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NCIS Review: Baltimore's Finest

by at . Comments

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!

Review

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.

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You are so right Tiva. She is bringing our Tony down "by osmosis" as he said in an episode concerning Ziva not long ago. All that crap that she's covered in is splashing all over our very special Agent and making me like him less and less - or at least - I'm questioning his judgement where romance is concerned. I can see a big wedge in the Team too. I'm putting a lot of the blame on MW and his good pal Jessie Stern. That so called "romantic" shower scene in his directorial debut show was his downfall. MW said in an interview with Mary Hart that he and Cote always run their scenes together and they always have differnt points of view. Hello - I'm starting to understand why ! I'm not giving up on him yet though -that dang sexy smile pulls me back every single time !!! ahhhhhhhh

Tiva

Hi editor a lot of ppl don't like EJ and her team I'M one of them. I hope she gone at season finale. Because shes bringing Tony down and if she stays any longer she be breaking a good relationship wit Gibbs and Tony has

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Hi Tiva - thanks for that info. I totally hope you are right and something bumps up the total number of people who enjoyed it. I wish this episode would have gotten a rating of say 22 million just so TPTB know that we have been waiting for this for so long. I wish it would have been on before the new team arrived and then I'll bet it would have been better received. Sorry, but I'm blaming their arrival on everything bad that has happened until they are finally gone! If you think I can't stand ej and her gang, you wouldn't be wrong !!!

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editor thanks I forgot he was had the FBI CIA crime scene stickers thanks for the reminder

Tiva

editor well said I agree ppl need to let Kate go it happened in 2005 ppl do need to let it go your also right Ziva shot Ari and Michael needs to re check the episodes. but with the ratings to they count DVR I wasn't home when NCIS was on Tuesday so I DVR it and I know ppl on facebook who DVR it.

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I read recently that this was the lowest rated show for the whole season. Now,I loved it (although the constant mention of ejs name every 5 seconds annoyed me) I'm just sayin' - could it be that bringing in a love interest like ej - that Michael Weatherly has promoted the heck out of and talking marriage and future with her - has perhaps turned off the fans who want a Tony/Ziva pairing. They are huge numbers and many just don't want to watch until TPTB make her go away. The ratings have been slipping since she was introduced. ya know Janet, I am only watching the last 2 shows because of your sort of promise of her demise... I'm just sayin'

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ahhh I loved seeing that manila envelope again. A couple of episodes back, they needed to review a crime scene and our clever Tony went to his desk and pulled out a similar envelope (hidden taped to bottom of his drawer) and in it he had FBI, CIA, etc crime scene stickers\signs that he had scooped at other crime scenes in case he ever needed them. They were able to go in to the Apartment and then use Tony's saved signs to look like they had not. Clever boy Hoping I don't get cut down here, but also, did you notice that it was Ziva -twice- who was first to comment to Tony "Is there something wrong Tony?" and when he played Danny's message, both Gibbs and McGee are watching the phone, while only Ziva is watching over Tony. She knows him so well. Must be breaking her heart this stupid fling he is having. And hello..Kate was there for 2 years only and treated Tony like a schmuck from the moment she met him..in almost every episode she cut him down, although maybe not in SWAK..or did you forget?? did you also forget that it was SHE who wanted to leave the Team\show at the end of those 2 years?? - but yet some fools can't let her go! Get over it already! Better still turn in to her new show and leave NCIS to those who have moved on. And to be clear Michael, Ziva did not shoot Kate ya know. Ziva shot the shooter who shot Kate! Maybe you chould check the video one more time eh ????

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I did notice manila envelop tony's taped on bottomof desk drawer. And Abby would too Cry for Ziva she didn't to anything to Kate That was all Ari she thought he was innocent. Ziva just sign two year deal so its not her. it's Kort's eye and Mike Franks will be one who dies. and maybe Vance or EJ

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I read someone that Abby crys over who dies so it can't be Ziva because she not close to Ziva because of what she did to Kate and Tony. So I wonder if it be that Big dude from EJ team he and Abby hit it off and Abby love EJ also I too
notice the manila envelope taped to bottom of tony's desk drawer

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taking a mulligan on last comment. just read rocky carroll doesn't have contract for season 9 so maybe he's one of the two to get wacked.