NCIS Review: Can Diane Be All Bad?

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"We pronounce it Gibbs." - Tony

After a number of installments centered around the NCIS team members, last night we were treated to an episode based entirely around the man himself, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Or Leroy, as some might call him.

Maybe that's just what the show needed, a Gibbs episode to right the ship. I've enjoyed this season for the most part, but Mark Harmon truly anchored this week, reminding us why he's TV's #1 leading man.

Watching him navigate the dysfunctional family reunion of sorts that the case - with FBI Agent Fornell (Joe Spano) and their mutual ex Diane (Melinda McGraw) along for the ride - was funny, tense and real.

Gibbs' Ex-Wife Diane

It was excellent from beginning to end, but the most moving, unexpected and emotionally loaded scene in "Devil's Triangle" was its very last. Gibbs was Diane's "Shannon," the one love she'll never replace.

He only "liked" her a lot, much like she really liked Tobias and Victor?

Of course no one could ever live up to Shannon in Leroy's mind, but hearing it in such terms - Diane saying she still loves him, even after he made her a human anti-depressant - left you taken aback.

We were predisposed not to like Diane from the way the fiery redhead was introduced, and a lot of people still probably won't welcome her back after all this, but we all have flaws and make mistakes.

It turns out that Gibbs' are the same as Diane's, searching for someone to fill an emotional void and leaving other people crushed in the process. It's never intentional, and a lot of us have been there.

Whether he was quipping that his ex's arrival was "worse" than a dead Marine, needling Fornell, giving Abby a "do-over" or finally opening up to Diane at the end, Harmon was at his best last night.

Fornell's relationship with Gibbs was brilliant as ever, proving once again that he's near-perfect character to recur periodically and mix it up with the team, very much like Diane Neal's Abigal Borin.

Diane has always bonded the two, if you can call it that, and while this week's circumstances didn't allow for quite the same rapport (see classic scene from last fall below), they're still a treat to watch.

One of the funniest scenes last night involved the two ex-husbands trying to get out of questioning Diane ... and sending Tony instead. Michael Weatherly was in the zone as Gibbs' hilarious sidekick.

DiNozzo's curiosity was to be expected, but the look on his face was often that of pure giddiness, like he had more questions and material for wise cracks than his adolescent brain could even process.

In a sense, he added a comedic wrinkle to the mix that Gibbs and Fornell could not, since they were involved in a serious case involving the kidnapping of Diane’s current husband Victor (Tom Gallop).

It was hard to see how Diane would marry this career bureaucrat after our hero and his FBI buddy cop (I loved that they even jokingly referred to themselves as such), but perhaps that was the point.

Clearly, her first two marriages didn't end well ... and now Victor gets abducted at the drive-thru by a faux employee with a tranquilizer. Late night sales at Beltway Burger will plummet if this gets out.

If there was any weak point in the episode, I'd say it was that Victor seemed almost nonchalant about a massive terror plot, and his hiding of the offshore accounts felt like it needed more exploration.

First off, two million isn't that much for a 50-ish married couple. Did he really think that would change Diane's opinion of him? Isn't hiding it all offshore as opposed to a local bank shady in general?

Maybe Gibbs and Fornell just wanted Diane gone so badly that they figured they'd let Homeland Security handle that. Hard to blame them in a sense ... for men of few words, they did a lot of talking.

Gibbs, DiNozzo, David

The investigation eventually uncovered a lethal, man-made virus that our killers planned to release at an Armed Forces football game - but not over the entire stadium. Their target was the top military brass.

Ziva was totally bad ass in taking down one of the perpetrators, while the other turned out to be Victor's supervisor, who in hindsight was a little too helpful and calm when his subordinate vanished earlier.

It all ended well for the team and Diane's husband(s), fortunately. Hopefully she and Victor will return to a relatively happy life, and maybe even stop by NCIS again ... just don't expect a hug from Leroy, Vic.

Overall, I really enjoyed this installment, which featured some solid guest appearances and peeled back a new layer of our team leader, portrayed by the always-terrific star of a perennially underrated cast.

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

  • How old do we think Tobias' daughter is? Has that been stated clearly?
  • Poor Ducky is clearly still reeling from last week ... as you'd expect.
  • How funny, creepy and weird was the data storage manager guy?
  • Gibbs got Diane a waffle iron from her wedding registry? LOL.
  • Abby enlisted someone else's help pinpointing the virus?
  • Timothy McGee = Macaulay Culkin? Enough said.
  • Check out next week's NCIS promo.

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

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Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (185 Votes)

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

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i will always enjoy watching ncis on cbs

Steve marsi

@ Ted - $2 million is a ton. What I meant was that it didn't seem like so much that one would try to hide it, or that it would change her opinion of him, as he's already a professional earning good wages. If it was their nest egg, like he said, that would make sense, but why hide it?


NCIS Always been a great show................. CAn't say much about ncis: la


loved this episode great acting.we need a tony and ziva episode like boxed in which to me one of the best episodes ever so please you brilliant writers get writing.


MWK - this probably wasn't the first time he stopped there and she even said she had smelled hamburger on him before! So to the author, 2 million is a big deal? Well I bet to a lot of us IT IS! Anyway, to the producers, directors, writers, and, especially, the cast - keep up the great work! With so little on tv worth watching - you are a refreshing difference!


Remember last year when Abby had that "thing" for the little person scientist and he died? This actor who helped Abby last night is his wife in real life, or was his wife as he actually did die.


I loved last night's episode. I laughed so hard watching Gibbs and Fornell interacting with Diane. I loved it when Gibbs gut kicked in and he opened the door to find his team (kids) listening in on his conversation. It was priceless!! I think it has been my favorite show so far this season.


I love me my Fornell (with Gibbs). They are great together. Ican't wait to see how this plot point shakes out with Fornell and Gibbs investigating the big wigs. I wouldn't be surprised to see it lead to the current SecNav. Beyond that, I loved the last scene. It's always nice to get some closure in one's life and Gibbs finally got some of that with Diane. One of, if not the, best episodes of the season.


love the episode love Gibbs what a great actor he is, he does not need to talk, he is the best, where is Mr. Palmer??? want more episodes like that he is the man. love the end and even like Diane a bit more after what she said. waiting for next week


Loved the episode. That said, how did the kidnapper actually "know" Victor was going to stop at the burger joint? (BTW- There are no real Beltway Burgers, thank god). In any case, Victor hid the 2 mil when he was younger and it was a lot of money. I think 2 mil in my 50's would still be a great deal and I wish daily that I had some of it. Diane was great, acerbic and humorous and bitchy and actually really and truly concerned for this husband. She was tough and goodness knows Gibbs and Fornell do not need blushing damsels for wives no matter how many they end up having. The daughter has got to be early teens as last time she was mentioned, Gibbs and Fornell shared a juice-box in her preteen bedroom. And where was the kid? The mystery/crime was an afterthought and no one, in this day and age of potential chemical/biological terrorism would be so complacent. Our heroes, Ziva, McGee and Tony were given their moment as they paused for the National Anthem and the flying liberty, what a heroic/patriotic scene! Loved this episode so much!!!