NCIS Review: Double DiNozzo Duty

at . Comments

It's not quite art imitating life, but it is awfully coincidental that the investigation into the unexplained drowning of Robert Wagner's late wife, movie star Natalie Wood, was just re-opened after 30 years, with the actor's actions during one infamous, booze-filled night the week of Thanksgiving arousing suspicion.

No one is implying Wagner was responsible for Wood's demise - he wasn't a suspect then and isn't now - but his NCIS character found himself at the center of a similarly mysterious case in "Sins of the Father."

This time, Tony DiNozzo, Sr., was accused of murdering a business colleague, and the seriousness of that offense made for a more subdued encounter than Wagner's previous two free-wheeling appearances.

It was still a strong episode, however, thanks primarily to Michael Weatherly, whose command of the whirlwind of emotions experienced by "Junior" throughout the evening was pitch perfect.

Tony Jr. and Tony Sr. Picture

Weatherly and Wagner pull off the father-son dynamic brilliantly, even if their relationship is anything but conventional. This hour showed each actor at his best, both individually and playing off the other.

In the middle of the DiNozzos was Gibbs, not only the lead investigator but Tony Jr.'s de facto father figure. Gibbs showed again why he's such an effective leader a in a case that was as messy as they get.

He sidelined Tony, but had his back. Chastised him for getting too involved, but understood completely. Didn't give Senior the benefit of the doubt by any means, but showed him mercy for Tony's sake.

Weatherly was terrific as the flustered agent and son longing for answers from his ... regarding this case and so much more. Mark Harmon, as usual, was the steady hand, the man the team looks up to.

There was no B story or side plot tonight. It was all about Tony Sr. from the opening credits to the conclusion, with the whole team immersed in the case of the late Lt. Massey, found dead in Senior's Rolls.

Rented, of course. For a deal that never ended up happening.

At first I was skeptical that the elder DiNozzo would be the focal point of a case, again. Once the details were spelled out, however, it actually seemed like the kind of thing he would be involved in.

While it was near impossible to believe the NCIS writers would make our very special agent's dad a killer, things didn't look good after he admitted being hosed by - and threatening to kill - the deceased.

He had motive, means, opportunity, way too much to drink, no recollection of what happened and a history of various shady (if not illegal) dealings. Not exactly a recipe for clearing one's name in a hurry.

Even Senior knew he was up against it this time. Rather than acting like he was above it all or pulling his usual salesman schtick, he seemed as desperate for answers as his son, who was off the case.

Luckily, Junior is a fine investigator and Dornigan a poor handler (likable fella, at least). Even if it meant going against orders, Tony wasn't about to let the old man go down for a murder he didn't commit.

Gibbs and Tony Sr.

It's hard to tell what bothered Tony more, his father's tribulations or being held back from the case. Clearly both ate away at Junior, who tried anything and everything to be involved, from failed attempts to bribe Abby to full-on wrestling files out of McGee's hands in full view of other colleagues.

Gibbs made the right call in his attempts to distance Tony as best he could, even if that proved futile. Gibbs was also right to ignore Tony's breaches of protocol after the fact (did Vance even have to ask), and earlier, when he bluntly stated that his understudy deserves much better than this clown for a father.

Entertaining as Senior (and Junior's stories about Senior) can be, it's hard not to feel bad for the younger.

Instead of chasing women and money, he could have been with a son who just wanted a dad. Even now their relationship is not exactly emotionally transparent ... though their exchange at the end was a start.

The scenes at Chez Gibbs - so many memorable moments seem to take place there, with a wide range of characters, late at night - were among the episode's finest. Who didn't laugh out loud at him heating up some warm milk for his guest? Or at the sight of Senior in Gibbs' familiar USMC sweatshirt?

Those two form quite the odd couple. Hopefully Fornell doesn't get too jealous.

I had a feeling the old man was creeping at the end, too, when Tony began pouring his heart out to his boss about the deep affection he has for his dad. Apron on, cooking utensils at the ready, he appeared out of nowhere to interrupt a mortified Junior at the most awkward of moments ... classic stuff.

Senior's innocence was eventually established in a bit of a hasty conclusion, thanks to Tony and Abby's sleuthing - he was drugged and framed, apparently - but seeing him vulnerable and not in control for 50-plus minutes added a new dimension to the character and made for a good episode overall.

I just hope they invited the rest of the gang for Thanksgiving at Gibbs'.

What did you think of tonight's NCIS? Comment on it below!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (205 Votes)

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


I really felt this show was a retread. I could not understand why Gibbs didn't check the bar at the beginning of the show and also why Tony is still struggling as an almost 50 year old about his father who he talks to throughout the season and who visits him every year. It isn't like his father left him ion the desert to die. I do hope this is the end of the "my father doesn't love me" and let me go "cry to Gibbs" ep. Also the killer I knew 5 minutes into the show when McGee and Ziva went to visit. Personally I;ve had enough of Robert Wagner for a year. Michael Weatherly was good in the episode I would just like to see him get on with his life with his father and take another angle. He's not the only kid that grew up with one parent.


It was a fabulous one that for sure way better then last weeks by miles the one thing that did bother me was Mcgee I mean after all he did the samething with his Sister and his grandmother were a part of the case tony had his back why could't Mcgee have tony's. Also Vance prove to me why he better then Jenny at the job because even though he know its wrong for a agent to be invloed with a case that has a family memeber he knows that there no point in arging with gibbs As much as I like Tony father I think maybe its time for him to go considering the actor who play him is now the most hated man alive


enjoyed the suspense and tonis involvement and eventuial solving of the case against his father.


it was pretty good I liked it. I felt bad for Tony deal with his father RJ and Michael have great chimistry and he couldn't work the case, I liked how he was trying to bribe Abby and failed. I also like how SR ask Tony when he going to sweep Ziva off her feet. I liked the end with Tony telling Gibbs about his father and SR was there. I like this episode I just hope if or when SR comes back he comes back it be on a good note for Tony.

Heather moyer gendeloff

I loved this episode from start to finish. The best was when Gibbs was telling Sr that Tony doesn't and never did care about the money that all he wanted was a dad. And Gibbs being a father like figure toward Tony. Then the end when Tony was pouring his heart out to Gibbs about his dad leaving him again and not telling him. Then all of a sudden he poops out from the kitchen. They are making a slow start at tiring to be father and son. But I think he is still closer to Gibbs and always will be. He spends more time with Gibbs so Gibbs knows him.


You all know I adore my NCIS , but I will be honest, I was deeply disappointed in tonight's episode. It was predictable from the moment it began. I am also finding that as this goes on, the team interaction is becoming .. this hurts to say, also bland. I am not going to criticize the show merely because I am a huge NCIS fanantic.. it is because of this that I do. Going from last week's top 2 --Engaged was brilliant to this episode was a let down .. I also am noticing that lack of flow with the shows.. they take us from the emotion to almost a breaking action and it is jarring.. Abby's arc of being adopted has ceased to appear.. it's not like NCIS. I know I know.. I rank this season as one of the best.. but I do hope that episodes like this are not standard fair.. Really was not happy with it.. and that is rare indeed.


wh was wonderful as usual, tony was especially good at being a son and a pain in the butt to the team even though they sympathized with him. all togather a darn good show. cant wait to see it again.


Excellent episode. I really loved that Sr. came across as a real person who's scared by what he may have done and what he may face. I like this "human" version of Sr. more than the smooth-operator/con man facade he usually displays. MW did a great job with all the emotions of frustration, fear, exasperation, and love for his dad. Both MH and MW just get better every season at peeling back the layers of their characters. They always find something new to explore and show us.


When Cote de Pablo was cast for NCIS, her Ziva replacing Sasha Alexander's Kate, the show developed palpable chemistry. NCIS is holding up despite the boon in popularity and accordant executive attentions. Michael Weatherly deserves an Emmy nomination for this episode.


Enjoyable episode. It was fun seeing Tony being left out of an op, and not happy about it....his attempts at getting any information was typical Tony but reminded me of a kid on the playground trying to take the kids lunch money! I was hoping Dornigan, the agent assigned to dad, would not have folded under Tony's bribery, or that Gibbs would appear around the corner with a head-slap, but he did against Gibbs' orders. And sort of wished Tony didn't go investigating on his on, also against Gibbs' orders...but that's Tony, and with Gibbs forgiveness! Walker is superb as his father....right down to looking like an aged Tony -- good choice by the writers...even though it is acting imitating life (which is a shame it was resurrected), and Tony is Tony. McGee and Ziva were enjoying keeping Tony out of the loop, too, but so wanted to tell him all the details. Thanksgiving should have been at Ducky's, as always, with dad invited, or helping in the kitchen, however, loved the ending. Good show -- one of my very favorites!

Tags: ,