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.


Loved Gibbs and Ryan together. He needs someone that is as complicated as he is. Hope she is a regular. He needs some looonnnggg awaited romance. Go JLC. I guess I'll have to live vicariously through you.


I don't think that the fear of children episode was Tony centric. That's the one where Gibbs and Ziva went to Afghanistan to rescue those girls. I'd say that one was Gibbs and Ziva centric with Tony (as usual) cast as comic relief while the usual two were the heros and got all the action. While the episode with Tony's father and the one with Wendy had a lot of Tony, they were also quite team centric. The only really exclusively Tony centric episode was Nature of the Beast. But I'm with you in wanting the team back. I don't want to learn anymore about Ziva's tragic past or Gibbs for that matter. They've been done to death.


Well, so far we've had 4 episodes about Tony (if you count his fear of children one). We know there's another one coming up for number 5. If you figure 24 episodes or so, that's almost 1/4 of the season on 1 character. Why not just let him be a competent part of the team like he used to be instead of weighing him and and us down with all his emotional baggage. He comes out looking ridiculous. Oh, and that goes for Ziva episodes too. I want the team back!


@jerry: tony is when gibbs is NOT around, he IS the BOSS...and as SFA he should shown the SAME respect that is given to gibbs. as for TIVA: why would anyone who is a fan of tony, want him with someone who didn't see anything WRONG with shoving her injured partner down and pulling a loaded gun and sticking it into his chest...and claiming she wouldn't mind KILLING him?....she has NEVER respected him as an agent or her SFA....and i HATED jeanne....she was to damn demanding and such.


Why did they get new writers??????? This show is a mess. I will continue to watch every episode, but at the end of each show I feel cheated, like something was really left out. Do I like JLC - NO. Do I want to see more McGee - YES. Do I want to see more of Abby and McGee together working in her lab - YES, YES> If the old writers aren't dead, can we get them back??????????????//


i don't mind tony centric shows....but, i HATE them writing him as a fool and the butt of everyone's joke...tony would NOT still be ON gibbs' team, if he couldn't do the job...and i WISH tptb would make a point of having him be shown the RESPECT he's due....for putting up with the STUPID headslapps and the put downs even from gibbs....and STOP with the DAMN tiva stuff. and i DON'T want mcgee being shown to have any more of a swelled head, then he's already been shown....he acts as if he's BETTER then tony, because he went to JOHN HOPKINS and MIT....tony was a COP/ Det. before becoming an agent.....he KNOWS what he's doing...and i LOVE having them having to do thing the OLD FASHIONED way. alisa


I'm with you Mel. After seeing Tony cast as the team's weak link and butt of the joke from about season 6 on, I'm glad Tony is finally getting a little less demeaning attention. Boonies, obviously doesn't enjoy the character much, which is his/her right. But this should give him/her a little empathy for those of us who are tired of the Ziva show, as we have had nothing but, for the last several seasons. Perky gossip Ziva really got on my nerves last night. Talk about over done.


Mel, I like Tony too. That's why I'd rather they quit centering all these episodes around him. He just comes out looking like a doofus.


Actually, I'd rather see every episode be TEAM centered so they'd ALL get a chance to shine and have interesting cases. I don't really care about Tony's poor little rich boy childhood OR Ziva's daddy issues.


Sorry boonies,but many of us like Tony, and after several Tony-lite seasons, I'm ecstatic he's finally getting a little face time.
Thought the ep was slow and ,like every Gibbs-centric ep, had too little team, but it was nonetheless entertaining. Liked the little moment between Tony and Ziva at the end, which you could view as a Tiva moment or just a nice honest moment between two friends. Thought Gibbs and Sam had a nice dynamic, but didn't really like her smug, know-it-all attitude towards the NCIS agents. It was okay, and had some nice moments, but like all the eps by these new writers, felt a bit off and unsatisfying.

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