NCIS Review: A Bounce in His Step

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This week's NCIS episode saw the much-anticipated return of Jamie Lee Curtis' Dr. Samantha Ryan, not as an adversary but as a partner - in and away from the field - for Gibbs this time.

The joint NCIS and PsyOps operation was compelling from the start, and even though things dragged toward the end and meandered into less interesting territory, it was enjoyable overall.

It was clear the show wasn't reprising the time-honored assassination attempt on the Secretary of the Navy when it happened with Gibbs standing right there AND he didn't catch the shooter.

Instead, it was all a mole hunt for one man's "tell" and the secrets it could reveal.

While extremely elaborate - that a government agency would go that far to root out the leak of classified information seems a bit dubious - it was an appropriate vehicle to reunite Gibbs and Ryan.

And reunite they did. That's what it's all about, right? The "bounce" in his step was obvious to his team members (and hers), as we were frequently reminded, even as they clashed professionally.

Gibbs and Ryan Photo

Throughout the episode, Gibbs and Ryan tried every trick in the book, making veiled threats, twisting arms, misleading and lying by omission to get to the bottom of a crucial blackmail scheme.

When it came to brain gaming Phillip Wickes (William Russ), Gibbs was off his game and couldn't hide his disdain for Ryan's tactics, voiced via that tiny little earpiece, in the interrogation room.

Rarely do you see Jethro get that flustered, and not even at the suspect.

Wickes is a personal friend of the SecNav, and the fact that the Navy's new Green Initiative meant fiscal doom for his steel company gave him obvious motive to blackmail the Navy to keep his contract. But he did not.

Gibbs was right to trust his gut about Wickes, who was innocent all along, but Ryan wasn't completely wrong about "The Tell" she spotted toward the end, which indirectly led NCIS and PsyOps to their man.

It turns out the blackmail was a diversion, and the hacker's true goal was not to secure Wickes' contract or to release of classified info but to steal Autec's off-book government funds, earning interest in a nine-figure account.

This felt out of place, like it should have been an entirely different episode (a McGee-centric one, perhaps, given the cyber warfare angle). The investigation even took them back to that same secure server encryption facility!

The Tell Photo

Body odor and all, Amanda Baylor would've been a worthy adversary for McGee, and as for the real mastermind, Wickes' half-brother? That also came out of nowhere, though it did explain Wickes' inner denial about it.

Cobbled together and full of unanswered questions as it was - why didn't Wickes bat an eye after being conned by Jarvis? - the case kept you guessing, and provided the obvious vehicle for Gibbs' personal dance with Ryan.

I like that Gibbs has an age-appropriate love interest, and that more of Ryan's personal history and vulnerability were revealed this week, making her more than your stereotypical "strong woman" love interest.

They enjoy some of the same things - breakfast at 4:00 a.m., charades (as the kids call it) - and have a nice rapport. Both have complicated pasts and are surprisingly complex individuals despite their tough exterior.

Of course Gibbs would state point blank that he can help with her ex - it's one of the many reasons we love him, unconditional and unwavering support for those close to him - but will he get the chance?

Jamie Lee is a good actress and I liked the character more this time around, but Gibbs is a man that leads from the gut, not the head. Ryan, for better or worse, is the epitome of a tactician, a very cerebral person.

Do they balance each other out enough to run away together on a little sailboat (metaphorically ... who didn't love that drawing)? Or are their personalities just too different? Questions, I hope, for another time.

A few additional observations before turning it over to you:

  • Ryan had some great interactions with the rest of the team this week. Talking to the body with Ducky, reading Abby's thoughts, getting under Tony's skin with the game show host comment ... all great scenes.
  • Michael Weatherly absolutely could be a game show host later in life if he wanted.
  • I'd watch a whole episode in which Abby "maps out" unexplained phenomena.
  • Exchange of the night? "You need more sex." "I'm not answering that."
  • Ziva correctly using the word "cahoots"? Nicely played, Agent David!
  • No Jimmy Palmer again this week. What gives!

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Discuss (and vote in our poll) below!

Do you like the idea of Gibbs and Ryan as a couple?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (241 Votes)

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


I love McGee and I hate JLC. More of him and no more of her!


I agree send JLC away she is not right for Gibbs


@Nat. I agree that Tony seemed more mature, but still funny. He's such a good comedian. I don't know about you, but Ziva seemed out of character and kind of silly to be so caught up with Gibbs and JLC, which, as you know, I didn't like at all. Loved your analogy of not needing two Gibbs. I thought the same thing during that awkward kiss. Couldn't tell who was who. Just didn't work. I hope they don't have her recur. Another actress would be much better in that role, although even the part isn't well developed. And thanks to the folks who brought up the issue with Sean Murray's voice. I noted that as well. When he lost weight, he also lost the timbre of his voice and it's noticeably raspier and at a different octave. I hope he's okay.


I agree with Nat and John G., JLC is age appropriate but send her away or kill her off. She is NOT right for Gibbs!
She really bothers me, I keep wanting to leave the room when she is in the scene and I cannot put my finger on why she has that effect on me. I hope Sean is OK, his voice is still very weak. I love his character and do not want him to be ill.


I have to agree on the no chemistry thing. I thought maybe it would work but, no. I like JLC, but not as this character and not as a romantic interest for Gibbs. They could be buds like Gibbs and Fornell, but NOT lovers...yuck! And SM does look and sound sick. They don't give him much to do anymore so makes you wonder if he's too weak to work full time?


(Continued from previous post) I do not necessarily want to tune in and see TWO Gibbs’ dialoguing with each other. ONE Leroy J. Gibbs (the ORIGINAL version, thank you very much) is enough for me!!


@Winza: Hi! I enjoyed your comments – especially about Tony. He was funny, but not as childish, which was nice to see once again. I LIKE him in that sweater (more, please!), and I’m thinking Ms. Monreal did that to perhaps detract from “Wink Martindale� (lol!!) I LOVED seeing our perverted security guard from Devil’s Triangle (ha ha – he was drooling all OVER Ziva in that ep) – he’s a very funny extra, and sooooo WEIRD. I like JLC, and she’s a very good actress, but I have to agree that she sort of bothers me, on NCIS. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, either. Yes, I’m glad Gibbs has someone that can make him “bounce� I guess…..but she just seems so…so….MANLY, I guess. She’s not very feminine to me. JLC always has had that “hard-edge� about her, in my opinion; no softness there at all. She’s kind of “tough & gruff� – kind of like the female version of Leroy himself, perhaps?? She’s like a Man, but in a skirt. I do not necessarily want to tune in and see TWO Gibbs’ dialoguing with each other. ONE Leroy J. Gibbs (the ORIGINAL version, thank you very much) is enough for me.


continued....about Sean Murray... His overall gaunt look and dark circles worries me. I sure hope he will regain his health and vigor. He has grown into a very special agent.


I enjoyed Sean Aston and JLC (two thumbs up elevator scene). However, I think I’d enjoy seeing her periodically as an adversary who tries to play mind games AGAINST Gibbs. The energy would be greater that way. Forget about romance. Although, it is a unique treat to see an age appropriate woman in the show. My favorite shows are ones that have equal team participation and are written for the team members, not guest stars. I am, also, concerned about Sean Murray. He says he has lost 25 pounds, but it looks more like 50-60 pounds since the shower scene in the SWAK episode. His voice seems to resinate from the back top portion of his throat instead of his usual deeper sound from his chest. He hasn’t had hair loss in the show; although he keeps his hair short and they don’t film year round. I guess a treatment of radiated beads might not cause hair loss. His overall gaunt look and dark circles worries me. I sure hope is will regain his health and vigor. He has grown into a very special agent.


Well it sounds as if, like it or not, JLC is coming back for the SF. When her appearance was first spoiled for the November sweeps, but ended up was unable to film then, there was a spoiler about her and Gibbs working together on a navy ship. It sounds to me as if they've moved that story to the SF. So it looks as if we're getting another Gibbs heavy finale, and I will predict the usual side of Ziva in peril.

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