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!


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (222 Votes)

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


While the character McGee shows a slimmer man, he doesn't look sickly to me. He actually looks more mature now. I am sure he wanted to change his looks. He was a tad overweight in some of the episodes; probably has something to do with cheeseburgers. I think he looks good! Loved yesterday's episode of NCIS..especially the scenes with Abby and Jethro!


‎**Gibbs honest to goodness OMG reaction when she ran the DNA** **Yes he is concerned that Abby will get hurt.. reference his question to Abby in the lab (when he gave her her brothers phone number) and also what he says to her in this scene. Be careful what you wish for in other words, the truth may not be what you think it is** **Did Gibbs now all along ?? I think he might of** **and the very real personal reaction of Gibbs (evident throughout this season) He has taken a backseat this entire season to the investigations..allowing Tim, Ziva, McGee heck even asked Jimmy a question to take the 'lead' .. he is there, but not in "Gibbs type manner" almost in a overseer way.. IS NCIS setting us up for the release of his team to either fly solo or fly together sans Gibbs.? I think so.. NOT NOW.. but soon. He knows they are capable.. question is can he let go?** **and the most emotional for Gibbs regarding Abby..what IF Abby finds her mother, her father.. and the happy ending happens..where she turns to them - needs them.. where does this put Gibbs? NOOO I am not saying Abby would not need Gibbs, or dismiss Gibbs..but ..her relationship with him may change and that would destroy his heart.** Many character changes are happening on NCIS..because I see the beginning of the wind up.. It's a great season..and number one in the ratings.. but eventually all shows must end.. and I think they are beginning to wrap it up in a nice way..a soft landing..Hard to imagine, but the writing and the direction of the season says so much.


Chaban: I like your views about the adoption story. I'm also an adoptee and I was very interested in how they would make this work. The end scene was/is extremely moving and made me cry. Thanks to the writers/Pauley/Mr. Harmon for making this scene my absolute favorite so far this year. Family is not about blood. Being adopted I know this. I've since adopted another daughter, to compliment the 2 we already had, and she's very aware of this as well. I knew I was adopted from the very beginning of comprehension. Matter of fact I don't remember being told. My cousin on the other hand didn't learn until 4th grade. That was much harder for her. Adoption was quite the deal back in the 60's and 70's. I can't wait to see this storyline continue! Very well played everyone! As far as Sean Murray goes, I have been noticing his voice for a while. I don't think he looks like "death warmed over" as Sue Ann commented. I think he actually looks very healthy. I hope he's healthy and not having any major health issue going on.


it was really good.....i really HOPE that tptb DON'T drop abby's needs to be followed up on....i LOVED, that abby went to gibbs...her knocking, showed she has MANNERS .....just because a door is unlocked, does NOT mean you just walk matter what the home owner says. i just LOVE tony....he has a way of finding things and putting together the puzzle...and that's something tim still needs to work on....and shows WHY he's gibbs' SFA. as for tim's weight: the actor claims that he's changed his eating habits....however, he doesn't seem to be able to HOLD whatever goal weight he set...and does look sickly. alisa

Sue ann

I have no quarrel with anything anyone has said about the episode. I agree that Sean Murray's health has become a matter of concern. He's been looking like death warmed over for more than a year now. No one in their right mind loses that much weight that fast, to look so bad for so long, deliberately. Even if he is not sick in the body,he has to be sick in the head. He looks awful, like one of those strange stick women with anorexia. Which is a sickness. I hope he gets better, not worse. I did not notice his voice. I did not notice his voice, because I was concentrating on Sportelli. I cannot imagine why Gibbs said he would rather deal with Sportelli than with the FBI, because generally, the FBI means his friend Fornell. Sportelli is the cop who arrested McGee and DiNozzo, and went back on his word to erase their arrest records. I do not understand why anyone would be happy to see him under any circumstances. Work with him professionally, sure, but not prefer him to the FBI. That makes no sense at all. I really, really did enjoy the bear hug Gibbs gave Abby at the end. It made me reflect on everything I have heard and seen about Mark Harmon over the decades, and what a good man he is. That shows through in Gibbs every episode. That hug looked like the kind which might last all night, if she falls asleep in his arms. Very fatherly. It does make me realize what a good actor he is, though. He used to play a very believeable weasel on St. Elsewhere. Abby knocked because she is in a state of confusion. The time she came over and confronted him in his basement about her results in the murder of the drug dealer who killed his family, she just walked in the house and came downstairs. In that one, she was upset, but not confused on a personal level. It was another way of illustrating her mental state, to have her knock like that.


my boyfriend and i watch NCIS very regularly,,,, Pauley was absolutely amazing in this episode!!! way to go! we love you pauley!!!! we will continue to watch ncis as long as it is on,, it is our only fave show on television! I love the bantering back and forth with McGee and tony,,,lmao,,, still funny as ever! and of course,, Gibbs,, still hot as ever!! thanks for an enjoyable evening of laughs, adventure,, and of course the family values scenes!


Loved the scene with Abby and Gibbs. Brought a tear to my eye.


I thought abby should have introduced herself to her brother they need to know eachother i love this show i never miss it


I hope they will continue the story. It was very moving and sad that Abby found out about her brother and that she maybe Adopted.


It was a fantastic episode! The guy who played Abby's brother really and truly looked as though he could be really related to her. Perfect casting. The sweet scene outside the pet shop with these two siblings who clearly have "Pure goodness" in their DNA was so wonderfully acted it. It was sweet and awkward and a bit of tension was there. I loved it. My favorite scene was probably Abby and Gibbs' house. From the moment she knocked in that passive type of way, because only she would knock, to the way she ambled in and found herself curled up into an embrace with the world's best curmudgeon. It was fantastic. I'm a sucker for a sweet Gibbs/Abby scene. It gave me the warm fuzzies, as it does everytime they have one of those sweet father/daughter scenes.They make me smile.

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