NCIS Review: Good Work, Abbses

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Even during unspectacular, standalone episodes such as Tuesday's "Ships in the Night," there are few shows as consistently sharp, thought-provoking and funny than NCIS.

This installment didn't offer much in the way of advancing ongoing character narratives, nor was it particularly complex or high-stakes as far as the murder mystery went.

Nevertheless, a better hour of television is hard to come by.

Gibbs, McGee and Abby 2.0

McGee, Gibbs and Abby 2.0 down coffee and pursue suspects.

The title, "Ships in the Night," proved literal as CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin (Diane Neal) was on board a dinner cruise on the worst blind date ever when a murder occurred.

Considering the dude she was with, one percent of her was likely glad it did.

What followed was an old-school case of sorts. Tony even acknowledged the slow-developing nature of the classic "whodunit" with movie quotes (obviously) and Clue references.

The chemistry between Gibbs and Coast Guard Abby may not be romantic, but it's great. When he said he'd see her "this time next year," you can only hope so, if not sooner.

Not only is her name Abby, but she even has her own rules. Watching Gibbs work with his own female, CGIS equivalent is a treat to watch. He does have a thing for redheads ...

She does seem like the type he would date. Just saying. Maybe next season.

The death of Navy Lt. Patrick Nolan on the boat was hard for the team to pin on anyone. Plenty of suspects, questionable motives, no hard evidence. Where did that leave them?

In the end, it was the breaking of Gibbs' Rule #1 - never put suspects together - that saved the day. If it worked like this every time, that rule would be stricken from the book.

You wonder if real law enforcement would ever pull such a stunt, and if it would be successful. Those three miscreants turned on each other so fast, it was almost bizarre.

The Lieutenant, who left the family business to serve his country, was whacked because he stood to inherit his father's company, which he planned to transform into a charity.

His socialite sister, the company CFO and their lawyer weren't having it.

A Thing For Redheads

Nothing like a redhead in a gorgeous dress ... covered in blood.

Before they could pin the killing on that trio, an angry ex-Marine and a well-known D.C. playboy dating the deceased's sister were also suspects who took up the team's attention.

That led to some great discussions about celebrities and fame in the 21st Century, from Ducky's historical perspective to Gibbs having no clue what "viral" meant in that context.

There was also an entertaining, running gag between over Tony and Ziva's sleep deprivation and comp time. Could DiNozzo really not know he's entitled to it? And how jealous is he?

As always, regular Abby was tremendous as well, adding unique flair and forensics expertise, which, given the unusual circumstances, played a particularly big role this week.

If there were an NCIS mascot, she would definitely be it ... though we're a little scared about the Caf-Pow record if the carnage on the table last night wasn't even her maximum.

Final thoughts and observations ...

  • Think Gibbs gets Starbucks gift cards for Christmas and nothing else?
  • Borin's Rule #1 is never make excuses. They should compare notes.
  • "We've gone from Socrates to Snooki." - Ducky
  • "That is why it is called a batnap." - Ziva
  • Skippy kind of suits Tony, no?

What did you think of last night's NCIS? Discuss!


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Is the actor who plays McGee OK health wise?. I am a bit shocked at how thin he has become, even with the camera adding 10lbs.


we need a ziva centered ep... i miss those. tony was great, and watching ziva fight is always fun. abigial is freakin awesome. she should be on there 4 times a season lmao. gibbs= awesome. mcgee= quirky.. ducky and abby.. doing their thing.. but where was palmer? i missed the idiot. haha


Abby, Borin and Gibbs were great! Need better McGee stories. Need more Tony action. Why is Ziva still on the show - she is the most poorly written character on T.V. so the writers have nothing to do with her except to make her do tricks like catch a pen. Kick her off the team already.


LOve that Diane Neal came back, she needs to come back more often I like the way she interacts with Gibbs


it was a good one tony and ziva as always great but i think we need more action and even maybe a tony womping


It was an awesome episode to return with. It was light, refreshing, pretty much the usual back to business sort of thing with the perfect amount of humor and drama. I liked Agent Borin, she's amusing and they have a great chemistry, she and Gibbs. Tony and Ziva were great as always. Abby...gotta love that girl, and I felt like saying "Yes Abby, you are the NCIS mascot!" how could she not know that? She had to know that. NCIS is one of the few shows that can pretty much pull off every episode and be consistent in it's fantastic writing and characters, especially given they're in their 8th season!


Curious if the Coast Guard mascot sympathy card was for a real life Coast Guard mascot? It just seem a little too random and close camera work for a made up situation. It would be extra sweet if the writers did choose to honor a coast guard mascot's passing...


I didn't see all of it but one thing that has bother me is how they have way too much technology the Ipad Abby has need to go away


I would have like to see more of the characters action but otherise it was pretty good episode I didn`t really like Agent Abby Borin for some reason I liked when Ducky snookie comment. Tony and Ziva`s bar fighting and Ziva`s batnap. poor McGee couldn`t finish what he was saying what was found. and how Abby gave Borin a card for the dog was sweet.

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NCIS Season 8 Episode 11 Quotes

We've gone from Socrates to Snooki.


Butt out McGee. Butt off my desk, Borin.