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NCIS Review: "One Last Score"

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As if he hadn't already left an indelible mark on NCIS in seven-plus seasons, Michael Weatherly directed a compelling, unique and thoroughly entertaining episode Tuesday.

Michael deserves praise all around, because while "One Last Score" was definitely unusual as NCIS episodes go, it was still terrific, well-acted and perfectly paced.

A lighter tone was indicative of Weatherly as the shot-caller and hit the mark nicely. Even though there were some corpses, there wasn't a deadly serious moment.

That's not to suggest the plot wasn't typically detailed and awfully complex at times. What looked like a standard murder of an NCIS employee became a lot more.

One Last Score Pic

Financier Leona Phelps, a hybrid of Bernie Madoff and Martha Stewart (ankle monitor and all), was accused of defrauding billions from federal employees and thieves alike.

Our original victim was part of a crew trying to find out where she stashed it. Rather than a standard murder investigation, this episode took on the feel of a heist flick.

The Phelps Fund used to retirement funds of people who trusted her, and when Gibbs watched clips of some of the men and women who fell victim to her, it was upsetting.

Especially in difficult economic times - also referenced in the agency's cutbacks Vance was charged with - this struck a powerful chord, punctuated by Phelps' smugness.

The government never recovered her money, but Phelps, who was able to finagle her release from Camp Cupcake, was undone by the fact that she stole from thugs, too.

Gibbs eventually discovers that the thieves attempted to steal her ledge holding offshore account information so they could get theirs back (and then some, most likely).

When they couldn't get it even after pilfering her seized property within NCIS' confines, the last remaining member of the gang tracked her down at her opulent home.

Where, conveniently, she had just secured her release.

Fortunately, Ziva and Gibbs were standing by to apprehend the thief AND nail Phelps, now caught red-handed with ALL her account info. High-fives all around, guys.

You knew there would be a chase scene with Weatherly behind the camera, and this was a good one, especially the end with Gibbs' mere glare inducing surrender:

After watching that scene again, all I can think of is that Mark Harmon is no Steve McQueen, but he's not too far off, either. I doubt I'll get a lot of arguments there.

This nod to the ultimate film anti-hero was far from the only Weatherly touch, of course. The topical, cinematic references were off the proverbial hook this week.

Ducky and Tony reflected on Psycho while lambasting Palmer for not seeing it. Tony referenced Xanadu from Citizen Kane, lambasting the guard for not knowing it.

The fact that Phelps owned William Faulkner's old desk was another nice touch. The show's writing and direction makes even the smallest details quite memorable.

If anything felt slightly off last night, it was the introduction of E.J. Barrett (Sarah Jane Morris), who transferred to D.C. from Spain - the very post Tony turned down.

E.J. caught Tony's eye early and often. Ditto Gibbs, but not in the same way.

It's unclear if he's just surly toward newcomers (very possible with L.J.) or doesn't like her specifically for reasons unknown. We'll find out more in the coming weeks.

While I liked E.J. and she seems like she could blossom into a dynamic character, the shower scene at the end caught me very much by surprise. It seemed sudden.

Tony and E.J.

We haven't even met her team yet (she has one, right?) and she's already half-naked with Tony? In typical fashion, we faded to black before they actually kissed, but ...

Needless to say, it'll be interesting to see where this goes, especially in light of the fact that we're soon going to meet Ziva's boyfriend Ray. What did you think of E.J.?

While I don't see a need for her on the show, I'm open-minded. If we rejected every new character without giving them a shot, where would we be? Remember Ziva?

On a lighter note, and perhaps not coincidentally, there were references to showering earlier in the night, with McGee, Ziva, Palmer and Tony all exchanging notes.

Basically ... Michael Weatherly has a thing for showers. Not surprising or unfunny.

What did you think of last night's NCIS? Comment and discuss below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

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

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In this episode it seems like McGee has a personal interest in what happened to the victims of her money scandal. Towards the end it shows a video clip of an older woman talking about what losing their retirement money meant to her and her husband who had to go back to work. McGee is obviously mad at Leona (the one who took the money, etc.) He doesn't come right out and say the other woman who was testifying was his mother - but he is upset.

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Did no one else think it was odd that when Tony said "there are rules against this kind of thing" EJ replied, "no there aren't". Perhaps I read to much into it, but there seemed to be an "I know you from somewhere else" kind of look between the two of them.

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People need to calm down about EJ. Remember when people used to hate ziva when she first arrived or michael rivkin. I think people are judging too quickly, just because they where up and close in the last shower scene (which i liked) doesnt mean they are going to be together. Just wait NCIS has always got something up there sleeve to shock the viewers. oh and btw the shower scene i thought was great!!!!

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I hate the new girl. get rid of her

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Season 8 has been off from the beginning. NCIS (while being the only real show on television right now has hit the point that so many excellent shows have hit. It is time for NCIS to re-evaluate where it wants to go. Ziva and Tony or Ziva and Gibbs CANNOT have a relationship, no matter how perfect they are for each other. McGee looks like he has AIDS and his acting has been off all season. Leon acts like he doesn't know whether he is supposed to be there or not. Even Abby isn't sure anymore. This is definitely a transition time for the show. They have gone as far as they can go and need to move in a new direction but that direction is critical where the quality of the show is concerned. One false move and the show will lose everything that it has spent 7 years building up. It is a slippery slope and this entire season has been spent trying to find their footing. I hope they have it developed by the end of the season, but I have my doubts.

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EJ was somewhat annoying but the entire episode was a little off. Not one of my favorites so I'm not sure if it was EJ's character that didn't fit or other factors. I really enjoy the show and the all of the characters. I hope they don't keep dragging the Vance and Gibbs thing out through several seasons. Ziva is my favorite, love her personality and she keeps them on their toes! Hope that she isn't leaving the show with the introduction of the EJ character. Guess we shall see what tonight's episode brings...

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I really liked the Team Gibbs parts in this episode. Micheal Weatherly did a good job with that stuff. The plot was okay. The parts with Tony and the new agent was B-O-R-I-N-G and predictable. It was very soap opera and cheap. That shower scene at the end ruined the episode for me. Not only did it come out of left field but it was not sexy. It was creepy and made me GAG! I felt are you guys kidding me. There was ZERO chemistry between him and this actress. All their scenes felt in your face and not real. Do not like this new agent anyway. I think she's a pretentious user and up to no good. I hope she's only here for a few episodes, and DOES NOT become Tony's love on the show, or a full-time on the show, that would suck bigtime. I would stop watching. Maybe thats the way they want us to feel because I don't like her at all and it looks like I'm not the only one. I don't even know if I can stomach to watch the next episode with her in it. Right now I don't think I can do it. If they want us to like this EJ they picked the wrong woman. Sorry but she doesn't naturally click with Weatherly on TV. This may sound mean but I think the actress isn't all that hot. Her face and skin is a little weird when you look at her close shots maybe to much make up or something. Her nose, and her lips don't look real. She has weird forehead, and plucked eyebrows that don't move. She's not very expressive, plus you can tell she's acting. Something is off and unnatural about her. I just get a cold feeling from her. I just don't like her! I pray thats what they and the actress want us to feel and that they give us a good plot twist in the end and she turns out to be bad trouble and never comes back.

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@Katelyn: You do realize that Michael Weatherly didn't write the script right?

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I hate the new girl. She's annoying and has no depth. I also thought a lot of the lines in the movie were really cheesy, especially when the gangster was in phelps' house and told her that he wanted "her blood". SO. BAD. MV, i love youre character and i think youre very talented, but i expect more from you.

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it makes me laugh when certain people say they wont watch the show anymore when it doesnt go as they want it i dont think 1 or 2 viewers will make much of a difference after all they have around 20,million viewers every week.dont be so quick to judge the new agent maybe it will work out anyway its only till the end of the season something to do with the finale.also some people didnt like the shower scene at the end no problem for some people when bodies are cut up but when they have a romantic scene some people complain.as i said before this episode was one of the best and i say well done MW.

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