NCIS Round Table: "Playing With Fire"

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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 our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of events from Tuesday's episode, "Playing With Fire."

Join in below, as we analyze the many twists and turns of the continuation of the hunt for the terrorist targeting Navy ships, the return of Stan, Ducky's decision and much more ...


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

Steve: First-rate as usual.

Matt: Near-perfect.

Eric: Edge-of-your-seat.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

What was your favorite quote or one-liner from the episode?

Steve: Tony's facial expressions or responses any time Ziva's weekend was mentioned.

Matt: Gibbs telling McGee to eat some crackers and apples. Poor Tim. That man must have the weakest stomach in the history of law enforcement ... and TV. Due credit for toughing it out though!

Eric: Ziva mixing up "screw" with "shrew." That was a good one.

Best scene from "Playing With Fire"?

Steve: Tie between Burley taking a knife to the shoulder about the Benjamin Franklin, and Gibbs leading the would-be arsonist to believe he was en route to Guantanamo Bay. I'm not happy Stan almost got killed, but that scene and Gibbs' interrogation were both extremely intense.

Matt: The final scene, with Gibbs posting Dearing's photo on the Most Wanted wall. The determination and urgency were palpable and made for a great lead-in to the next chapter.

Eric: Gibbs and Ducky at the former's home. Some of the best scenes happen there.

Tony and Gibbs Pic

Favorite blast from the past: Stan showing up, or the bikini photo reference?

Steve: Stan, especially because it took Tony all of five seconds to get jealous.

Matt: Both? One was a byproduct of the other in a way, as DiNozzo was slowly losing his mind over Ziva's pilates weekend and noting Burley's interest in her humorously pushed him over the edge.

Eric: The bikini photo threat was great. Of course Tony would go there. That was a reference to what, Season 5? For a so-called procedural NCIS is great at throwing in comments like that ... really makes you feel like these are real people and appreciate the continuity over a decade on the air.

What did you think of Ducky's storyline?

Steve: Everything on NCIS happens for a reason, but I think it's a little presumptuous to assume anything beyond Ducky merely feeling mortal at his age. It's not hard to believe that a man who's wealthy and pushing 80 would consider his inevitable passing and what happens to his estate. It doesn't mean Ducky's going anywhere anytime soon - David McCallum just signed a two-year contract extension - and I liked that he named Jethro executor.

Matt: Appropriate, given the show's Navy roots, which this case in particular has exemplified.

Eric: Sure, the plug was a little obvious but it is a worthwhile organization, and wasn't too big a stretch for him to think of, having seen the photo of the deceased Marine's children.

NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Gotta go with Tony. For all his insecurities and overgrown teenager antics, the man is no joke on the job. Talk about a very special agent who always comes through in the clutch.

Matt: Did you see the way Gibbs commanded the room at the end? Enough said.

Eric: Agree with Matt ... with a shout-out to Abby's forensic brilliance as always. Does that girl even go home anymore? She might want to invest in a nice cot for under the desk.

What would be the perfect bachelor party for Palmer?

Steve: I'm just hoping for some scenes of the team away from work and having fun (and it looks like from this week's photos, we'll get them). It's a fine line, because the show is at its best when it's primary about the crime solving, but the occasional respite can provide a nice balance.

Matt: I think we all agree we can count on Abby to plan a kick-a$$ time, but what does Palmer enjoy doing? His personal life is still a bit of a mystery. Hopefully they'll give us a little insight into his character, especially what he's feeling a week before getting hitched.

Eric: Did you hear her Abby's of ideas a few weeks back?? All bets are off, but any excuse to kick Abby's attire up a notch and be semi-socially acceptable is fine by me. She's going to be an awesome best "man," though I'm a little concerned, given the nature of this case, that work may disrupt the festivities.

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

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I agree with Myra. Jamie Leigh Curtis is so very wrong as Gibb's love interest. She looks like his mother and they have as much romantic chemistry as a brother and sister.


This episode was just awesome, I gonna watch it again on coming weekend.


Anyways Playing With Fire prove what we NCIS fans have always know Ziva will flirt/Sleep with any man she see you could call her Chaire Sheen of NCIS


@Michael the wannabe NCIS fan: looks like YOU need to go back and study UP on S4, because you clearly don't know the canon history. S4 was basically ALLLLL about Tony & Jeanne. Tony was Mr. Undercover Op - and not a very good one at that, because he got too personally involved - and I partly blame Jenny for setting that up. Yep Ziva may have been WORRIED about her partner's involvement with Jeanne, and yes even envious - but she certainly did NOT go out of her way to "vex" Tony about it!! In fact, it was ZIVA who declined Tony's playboy advances. And if you want to talk about making someone's life MISERABLE, you need to go BACK and review "Recoil" - not only was DiNozzo COMPLETELY insensitive and out of line, but he acted like the Idiot of the Century towards Ziva due to his blatant jealousy.


oh Michael - change the record will ya. Go preach your Ziva hate elsewhere.
And do you have gender issues ? Yes, I believe you do madame.


First - your guys - I love love love your reviews always. And I think you all must love this show. You can tell you watch. GREAT REVIEW
Next - Tony and Ziva - hands down as someone said - the best chemistry on TV.
I love how Tony is so nosey. Special Agent DiNosey is right and so adorable.
Ziva really knows how to play Tony. I really enjoyed this show and can not wait for all of Abby's surprises - I hope they have enough time to do all they want to do. The Season Finale next week should have been 2 hours..!!


Ziva doesn't show her jealousy Look up season 4 and when Wendy was her Ziva like to make Tony life a livling HELL


Have to agree with all three members of the NCIS round table. This episode was spot on with every moment and I can't wait until tomorrow.


@Nick - I totally agree; it WAS clear the writers George & Frank (whose style I am also quite familiar with along with yourself) WERE, in fact, teasing the audience, just like you said. Tony and Ziva were AWESOME together in this as always. They never disappoint - best chemistry on TV, hands down!! Tony gets jealous soooo easily, but then again he always has, although he continues to try and be Playboy of the Millennium *GAG* to every woman that crosses his path. Ziva doesn't show her jealousy on her sleeve like DiNozzo does, but she certainly does plenty of snooping around on her own, just like she did with Wendy.


I don't think that Schenk and Cardea were kidding when they commented on Stan and Ziva's chemistry. I think that the writers try to give Ziva chemistry with every male guest star that is cast. It's become predictable canon that any male guest star must admire her, and if Tony is around, he must get jealous. Yuck. I was glad Tony turned his back on them in the boat. I'm so tired of the writers pumping up Ziva at Tony's expense.