip’s pension reached Hamish and Charlie, as they had been forced to participate in a salvage operation by the mystery man named Maas, who perhaps was working for the CIA. Rankin knew that if Mackey went to the press about the fiasco, it could be a diplomatic catastrophe; hence, he agreed to make the deal. NCIS solved yet another complicated case and saved the ex-Navy Seals, who only wanted to be patriots.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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