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.


last 2 words should be "it is".


Well, I guess I WOULD like everyone to agree with me that it's not okay to call actors nasty names, but you're certainly entitled to your opinion that it's not.


None of it's OK with me. This board does not seem "moderate" or "adult" at all. It seems like hanging out with the "mean girls" in middle school. You can think what you want, have any opinion at all, as long as it's the same as mine.
Very adult.


Actually, with the exception of this individual, this site is quite adult and moderate. You obviously subscribe to the theory that because an actor is a public figure, they open themselves up to being trashed verbally. I don't. It's not right. This has absolutely nothing to do with a character on a's about trashing a real person. This person has a long history of doing this. I guess that's okay with you, but it shouldn't be.


I like to visit different sites to see what people thought of the episode. All you get here is hate filled vile directed at actors, characters, and IMO, the worst, directed at other fans of the show.
CdP and JLC are actors. Not everyone is going to be a fan of theirs or the characters they portray. It goes with the job, and I think that they are used to it and can handle it. When you attack people because they don't feel the same way you do, you are just lowering yourself to the same level of the people who say things you don't like.
Rise above it. Ignore it. Take it with a grain of salt and move on. The fact that someone may not like Ziva really has no impact on your life what so ever. Try not to take it so personally.


Apparently you haven't read some of the vile trash this guy has written about a "real" person (Cote), including calling her a "f.....g b...h. His venom doesn't stop at the characters. He deserves to get called out.


Thank you both. I also think that Michaels expression of dislike towards a fictional character a whole let less mean spirited than the "gotcha" nanny boo boo and name calling directed at a REAL person. And yes - ignoring is a marvelous option.


Thank you. I was just going to write this:
“Now, children, if you don’t like what Michael is saying, just IGNORE him.�


WOW!! I guess I've spent too much time having adult conversations about NCIS with other, well, adults. I forgot how childish, petty, angry and down-right nasty fans of the show can be.


@janet, looks like Michael has bitten off more than he can chew. I don't have a clue where Tony said he could diffuse a bomb faster than a bomb expert but I'm with Bob on that one. I've got every episode on DVD, and have every episode from season nine recorded. But since this is supposed to be from Michael's two favorite seasons, I will have to join Bob in his hunt for this particular episode. But we all know we aren't gonna find it.

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