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.


Jamie Lee Curtis' character may be an "age-appropriate love interest", but she's also manipulative and deceitful. I wish she'd go away and never come back.


The episode was interesting and engaging. I particularly enjoyed Tony tonight. He's so naturally funny; such a light touch. But I thought Jamie Lee Curtis was dreadful. She was a cartoon and showed no lightness and had absolutely no chemistry with Gibbs. And having the young security guard compare her to Anne Bancroft in The Graduate? I don't think so. Curtis is a great lady and is fun and quirky, but she hasn't inhabited a real character here and is being presented as some sexy older femme fatale and it just isn't working. Either direct her or write for her better or don't bring her back. I was embarrassed for her.


I liked this episode. Not one of the greatest, but still kept me entertained. I did not want Gibbs/Ryan to get together, but this week the character was not as secretive, and it was obvious that she told Gibbs more about her life then we the viewers know. I could take or leave the relationship, the writers certainly left the door open for more episode with Dr. Ryan in the future. I agree with the reviewer, its nice to see an age appropriate person with Gibbs. What is the problem with people and JLC with her Activia commercials? It has nothing to do with her performance. If thats all you can see when you see her, then maybe she is not the one with the problem. Let it go.


No chemistry!


Absolutely no chemistry


Just didn't hold my interest. The case was convoluted and not worthy of the attention of NCIS or the viewers. I'm not a big fan of JLC especially since she fills the airways with her Activa commercials. I didn't feel any chemistry between her and Gibbs. I would have liked more of the team and less of the rest of the characters.


Tony makes the show his humor {I am senior field agent} is so cute.
Can they Please bring back jeanne for Tony. Let him beable to tell her his true feelings. Let her come back with a kid and let Tony be th father. But let him find out much later that she had a kid and did not want him to know because he hurt her. Tony needs a little Dinozzo out there I think he will be a great father. Ziva I love her but her and Tony can still fight off there attraction for each other. If ziva mentor is coming on the show she is cute for Tony. Gibbs and butchy jlc is all wrong. Bring back the dark haired lawyer they have an attraction to one another. And she is not a redhead. Ducky is so adorable he needs a romantic interest ASAP. Cheryl Ladd was good for him until she went loco. McGee needs a love story line and let her be so hot that Tony mouth will drop like he did when Palmer brought his sexy fiancé too meet the team. Abby adorable has she is maybe she is the only one for McGee. And again Gibbs and the butchy jlc NOT. Who will be on top? Gibbs is a fine looking man and needs a beautiful looking feminine woman ie: the lawyer.


As a health care provider, I am concerned that Sean Murray may have either prostate or testicular cancer. I know he lost a lot of weight through a "no booze, no soda pop, no sugar" diet a few years ago, and he looked really good and quite healthy for a time. However, this past year he looks positively gaunt and his voice is not as deep. Chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy can interfere with testosterone and cause changes in voice pitch and tone, and, of course, can make an individual look "sick." The internet and other reporting agencies have been uncharacteristically silent regarding Sean's overall appearance, and his appearances on the show have been less frequent and mostly confined to sedentary settings. I sincerely hope I am wrong; however, the more I see him, the more I am concerned. I really love that guy; I'm a McGeek all the way.


continued: Ziva was amusing without intending to be, which is a good thing; I thought it was slightly over done though, but only slightly. It was good to see praised for correct usage for once. But... cybercrap and sooooo little McGee, what gives? I love my McGee. I want more. 'Boss don't bounce.' = Priceless. More whole team next time, maybe? Please. Alex.


Well... I liked it. Guest cast alone makes me give it 3/5 stars. I love Sean Astin and JLC. I loved Dr Ryan and Abby - 'Get out of my head while you still can.' I liked her with Ducky too. And she certainly ruffled Tony's feathers with her 'Game Show Host' comment. I did not, however, love Dr Ryan alone or Dr Ryan w/Gibbs. It's been two eps now and I'm just not invested in the character. Don't we already have a reoccurring shrink? As much as I love JLC I would far prefer to see more of Dr Kate's Sister than Dr Ryan.(*Perhaps it's my unrequited Kibbs Shipper). Liked the drawing and the charades comment - threw me back to 'Kill Ari' and Tony playing charades on the phone. As to Tony: I know the DiNozzo army will be baying for blood at the game show host comment but for me anything that gets Tony in a sweater is a good thing.
Ziva was amusing without intending to be, which is a good thing; I thought it was slightly over done though, but only slightly. It was good to see praised for correct usage for once. But... cybercrap and sooooo little McGee, what gives? I love my McGee. I want more. 'Boss don't bounce.' = Priceless. More whole team next time, maybe? Please. Alex.

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