A dead body in a museum is actually Bud Samuels, a retired SEAL who spent his time hunting down people pretending to be members of the military in order to get financial or social benefits. With the help of Addy Watkins from the Office of Stolen Valor, the NCIS team looks into "Bud the Hunter's" files and find a link to Lynn Bowers; they find security footage of Bowers and Samuels in an argument, as well.
They go to Bowers's girlfriend's apartment to arrest him, but Bowers and his girlfriend flee the scene on the back of her motorcycle. They search the apartment for clues and find a burned boot matching a print at the crime scene. The team also finds a genuine military jacket belonging to an explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) expert, Zach "Taz" Chase, who was declared MIA from Afghanistan. His body was never found after a devastating explosion.
They bring in Chase's parents; his mother is able to confirm that the jacket does indeed belong to her son when she pulls out a Celtic shield knot she had sewn into the lining. They realize that someone must have found and moved his body.
Bowers's girlfriend is arrested at a bus station, and it doesn't take much convincing from Brody to get her to give up Bowers. They ask about the jacket, and he points them to an importer, Hamid. Hamid claims he bought the jacket off a boy in Karachi. The team contacts the troops overseas, who locate the child. The child says that he got the jacket in Ghazni, from a man being kept in a pit to repair cell phones. A man named "Taz."
Pride and LaSalle immediately fly out to Afghanistan to join the search at the last place that Chase was seen. The militants are long gone, but they locate some hash marks in the pit Chase had been kept in, and they translate them as latitude and longitude coordinates. They soon locate and free Chase from his captivity, returning him home for a tearful reunion with his parents.
LaSalle, meanwhile, locates his brother Cade after he realizes that Cade was using their mother's maiden name. He goes off to enjoy the holiday celebrations with Watkins.