NCIS Unplugged: "Power Down" Review

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NCIS tried something in last night's episode, "Power Down," that might sound hokey if you're just reading it here, or have never seen the show. But the entertaining characters, sharp dialogue and lightning-quick plot development somehow make it work.

A city-wide blackout.

It was a new wrinkle that made the episode from beginning to end, and instead of coming off like a lame stunt because the writers ran out of ideas, the power outage was the opposite, seamlessly integrated into the case and the agents trying to crack it.

After D.C. was plunged into darkness for a matter of days, Gibbs and his crew attempted to investigate an apparent cyber-attack-turned-murder without the usual bells and whistles.

Older viewers, especially those with law enforcement backgrounds, may remember these days well. But for a younger audience, it begged the question: How do forensic experts, medical examiners and investigators do their jobs in this situation?

Literally working in the dark, the gang scrambled to cope with their lack of technology. Except for Gibbs, a man of few words, and certainly one unmoved by his agents' plight. There's nothing he can't handle, old school style, as he later proved.

McGee

McGee was a fish out of water without his computer - but he came through.

McGee, the ultimate computer geek, suffered paper cuts (and obligatory ribbing from Tony) sifting through files by hand. Tony made references to old cop shows. Abby proved her resourcefulness (despite a lack of Caf-Pow) and Ducky ... well, Ducky had power.

The basement had generators. Bodies, after all. Could get ugly.

One of the funnier moments of the night came when he revealed he let the staff "use 107" as a fridge with the power out upstairs. Gibbs, in typical fashion, stared in disbelief.

As they investigated the breakin at a local Internet provider, Gibbs (Polaroid in hand) figured out one of the servers had been switched out, and the case was not as it seemed.

A Naval officer who was killed on site at first seemed to be complicit in the breakin and the subsequent security breach. But it turned out she was working undercover throughout.

She made sure her death would be investigated and the true perpetrators outed. While the final 15 minutes unfolded almost too quickly, it was a terrific hour of television.

Even makes us wish they'd keep the power out one more week.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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NCIS Quotes

I am an NCIS special agent. My duty is to serve and protect the United States, and our Navy and Marine Corps across global boundaries. I recognize my badge as a symbol of authority and public trust. I will live my life above reproach, understanding my actions reflect upon my fellow special agents, and our agency.

Tony

Palmer: I take it you heard?
Gibbs: Mmm hmm.
Palmer: Yeah, she saw the baby and just....I guess she felt the same way we felt when we first saw him. Can't fault her for that, right?
Gibbs: You should go home.
Palmer: I will. Yeah Breena and I, we just wanted to get all this stuff out of the house. You know, we wanted to give it back as soon as possible.
Gibbs: We.
Palmer: Me. She's hurting too, but she is so much stronger. She's ready to try again. And me - I feel like I can't breathe. I never felt this bad in my life, Gibbs.
Gibbs: Well, just wait until it's 3:00 in the morning, and your kid's running 104. You're just getting started.
Palmer: That's the point. I'm not starting, you know? Maybe I never will.
Gibbs: Well then fight for it, Palmer! That's what you do. You fight for your family. And sometimes, you fight like hell just to have one.
Palmer: You want me to fight, I feel like I just went ten rounds with Joe Louis.
Gibbs: Do you want to be a dad, Palmer? Because right now, this is being a dad.
Palmer: Maybe I'm not ready.
Gibbs: You wouldn't feel the way you feel, right now, if you weren't ready.