Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NCIS features patent in 28 September 2010 episode

In the beginning of NCIS on 28 September 2010 ["Worst Nightmare"], some school kids are put to sleep while in class. Although it might have been the subject matter [discussion of Paradise Lost, and the quote: "Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heav’n" ], the culprit was actually gas being piped into the classroom. One of the school kids is kidnapped. Later, Abby identifies the gas compound, a high molecular weight organic unlikely to have significant volatility [ie, scientifically implausible].

Still later in the show, we get to the patent connection. Although Abby had been unable to find the gas compound in any chemical database, a variant on the molecule is found within a patent on a sense delivery system for billboards. [Obliquely, the show makes the point that a chemical compound has to be patented for a use, here a smell emanating from a billboard. One cannot patent a chemical compound without identifying a use.]

The connection between the mystery gas and patent leads to an inference that whoever filed the patent is the same guy who released the gas.

Tim Greystone from Greystone Compounding Industries / Greystone Pharmacy is the potential chemist/patentee villain.
But the chemist villain is actually a chemist victim. [As a bit of "unintended consequences," the compound was invented to reduce casualties.]

Mason (Devane), the grandfather of the kidnapped girl, speaks of an off-the-books experiment which did the things that needed to done. The experiment was during the Reagan time (allusion to "Simi Valley"). Project cancelled two decades ago and the team members were not to contact one another. But now one member of the old team is atoning for past bad deeds by killing the other team members.

Mason (Devane) has figured out that the kidnapping is merely a ruse to cause Mason to seek out, and thus expose, members of his team from the off-the-books experiment. The poor chemist/inventor is a victim, not a perp.

Walter Carmichael (the teacher of the class from the beginning of the show and played by "Lost" actor Sam Anderson) turns out to be the real villain.

for a detailed summary Worst Nightmare Episode Recap


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