Being Good in the Eyes of Procedural Crime

You know that a text is on your mind when even when you’re watching or doing things other than reading the text, the text is still able to connect back to whatever you are doing. In this case, I happened to be catching up on NCIS‘ new season. The name of the episode that I was watching was called ‘Being Bad’, and the premise followed as such:

In the beginning, you see a high- school reunion going on. These two men, both very nerdy looking, are walking into the gym when a grade- A douchebag looking guy (you know the type: peaked in high-school, never grew out of it) approaches them and antagonizes them, just as he did back in the day. Neal, the nerd, isn’t really taking him on, that is until Bruno (the douchebag), throws a punch at him. Neal then grabs his arm and flips him over onto his back and delivers this line that made me jump in pride: “Hey, so what’d you end up doing after high-school? I joined special forces.” (1:38). I was like ooooohh my GOD! Yes!

A minute later, Bruno is dead. Poisoned. *Cue NCIS opening theme*

The episode takes a load of turns as the team finds out that Bruno had hidden a bomb in a locker, a bomb that had the ability to kill everyone in the gym. Obviously things aren’t looking good for our douchebag. Tries to beat up a nerd, commit mass murder, and then they find out that he was involved in a major theft ring that Metro PD had been trying to solve for years. He was the guy on the team who broke into the houses and stole the stuff. The latest thing he stole was a painting worth over a million dollars, but no one could find it. As the investigation continues, the team finds out who else was involved in the theft ring; a group of 5 people, Neal (our nerd), included. The other three also all went to the same high-school, and they came up with the idea for a massive theft ring when the five of them (from drastically different social backgrounds and classes), had a Saturday detention together.

It was like the Breakfast Club, just with less musical montage and more illegal activities.

Bruno is really looking like a bad guy here, but the thing is that one of the group members is insistent that Bruno would never want to kill people. Then another group member speaks up and says that he was a nice guy, and that he even staged the fight with Neal so that Neal¬†could look good in front of the ladies. If you want to know what happened to Neal, he kills himself so that he doesn’t have to go to jail. Not before he confesses everything via video and a typed out document, though. Thanks, Neal.

Another bit of evidence turns up when it’s found that right before putting the bomb in the locker, Bruno had tampered with it and deactivated it, so that the ‘pretty girl’ (the mastermind behind the bomb idea) of the ring couldn’t detonate it. At this point, Abby, the forensic scientist, and Gibbs (the team leader), while talking say something that I think Mengzi would definitely agree with:

(This is after finding out about the bomb being deactivated)

Gibbs (about Bruno): Bad on the outside, good on the inside.

Abby: Maybe he got cold feet. Decided he didn’t want to be a depraved mass murderer after all. See, this is why I’m a people person. Because the good on the inside, it always-

Gibbs: Abbs… (and so the dialog continues)


Okay, so Gibbs interrupted Abby when she was JUST getting to the Mengzi part, but I think we can all conclude what she was about to say. That the good on the inside, it always shines through. That definitely relates to Mengzi’s innate goodness theory. When she started to say this, I got unreasonably excited as my brain instantly made the Mengzi connection.

As the episode comes to a close, we find out that Bruno’s landlord killed him to steal the painting for herself, the remaining members of the theft ring are arrested and sent to Metro, and one last piece of evidence for the case of Good Guy Bruno is shown: they found a laptop in Bruno’s car, on the laptop was an email that confessed everything and outed everyone. He never got the chance to send it. Agent Torres tells Gibbs of this development in this exchange:

Torres: … Guess he figured which version was the real him (about Bruno).

Gibbs: The good guy.

(40:40- 40:53)

Basically, I think that if Mengzi was here today he’d really like this episode of NCIS. It showed that even though this guy had stolen millions of dollars worth of items from peoples’ homes, and though the police themselves had absolutely no leads on who was behind it all, he still had a conscience. He showed his inherent goodness, and it shone through. He was literally being a good guy until his last breath, which is sad to think about. But at least in this case, Mengzi’s theory rings true: that we all have the capability to be good.

I believe it too, and I think Abby would also definitely agree.



“Being Bad.”¬†NCIS. CBS, WBBM-TV, Vancouver, 27 Sept. 2016

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