NCIS Round Table: "Safe Harbor"

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Our official NCIS review broke down Tuesday's episode in great detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for a weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from "Safe Harbor."

Join in below, as we analyze various aspects of the team's adventures ...


What was your general take on this episode?

Steve: I loved it, as I have most of Season 9 so far. NCIS just keeps rolling. "Safe Harbor," like previous weeks, was loaded with great character moments, both touching and funny. Despite a couple of holes in the mystery, it was a typically strong installment, well-written and acted by this perennially underrated cast.

Matt: Terrific guest appearances by Shohreh Aghdashloo and Diane Neal. Decent enough plot, but not the best; Made up for with plenty of laughs and heart, however

Eric: Not quite as good as "Enemy on the Hill," but that was hard to top, especially as a major Abby fan. This week was still good, just not one of my top 10 favorites. 

NCIS RT - depreciated -

What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?

Steve: Is there any way one doesn't choose Borin scrubbing the stain out of DiNozzo's pants, only to have Vance walk in dumbfounded? Humor is always key to NCIS but that was particularly hilarious.

Matt: "Whatever you're doing, stop." Classic. Runner-up: "Nothing more boring than perfect." Gibbs may want to add that to his rule book.

Eric: Tony's pants for laughs. Gibbs and Ziva for making my living room dusty.

Should Gibbs date Abby Borin?

Steve: Don't get me wrong, I would be an unabashed member of Team Bibbs if they went there, but their relationship is fun to watch as it is. Why mess with a good thing, I guess.

Matt: I liked that they basically put this out there and shot it down right off the bat, but had Borin play a role in Tony and Tim's quest just the same. Well done. I think if Gibbs and Abby 2 were to date, it would've happened already, but I always enjoy her visits and hope the next one isn't too far off.

Eric: No. One of our readers described Gibbs and Borin in a way I really liked, and will now steal for this answer. She's like a younger sibling or cousin, mature enough to relate to Gibbs but young enough to pal around with the team as well. However you describe it, Diane Neal does a great job in this recurring role.

Discuss the theme of Gibbs as a father figure this season.

Steve: While hardly a new dynamic, it's hard to avoid talking about it after the last few weeks. Whether he's calling Ziva "kid" or bear-hugging Abby, Gibbs is always there for his team.

Matt: Every episode since the premiere has been solid, and that's a big reason why. First Tony, then Tim, Abby and Ziva. His connection with each has been touched upon in successive weeks. The "kids" are definitely doing alright these days, despite their respective issues, and Gibbs' guidance is a big reason for that.

Eric: Some have speculated that these recent episodes signal the beginning of the end of the show, with the agents taking the reins more and more often. I think it's just the natural progression of things. People grow up, relationships evolve. And while all good things must end, I can't imagine NCIS doesn't have at least one more season in it beyond this one.

Do you trust Vance?

Steve: Vance is a political ladder climber in a way that Gibbs has never been and never will be. They don't see eye to eye for this reason and it creates a lot of tension. I don't trust Vance to always help Gibbs do his job, because he has other priorities, but I also don't think his efforts to undermine him are necessarily personal.

Matt: If we could, would the show be as good? Some internal strife to keep things interesting isn't always bad, and the writers and Rocky Carroll go a good job of playing it close to the vest.

Eric: Ah, the eternal question. I'm not anti-Vance like some people. He'll never be one of the team but that's fine, I don't think he has it out for any of them, he just is who he is. The new SecNav, however, is clearly a conniving SOB and I'm confident a major clash with Gibbs is coming our way this season.

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


See janet, I think Gibbs has always shown that he cared. There was never any doubt in my mind that he (or Tony) would go the ends of the earth for one of their own. I liked that we saw this through subtle actions, facial expressions, and body language, rather than having is so explicitly spelled out. I think it's still pretty subtle between Tony and Gibbs, and perhaps that is because these two actors have such amazing chemistry that they can pull it off, but I like to be able to interpret subtleties, rather than have sappy, somewhat OoC dialogue that proves what I already know. JMO


I love that gibbs is finally showing that he cares about his team about time.


Agree with Mel and Blu. I enjoyed Safe Harbor, but I hope they don't keep pushing team members with family issues agendas and have all these constantly spelled out "daddy" moments with each team member and Gibbs. I love that they all care about each other, but like it when they differentiate the relationships and when Gibbs gives his support with subtle actions, rather than expressed verbally every episode. Still, this is minor. In general, I am thrilled with the direction GG has taken the show in thus far. Such an improvement!


I liked the episode I liked Tony's Pants that was funny. I don't trust the new secNav I think he is out to get Vance and Gibbs team. I think Vance has secrets but I think its about him. I don't think NCIS is going off the air anytime soon well I hope not it's best ratings on TV.


The chemistry between Gibbs, Tony, Magee, Ducky, Ziva, Parker and of course Abby just works--LOVE the show!


Darn,can't login. @Mel thank you! I enjoyed yours as well!I have to agree about being told that Gibbs is the 'father'. While I like my family moments anyway I get them, I do agree that this show doesnt need Gibbs or anyone telling us that theyre a family because we already know it and see it. They do a great job at displaying.also agree that the entire cast is unbelievably underrated.they are all brilliant


I think Vance is excellent at posturing. Coming on to the SECNAV "as a friend" was larded with guile as was SECNAV's reply. They are both cagey and this dynamic will offset any comfort the team takes in one another as it adds tension to the overall plat of an episode. I agree MW is very good at physical comedy, the taking off of the pants, with grunts for forcing the pants over his shoes in a small space was truly laughable. But, jeeze-louise, Gibbs knowing and having dated the team's "perfect woman" was just hysterical. Gibbs always knows, as Tony has said time and again. There will be no more Col Mann, unlike the 3 ex-wives, she didn't have to marry Gibbs to find out he was mired in his past and "real-love" marriage and child. She got out in time and I applaud her. Any woman who overlooks Gibbs' obsessive replaying of his first marriage's moments is a fool. Can't wait for Fornell, love the character and the actor!


I just love NCIS, the whole cast and writers's etc. I hope it is around for a very long time! I still miss JAG! Don Bellisario has to be given credit for starting these shows and choosing such great casts to play the parts! Kudos to DPB for the wonderful entertainment he has provided for us. Kudos to Mark Harmon for carrying on with the show. He is so talented as are all of them!


I still would like to see at least one, maybe more episodes with David James Elliott and Catherine Bell as guest stars. Patrick Labyorteaux and Kerri Turner also.


First have to say,Blu, what a fabulous post! Love your insights.
Have to agree with Eric that it was a good ep, but not a fav. I was more entertained by the B story, with Tony/Tim/Borin looking for Gibbs' perfect woman. I think my favorite part was when Abby ordered Tony to take off his pants,and he did it without question or hesitation. Such obedience! Made me laugh.
I love the way the team has been closer and more supportive this season. I don't have a problem with Gibbs being portrayed as something of a father figure for his team, but I think there's a danger in pushing the Daddy-card too hard. It simplifies Gibbs' role a bit, and I think his place in each teammember's life is a little different. In the premiere, for instance, Gibbs was very protective and supportive of Tony, but I saw him as more the boss and mentor in that ep. Whereas in Restless, in the closing scene in the car, when Tony tells him he was the one who was bullied, the scene definitely took on a father/son feel . Gibbs "telling" us that his team are his kids seems too much like slapping a label on their dynamic. Just keep "showing" us the way this team interact like a family, and it will be gold, IMO. Also agree with Steve that this cast is perennially underrated. Props to all of them. And as always, enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts.

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