NCIS Review: Look to Yourself

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NCIS definitely knows how to raise the stakes with international missions, inter-agency subterfuge and kidnapped military personnel. Far from a run-of-the-mill murder case, tonight's investigation was just the onset of an intriguing new arc that could continue through next month's season finale, if not beyond.

The conclusion of "The Missionary Position" unfolded very quickly and felt anticlimactic after a compelling, slow-building first 45 minutes in the U.S. and Colombia, but it was just the opening chapter.

More questions were asked than answered, and none greater than what Dr. Samantha Ryan (Jamie Lee Curtis) knows about the mysterious Monique Lisson (Karina Lombard), whose penchant for secrecy and suspicious background were evident from the start. In that respect, Lisson is a fitting adversary for Ryan.

Under Fire

Following their apparent sleepover at Gibbs' house, were led to believe that Ryan's reappearance could be purely personal, to showcase her new relationship with Gibbs, and not necessarily related to tonight's case.

Similarly, Ziva just happened to have an old friend in Cartagena, Colombia. Wishful thinking. You knew there would be more to both characters' involvement, but their connection to each other was a surprise.

NCIS does a nice job of creating intricate situations involving multifaceted individuals you can't make sense of. You want to like Ryan, and to a degree Monique, but there are parts of each that are so, so shady.

The show also intertwines personal relationships and casework, whether it's with old friends or new romantic partners, blurring the lines even further and weaving a tangled web for its characters to circumvent.

Not everything is black and white, as we were reminded many times tonight, but with Ryan, you have no idea if she's one of the good guys or not. She and Gibbs are on the same team, but it doesn't feel that way.

Will she shape up after this and be a team player? Coming clean about wanting to talk to Lisson is a good start, but Gibbs' romance with someone he clearly can't trust is enough to give anyone pause.

Gibbs Gets His Man

At the same time, he's clearly attracted to her. It's neat that he has an age-appropriate love interest, and how could you not like Gibbs' awkwardly happy smile after he told her "we did okay" in their attempt at coupledom?

Overall, the episode was less about Tony and Ziva, or the latter's past, and more about the casework. Posing as missionaries to collect DNA samples and infiltrate cartels through vaccinations? Diabolical.

For his part, DiNozzo was anything but dead weight, particularly during his heart-to-heart with Chaplain Castro. Tony sounded a lot like Gibbs when comforting her and telling her how much guilt he carries.

We learned a little more about Ziva the human being instead of Ziva the action hero. Told by her longtime friend to search internally for happiness, she may again find herself reexamining her worldview.

Ziva's not the only one who will need to dig deep and look to herself before this is over. This case, if it does indeed continue and grow more intense, could test the instincts and fortitude of the entire team.

This case has the potential to get ugly, given the complexities and people. Cartels aren't known for keeping things above board, and the warning signs were abundant. How deep will NCIS go?

The Navy Chaplain was rescued after the CIA connection was exposed, but "The Missionary Position" clearly set the table for bigger things. This isn't over, and the next chapter should be very interesting.

Missionary Mission

Meanwhile, Jimmy Palmer spent the bulk of the episode hemming and hawing over who to choose for his best man, and after much deliberation, went with his gut and made the only logical choice ... Abby!

As an octogenarian, Jimmy's mentor Ducky would've been an unusual dark horse pick as well, but he bowed out, leaving Abbs to do the honors. Miss Scuito as the best man-woman? Somehow it just works.

All in all, an unconventional but solid episode with both a satisfying conclusion and plenty left unresolved. A few additional thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Gibbs punching McGee's arm in celebration of the rescue? Awesome moment.
  • Of course a trip to Colombia ends in Tony rattling off Puss in Boots quotes.
  • The dead body dropping near a picnicking couple was a bit Bones-esque.
  • The funny thing about Palmer's wedding tuxes? They were once in style!
  • Is Richard Schiff's character also connected to Monique and Ryan?
  • Was the "Colombian" seaside at the end actually Long Beach?
  • Please, please, let them show Palmer's bachelor party.

What did you think of this week's NCIS? Did Palmer make the right call? Do you like Gibbs and Ryan together? Where is this case headed? Discuss in the comments below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (266 Votes)

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


At least GIbbs gets to have a brain around Ryan. At least she doesn't insult and belittle him every time they are together. She doesn't call him dead weight and act like having him around will just slow her down. Week after week Tony is outdone and emasculated by Ziva, but fans still insist that there is such apparent chemistry and love. By that standard - Gibbs and Ryan ought to be picking out their china pattern by now, unless disdain and incivility are what passes for love now.


I love watching NCIS i think all the actors do a fine job in their characters and i think Abby as the best man so to speak will be good. JLC is a good actress, but there is just no chemistry between her and Gibbs in the show as characters.


but if you look at the whole season they have been making Gibb look like an idiot. 200 was the first time we got Gibbs since season 6


Sorry, but JLC makes Gibbs look like an idiot. A Puppet!! They do not belong together and it's like she is hiding things and Gibbs just doesn't get it. She gives that evil glare like the wicked witch. She needs to move on out.
Jimmy Palmer asked Abby to be his best person, now I can't wait to see what she will wear?


So getting to abby being the best Woman what do you think she going to have on at the wedding


Attacking the actor themselves is wrong. If you don't like a character, then fine, but you don't know the person who is doing the acting, so therefore being nasty to them makes no sense. I don't think it does go with the job, the people who do that, are trying to make themselves feel superior, its not right. Comment on their acting, don't like the character, but commenting on the actor themselves when you have never met, is middle school mean girls. As for JLC, I don't like her for Gibbs, too many secrets, but I think she is doing a wonderful job with the character. She is playing it as it as it is written. This is a great show with great actors and I'm sure it will be around for many more years. Remember the number of people watching are much higher then the number of people complaining about it.


I hope the writers do not bring JLC back for the finale, she has no chemistry at all with gibbs and its really sickening to watch her on it, also she belittles the team so i am hoping she stays gone


@justpassingthru: Go check out a "Huddy" fan site. The vitriol you'll read there will set your bowels aflame, and that hot mess hasn't even been a relevant issue for almost a year. But the "Fan Girls" just can't seem to help themselves; nor can the "Not-Such-A-Fan Girls." The "Huddy" war continues to rage on and to this day makes the TIVA issue look like a limp-wristed bitch-slap. However, until TIVA is settled one way or the other, there will always be a "Michael." I personally think that "Michael" is really a woman (possibly ESL) who has a giant crush on Tony DiNozzo (the character, not the actor) and therefore has a problem with any female character "she" perceives as a romantic interest for Tony. Sexual jealously brings out the best of the worst in all of us, even in the cyber world. Fortune Cookie Psychology, to be sure, but there's my not-so-humble opinion nonetheless. Cheers!


Callie N. I read that somewhere else too! Interesting. I don't speak Spanish, but envy those who do. Tony's Spanish may not be great, but he looked so darn cute saying it, huh? Not sure what it all means with Monique and all, but I think she may turn up later in the end-of-the season arc.


Except that...drumroll please...Puss in Boots never said that. In any movie. That was an attempt for Tony to brush off what he said as a line in a movie. Here's what he said (rough translation, yet cleaned up a bit. Tony's Spanish is honestly not all that great XD)-"I could not be who I am without her. She is an incredible woman."

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