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.


by the way michael how can anybody be in there early late 30s please take english lessons i will even pay for them.


there you go again michael knowing nothing about ncis michael weatherly was born in 1968 and pauly perrette was born in 1969 that makes them both in there 40s but then again michael i forgot you dont know anything about NCIS do you.


editor You do know it took us 9 years 7 months and 20 days to find and kill Bin Landen so 9 months is nothing Also Pat Griffith Abby not in her 40 she in early late 30s as pointed out by NCIS LA she was 34 also I know people older then them that act like five year olds and they are in their 70s


I'm really getting tired of 'EJ' being mentioned here and there in the episodes. oh well,the port 2 port killer is her case so i may have to suck it up till next season when i get my team back *fingers crossed*.
***i just want her to go back to Rota or get transferred to someplace (i believe her and tony can work something out)though i'm 'TIVA' shipper. i don't need to be constantly reminded of their relationship which by the way irks me every time i watch this show.


Dear Steve, Not a bad review, but two small things: 1) Gibbs' rule #5 was "You don't waste good". Please quote correctly. 2) The past participle of "to shine" is "shone". Michael Weatherly SHONE, not SHINED. Poor grammar and misquotes really make it difficult to focus on the review itself, speaking personally.


I like Tony and Abby and Tony can be funny at times


I am NCIS's oldest and most entuhsiastic fan, BUT "Baltimore" was completely boring. It was a big disappointment. I am definitely tired of some of the juvenile traits of some of the characters, Tony and Abby in particular. Nobody likes a wiseguy, and Tony can be so Macho when he is not being a wiseguy. What a waste of his acting skills. It is time for Tony and Abby to grow up. They are both in their 40s. It is time for them to act their age. And I hope that CJ is gone for good. I don't like her at all, any way. She is arrogant, insubordinant, manipulative, and unattractive. Her mouth looks like a monkey mouth. I hope she is gone for good.


I notice in the cast listing for the final Show - Pryamid - that CIRay Cruz is going to be in that show. Is anyone wondering a) could HE be the P2P killer ? or b) is he back to clear things up with Ziva and maybe this could be her 'something permanent' she spoke of in "A Man Walks into a Bar"? Naturally, I hope neither one of those come to pass - but a thought eh ???


I totally agree Janet and Tiva. If it came right down to it, Tony would step in front of a bullet for Ziva. Myself, I'd shoot ej. I hope it turns out that ej has somehow been responsible for some of this, I mean if you can't catch a killer in 9 months, how good can you be ? I can't comment on her Team because what have they said - 10 words each ?? So it comes down to her. So far in this show I have seen her - go after Tony in the shower - very subtle! Go after the guy in the Office to get a bigger TV Screen and finally Gibbs threw her out when she started flirting with the suspect in interrogation. It's what she does!! I only hope we have only 2 more episodes with her dumb ass face and Michael your 2 line sentences are not worth reading - by the way Ziva started the very beginning of Season 3 and in my opinion when Tony brought her back from Somalia, saying he "couldn't live without her" - I some how assumed he didn't mean just to work along side - but the writers let the rest of the year go by like they were nothing to each other. Big disappoitment. When ej leaves and CIRay is gone, hope something anything gets them back to their UST for the rest of Season 9. Otherwise, I don't know why I watch this show for an hour each week. It's not to see the crime solved. It's to see the relationships GROW !!!!!


I agree with Janet Tony would save Ziva over EJ. Ziva didn't betray Tony and Gibbs that Rivkin and Ari was the bad one and they betrayed Ziva. and she told Gibbs that in season 7. Tiva I do that to sometimes think faster then I write

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