NCIS: “Newborn King”

Grade: B

Airdate: 12/13/11

This was a good but rather predictable episode of NCIS. It is the shows last episode before their winter break so it was Christmas themed. During the opening scene a Navy guy rents a really expensive hotel room on Christmas Eve. He then gets a call from a mystery girl, opens his door and is shot and killed.

Meanwhile at NCIS, Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) is waiting for his future father-in-law, Ed, to show up so he can give him a tour of NCIS. Jimmy spends the rest of the episode trying to impress Ed and get him to stop making fun of NCIS. Tony (Michael Weatherly) get a card from his former finance Wendy saying she just got divorced and wants to see Tony. All the holiday stuff is quickly broken up and the team goes to the crime scene.

While they are there the mystery girl calls again and challenges Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to find her. Tony and McGee (Sean Murray) find a marine bag filled with women’s cloths in the dead Navy guy’s car. Abby (Pauley Perrette) is able to track down the girl at a shopping center somewhere in Virginia. The teams minus McGee goes out to find her. Gibbs and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) catch her in the dressing room of a women’s clothing store and find out that she is a marine and eight-and-a-half months pregnant.

The marine girl, Emma played by Erin Cottrell, says that three guys have been following her in Department of Defense cars and she thinks they killed her friend the Navy guy but she is the target. Abby and McGee are able to figure out that her Afghani baby daddy was the sole hier to land in Afghanistan that an Afghani tribe and the U.S. government wants for trade routes. So, her baby is the heir if it is a boy.

Gibbs decides that they need to get Emma back to NCIS because she is being followed and there is a blizzard coming. Tony and Ziva caught one of the guys outside the shopping center. Tony drives him back to NCIS. Gibbs and Ziva go with Emma. Of course Tony gets back fine and finds out that it was the tribe that is trailing Emma. Gibbs car starts having trouble and they are forced to pull over at a closed car repair/gas station place.

This is where it got predictable. Of course, Emma goes into labor just as the two other bad guys show up. Gibbs says with Emma to help deliver the baby and Ziva goes to be a bad-ass. There was sort of a sound editing fail in this scene. For some reason the sounds of Ziva killing people, a baby being delivered and “Silent Night” were all mashed together. It sounded terrible. It would have been better if all we heard was “Silent Night” and the rest of the audio was cut. Anyway, Ziva got the bad guys and the baby was a girl, so no more problems.

The episode ends with Tony going to Gibbs basement. Tony tells him that he went over to Wendy’s but sat outside and couldn’t bring himself to go in. Tony says Gibbs taught him that you can’t be fully dedicated to the job if you have a family. Gibbs tells Tony not to end up like him and then invites him over to Christmas dinner with Mike Frank’s daughter and grand-daughter. I really liked this ending because I am still trying to figure out if Gibbs told Tony to go get a family or if Gibbs is his family.

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NCIS: “Sins of the Father”

 Grade: A-

Airdate: 11/29/11

Anytime the suspect is or is related to a member of the NCIS team it’s going to be a good episode. This time around it was Anthony DiNizzo Sr., played by Robert Wagner.

The episode started with two cops finding Senior, obviously hung-over, in a Rolls Royce that has a body in the trunk. Meanwhile, at NCIS Tony (Michael Weatherly) is complaining that his dad was supposed to meet him for dinner but never called to say what restaurant. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) comes in and tells the team they have a body. It isn’t until they get to the crime scene that they find out the suspect is Tony’s dad. Gibbs instantly forces Tony to sit the case out.

Gibbs is questioning Senior back at NCIS and finds out that he didn’t know about the body and can’t remember anything from the night before. Abby (Pauley Perrette) tells Gibbs that his blood alcohol level would have been .15 during the murder. Senior and Tony both say that he can usually hold his alcohol. The victim is Dean Massey, who is a former Air Force pilot and wealthy land developer that Senior was about to close a deal with, but it went south.

Gibbs and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) go to Massey’s company and find a recording of the meeting, on which Senior says he is going to kill Massey. For the next few scenes Abby, Ziva and McGee (Sean Murray) keep finding more evidence against Tony’s dad. Tony tries to get information out of all of them. McGee is the only one who gives in and tells Tony they are doing the best they can to try every angle but they are “one very special agent short.”

Gibbs does a few things throughout the episode to take care of Senior, including keeping him out of jail by getting him a house arrest bracelet and having him stay at his house. Senior thanks him for it, but Gibbs said he didn’t do it for him. Every episode Senior is in usually plays up the fact that Gibbs has been a better father to Tony than his father ever was. Senior started to caught on in this episode.

Close to the end of the episode, it seems like all the facts are pointing to Senior and the framed theory is dead. But, with some last-minute evidence finding by Abby we find out that he was framed and drugged. Gibbs and the team go and arrest the victim’s lawyer and secretary girlfriend.

The episode ends on a heartfelt father-son moment between Senior and Tony, set up by Gibbs. Overall all it was a good episode. There was a lot of solo Ziva scene, which was fun because she doesn’t usually get very many. NCIS is always good at doing family episodes. A-.


NCIS: “Thirst” and “Devil’s Triangle”

 Grade: “Thirst”-B, “Devil’s Triangle”- A

Airdates: 10/25/11, 11/1/11

Thirst

This episode of NCIS started with a marine walking down a highway and getting nicked by a semi-truck. He dies shortly after, but seemingly not form the accident.

Duckie (David McCallum) figures out that he died from water intoxication and was tied up before he died. Tony (Michael Weatherly) is the first to say waterboarding. The episode did a good job with setting that up because I was thinking it right before Tony said it. While Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team are off questioning people, Duckie is spend a lot of time with his girlfriend that he meet online Mary (Cheryl Ladd). Mary seemed to be in the episode a little too much, so I started suspecting something.

About half way through the episode when the team is trying to find the victim’s car they find another victim in the woods. He is tied to a tree with an empty water jug beside him. Abby (Pauley Perrette) finds out that this guy and victim had ecstasy in their systems, which made them drink all the water. The team is trying to find a connection between the victims and figure out that they both went to the military family center that Mary runs. Called it.

The scene  switches to Duckie and Mary at his house. She tells Duckie about the murders and said she did them because he said that every murder seemed the same, so she gave him something different. The team bursts in and saves Duckie from the obviously crazy Mary.

Overall, pretty good episode. It was a little predictable, I knew the murders were going to have something to do with Mary because she was in the episode way too much. Actually her and Duckie were in it so much that everyone was hardly in the episode.

Watch “Thirst”

Devil’s Triangle

The episode starts with a guy, who is talking to his annoying wife on the phone, while going through a drive through. When he gets to the window he is shot with a tranquilizer gun. The scene switches to NCIS and a few minutes later Gibbs gets the call we all think is the “we got a murder” call. He doesn’t tell the others what it is and leaves. He goes to a coffee stand where he meets Tobias (Joe Spano) from the FBI. We find out that Diane (Melinda McGraw), Gibbs and Tobias’ ex-wife, called both of them. The guy from the drive through is her husband, Victor, and he is missing.

They both agree to help here, mainly because they both seem a little scared of her. They go to the drive through and find that two of the employees were shot and thrown in the freezer. Duckie makes a small appearance in this scene and seems a little shaken up by the whole my girlfriend was a psycho killer thing. I like when crime shows carry small details over into the next episode, NCIS doesn’t do it that often. Tony and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) get a kick out of watching Gibbs and Tobias interact with Diane and keep trying to figure out how she ended up with both of them.

Victor works for homeland security, so everyone is worried that his kidnapping is a terrorist action. It starts to seem like it is, but Victor is the terrorist. He staged the kidnapping, sneaked into a homeland security data storage place and stole the information to make an airborne virus. Gibbs and Tobias have a hard time trying to tell Diane all of this, but she insisted that he is being set up. They end up finding him locked up in a warehouse somewhere and he says the same.

Gibbs and the team thought that the terrorist wanted to build and sell virus, but Victor says they want to build and use it. Abby is able to find out from a voice message that they plan on using the virus at the Armed Forces football game, where the heads of all five branches will be. The team and Tobias go in and end up stopping the guy, who ends up being a higher up at Homeland Security.

Diane goes to Gibbs house near the end of the episode.  She says that she knows Gibbs didn’t love her, because the only woman he will ever love was his first wife Shannon. There was a lot of interesting insight about Gibbs in this episode, that one was probably the best. So with that and all the excitement it was a well done episode.

Watch “Devil’s Triangle”


NCIS: “Safe Harbor”

 Grade: B+

Airdate: 10/18/11

After the big reveal on NCIS last week, I figured there would be something about it this week. But, there was nothing on the fact that Abby (Pauley Perrette) is adopted and she found her biological brother Kyle. As I said last week, when NCIS does emotional stuff with their female character’s it is always very good, so this episode was good.

During the opening scene we see a Coast Guard Petty Officer killed on an apparently empty cargo ship 10 miles off the coast of Norfolk. At NCIS Tony(Michael Weatherly), Ziva (Cote de Pablo) and McGee (Sean Murray) are saying that Gibbs (Mark Harmon) has been calling them and working even more than usual. Tony said they need to find him the perfect woman. Just then CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal) walks in  and tells the team they will be working jointly with the Coast Guard.

The team heads out to the ship, which is still anchored offshore. While investigating the crime scene, they hear noise coming from below. It turns out the noise was coming from a family locked in a room below deck. The family, who is fleeing to the U.S. from Lebanon, said the crew locked them in and abandoned ship. The team splits up and questions the husband, wife and two sons separately. Ziva was a connection with the wife Mariam, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, by talking about lost family members and escaping violent countries.

NCIS Abby does some forensic magic and finds out that their was never a crew, so someone in the family killed the Petty Officer and locked them in the room. McGee then finds out that the husband, Farid, is a wanted terrorist who blow up a cafe in Lebanon in the 80s. This is all sort of ironic since the oldest son was saying he didn’t want to come to America because everyone will assume he’s a terrorist. Later on, Farid confesses that the oldest son was the shooter.

While the interrogation of the Farid is taking place, Ziva is on the ship having a heart-to-heart with Mariam about turning a blind-eye to what your husband is doing to protect your family. Ziva gets a little mad and insists it doesn’t work. Just after Farid blames the oldest son, Ziva and Mariam are locked into the mess hall and the Coast Guard Officer nearby is knocked out. Ziva gets them out, just as Gibbs, Tony, McGee and CG Abby arrive. Sometime between the interrogation and everyone meeting up NCIS Abby finds out that the ship is triggered to explode.

The team plus CG Abby and Mariam find the youngest son about to set off the bomb. He wants to make the U.S. pay for setting off a bomb in Lebanon that killed his sister. Mariam says she doesn’t want loss anyone else to this hatred and he stops.

The other story of this episode is that Tony, McGee and CG Abby with a little help from Ziva and NCIS Abby are looking through all of CG Abby’s friends to find the prefect woman for Gibbs. They eventually find one, but Gibbs already dated her and said it didn’t work because prefect isn’t any fun. A little while later Tony and McGee leave Gibbs and CG Abby alone. She tells him that his team is worried that he’s lonely. She asks him if he is and he denies it. CG Abby is called away and leaves the episode giving the audience the same feeling she does every time. That she will be back and something might happen between her and Gibbs.

At the end of the episode, Gibbs is alone with Ziva and asks her what she thinks about the whole situation with the Lebanese family. She says she is annoyed with Mariam for ignoring her husband’s terrorist activity and lying to her kids about who he was. She said her mother never told her anything either and she couldn’t figure out why. Gibbs said it was because she was just being a mom. Ziva also asks him if he is lonely and he says you can’t be lonely when you have kids.

I really like this line because it sums up an important part of this show. I could point out the obvious that the team is a dysfunctional family, but it applies particularly well to this episode and the last one. Ziva, Tony, McGee and Abby (the kids) spent a major part of the episode trying to set up Gibbs (the single dad) and it rehashes last episode’s theme that family isn’t always about blood. So, overall this was a very good episode, even if it mostly ignored the events from last episode.

Watch “Safe Harbor”


NCIS: “Enemy on the Hill”

 Grade: A+

Airdate: 10/11/11

This was by far the best episode of NCIS in a while, probably since Ziva was kidnapped at the end of season six. When NCIS does emotional stuff involving their female characters they always do it very well. Of course, that story was proceeded by a complex murder case.

The episode started with a GNN camera crew trying to interview people in a park. As the broadcaster tries to get a guy to do an interview he runs away and is hit by a van. The guy turns out to be “The Cooler”, a hit-man that is on the top of the FBI’s most wanted list. NCIS is involved because his next target was Naval Commander Geoffery Brett. Brett is reluctant to accept protective custody, but does mostly because Ziva (Cote de Pablo) is going to stay with him.

Also, early in the episode Abby (Pauley Perrette) tells everyone that she is a match for a kid at her church that needs a kidney transplant. She leaves to go meet with the donation coordinator. A little bit later an uncharacteristic sad Abby goes and talk to Ducky (David McCallum). She tells him that a guy is also a perfect match for the kidney, which means the guy is Abby’s brother. But, the information is confidential so the coordinator can’t tell Abby anything. Abby talked to her little brother, Luca, and he didn’t know anything about it. The rest of her family is dead so she has no way of finding out if her parents had another son that they gave up for adoption.

To compensate for Abby being sad most of the bit parts are pretty comedic, so the episode is pretty funny. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team trace the money for the hit to a tax lawyer named Drew Turner and a stock broker named George Kaplan. Tony (Michael Weatherly) and McGee (Sean Murray) go to question Drew, who is a girl much to Tony’s amusement. She hardly gives any information about George.

The team runs into some evidence finding problems because Abby is too distracted thinking about her other brother. Gibbs and McGee take particular notice of this and Gibbs tells McGee to figure it out for her. A little bit later McGee and Tony go back to question Drew, but find her dead. She was strangled but someone made it look like a suicide. Abby comes through with evidence finding by figuring out that George Kaplan is Commander Brett. He and Drew had been laundering money, but she was losing some of it because of a gambling problem. She took out the hit on Brett so all the money would be hers, he found out and killed her.

McGee finds out the information on Abby’s brother, whose name is Kyle Davis, played by Daniel Louis Rivas. Gibbs goes down and gives it to Abby. Abby goes alone to meet him. The address McGee found for him is an animal rescue shelter that he operates. The two of them hit it off pretty quickly and Kyle says that Abby looks familiar. Kyle was cast very well because he looks a lot like Abby.

The scene then switches to Gibbs’ house that night. He answers his door and it is Abby. He asks her how it went with Kyle. She didn’t tell him who she was, but she found out something else. She has a piece of her mom’s hair in a locket. She did a DNA test on it and her hair. What she finds out is that Kyle was not given up for adoption, she was adopted. She tells Gibbs that she has to figure out who she is before she turns Kyle and Luca’s lives upside down. Gibbs ends the episode by telling Abby that she is still the same person and that the team is her family and they will help her get through it.

As I said earlier, NCIS is good with emotional stuff relating to the female character’s who usually don’t show sad emotion. The last scene is acted incredible well by Pauley Perrette and Mark Harmon. And everyone loves Abby. So good job NCIS, you get my first A+ of the fall season.

Watch “Enemy on the Hill”


NCIS: “Restless” and “The Penelope Papers”

 Grade: “Restless”: B+, “The Penelope Papers”: A-

Restless

Airdate: 9/27/11

This was an average episode of NCIS. The episode started with a marine arriving at his homecoming party with a stab wound in his chest. He then dies in front of his whole family. So, jam-packed opening scene. Meanwhile, at NCIS, Tony (Michael Weatherly) is still recovering from his concussion last episode. Mostly, he is just not remembering things and McGee (Sean Murray) and Ziva (Cote de Pablo) making fun are him.

The team is called to the crime scene and find out that the victim is an incredibly well-liked marine named Tommy. He was going to be the honored guest in the town’s high-school homecoming parade. That creates a high-school theme for the episode. We get stories about everyone in high-school, mostly related to their homecoming dances.

Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the team start to find evidence, like money buried in the woods and goofy bank statements, that seem to prove that Tommy wasn’t such a spectacular guy. With a bunch of different suspects, instance Gibbs’ interrogation and Abby (Pauley Perrette) evidence finding magic we find out the killer is Tommy’s foster sister’s uncle. There are far too many twists and plotlines to recap everything in this episode. But the main theme was growing up and trying to over come hardships in your childhood. Good episode, good message. B+

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The Penelope Papers

Airdate: 10/4/11

This episode starts with a guy having a worried phone conversion in a park. He hangs up the phone and about three seconds later he is shot in the head. The team arrives and quickly identifies him at Capt. Paul Booth. Tony then find McGee’s business card from eight years ago in Booth’s wallet. The team finds out that the victim works for a secret research group that makes weapons and such for the military. Booth has been stealing files about something called “The Annex Principle” from the company, copying them and leaking them an editor at the D.C. Chronicle.

So basically this episode is a retelling of The Pentagon Papers. Booth was working this McGee’s grandma Penny, played by Lily Tomlin. She is a suspect for most of the episode, until she almost gets killed. Then team then assumes that the company is taking out everyone, but actually it is someone who worked on the Annex Principle during its first go-around in the 1970s. Penny was one of the six people who worked on it.

McGee has a lot of emotional stuff in this episode because of Penny’s presence. McGee feels like her disappointed his father and hasn’t spoken to him in seven years. Penny convinces him to call him and he eventually does at the end of the episode.

Most of the story is focused on McGee, so the other characters are pretty much left out. Apparently Jimmy (Brian Dietzen) is planning his wedding. I don’t know if this is new or if I just missed that, but cool. Very good episode overall; complex story line, lots of character development stuff on McGee’s part.

Watch “The Penelope Papers”


NCIS: “Nature of the Beast”

 Grade: A-

Airdate: 9/20/11

NCIS started its ninth season with a classic NCIS episode. It had a lot of very detailed and kind of confusing plot lines. Also, it started very cryptic and was told mostly in flashbacks.

In the opening scene Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is walking down a hospital wing with Dr. Rachel Cranston, played Wendy Makkena, Kate’s psychologist sister. They are both talking about someone who was shot and allegedly killed an NCIS agent. They open the door to a room and we see that they are talking about Tony (Michael Weatherly). Tony was found with someone else’s NCIS badge in his pocket and three bullets missing from his gun. Tony can’t remember anything and Rachel says that he must have blocked the traumatic experience. Gibbs assumes that all this has something to do with the secret assignment he was given at the end of last season. Rachel tells Tony to tell her everything he can remember.

The majority of the episode from this point on is a flashback. It starts in late may just after Tony was given the secret assignment. We quickly find out that the file was a photo of the person Tony is supposed to take-out. The flashback spans the three months the show wasn’t on the air, so there is way too much detail to explain it all. Basically, everyone knows that Tony is working on a secret assignment but no one knows what it is and everyone is worried, especially Ziva (Cote de Pablo). Ziva and Ray are still together but he is on some secret assignment for the CIA.

For a lot of the episode we think Agent E.J. Barrett (Sarah Jane Morris) is the person in the photo. E.J. was caught on video removing a microchip from Agent Levin’s arm. The team is able to track Levin and other dead marine to an elite group of navy spies. The plot gets really confusing here. But the chip leads Tony to E.J. and then both of them to Cade (Matthew Willig). The three of them meet in the alley where, we have been told, the shooting takes place. They all got a text to meet there but everyone thought it was from one of them.

It turns out they got the text from a FBI Agent, played by Michael J. Fox, who Gibbs was suspicious about before. He shoots Cade, E.J. and Tony. Then takes Tony’s gun and shots Cade three more times and puts Cade’s badge in Tony’s pocket.

Back in the present, we find out that Cade is dead and E.J. is missing. Michael J. Fox ends up not being a FBI agent and actually part of the elite spy group. He was working for one of the guys Tony got his mission from. The microchips are like access cards to navy surveillance stuff all over the world and the head of the navy group and Fox’s character are selling the chips to what looks to be terrorist.

So, a few new story lines are already set up for this season. The episode focused rather heavily on Tony, which wasn’t a bad thing but I would like to have seen a little bit more of the other characters.

Watch “Nature of the Beast”