NCIS Round Table: "The Penelope Papers"

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Our official NCIS review broke down "The Penelope Papers" in great detail. Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger gather for a Round Table discussion of the episode.

Join in below, as we discuss various aspects of the NCIS team's latest adventures ...


What was your general take on this week's episode?

Steve: I loved it. The writers are really playing up these top secret government agency conspiracies of late, but it usually makes for a compelling mystery and this was no exception. I thought Lily Tomlin was outstanding and loved seeing Gibbs as father figure to Tony and Tim in back to back weeks.

Matt: Solid. In many ways as strong as vintage episodes from seasons past.

Eric: A good episode overall and one of the best McGee episodes in years.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

Favorite quote or scene from the episode?

Steve: Palmer never ceases to amuse with his ill-timed rambling, but I loved his conversation with Ducky (and later Gibbs) in the morgue. Sometimes, the best guy talk happens in the unlikeliest of places.

Matt: The whole thing was full of memorable moments, but I liked the continuity of the conclusion. Lily Tomlin would have carried the episode regardless, but Penelope convincing McGee to reach out to his estranged father, who he had talked about at length earlier, was a perfect way to fade to black. I also liked learning about her past. The mother of McGee's straight-arrow dad was a hippie activist? Who knew!

Eric: Oh geez. Penny winking at Tony for humor. Tim's interrogation of his grandma for drama. His realizations about his biological father and NCIS father figure, respectively, for pure emotion at the end.

Discuss the evolution of McGee.

Steve: Similar to what we saw with Tony, it feels like Gibbs is letting his team take the reins lately. He's still the rock that they need, but he gave McGee the leeway to really come into his own this week.

Matt: He's come a long way and Sean Murray did a terrific job of conveying the complex emotions of his character. Physically, though, he's looking a little thin lately. Sorry, I had to mention it.

Eric: McGee takes things a bit personally and gets flustered easily, but it's how you respond to these situations that makes one a better agent. I think he passed with flying colors in the end.

Will Ducky continue date Penny?

Steve: Who didn't smile ear-to-ear when he showed up to escort her dinner, especially after Dr. Mallard had just reflected on not having been in love in so long? Great moment.

Matt: It'd be great if they could pull that off. Call Lily's agent now and set up a return, guys!

Eric: They're cute together, but I hear he may be getting an Angel for a girlfriend instead.

Which character would you like to see an episode focus on next?

Steve: The odds of all three of us answering Abby are on par with Tony quoting a movie next week. I'm certainly pulling for Miss Scuito, and from the looks of next week's preview, I may be in luck.

Matt: I'm going with Abby, but wanted to make a somewhat related point about Ziva. Is it just me or has she seemed a bit distant from the rest of the team in the first three weeks this fall? Not a complaint, just something I've noticed and wondered if others felt the same. Think they're setting up a big storyline for her that will explain this?

Eric: Abby!!

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


@Stacey If you mean the mysterious Red Head, she is played by Vivienne Bellisario, the creator's wife and Sean Murray's mother.


Gotta love McCallum episodes!! I loved Nina Foch as his "Mother!" Get that man out of the basement more often, and if there is a love interest in his (near) future, Cheryl Ladd is an intelligent, beautiful, believable match for him, as opposed to some 25-yr-old. "Scotland Forever!"




I absolutely love NCIS and the whole cast is just great!! I would like to see an episode with David James Elliott (Capt. Harmon Rabb)and Catherine Bell (Mrs. Harmon Rabb) as guest stars. If you remember in season 8 of JAG, Rabb said he owed Gibbs a favor. This would make for a great episode!


I don't agree that McGee looks fine. He is too thin and looks like he is sick. I hope that is not the case, but his face is sooooo thin and he just doesn't look well!


nice one like the way the team interacts together.think there's a ziva episode coming up soon just know it will be great.




You know I love Abby, that's a no-brainer. But there hasn't been a personal episode, or even a side story, about her in quite a while. So I guess it is time. Just incidentally, guys, I think a thinner McGee looks fine, more like an agent. After all, if Tony gets some kind of special assignment, McGee would become the senior field agent, and he should look the part.


Can anyone tell me what actress played the red head at the beginning? I knew her in past shows, but can't remember her name.


I continue to enjoy the warm and fuzzy team moments. McGee and Tony are so much more supportive(especially after last week's big Tony reveal), and I noticed that Tony called McGee Tim throughout the episode. Also loved the comfortable dynamic between Tony and Ziva, especially at the end as Penny told them stories of Tim. It's sweet seeing the gibbletts like a family again. Loved Lily Tomlin, and she was a perfect fit with both McGee and Ducky. And loved Tony telling Penny that Genghis Khan couldn't control Gibbs, lol! I'm liking this deeper exploration into our team, and hope to see more.

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