NCIS Review: "Defiance"

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Following last week's introspective tribute to Kate, NCIS returned to its traditional roots last night with a high-profile, complex case that made up the entirety of the hour.

"Defiance" had the feel of a high-stakes episode from the get-go, with the opening sequence showing a suicide bombing in Belgravia from the perpetrators' perspective.

NCIS invented a fictitious nation in Belgravia, but featured a great Hillary Clinton doppelganger for the scene in which the U.S. Secretary of State signed a defense treaty.

The assassination attempt was not on faux Clinton, however. It was the Belgravian defense minister who was targeted, and whose daughter soon became NCIS' problem.

Defiance Pic

NCIS was being disrespected for reasons somewhat unknown, forced to guard the minister's daughter instead of investigating the death of the Marine killed by the suicide bombing.

This led to an interesting, unresolved subplot in which Gibbs and Vance butted heads. Every time Gibbs tried to get involved and assert himself in the broader case, Vance resisted.

Despite the Director's objections, Gibbs went rogue and pursued the Marine's death on top of protecting Adrianna, a 24-year-old student at the fictional John Hamilton University.

Vance has been even more guarded and protective of protocol since the bombing that almost took his own life, making the team's protection detail blunder an even bigger deal.

McGee, who Adrianna became smitten with (although her motives were far from clear at the end) and DiNozzo were straight up duped by the girl and Vance was beyond angry.

It was clever how she pulled the wool over both of them, but it seems like our agents are too smart for that. They're also human, of course, and this plot was an elaborate one.

In a political move, Adrianna staged her kidnapping to make her father back off the defense treaty signing. Her accomplices where her professor and boyfriend/study partner.

Things went awry when the latter got greedy and took matters into his own hands, killing the professor and holding her for ransom, which NCIS discovered in the nick of time.

Not a moment too soon for Adrianna, or Tim and Tony.

Scared of Needles

While the kidnapping plot took a complex, intriguing turn and made for a great case, what was even more interesting was how the agents' screw-up played out politically.

Gibbs had his guys' back even though they blew it. Vance was reluctant to give Jethro the same latitude. The closing scene indicated escalating tension between the two.

The animosity is building and you have to imagine this is part of a longer arc. It's just a question of when the tension boils to the surface, and the extent of the fallout.

For now, Tony and Tim's jobs are safe, despite the latter's offer to resign. Hopefully they learn from the experience, having narrowly escaped career disaster on this one.

This was a strong episode, although how many times is Tim going to be led astray? This guy gets his identity stolen like it's his job and can't meet a nice, genuine girl.

Actually, we know one who's available, in the forensics lab. But I don't think I'm alone in saying that whether it's Abby or someone else, he deserves a real relationship.

Speaking of Abbs, she was at her best last night, as was Ducky with his history lessons and Tony with his toilet sleuthing ... even if he helped create that mess to start.

Additional thoughts and observations from last night:

  • Ziva wondered aloud about how long the NCIS team will stick together, echoing the concerns of about 20 million fans. Looks like at least one more year.
  • Ziva opened up to Adrianna about her complicated relationship with her father, the second time in recent weeks she's done so. It's clearly on her mind.
  • Naturally, my wife already knew of Abby's solution for a phone submerged in water. She is not a forensic genius, just the mother of a one-year-old.
  • The fire hydrant collision was a classic "phoof" lead-up.
  • Gibbs naps in Ducky's lab? Somehow we can see it.
  • I'm scared of needles too, Tony. A little. It's okay.

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


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (77 Votes)

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




Great episode. Love the tightwire with Gibbs and Vance in tights dancing around their true feelings about each other. Felt a sense of separation amongst the team...foreshadowing???.
And one comment to all those who previously wrote that the show was anti-Semitic. SHUT UP. Take the show for what it is...all people are butts of jokes...that's what makes it funny...don't take it seriously, just sit back and enjoy the best drama series on television.


i was wondering where Belgravia was cos i heard the name before, turns out its not a country but a posh area of London, England!!!


I will be really upset if anyone leaves this show I really like eveyone on the team. I like Abby Tony McGee Gibbs Ducky and Ziva I also like Palmer. Vance has issues to work out about being shot and almost dying so he needs to deal with his demons so he needs to stop take it out on Gibbs. so I hope noone leaves if so I hope its Vance or Palmer. (I hope they sign Cote)


good episode. but poor McGee who can`t pick a good woman since he dated Abby in season one. one stole from him one tried to kill him now this one had hand in on her own kidnaping. Tony fear of needles because when he almost died in SWAK then Abby helping him get over his fear was good.


I was thinking that too about how Jenny and Tony were only ones who knew that Tony had the Job offer for his own team now everyone knows. McGee needs to find a nice girl not a criminal but I did I liked the episode


I liked Abby helping Tony deal with his fear loved her curse mojoe she did. however how did everyone findout Tony turned that job down four years ago I thougt Tony asked Jenny to keep it between them so how did McGee findout. can McGee catch a brake on woman. anyways a good epsoide and Its just alittle down in the ratings it will get back to normal and I hope atleast gets 10 years and I be happy


I have one huge problem with the show last night - a gaping plot hole. If the whole thing was about Adrianna staging her own kidnapping, what about the poor beggar her professor had blow himself up? And the Marine that got killed? That's going over the top for elaborate staging. I'm guessing getting herself kidnapped was the GREATER of two evils for her?
I love the show, but that one had me a little confused.


Why did you keep saying that Tim AND Tony messed up? It was Tim's fault the girl went to the door. As sson as he heard the doorbell he should have sprung into action. His instincts were wrong and way too slow. Love the guy, but he sure isn't ready for his own team. And how is it that McGee and Ziva know about Rota, when Tony made such a point of asking Jenny to keep it a secret? Further, why is Ziva acting as if she couldn't care less about the team that rescued her from Somalia, risking their lives? Now she want

Steve marsi

Sean M. actually explained on Twitter that he lost 25 pounds gradually through cutting out alcohol and sugar and eating organically. Definitely noticeable when he's soaking wet, but it sounds like he's healthy and happy.

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