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NCIS Review: DiNozzo Digging Deeper

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Rule #6: Never say you're sorry.

This week's NCIS was a good one, with the team back working together and trying to piece together the mystery of a U.S. Marine who arrived for homecoming, only to collapse dead in the foyer.

The investigation led us to the Marine's foster sister, who it turned out was awfully confused about who she is - something to which one of Gibbs' team members can increasingly relate, it appears.

Tony Digs Deep

"Restless" was a conventional NCIS episode in the way the plot unfurled, but certainly didn't pretend the events of the spring and summer, culminating in last week's premiere, didn't exist for Tony.

DiNozzo is still affected by the events of last week's episode - not just because Gibbs' head slaps hurt more when you're coming off a concussion. Tony's starting to reexamine his entire existence.

Throughout the case, which conjured up high school memories for all the NCIS agents, he grew increasingly fixated on a classmate he humiliated back in the day and felt he had to make amends.

Ever tell a lie, or at least alter some details of a story so many times you start to believe it? Well, when Tony went to apologize and "Stinky John" towered over him, you knew something was amiss.

Tony was really the one hanging from the flagpole in his underwear, not this guy (a humorous, yet disturbing visual). At some point, he flipped the story, and can't blame his recent bout with amnesia.

My favorite scene of the night was the last one, when Gibbs suggested he could keep this to himself, but the solemn DiNozzo knew he had to come clean. For his teammates, but also for DiNozzo.

What else do you think he's embellished over the years, and to mask what insecurities? A question for another time, but Tony himself probably doesn't like the answer and what it says about him.

I think we all love the class clown version of Tony, but his maturation in scenes like this is neat to see, with Michael Weatherly brilliantly portraying a character in flux, in search of who he is.

Nice Dress Abbs

As for the week's murder investigation, it took the obligatory turns before leading to a satisfying conclusion. The fact that it centered around foster children and parents offered an unusual angle.

PFC Hill was the man, by any measure. His adopted military family said so. His military superiors said so. So the fact that he was hacking into the Virginia Social Services database seemed off.

That and someone injecting him with a sedative prior to killing him, of course.

The team ultimately found that Hill's foster sister Lindsay, 17, is actually 27 and has a history of being taken in by foster parents, fleeing just before 18th birthday, then relocating and starting over.

While most of us would likely not want to keep reliving high school until we're 27, Lindsay's mental scars cause her to habitually continue this pattern of deception so she can never leave childhood.

Tragically, it was Lindsay's theft of money from her uncle's robbery "business" that indirectly got PFC Hill killed. But in spite of that and the lie she'd been living, the family didn't turn its back on her.

It's great to see there are people like that in this world, taking in troubled kids and standing by them come what may. Gibbs, of course, was the unsung hero in making sure this reunion happened.

Overall, the episode returned to the show's team-oriented, murder-investigating roots while providing the character exploration and exchanges we love. Pretty much why we tune in year after year.

A few quick notes and observations on "Restless" before turning it over to you:

  • Abby had three homecoming dates because she couldn't say no? Somehow it makes sense. How much do you wish you were one of them (guys)? How much do you love her (everyone)?
  • Maybe Tony can open up to McGee during the mud wrestling match?
  • “This seemed like a much better idea in the shower.” Don't they all?
  • Ziva saying they were trying to "get your sheep"? Awesome.
  • Gibbs' glares at Palmer will never get old.
  • Episode head slap count: 1. Season: 1.
  • Gibbs' rules mentioned: #6. Season: #3, #5, #36.

What did you think of this week's NCIS episode? Comment below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (150 Votes)

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

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dont know why some people dont like ziva without her it just wouldnt work.

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Yeah... Ziva's not a multifaceted character. What she is is either horrendously emotionally immature for her particular skillset (that is, killing people), or the writing on her has done a complete 180. She may or may not have sociopathic tendencies (her reaction to CIRay, who basically does her old job with less guns, displayed an alarming lack of understanding and empathy, to say the least). She's horrendously violent for the worst reasons. And she gets away with all of it, which is the worst part. I was pissed as hell when Team Gibbs let her back in with essentially open arms, or that Aliyah implied that Rivkin's death was Tony's fault (can't get a more clear cut good kill than Tony putting a couple into Rivkin's center mass). I miss Kate. Rizzoli and Isles? We can share, right?

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@CG most show use the same story in face Law and Order got it from the FBI show without A Trace

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I too hope that we will at some point find out what happened to EJ. I liked her character more and more. She has spunk, personality, and SJM is a good actress. I enjoyed Restless, although not as much as Nature of the Beast. I think that in actuality, Tony is one of the more grown up team members. Yes, he jokes around and lightens the mood, but when it counts, he is all business. Although I love GIbbs, he is sometimes petulant, controlling, and unreasonably demanding. Ziva chides others for things that she does herself, doesn't respect Tony's personal space, and has self control issues. I see the changes in Tony more as him evolving into someone who is beginning to deal with a difficult past, rather than repress it. I hope he keeps his sense of humor, but grows in confidence as he deals with his past.

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Wish that NCIS writers had a more original central theme. The part of a young girl repeating her high school years was used several years ago on Law & Order SVU. That part of the Restless story is almost identical! Come on writers, BE ORIGINAL!

Blu

Maybe it's because I get his character but Tony's feelings in this episode weren't new. I hate the use of the term 'maturing' when describing him in this because it implies that he isnt mature. I think what we're seeing is Tony more vulnerable and open. He's a very complex character who uses humor as a coping and defense mechanism because he doesnt like to let people in...he's always been tormented and reflective...its just he used to hide it more and most people (fans and other charactrs) only looked at him on the surface and classified him as a goof. This Tony has always been there to me it's just more apparent now...so it surprises me that people are so surprised by it. He's a multi-faceted character (just like Gibbs and Ziva). I thought the case was interesting and sad and uplifting all at once. I was weirded out by the foster dad at first,he seemed too protective. I love how Palmer is gradually becming a mini-Ducky. Loved Abbys pic (which was her real homecoming dress). I just loved the episode

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@KimBrady We can assume that EJ's still alive, since PHANTOM EIGHT has yet to confirm the kill. She's probably under the protection of some other government agency, like the CIA. Frankly, I can't wait till she comes back. I liked Kate, I liked Paula, and EJ's been one of my favorite recurring characters as of yet.

Tonygurl

I liked the episode.

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LOVED the episode and wish we could see it a couple more times this week! I'm used to being able to catch it again when I want on DVD. It is possible to download an episode from iTunes for $2.99, which is easier to take than shelling out $50 all at once for the DVD set. I found the foster father's beligerance beyond protective of his foster daughter, going all the way to "major suspect." His character was thus confusing to me and all over the emotional map. The typical NCIS major suspect is more subtle with lots of question marks. The more mature DiNozzo is a pleasant twist and I totally agree that we don't want to lose him entirely as the class clown. Balance. I always loved Ziva's toughness, but I still think that she lost her edge when she became a naturalized citizen. Her whole demeanor changed. Bland. She changed from an intense, aggressive Mossad agent, to a go-fer, to a probie. This degradation diminished her punch if not her aim. She was who she was, and now she isn't anymore, so why is she there? I always wondered if the real-life Mossad had something to do with the change. It would seem like the writers are trying to change her character into something it was never intended to be, and something is being lost in translation, er, transition.

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One of my favourite scense was when Ziva walked McGee away from that group that was mocking him. Very cute!

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