NCIS Review: A Daughter is a Precious Thing

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NCIS can be so much fun some weeks, it's sometimes easy to forget the seriousness of the jobs these special agents hold, and the sacrifice of the men and women their investigations revolve around.

Not tonight. The team grappled with a mystery that was, as DiNozzo put it, not your case du jour. For the proud members of the U.S. Marine Corps, life makes that collect call every single day.

Part I of "Engaged" was a compelling, emotionally weighty episode from beginning to end, a story moving enough to send chills up your spine even when the action on screen was minimal.

The disappearance of Gabriela Flores, an exemplary Marine by all accounts, and an even more tremendous human being, clearly hit close to home for the team, and Jethro Gibbs in particular.

Special Agent Gibbs Pic

Flores' unit was tasked with building and protecting a school for young girls in a war-torn province of Afghanistan were such things simply do not exist. After a RPG attack, she and others were presumed dead.

The plane transporting their remains home to Dover AFB subsequently crashed, leaving the team unable to find DNA evidences Flores was on board, despite plenty of circumstances suggesting that she was.

Gibbs took it upon himself - as a Marine himself, a leader of NCIS men and women, and especially as a father at one time - to figure out what happened and give Flores' father the closure he needed.

We learned a bit about Gibbs' past last week but tonight's flashbacks transported us to a time where Jethro became the person he is today - one who would never leave a man - or woman - behind.

Seeing a young Gibbs played by Sean Harmon, Mark's 23-year-old son, gave these scenes great authenticity, but more importantly, younger Jethro behaved just as he does now, down to the mannerisms.

I loved the way women in uniform were portrayed in this episode, past and present. Strong, equal, able and honorable. Flores was all of these things and more, making her fate that much more sickening.

To think that there are places where the mere education of girls is met by violence is profoundly upsetting. That there are Marines who put their lives at risk to change that is both humbling and inspiring.

Thanks to Gibbs' relentlessness, Flores' story may still end on a triumphant note. Refusing to close the case without iron-clad proof that this fine Marine was killed, the team kept treating her as missing.

Then they caught a break. A photo given to Gibbs by Flores' father helped ID the insurgent group that bombed the school, and thanks to McGee's video skills, we know she was abducted, not killed.

Trying to flee with children, of course. Seeing the events unfold via satellite, using night vision, was a chilling visual, but how awesome was it to see Gibbs unflinchingly headed off to bring her back.

Not that we'd expect any less, but the way this episode was set up, and feeling so connected to a victim we now know to be alive, seeing our hero rise to the occasion is enough to fill you with pride.

Time and again, Mark Harmon carries NCIS with a demeanor bold, complex and strong (like Gibbs' coffee, the Chaplain might say). Three cheers for the gray-haired grisly for his performance tonight.

The show rarely disappoints after almost 200 episodes, but this was one of those that will leave you thinking about it hours later, eagerly awaiting what will surely be a powerful conclusion next week.

There's a time and place for jokes and office shenanigans, and there's a time to get serious. In part two, Gibbs and the team will grab their gear and then some in the desert hills of South Afghanistan.

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

  • You know it's a long night when Abby is over-caffeinated. Think about how much Caf-Pow that takes!
  • I loved Ducky's way of telling Gibbs to focus on those that are still alive. Such command of words.
  • "Wheels are churning." "List of buckets." There should be a Ziva-isms Twitter account.
  • Ziva's head slap of Tony, followed by Gibbs telling him to stand down, was classic.
  • DiNozzo really rode a ferris wheel naked? Wait, is anyone really surprised?
  • How about that first flashback in bed? Has Gibbs ever really let her go?

What did you think of tonight's NCIS? Sound off in the comments below!


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (203 Votes)

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


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thank you everyone for the amusing read. i enjoyed reading every ridiculous bit of it. i think i have a crush on MAKA and MICHAEL. hahaha thank you for making ziva more popular than ever! :D keep the comments coming. maybe someday you guys will be able to convince yourself you're right. :) on a much lighter note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY COTE DE PABLO! stay beautiful! you are doing a great job!


@Maka - i have only one question. are you are girl or a boy? LOL :D


Susan, don't forget that Mark's father is war hero, who earned the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for his actions in the Army Air Corps. That episode was beautiful beyond words. With the last 2 episodes, NCIS is top of the game.


One observation I forgot in my previous post...Mark Harmon was never in the Marines, but he seems to have great respect for them. I realize that actors get to "pretend" to be a lot of different kinds of people. I did not see the series years ago when he portrayed a doctor, but I am always impressed with the air of honor and respect he seems to have for the military, and for his portrayal of that. I have one son who was in the Marines for 8 years, and another son in the Army, about to deploy to the sandbox. Perhaps that is what drew me to this show to begin with, and part of what keeps me coming back, beyond the awesome acting and character portrayal. Thanks, NCIS writers and crew, and cast. I hope you continue for a long time.


I loved this episode, and looking forward to next week. All of the characters are great, and each fulfills a necessary place on the team. Gibbs is, of course, my favorite. At 60 years of age, he's still "got it", in every way. He can say more with facial expressions than most people can say with words. It's amazing. Ducky adds a bit of classiness to the team, being well-educated in so many areas. If I were ever in trouble, I would want Ziva, Tony, or McGee to back me up. Yes, even McGee. He is the "geek" of the group, but he is also a capable agent. I loved the episode when Gibbs, Tony and McGee went to Africa to rescue Ziva. That is loyalty, and teamwork. And Abby is the bright light of the group. I hope Jimmy gets more air time, too, and that we can attend his wedding. I have a son in the Army who is going to Afghanistan in December, so the current 2-part story is particularly tender to me. I hope they rescue her. And I'm glad to hear Gibbs opening up a little about Shannon and Kelly.


Powerful, beautiful episode. This cast is tremendous.


As much as I enjoy the show, I find it ironic, in these politically correct racially sensitive times, that FEDERAL agents (even fictional Federal agents)are seen to engage in workplace activity that could be considered harassment, if not criminal (a head slap would bring charges of assault in the real world). Like I said, I enjoy the show, and Tony's great at his job, but the class clown/overgrown frat rat routine is getting a little stale for me. And the same could be said of the L.A. franchise--we all know Deeks would LURRRRRRRRRRRVE to get busy with Kensi--or so the writers would like us to think.


I beleieve its also sexual harassment and assault which is a growing problem in the workplace in these country, if Tony of done it to Ziva Gibbs would of chew him out and fire him just like he did Rachel in the NCIS plotdoor on JAG. I though Gary would help fix Tony not make him Ziva slave boy like some man non NCIS fans would like him to be but I guess Soup Opera fan are more imporant then NCIS fan like me. Also I wonder if the Chapel could be Jenny Sister they look so much alike that I was waiting for her to tell gibbs or for Gibbs to find out but maybe that nexts tuesdays. Speaking of next Tuesday i am shock their a new one considering its two days before Thanksgiving I guess its true what people are saying and that Thanksgiving a dying Hoilday. By looking at the picture Ziva go with Gibbs to get these Woman but I though Ziva was not allowed over seas anymore Should be fun can't wait for the next one call Sin of the Father about Tony dad


@maka there is a big difference between a smack and a tap and ziva gave him a tap or to be more precice a love tap as they love each other but wont get together till the last episode which i hope is a long time from now so get over your ziva hate.

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