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!

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


Please do away with Gibb's girlfriend-Jamie Curtis-she looks like his mother!


@ The Reviewers: Hi Gents - You 3 are always fun;love your spirited, detailed reviews. How can one not love Tony's reactions? Love the throw-in convo w/ McAbby regarding Tony's attempt to snoop on the down-lo about Ziva's weekend plans - TOO funny! The veteran writers of that ep commented recently on Ziva & Stan's so-called chemistry. CLEARLY, they were jesting. The funniest parts were indeed Tony blackmailing Ziva w/ those bikini pics a la "J. Day". Glasberg already said Ducky would be a big focal point in the finale, so clearly something will be happening with his character.


Great wrap-up. Enjoyed the ep and loved the fact it was such a strong team episode and everyone got something to do. Loved the two scenes in MTAC, with McGee(Sean Murray deserves props for playing "sick" so well and managing to make us both smile and empathize), and with Burley (loved Stan's amazement that Tony has lasted ten years with Gibbs!). Also agree that the scene on the ship with Tony/Ziva/Stan was tense and well done, and it was great to see our tough, kick a** Tony back again. Hoping the next two episodes continue the strong team involvement, and don't let guest stars (JLC/Richard Schiff etc) take the spotlight. And let Jimmy have a fun party!


Yep, one of the all-time best episodes and story arc. I love the immediacy of the issue leading the way to all the action. Gibbs in leadership mode is impressive and so different from the Hiatus episodes when he can't make things happen and gives up to go to Mexico. Stan is always an enjoyable returning character and his roving eye is always done with humor. Ducky's will bit was touching, but I do not think he is going on 80 in the show, would he still be able to work for NCIS at 80? Great episode!


@ Matt, regarding McGee's weak stomach: Have you never seen Detective Frost on "Rizzoli & Isles"? There is the weakest stomach of all. @Eric, regarding Abby's sleeping arrangements: She already has a couch and pillows of some sort. The subject arose in a recent rerun I saw.


"Keep it classy, Stan" by Tony when Stan was watching Ziva's backside as she climbed aboard the boat.


Totally agree with everything you guys said

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