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.


then okay, the stroll near the beach in bright sunlight w/ ziva & monique after just getting’ shot at. more ‘oprah’ talk-ish wtf. you’d think that tbtp's coulda set up that little talky in a more covert location showin' ziva & monique doin’ their job. coulda been a quick convo that happened in a scene where they were checkin’ out the location they were gonna blow up. i dunno know. just somewhere out of sight of cartel that just tried to pick them off in broad daylight. stupid tbtp.


in retrospect sunny lunch scene was bogus. come on. they are in middle of a major kidnap case w/ a drug cartel but they’re all like let’s have a long lunch and get to know each other all ‘oprah’ like. they should have gotten into cartegna in dead of night. made it more drama action mysterious w/ the 1st meetin’ w/ monique. the shoot out someplace seedy dark. they could have minimized the getting to know you talk- made it less oprah show-more real. had it while they were drivin' in a car someplace @ night'. again the chaplain shouldn’t been in colombia. i was like wtf. she didn’t know anythin’ more than they did. she wasn’t an investigator. can’t believe tbtp’s wrote gibbs sendin' her. gibbs would’t do that. occ.


then tony says somethin' like why should we trust her. monique is right next to him. he's sayn' it like she wasn’t there. like ziva wasn’t there. she was ziva’s friend. calm, respect warranted even if tony thought monique messed up. lame line. made tony look like a moron w/ no brains, tryin’ to be all macho. then gibbs has to tell them to have each others backs? wtf? as if they don’t do that every day. gibbs to the rescue. breakin’ up the little kiddie fight. puhleaze. they were made by the cartel ‘cause wasn't the chaplain was wearin’ her damn navy fatigues uniform w/ the cross-gotta watch the scene again. how r they supposed to be undercover if 1 of them is in a friggin’ in a navy uniform w/ a little cross emblem. duh. why was the chaplain allowed to go down there again? share a hotel room? why was that scene w/ the bellman checkin' them into there room even in the epi. wasted scene.


hi editor hows everything with you yes i know we should all ignore michael but when he lies i just cant and yes he should be blocked.hi Kat yes i think he does read other posts but ignores them just to write hate.


scene w/ tony, monique, ziva, chaplain on video conference w/ gibbs. tony throwin’ a hissy fit & bein’ rude. basically all monique said was you were tailed/followed. she wasn’t bein’ mean or condescendin’ to them. it was what it was. big deal. tbtp’s then write tony to be f’n frat boy rude over react to her + ziva w/ the bs almost screamin’ like mimi and bringin' up bikinis & their vacation. could that be any more mysog, chauvy writin’. way over the top.


ziva should have been stoked for tony to meet monique. that’s the way they’ve been with each other most of season. that was bs writin’. fake drama argument cooked up by gg. everybody hated it. out of the friggin’ blue. then monique teases ziva about how can she work w/ such handsome guy like tony & concentrate. ziva kind of snarky says 'not that hard'. the whole dialogue was off. gg don’t get the difference between snark & playful teases, comebacks. people like when they tease each other in a fun way. wasn’t fun. was dumb. and what up w/ monique flirtin’ w/ tony and gibbs like she’s desperate & in heat. nutso. doesn’t make sense for her personality. sad take on a woman.


aurora b. lol. not done w/ my rant. rotflmao.
hated these:
"i love hot arepas'.- tony (hot chicks). lame. def. eye roller line.
'ah, caramba'. tony leers at monique in front of his partner 1st 10 seconds into meetin'.
'so monique why aren't you in provence planting lavendar'- tony says lowerin' his voice leanin'' in @ lunch. battin' his eye lashes. flirtin' again w/ monique in front of ziva. her best bud. cheese-ball. i gagged. he wasn't tryin' to make ziva jealous. not buyin' that spin. not in the least. it was lech-y. ziva’s ‘ deadweight’ comment. wtf? come on. they’ve been gettin’ along most of season. workin’ good together. havin’ fun, sharin’ laughs. i.e. ‘devils triangle’ when they were watchin’ gibbs /fornell & crackin’ up. that was cool. a few good smart endin's in bullpen. that were real. usually always in sync when they’re workin’. total tag team always pro’s. lately openin’ up to each other too-real intimate. why the f do they write a line like that for ziva to say to him. made '0' sense.


@holycanolis12: I think the word you meant to use was "jism." Fine use of the word "crapola," however. I also enjoy a good snot-clearing rant. Rock on!


Michael /you/ he/she /it /are a total uninformed rude idiot.
You don't like Ziva/Cote - fine - then don't watch this show....
YOU should be banned from this site - If I could remove your posts I would do it in a heartbeat....but I am now gonna do the next best thing....IGNORE YOU - YOU TOTAL ASS.... Hi Janet - jusr how long has that guy lied and made up stories ? You do a great job in defending Ziva - but Michael is just one rotten hater....and haters gonna hat - remember ?


You know, Michael, you have the right to have whatever views you want, that's what makes this world great. You DO NOT have the right to spew lies just because you do not like Ziva/Cote. If you are going to say something, you need to check your facts first. It's one thing to dislike a character, but it is another to personally attack the actor playing that character. If you don't like the show, quit watching!

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