A fire truck pulls up and the firefighters break into a house with smoke billowing out of the window. When the firefighters get inside, they see that the smoke was caused by a turkey burning in the oven – but soon spot signs of a struggle and a large pool of blood in the living room.
In a coffee shop, McGee is staring at a blank page, suffering from writer’s block, unsure how to write chapter 7 of his new book. He’s called away from the shop to the house, where he and DiNozzo are going through the house, filled with signs of a big party and movie posters. Gibbs and Ziva are also in the house, leased to Petty Officer Darren Cove. Gibbs eventually finds a note on the floor, “One down, two to go.”
Back at base, the team is reviewing the file of Darren Cove – he’s been arrested twice since enlisting for small crimes – when they find out that his pickup truck has been found abandoned on a highway. The inside of the pickup is filled with more blood, with an indication that there might have been more than one body. As McGee is reviewing the contents of the truck, he’s struck by a sense of déjà vu.
In Abby’s lab, she confirms that there was someone else’s blood and fingerprints on the glass of a drink at Cove’s house. Abby (who has an uncle who ran a bar on Canal Street in New Orleans), has been trying to figure out what the drink is. McGee, however, knows the drink – it’s called a “Hairy Hangover”, a drink he invented for a character for the new book he’s writing.
McGee confirms that the character he was writing is based on Cove – someone he saw at his coffee shop. He also tells Gibbs that he sent a copy of his chapters to his publisher, which is the only link between his pages and the drink found. McGee’s publisher, Lyndi Crawshaw, tells Gibbs and DiNozzo that McGee has three ‘stalkers’ who sent letters to the publisher. Ducky reviews the three letters, and concludes that the person who wrote the letters is the same person, who is now dangerously obsessed with McGee and his book.
The team then goes to the various places where McGee’s character goes, including a park where the character goes to think. The team find not only Officer Cove, stabbed through the chest, but also another man, Adrian Corbett, whom McGee used as another character in his new book, similarly stabbed. Based on the type of wound, the team figures out that a javelin was used to kill them, as that was the murder weapon in the new book. McGee, looking over the bodies in Ducky’s morgue, is feeling guilty about the deaths he feels he inadvertently caused.
Abby tells the team (after trying to get more details about McGee’s new book) that Cove’s hand had a second blood type – that of the likely killer. She also was able to get a fingerprint off the stamp used to mail the letters to McGee’s publisher, coming up with a match of Todd Ryder, who was arrested once for possession of marijuana. Gibbs and DiNozzo spot Todd working as a security guard. They chase Todd, who seems more scared than hardened. When they stop him, Todd tells them that McGee’s publisher told him to mail the letters she wrote back to the agency. She tells Gibbs that she used the letters as a means to get more publicity for McGee’s new book. Abby then confirms that she wasn’t the killer.
McGee and DiNozzo are sitting in McGee’s apartment, trying to figure out how the killer managed to get the story, when the only copies are either locked up or shredded. McGee eventually figures out that the killer got the story by reviewing the typewriter ribbon he uses when writing his books, which get thrown out with the trash. When the team reviews the story, they eventually figure out that Abby is the third victim. McGee had written some extra pages, where he detailed that two people – the characters based on Cove and Corbett – wanted McGee’s character dead. When reviewing the book, they find that Abby’s character is in love with McGee’s character, but that she tells her aunt that McGee has ‘to go’ – to McGee, that means the character leaves the agency, but to the killer, it means Abby’s character is threatening him.
Abby is staying at a convent, since her apartment is flooded. She’s woken up by the killer, Landon – the guy from McGee’s coffee shop who talked to McGee earlier in the day. Landon calls Abby ‘Amy’, and talks about how ‘she’ was planning on killing ‘special agent McGregor’ – McGee. The team gets to Abby just in time, with McGee defusing the situation by telling Landon that he and ‘Amy’ are supposed to get married at the end of the book. After the team disarms Landon and takes him away, Abby and McGee talk, where Abby is under the impression that what McGee said would be the actual ending of the book.
The people present for this final scene are Abby, Gibbs and McGee. Gibbs has turned his back, to give an illusion of privacy to the young couple but he winces as Abby, instead of listening to McGee's contrition over her narrow escape, is more concerned to insist that McGee must not marry off Amy to Agent McGregor because 'they are all wrong for each other.' Tim frowns with puzzlement but Gibbs sees that Abby may be talking about Amy/McGregor but is actually thinking of Abby/McGee.
McGee's unfinished book is called "Rock Hollow". It's a follow up to his best-seller book "Deep Six". Landon refers to McGee when serving his coffee as "Thom E. Gemcity", McGee's pen name (Thom E. Gemcity is an anagram of Timothy McGee).
Ducky remarks that "L.J. Tibbs", the character McGee based on Gibbs, gets romantically involved with an Army Lt. Col., just like Gibbs does with Hollis Mann.
The picture to the left of McGee's, in the publisher's office, is Donald Bellisario the show's executive producer. The picture to the right is of Tom Clancy. At the far end near the publisher's desk is a photo of Stephen J. Cannell.
The character of Darren Cove lives and works on a military base in Norfolk, Virginia, approximately three hours from D.C. McGee recognizes Cove from seeing his Ford Ranger in the drive-through window at his local coffeeshop. It is unreasonable to think Cove would drive three hours for coffee.