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 agree with a lot of the previous comments. I love Ducky, wish Abbey would grow up a little, didn't believe Cheryl Ladd's character, but most of all I wish they would do something a little more with Palmer's character. I'd like to see a better attitude toward Palmer from Ducky. He's been working with this man for years and he still treats him with disdain. He has compassion with all the others, what's up with this? A few of his jokes have been funny over the years, so Ducky should at least smile a little at a good one! And I have felt that Brian Dietzen should be in the main credits for several years.


Love Ducky and Davis McCallum, but this ep was sadly sub-par. This was the first episode written by the new writer (William Scott?), and it showed. I saw the plot a mile away, and the characters seemed a little off. I did enjoy some of the team banter, and the scene with Tony and Tim was primo. Some funny stuff. But I'm concerned about Tony, who was finally being written as more mature yet still funny in the first few episodes, but took a nose-dive into silly, cringe-worthy territory in this one. I think the new writers especially tend to look at Tony as if he has a big sign above his head saying, "insert joke here". They take the lazy way out and just use him as the funny guy. Last year the then new writer Nicole Mirrente(sp?) wrote her first ep at about this same point in the season, with Cracked. We all know how Tony was portrayed in that ep (John Travolta/Fat Elvis anyone?). Maybe all new writers should just co-write with established writers until they develope a good feel for the show and these wonderful characters. On a brighter note, next week looks hilarious. Can't wait!


There was nothing plausible about the main story line. It might have worked if the relationship had been substantially longer (little bits over at least 3-5 episodes), if she had demonstrated some irrational fears that Ducky would leave, and if she had demonstrated some hints of being a sociopath or at least callousness towards other people. I thought that the gossiping angle was overdone -- although I liked Ducky's anger at being gossiped about -- and I am getting tired of Jimmy's dunce act.


It would be really nice to see Ducky have a romantic interest & Cheryl Ladd would have b een great but as soon as they referred to him thinking he'd seen it all I thought, "Oh man, it's gonna be Mary!" Please writers get more creative, I love this show but it hasn't had a good start this season....


It was an old plot done badly. I love Ducky and I wish he could find love, but I hardly recognized Cheryl Ladd I thought she was just too hazy as Mary.


+I totally agree! Admittedly Mr. McCallum's acting chops made Ilya Kuriakin the iconic character he became and clearly he still has them!! My fantasy: Gibbs hooks up with his Colonel, Ziva gets her guy, Tony-who cares, I don't, Abby finds her life partner (whoever) McGee meets his intellectual equal and she happens to be a drop dead gorgeous centerfold (how she paid for her education) and some joy for Ducky!! Just a joyous relationship!!! Hope we will be attending Palmer's wedding somehow!!! Curtain down and thanks for the joy!!


Poor Ducky is right, alas. I've been waiting for him to have a nice companion for a long time, God, he's still a fox after all these years. It was a weak episode with a tiny bit of humor. The security guard was great, I love when people they meet have no clue about them being 'real' coppers on a mission. LOL I don't think this episode foretells a bad season or Gibbs setting things up to leave. Mark Harmon has been very clear that this show is his main interest and that he loves and respects his high profile in it. Cheryl Ladd still can't act and when she narrowed her eyes and started throwing things, I laughed. She was just way too insane to fool anyone for very long. Hoping for better next week.


Sorry I disagree with a lot of the comments. This remains to be my favorite show, yes I am addicted. I loved this episode. All the episodes are like two shows. One is the murder of the week and the other is the character interactions. Please never leave


to be honest, not a fav ep of mine. i just don't get dragged in when they focus on Ducky's love life, i wish it wasn't that center stage. and the whole she being so messed that she killed for him just seemed unrealistic and rushed. other than that, i wish they would make Tony goof a little less, he was maturing so nicely the first couple of eps, i want him to be a bit more serious, he can't be a kid forever, this is beginning to look embarrassing, he is 40 year old handsome guy who acts like a teen class clown. and i wish Abby would mature too, i mean come on!!! she is in her late thirties and pretends to be a teen as well, she needs to tone it down and dress as a more classy stylish goth. maybe a haircut will be enough for now, enough with the two pony tales, grow up! sorry for the harsh words, but i have been thinking this for a long time and i just can't hold it any more. but i do love this show!!! hope it stays for at least another 5 seasons!!!


Look, I was a fan of David McCallum when he was Ilya Kuriakin. We go back a long way, and I can still see him as an attractive character. I didn't care for this woman right from the start. (I think vibes work differently for us seniors...) Whatever happened to Jordan, that ME who became his friend and comforted him after his terrible memories of Afghanistan?

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