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NCIS Review: The True Meaning of Family

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Comparing NCIS episodes can be a difficult task, since almost all of them range from very good to excellent, but this one definitely falls into the latter category. "Enemy on the Hill" had it all.

DiNozzo was at his clowning, and investigative best. He may want to lay off the caffeine for his health, but being even more wired than usual didn't hinder his ability to crack the case, or crack us up.

Serving as his foil or directly engaging him, McGee was by his side throughout. Ziva actually got to rough some people up. Gibbs, once again, served as the team leader in more ways than one.

Most significantly, Abby made a discovery that rocked her world, but warmed our hearts.

Abby and Friend

The fact that Abby would donate a kidney - not blood, not bone marrow, but a kidney - to a stranger just for the pure goodness of it somehow didn't surprise me. Okay, it did, but if I had to select one television character who could believably think up such an idea, Abby Scuito would top the list.

The consequences of such a decision, such as the risk of any major surgery and long recovery time, did not faze her in the least. But she wasn't prepared for one shocking result.

How could she be? When another exact match turned up as a donor - one also doing so out of the goodness of his heart, fittingly - Abbs realized the impossible. They're related.

The actor who played Kyle, Daniel Louis Rivas, was superbly cast (and used to date Pauley Perrette, according to at least one online source, if you can believe that one).

Between their facial resemblance and the way the actors played off each other, that scene was both wonderful, in that he is obviously just the type of awesome human being who could be Abby's brother, and sad in the sense that it only led to more unanswered questions for our girl.

That's when it hit her. Her parents never gave a child up for adoption, but ...

Someone else's did. Her biological parents. Coming to grips that she's adopted - confirmed by a DNA test on her mother's hair - was understandably upsetting for Abby, or at least left her reeling. But there to reassure her and remind her of true meaning of family was her rock, and father figure, Gibbs.

Anyone would be thrown for a loop by this revelation, but for such an openly emotional person, you just know it will be particularly hard on poor Abby. Hopefully she comes to grips with it down the road, through some soul searching and perhaps by reaching out to Kyle again.

No matter what, she has Gibbs and the NCIS team. That's no small factor.

Gibbs Calls the Shots

This episode was the third in a row to conclude on a touching note, having explored the past of one of the characters and unearthed a difficult subject. All have been very well done, relegating the night's caper to secondary status. That said, the mystery on "Enemy on the Hill" was a good one.

The killer dying in the first minute was a different wrinkle.

Instead of a manhunt for a wanted assassin, the team (with Metro PD Det. Sportelli) were tracking the person who solicited his services, believing he was going to murder Lt. Commander Geoffrey Brett.

As legislative fellow to the House Armed Service Committee, Brett was influential with overseas government contracts - a fact that played a role in his actions later, but wasn't why he was wanted dead.

His accountant, Drew Turner, wired money to an account under the name of George Kaplan, to paid 25 grand for the hit on Brett. Only Kaplan was a bogus individual ... crafted by Brett and Turner.

It turns out the attractive, female accountant created the Kaplan account to help Brett receive kickbacks from companies he helped secure government contracts. This was secretive and very illegal.

Turner wanted Brett dead because she needed the money to pay off her gambling debts. Brett found out she ordered the hit, with his own money, and beat her to the punch, killing her in her home.

Tangential and it bit hard to believe at times, but certainly enough to keep you guessing. From the way he tried to shake Ziva (when he wasn't flirting with her, that is), it felt like something was seriously amiss with that guy. But who knew he would kill to safeguard his laundered money?

Clearly, the rest of the episode took a back seat to Abby's storyline, and Perrette deserves credit for stealing every scene she had in what was a very strong episode overall.

Between this and the two previous installments focusing on Tim and Tony, NCIS has given us some terrific character moments interwoven with the weekly mysteries. So well done.

A few closing thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Could any homicide ever be made to look convincingly like suicide?
  • Where was Palmer this week? Wedding planning with Breena?
  • Episode head slap count: 1. Season count: 2.
  • What's Abby's next move?

What did you think of last night's NCIS? Leave a comment below!

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (221 Votes)

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

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GREAT SHOW WITH ABBY AND GIBBS-------------------------

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I loved every second of it, as always !! :)

Tiva

am glad Tony's humor is back I liked how he called that lady a Turkey vulture that was funny and how him and McGee did the phone duel and how he was jump up and down.
Ziva made a mistake that was good too Gibbs comment to her was funny.
I liked how Abby found out she was adopted and how her brother looks just like her. I loved the end how Gibbs talked to her.
and I agree with some of you that Sean looks too skinny I hope hes ok and yes his vioce does sound alittle diffrent. anyways this why NCIS does so good is because of the Characters and had the perfect cast.
yea the pitcher was Pauley real mother she passed away in 02. I can't wait to see how they will going with this Abby storyline.

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Loved this episode, it was so emotional about Abby's family and how Jethro reacted to her. I love the way they are including more family members into the show. I have not missed even one episode since NCIS started, I even have all the DVD's. Every time there is a marathon, I am watching. Keep up the good work.

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After last week's episode I remarked to my mother that this is the beginning of the end. Other series have used the introduction of details into the personal lives of the characters which up to that point have not been made available as they end the series. Because of work and life circumstances I didn't watch NCIS for a couple years. I am so glad to be back as one of its biggest viewers this season.

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Loved Gibbs telling Abby that it takes more than DNA to make a family. I know he was talking about Abby's parents, but it also spoke so well to the whole "family" feel the team has this season. And I love this new team. Also enjoyed Tony and Tim's continuing frienship. It took me awhile to figure out why Tony was acting so silly and hyper(especially after the more mature Tony we saw in the first three episodes), but then Tim said they have to keep Tony away from the new coffee machine, and suddenly I realized he had been drinking coffee all episode ! And add me to the confused fans who wonder why Gibbs was suddenly so chummy with Sportelli, when they were so at odds with each other in their other ep. But this was Abby's ep, and Pauley was all over it in spades. Hope to see more of Abby's look-alike brother.

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Rachel Wells - that is VERY observant of you.
Do you think that Gibbs DOES know something about Abby's past? Good catch.
It never occurred to me that he may, but now you say it out loud - to quote
my favourite guy, Tony - "It's Gibbs - Gibbs knows everything !"
WoW...that would be some good storyline.
I hope the writers have thought of that.
And I hope this is NOT the beginning of the END. This is a fabulous show. Last nights episode made me cry and it brought in something like 19 million AGAIN. I realize all shows run their course, but I hope against hope that this one stays on for many more years. It is a wonderful wonderful Show !

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Within the last year, I've seen an interview with Mark Harmon in which he stated that he's with the show for the duration. Says, he feels fortunate the fans love them so much. Guess everything is subject to change, and it could be someone is getting a spin off. Maybe Tony.

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I loved this episode, and I agree with Rachel I think Gibbs knows something. I hope we find out soon and I hope it doesn't make Abby mad at Gibbs for keeping a secret about her from her.

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(con't) As an adoptee, I know that Pauley P through her character will treat this subject with the grace it deserves.. the episode was quite touching for me and I know for so many other adoptees. I was adopted at the age of 5, so of course I always 'knew'.. but but.. what Abby goes through is a common thread. She has the benefit of being surrounded with love to cushion her -- as I said previously however, I sense its time for her to grow up now and face some things she many never had to.. The 'mystery'? I disagree.. what mystery? If you did not get 'who did it' by five minutes in, oh kids... go back to CSI . Yikes. I don't think anyone paid attention to the mystery , the only plot we paid attention to was Abby and Gibbs. This one was hers. And deservedly so. The plots of intrigue are never the strong suit on NCIS, it's the characters.

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