NCIS Round Table: "The Tell"

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Our NCIS review broke down the latest installment of television's #1 show in great detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Matt Richenthal and Eric Hochberger have assembled for their weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from last week's episode, "The Tell."

Join in below, as we analyze Gibbs, Ryan and much more ...


Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three).

Steve: Entertaining and surprising.

Matt: Strong, albeit a bit erratic.

Eric: A fun ride.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

What was your favorite one-liner from the episode?

Steve: "Get out of my head while you still can."

Matt: "Boss don't bounce."

Eric: "You cant expect someone to keep their feelings all bottled up forever can you?" Or, second place, "I love this woman!" - Ducky as Ryan talked to the body ... priceless.

Best scene?

Steve: I liked the brief Tiva scene at the end. Just because it was Tony and Ziva talking and listening to one another, as friends do, outside the context of overtly teasing us about the future of their relationship.

Matt: The scene in which Ryan labeled DiNozzo a game show host, and how that stuck with him periodically throughout the episode, really got to me. She nailed it and he didn't know how to respond. Also, both scenes in which sailboat drawings were involved. It was nice to see a new layer of Dr. Ryan revealed, whatever you think of her.

Eric: Ryan charming Ducky with her rapport with the deceased, as I said above ... or the unexpected return to the encryption site. As a computer nerd, I'm always a sucker for televised portrayals of them.

Gibbs and Ryan as a couple: Yes or no?

Steve: I enjoyed this episode and seeing the two of them together on the same side (as age-appropriate love interests go, it's hard to top Mark Harmon and Jamie Lee Curtis from a chemistry standpoint), but I don't see it as a long-term romantic fit. Ryan has too much baggage and I don't know if the show needs two Gibbs, as some fans have observed, on a regular basis. Also, her job is based on manipulation and deceit ... not exactly a good sign. I think that if Gibbs were to have a long-term relationship again, he might be better off with someone who's the opposite of Ryan. There will never be another Shannon, but someone who shares her attributes, rather than those of a high-powered government investigator.

Matt: As good a character as she is, I'd prefer seeing her occasionally as an adversary of sorts like we first saw her, ostensibly on the same side (both federal employees) but with a different agenda than Gibbs. The energy is just greater that way. I know romance gets the fan base talking and it's a great to get a taste of it from time to time, but it's not what drives the program.

Eric: I might incur the wrath of some readers, but yes. Who else do you want the man do be with? She's smart and powerful, able to challenge Gibbs while also revealing a more sensitive, vulnerable side. She does have baggage, as Steve says, but so does Gibbs. Both are surprisingly complicated individuals despite their tough exterior. As good a fit as you can find if you ask me.

Michael Weatherly and Sean Astin

What, if anything, was out of place this week?

Steve: I think the case veering off into the typical blackmail realm, with the hacker's true goal being to steal Autec's off-book government funds, felt like two episodes hastily and incongruously condensed into one.

Matt: That Ziva was so caught up with Gibbs and Ryan. I can see it coming from Tony, but something about Ziva's responses felt a bit out of character to me. Also, as Steve and several other readers have put it, the case felt a bit cobbled together around the two characters, as if they struggled a bit to find the right plot with which to advance the Gibbs-Ryan arc.

Eric: Abby not being in more scenes? Just kidding, but seriously, my favorite episodes are written for the team, so to speak, not for the guest stars or one main cast member specifically. I know there's going to be some ebb and flow from week to week and the team members had some great interactions with JLC in this episode, but it lacked for that true team-oriented mojo.

NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Gotta go with the man himself, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, for pegging Wickes as innocent all along. Ryan gets credit for spotting "The Tell," but it wouldn't have been case closed without LJG at the helm.

Matt: McGee. His cyber-warfare skills deserve more screen time.

Eric: Abby. Just because. That's my girl.

Any additional observations?

Steve: Ryan was, originally, slated to work on a case aboard a Navy ship with Gibbs. It will be interesting to see if that means she'll be back at some point in the season finale story arc, which is said to take place in such a setting, or whether her story arc was shifted to the two episodes we've just seen. Either way, I hope we see her again at some point.

Matt: Congratulations to all on the Season 10 picking. Despite all our criticisms, we keep tuning in every week for a reason, and everybody involved with the show gets the thumbs-up overall. Also, Sean Astin was great this week, even if he didn't get a lot of coverage due to JLC.

Eric: Can't wait to see Gibbs and Vance square off again this week. Vance episodes are always intriguing since he keeps his cards close to the vest, and since he's the head of the team but not part of it.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

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


Just A FYI NCIS has had the same writers since the show begin

Aja bird

I'd imagine that a guest star like JLC is expensive to have around. Therefore, they were making the most of the time they had her for.


I thought it was a cobbled together episode too. The ending was just to pat and to out of the blue and not in a good or clever way. I think Ryan is not for Gibbs, although I can see her as a friend and a source when tough criminal cases come up. Where is Fornell, I love Fornell and Gibbs interaction and he would have been great in the mix with Ryan. I was thinking they should make 2 hour episodes like Inspector Morse or Instepctors' Lewis or Barnaby, they can take the teamwork and character development more deeply.


Hi Gentlemen - I see that one or more of you agreed w/ me Re: "Two Gibbs's" :0). JLC comes across as a bit "too strong". But then again, Col. Mann was the strong type (not as mannish though), and Gibbs obviously liked her. However, I think Eric is right as well: Who else are they gonna put w/ Jethro?? If he has to have a woman (why should Tony have all the fun), then I suppose Ryan is as good as any. I don't see him "marrying" her though (he's not good at that anyways - lol), and she seems to be the demanding type. As I mentioned to another fan, Ziva was indeed TOTALLY OOC in this ep. She's typically NOT the nagging/whiny type at all, but that's how she was portrayed here. But I think the writer, being new, might not have studied up enough on David as a character.


This last week's episodes was not one of the better ones.............


poor matt you can tell he hates the show


Gibbs and Ryan...not a fit. I think shes to butch for him. By the way where the heck is palmer?


I agree with Steve and the brief Ryan label DiNozzo as Game show Host. and I agree with Matt best liner was Boss don't bounce. and I agree with Eric Abby id the team MVP. I like Sean Astin on NCIS and I agree with Matt he didn't get much coverage due JLC.

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