NCIS Review: Baltimore's Finest

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Last night on NCIS, the death of DiNozzo's ex-partner served a dual purpose, triggering both flashbacks to his old gig and a potential new lead in the P2P Killer case.

The flashbacks to "Baltimore" weren't exactly as real or gritty as The Wire, but did provide an effective contrast between NCIS and Tony's job in city homicide.

For the second time this season, we were presented with an "origin" episode focused on one of the core characters looking and acting around a decade younger.

Just as Rocky Carroll did in "Enemies Domestic," Michael Weatherly shined while Mark Harmon played the key supporting role in what became a terrific installment.

Old School Tony

The hair was a bit much, but Tony circa 2001-03 (he walked into HR at the end, but it's unclear how long before the NCIS pilot this supposedly took place) was a treat to watch.

Weatherly clearly had a field day as a younger version of his hot shot, wiseguy alter ego, dressing down in casual attire and dressing down Harmon for the first and only time.

We were also treated to a pair of entries from Gibbs' Rule Book (#5: You Don't Waste Good; #35: Always Watch the Watchers) and the first-ever DiNozzo Head Slap.

It was a great nod to the fans, but still relevant to the present.

This show does flashbacks right, because for all the moments that made us smile, the present and past were believably enmeshed thanks to Tony's ex-partner, Danny.

The plot was intriguing for both past Tony and present Tony, with Danny involved in a pair of mysteries, albeit deceased in 2011. So who killed him and why did it matter?

After Danny was killed, all signs pointed to the Port-to-Port Killer, but Ducky figured out that the real assailant was a copycat - and not the first copycat they brought in.

That twist was a bit hard to believe. A copycat killer who hadn't struck yet? In any case, it was a voicemail Danny left Tony before he died that eventually tipped him off.

Before Tony left the Baltimore P.D., he and Danny busted a money laundering ring - one Danny was in on. Tony let his partner off the hook, but someone else knew, too.

Flash forward to the present. After he realized the copycat killer had to have been someone in law enforcement, DiNozzo connected the dots and the perp became clear:

His ex-boss in Baltimore.

Episodes like this walk a fine line, but what could have been a head-slapping (and not in that affectionate Gibbs way) resolution was sold by the strong writing and acting.

Despite getting off on the wrong foot with Gibbs' Donnie Brasco-esque arrest, he impressed Tony from the start, and vice versa. Their relationship came full circle Tuesday.

Tony Meets Jethro

When Gibbs arrived at Danny's door with an armed Tony inside the second time, the parallels were obvious. Look closer. Don't let good get away. Take care of your own.

We've watched the dynamic between the two men form for many years, but it was great to see how it began, all tied into a compelling plot with a lot of fun moments.

Regarding the real P2P Killer, we're back at square one ... for the most part.

Abby and Ducky are certain that the only person who tipped NCIS off that they were chasing a copycat had to be the killer - who also had to have access to NCIS files.

The identity of the eyeball's owner is marked classified and still a mystery. Who do you think the team is chasing and who, if anyone, will be felled by the P2P next week?

A few random thoughts before turning this over to your comments ...

  • E.J. and her team are just gone for the week? Suspicious.
  • How long until the stapler resurfaces next time?
  • How much do you want to hug Abby?
  • WENDY?!

Discuss last night's episode of NCIS and share your predictions below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (121 Votes)

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


Top episode, really enjoyed this one...well done guys


as usual michael you are talking rubbish anyway at least you spelt racist right.i have a feeling ncis will finish after season 10 lets face it 10years is a long time i think they are ready to move on but belive me there will be tiva in the end we have just got to be patient all good things come to those that wait.


Janet stop being a racist


yeah I will always like Tony (Michael) I just don't like they way he flowers EJ around. they have no chamistery like Cote and Michael do hopefully the writers will think of that. EJ be gone at the end season thank god. I also hate rule 12 but Gibbs and Jenny where together IDK if the rule was made becuse of that.


I forgot to say one thing as well about Michael Weatherly. On the DVD when they bring up TIVA he says "It is never going to be resolved"...hellooooo!!!! When he just dismisses the whole romance with Ziva I think he is putting Ziva's character down and maybe that is why so many like Michael here around?? Cote never says anything bad about not wanting to click with Tony..Come on eh!!!! Because of some of his interviews lately and stickup up for 'her (ej)' and dismissing Ziva as his 'partner'.. I am liking him less and less these days!!! He wants Tony to have this 'romance' as he called it in his directorial debut..YUCK !!!


maybe you are right Tonygirl. I don't want the show to end ever either. But have you ever thought about this?? Both Cote and Michael are certainly on the show for the next 2 years anyway. And I think that the show will have a Season 10. And Michael loves loves loves this show he has said many times. What if Cote leaves at the end of Season 10? And if her character is just there to watch Tony hop from bed to bed each week why wouldn't she ??? We - at least I - will be devasted! How will Tony/Ziva be handled then ? And face it - the reason they are having Tony think about marrying and starting a family is - yikes - he isn't getting any younger is he ? They are wasting their young life together as a couple. The only way I feel fine about it is that they are working so closely every day side by side - but no benefits!!! I am soooo hating that the Rule # 12 talk to Gibbs was because of Tony and a total stranger -a tart if you will that we had no regard for - no feelings for - no love for ??? I'm heartbroken just thinkin' about it. I swear if Tony/ej kiss in the elevator or mens room (which is Tony/Zivas domain) I will scream!!!! My heard stopped when Tony pushed the STOP button on the elevator with her a bit ago. I don't think the writers will do that - but almost all the writers are men you know !!! I don't think they actually get these little things that are hurting our feelings. Do you ?


sorry don't want the show to end.


editor I agree with you about everything but Tony and Ziva I'M scared if they get together the show will end. I don't get me wrong I want Tony and Ziva together like I said I'M just to want the show to end. EJ is the most annoying character on the show I can't stand her I thought Jeanne was bad. I don't really Like CIRay either. but maybe its because am a huge DiNozzo and Ziva fan and I want atleast there friendship back with out any new ppl. I hate the way EJ is making Tony look like. I think shes playing him and hes going to be the one to gert hurt not stupid EJ. the sooner shes gone the better. sorry for my EJ rent I just want her gone.


Pat Griffin great comment about ej. I do believe that 90% of the fans agree with you and can not wait for her to be gone. I am one of those fans. And Michael, ha ha ha to you - you irrating person. NCIS is a fictional story. Bin Laden (NOT Landen) was real. But then while you are defending stupid ej, you are leaving Ziva alone so I am thankful for that. Your comments to him are priceless Janet! Also, I adore Abby just as she is-big hugs and all- and except for the fact that Tony has taken up with this tramp right in front of our faces and he is right now annoying the crap out of me, I usually like his cute ways too. Everyone can't be all the same. I think it is the dynamics of the WHOLE Team Gibbs together that makes it a great show, don't you all? How long would you watch if Tony suddenly reverted to being the Tony of False Witness - always right, always ready, always working! One episode of non funny Tony was more than enough. Also, since he hasn't interacted with McGoo lately, what has McGoo had to do? I love Michael Weatherly and his acting, but he appears to be on the wrong page with this ej thing. He seems to think its OK to have 'romance' (gag) with 'her' but hardly glances at Ziva of late. I think he thinks that if they ever get he and Ziva together - good bye show. I don't think that at all - maybe 25 years ago that was the case, but not now. I'm getting tired of it and him so mark my words - in Season 9 he had better try and make amends with us all!!!!!!!


I think Pauley looks great for 42 I hope I look that young when I get her age. I like Abby and Tony I don't care they don't act there age I know ppl older then them and act like that. they are great characters. this is the only show I like all main cast not Vance as much hes just OK to me. PS I can't wait until EJ goes away she getting on my last nerve.

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