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 thought I was watching a hour long sitcom last night. This was played for the humor and while I truly love NCIS humor, this went way too far. The case could have been interesting, but it was merely a sideline for the Gibbs/Ryan dialogue and peekaboo faux relationship building. The Wickes half-brother being the evil mastermind was just thrown in there and his emotional supplication to his brother was out of place and over the top in the tone of the episode as a whole and way too unexplained to be interesting as a plot device. Stinky compuiter girl really, really, really should have been a tidbit for McGee and Abby. I would have loved to hear Abby comment on the lack of bathing. But, yes, Ryan's interactions with Ducky and Abby and Tony were great. Mishmash of an episode.


If NCIS returns for Season 10(and I it HAS been picked up),I damned sure want to see Jamie Lee come back as Dr. Sam Ryan.This is the kind of woman
Gibbs has needed since Jenny went down. She's tough enough AND smart enough to go head-to-head AND toe-to-toe with Jethro.
Not many women like that,which puts her in the "rare breed" category.
Let her and McGee highlight that one, a variation on Scully and Mulder. Yes, that would be way cool.


Gibbs is older, redheads fade lol. what he needs and wants is an intelligent woman who can keep up with his mind and not treat him like Gods Gift. Dr. Ryan definitely can, much like Jenny and Shannon. She's a keeper. Definitely time for Gibbs to have someone of his own. Isn't that what the 200th episode was all about, closure and moving on? I do agree though, Tim isn't Tim any more, he's almost a caricature of his former self. Very sad, but seems to have come with his weight loss. Like he takes himself too seriously now.


I loved the episode. JLC is a great actress, her character is strong and smart. I think she is a perfect match for Gibbs. I liked Holly , but she certainly would have become ex-wise 5. Also is very nice to see happy and smiling Gibbs.
Tiva in the end was cute. Really , how long can you keep your emotions bottled, Tony? Common guys, please, it's getting old - just let them be happy too.


I think Palmer is off doing some other acting committment right now - As for last night's show, I am not a huge fan. It was OK but way too confusing and almost like a tennis match watching who is saying what to whome......Ziva was quite animated last night - overly so.....Tony was Tony (love his character)or was he Wink? Gibbs is historically stoic and focused on his cases when interacting with other women. Rarely does he let down his guard. Ryan was stimulated and intrigued on this case - it was a profesional coup for her to figure it out and when one-upped by Gibbs.....she was devastated. Control freak? ya think? I think he likes her(in his off time) and is intrigued enought to "be available to her", but what will happen is up to the writers - who I think were a different group for last night's show - they are playing with our emotions, not to mention the's March!


Best Tv show......


Thought the episode was boring & JLC was too cutesy.Loved the Tony, Ziva scene near the end. Tiva, Tiva, Tiva.
Tired of all the guest stars this season. I prefer seeing the team interaction without throwing a bunch of has beens into the action.


Loved seeing Tony in a sweater - trying to not look like a game show host? Also loved how he placed that little American flag in Ziva's coffee mug alongside her Israeli flag. Enough with all of the Gibbs-heavy episodes. Let's see the whole team!!!


It seems like the writers started with the scenario they wanted played out between Gibbs and Ryan and then to use a phrase used several times in these comments "cobbled together" a plot that would fit it. I half expected SECNAV to tell Wickes when he walked in "You've been punk'd". Two and a half stars. Only reason that high Ryan's Wink Martindale reference to Tony.


I loved last nights episode it was excellent I love Jamie Lee Curtis she's funny her character and gibbs work well together and so cute too even if they are old loved the entire episode, I also loved the tiva scenes of course, Tony is starting to show a little with his feelings for Ziva not quite there yet but its getting there now all we need is Ziva to admit to someone or herself that she has feelings for Tony too. I hope jamie lee curtis is more episodes I love her character its so fun, I like the banter between her and gibbs its so fun to watch and they are cute together and gibbs likes and she's not even a redhead

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