NCIS Review: Thirsting For Something Better

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Poor Ducky.

I doubt I'm the only NCIS viewer who, if asked to sum up "Thirst" in two words, would pick those. It looked like things were going so incredibly well for our favorite philosophical medical examiner, too.

This was an unusual episode of NCIS, and despite some fun moments, not one of my favorites. The resolution seemed far-fetched for several reasons, and a pretty big letdown to boot.

Ducky and His Girlfriend

At 78, David McCallum is a living legend, a screen gem and loads of fun to watch. Ducky-centered episodes are few and far between, so you have to cherish each one, something he makes so easy.

Who didn't love seeing him dancing and putting the moves on Mary during their dinner date, talking about how the opus of Dr. Mallard is a lengthy one, but with the best chapters yet to be written?

What a smooth operator!

The cast of NCIS is perennially underrated, and this week was McCallum's turn to shine. Week after week, the stars' personal scenes are rarely wasted, and this was no exception. Ducky is brilliant.

It's a credit to McCallum and Cheryl Ladd (looking incredible at 60) that I was too caught up enjoying their interplay to realize something was amiss with her ... until it went on too long and too well.

Suspicions began to sink in that Mary was being set up as the killer, and indeed she was, with clues scattered far enough back that in hindsight, maybe it was more obvious than I initially realized.

One reason I was fooled, and why I wasn't a fan of the twist, was simply loving Ducky and Mary together. After all this time, Dr. Mallard is positively smitten with a woman, only to have this happen?

After such a strong string of recent episodes, this one looked to be following suit ... until it wasn't. Would anyone have complained if the guy smuggling and selling weapons was behind the killings?

You can't help but feel Ducky was short-changed a bit. For his sake, and ours, it would've been preferable to see him in a normal, romantic relationship arced over several episodes, but alas.

Gibbs, DiNozzo, David

On the flip side, Penelope may still be available. There's still time for a second date. Palmer's wedding is coming up, Duck ... bet you she'd be your Plus-1. She's a peace-loving hippie, too. Think about it.

Disappointment aside, though, I just didn't buy Mary as capable of such a thing. All because Ducky had reflected upon how unlikely it was to see something new these days? That's how she responds?

Had he never made that comment, would these servicemen still be alive? How did Mary conceal her obvious mental problems from coworkers in related professions for so long? It's all very puzzling.

It also seemed - and I know this is bordering on nitpicking - that NCIS had few leads about the men who drowned trying to quench an unquenchable, ecstasy-induced thirst, then nailed it in 15 seconds.

To an extent, it had to be written this way to deflect attention from Mary. Nevertheless, Gibbs' instincts eventually kicked in and saved the day with convenience in this case, rather than deduction.

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

  • Gibbs, grossed out by human brains. That was a first.
  • How long until Tony pokes around on Scholar-Date?
  • How hilarious was the scene with Tony, McGee and the security guard? They were almost at a loss for words dealing with that guy, a long-haired numbskull but a sticker for policy.
  • It was great to have Palmer back after his two-week absence. How excited are you for his wedding? How much do you want Brian Dietzen's name added to the opening credits?

What did you think of last night's NCIS? Discuss below!


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (180 Votes)

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


I disagree with almost all of your comments.
Honestly how can 19 million people be wrong, or is this place to review only for negative comments of NCIS ?
It was a great Team show with lots of banter - and by the way Ziva did not overpower the episode and this Ziva hate - Annie - is getting a bit lame.
Loved the show - can not wait for next week......


wasnt one of the better episodes for me,smthing was missing why cant we have episodes like boxed in,undercovers even swak come on you writers give the people whatthey want mor of tony and ziva.


I had Mary figured as the killer during her first date with Ducky when he was telling all about his victim. Not very well hidden, but it was worth a kind of mediocre episode to get to see more of David. Not enough was done to introduce Mary and get to know her as is done in most of these personal stories. But she was pretty transparent so I had no problem seeing her as the killer. And his decision to not reply to that last mmsg was a great way to end the episode. I hope you get better over the season than this. But after eight years, you are bound to hit a blooper now and then. The reason I stopped watching all of the other procedurals is because they spent too much time on the characters problems and personal lives. I hope NCIS isn't heading down that same road. But I am concerned. I love you guys and would hate to see you go.


C'mon... Ziva would know that water-boarding does not lead to water poisoning... I know it's a TV show... but put c'mon... writers... please... put your personal stuff aside... This show is losing me... Peace, ev


Well I agree with many of the comments expressed here. I love Ducky, but felt that episode was mediocre at best. I agree with stoutcat's post on page 1. What is it with the A story plots? Tim's new daddy issues and his ex hippie grandmother involved in an evil caterpillar plot, newly adopted Abby's puppy loving adoptive brother, Ducky's psychotic murderous on line girl friend. I'm glad that we are not having the weekly Ziva tragedy now, and I appreciate the fact that GG is attempting to give other actors besides MH and CdP some drama, but the premise of several of these dramas is soapish and outlandish. They are beginning to remind me of bad 70's drama plots. What happened to the Marines and the Navy? I agree with those who want, not the tragedy du jour for this week's featured member of the team, but small tidbits revealed subtly about our favorites within the context of an interesting and reasonably plausible case. This makes for much smarter entertainment.


I agree it would be nice to see Ducky have some sort of relationship outside of NCIS at this point in his life, but alas, this is TV and the writers have only 46 minutes to cover the two phases which make up every episode. First the case of the week or else continuing the season long story arc which this season concerns the Phantom Eight and the Watcher program. Second phase and my favorite the interplay between the team as they go about their work. Unfortunately this leaves very little time to develop any life for the team outside of work. So about the only time we get to see friends and family is when they somehow get involved in NCIS business. But at least the producers have the good sense to cast old favorites like Ralph Waite, Lily Tomlin, Robert Wagner, and now Cheryl Ladd as guest stars.


I've always loved NCIS and watch the reruns all the time. This episode was not one of my favorites. There was no character development for Mary so the outcome felt it came out of no where - kind of ridiculous. The scene with Tony and Tim and the security guard was very funny. They do well together especially when Tony is not to demeaning to Tim. i agree that after so many years, Tony and Abby need to grow and grow up. I'm getting tired of the same old jokes and snide comments for Tony. One would think that by now Abby and Tim would know that Gibbs is not tech savvy and stop giving him these technical explanations. This theme was somewhat of a duplication of the one when Gibbs was beginning a relationship and she ended up being the killer. Clue- she left her cigarette butts at the scene. Get a writer with new ideas. I'd like to see Gibbs with someone, it might enable his character to move on and become a bit more humane. As for Ducky, i'd love to see him hook up with someone. It would take on the topic of the reality of elder romance. It's a shame they wasted Cheryl Ladd on this episode. They could have used her as his love interest. When are they getting rid of the director? And, if he moves to NCIS LA, I might stop watching that show.


yes i loved the episode but them i loved everything they do. i would like Tim's grandmother back. i want more of Gibbs, Ziva was beautiful last night, waiting for next week.


Last night's episode was really bad. It was so obvious who the killer was. Poor Ducky! Cheryl Ladd? Really. She couldn't act when she was younger and now it's just worst and her facelift doesn't help either. Why can't any of the characters have some sort of life outside the office. I am a late comer to NCIS. I started watching the show four yrs ago via reruns when I was hone recuperating from a fractured ankle. There reruns are better written. I think that the show has lost its humor and chemistry. These characters are frozen in time. I was so annoyed when Mike Franks got written out. Loved him! I have become a big fan of NCIS LA. Much more fun and Hetty is a riot!


I cannot believe that I am addicted to a television drama. Sure, I have enjoyed a number of television series, but I have never been as loyal to a show as I am with NCIS. Why? Perhaps last night's episode ("Thirst") was not the strongest, but it still had the traditional NCIS elements. I literally feel the teamwork among the cast, crew, and writers in every show. I feel as if I am watching people at all levels who enjoy what they do and who respect each other. I also like the fact that NCIS explores and develops the characters. The "caper" (crime, plot, whatever) is not always the strongest element. A few weeks ago many complained that they had seen a similar plot on an episode of another show. This week many comment on the quick resolution. But the real discussions are about the people. "I hate to see Ducky lose his love." "Tony needs to grow up." That is what is unique about this show. You can literally feel the investment that the real people (cast, crew, writers) are making, and the characters are like real people. Keep it up!!

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