The case of the week was both different and intriguing, especially in light of WikiLeaks, but this episode of NCIS was most notable for a series of character moments.
This isn't to suggest that "Tell-All" short-changed the crime-solving element of the show in favor of funny, lighter scenes. In fact, it blended these elements seamlessly.
Only NCIS can focus on terrorists, arms dealers, interdepartmental squabbling, leaked classified info, and a murder investigation and not even feel like a procedural.
By now, we know the agents so well, making scenes like this priceless:
From the onset, Tony was surprised that someone would invite Gibbs - Gibbs! - to a wedding. Naturally, he stole the invite out of the recycle bin and stole away to open it in private.
In the women's shower.
Ziva was fascinated at Tony's fascination with Gibbs' back story, as are we. She was also curious as to why she busted him there of all places. Then she made the E.J. connection.
We know Tony has a thing for bathrooms, but come on. Not the way to keep your relationship clandestine, DiNozzo. Ziva's onto him, and watching him try to explain himself in the shower provided one of the night's genuinely hilarious moments.
Another such moments came from Gibbs' old "friend" Tobias Fornell.Fornell's latest appearance coincided with the murder mystery and the wedding invite. Their ex-wife Diane was getting remarried and invited both Tobias and Gibbs.
I laughed out when Tobias mused to Jethro that "without Diane, we wouldn't have the same ... relationship that we do now." Definitely a glass half-full kind of guy.
He cracked himself (and me) up at the end when he told Gibbs that her new husband was Homeland Security, too. Watching these two as friends is always a treat.
Joe Spano's visits as Fornell always bring a lighter element without sacrificing the integrity of the show. Diane's ex-husbands are both great at their jobs, after all.
Gibbs and Fornell both showed little appreciation for the DIA, with the former even calling out a high-ranking admiral he felt was standing in the way of justice. He was right.
Vance may not like it, but that's the way Gibbs operates, and Fornell was a great wingman for Jethro on this night, with an FBI agent killed alongside a Naval Commander.
The only connection between the two victims was Operation Birdsong, or a book by that name. The DIA wanted it destroyed because it exposed its illegal arms dealings.
The trail was surprisingly complex. A publisher who wouldn't reveal her author. A morally bankrupt college girl who brokered the deals. A killer who got the wrong guy.
And you wonder why Tony always thinks the wife (or in this case the husband) did it. In this case it was almost disappointing, but the mistaken identity was a nice twist.
The husband of the slain FBI agent killed the Navy commander because he thought they were having an affair. She was indeed sleeping around, but with the book's author.
Not the best resolution to a case we've seen, but a thoroughly enjoyable episode. It looks like things get more serious again next week with E.J.'s return. Stay tuned.
Some final thoughts and observations ...
- Ducky's totally right about the element of mystery being stripped away by 24/7 communication. Sage advice for a digital age. Leave a little to the imagination.
- Gibbs' happiest memory of Diane is her shutting her finger in the car door. Suffice it to say, Diane and Tobias parted on more amicable terms.
- DiNozzo referenced the movie The Ring and its Japanese original version Ringu.
- Of course, McGee only smiled when asked about Maxine. How about an update, Tim?!
- Abby steals every scene she's in, even when relegated to the background.
What did you think of last night's NCIS? Discuss!