Navy UAV pilot Daniel Coyne is lured to a park where he himself is killed by a drone. NCIS figures out that season-long terrorist Benham Parsa is targeting those responsible for a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, including Department of Defense personnel like McGee's girlfriend, Delilah Fielding (Margo Harshman). Meanwhile, McGee is unsure of himself as his relationship with Delilah verges on growing more serious or ending.
Clearly, McGee and Delilah's future was dangled for dramatic purposes, only to be jeopardized by an enemy drone strike. Recognizing the plot device, I thought of the many times I've distanced myself from characters likely to leave or die, just as it would have been emotionally safer for McGee to break up with Delilah.
Gibbs's working with Hollis Mann (Susanna Thompson) again after six years also asked which was better, going ahead on the chance of happiness or backing off (as Mann had) before anyone got hurt? Though Holly stands out from Gibbs's ex-wives for backing off, I would've gladly watched her and Gibbs move toward marriage in Season 5.
I come down on the side of making relationships. Though Delilah wasn't physically with McGee when the drone struck, I'm sure being emotionally closer to him was some comfort. And though McGee is devastated by Delilah's being hurt, he'd feel worse if they'd broken up, he hadn't attended the gala with her, and she had died from her injuries.
UNRELATED BUT FUN TO IMAGINE: Last week, The Big Bang Theory used a clip of NCIS with the premise that Penny's bit part on the show had been cut. Big Bang could have played it to the hilt using a clip of Margo Harshman on NCIS and having someone say, "Isn't that Alex?"
UPDATE: The January 14 episode "Double Back" covers the aftermath of the drone strike.