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NCIS Review: Sea of Lies

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NCIS brought back a favorite guest star and treated us to another first-rate episode Tuesday in "Lost at Sea."

When the Coast Guard is involved, Gibbs counterpart Abigail Borin (Diane Neal) usually is too, and the show's better for it. Smart, experienced and tough enough to retain her credibility as an authority figure, but still laid back enough to mix it up with Gibbs' subordinates, there's not a lot to dislike about "the other" Abby.

In addition to the week's mystery (a good one), Borin played a role in the night's entertaining side plot involving Tony and Tim, a.k.a. McGoose. After bragging about their exploits on the dating scene, the wannabe wingmen were challenged by Ziva to pick up the next woman they saw, which of course was Borin.

Tim and Tony may not be successful at picking up women, but it sure is entertaining to watch them try.

McGee and Borin

She was playing the guys all along, it turned out, with Borin in on the gag. Point, Ziva.

Her motivation? Not being asked to join the two for for drinks - although there was also a not-so-subtle implication from Ziva that Tony should ask her out on a real date, a hint echoed by Borin after the jig was up.

"You had your chance," she says. Hmm. One of these days he's got to make a move, right? While I wouldn't want NCIS to become The Tiva Show at the expense of other characters, what's the harm in one date?

As for Borin, the notion of the guys asking her out was funny because I couldn't picture it in either case. She's a good catch, for sure, as are they, but her connection with the team has always felt different to me.

Some tend to look at the CGIS Abby as a potential love interest for Gibbs (lots of letters in their employers' names, similar personality traits, red hair), but I see it more as an older sibling/younger sibling relationship, with Borin being the "cool" aunt who can relate to the "kids" while still commanding their respect when she needs to.

That said ... I wonder if she would've said yes had she not been in on the joke.

In any case, it was great to have her back, but that was just one component of an episode shrouded in mystery from the get-go. Something was clearly amiss, but it took most of the evening to figure out what.

It was a true Navy caper (and Coast Guard) involving a mission gone awry, which always feels a little more authentic compared to run-of-the-mill murders that just happen to involve Marines, and an unusual one.

The first dead end came in the search for a second aircraft, followed by the pilot's apparent suicide that wasn't actually suicide. Eventually, the money trail led Gibbs & Co. to question the three survivors' account.

Neither Lt. Hernandez or his troubled, last-minute replacement Lt. Comm. Happ could go through with the scheme in the end, and the latter paid with his life at the hands of the buyer of the chopper they planned to sell.

Staging a crash to sell off a dated helicopter for a measly $75,000 each? Probably not worth it under the best of circumstances, and it showed. Dehydration, brain damage, death and likely imprisonment.

Fortunately, Happ's wife and son didn't have to hear the false account the Pentagon was about to release. He was the hero who tried to stop it. The fact that the scrap dealer was the killer? Did not see that coming.

The case took so many turns and his character fit so nicely into Borin messing with Tony and Tim, it was easy to miss his connection to the crime ... until it was revealed that the officers were selling the machine, of course.

Very enjoyable episode overall. We'll all have installments we like more than others, for various reasons, but I think we can all agree so far that NCIS has plenty left in its tank in Season 10.

A few more stray thoughts and observations before turning it over to you ...

  • Ducky clearly honed his covert prowess decades ago on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. A few security people at Walter Reed are no match for a man versed in international espionage.
  • Vance's tie? Definitely not softening his mood from the looks of it.
  • Hearing like a horse ... whisperer? I always love Ziva-isms.
  • And Abbs and Abbs together. How can you not, right?
  • Check out next week's promo for "Namesake" below:

What did you think of Tuesday's NCIS? Discuss in the comments!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (199 Votes)

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

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    97 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    @mommy you are so right

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    Respectfully disagree with a couple things @ Mommy. First, I love the idea that the team would deeply care about one another, but they are all over 30 and are adults and Gibbs is their boss and not their daddy. This doesn't mean that he doesn't care deeply about them, but there is a difference. The idea that you get a free pass to behave badly because you are a woman, degrades and patronizes women I think. I know that men and women are different creatures, but I simply don't believe that a boss should be harder on men because they are men, or let women get away with needy, unprofessional, or bad behavior just because they are women. Gibbs didn't always so overtly favor Ziva over Tony and Tim. In the early NCIS days, anyone who behaved badly or screwed up got called on it. Abby has always been given preferential treatment, but she works by herself and is rarely involved in the little bullpen competitions.

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    Loved the espisode, as usual. However, looking at the remarks and some in past about the "Ziva take-over", I'm truly surprised. It's the typical family dynamics in play: Gibbs is Dad, Tony & McGee are the sons, Ziva and Abby are daddy's girls with Ducky as Grandpa. How come I don't read complaints about Abby being Dad's favorite? It was the same with Kate before she passed. I love Ziva, she's my favorite along with Abby - guess it's a girl thing and no, I don't believe there's too much Ziva; Daddy's girls are always going to come out on top, as they should. Sorry guys! I'm a Mom, grandma and great-grandma, so I know!

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    My apologies gatorgal - I didn't mean to sound so snarky toward you. I liked Ziva at first just fine. It's just that now she can do no wrong, Gibbs always takes her side, and Tony (and sometimes Tim) are always shown as out smarted or out done by her now. If Tony had hacked into McGee's computer, he'd have ended up punished somehow. Ziva, of course gets away with it and is supported by Gibbs. I'd like Ziva way better if she didn't get away with everything. I can't relate to or even like a character like that.

    Gatorgal

    Bye Bye.

    Gatorgal

    I never said Ziva was trying to be "one of the boys" or that she thinks she should be the center of attention. How do you know it was referred to as a boys' night out? Ziva said she overheard them talking about going out, but that is it. YOu clearly dislike Ziva and/or Cote. I just gave an opinion regarding someone's question of what I thought she meant by Tony missing his chance. I'm not claiming that is the real reason, unlike you who clearly knows what the writers think of each character and how they should conduct themselves. I knew from previous posts that this was an unfriendly site.

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    Why on earth would Ziva feel entitled to being included in a boys night out? Oh right. Ziva is entitled to anything she wants. Tony and Tim are only allowed to flatter, admire, and pine after her presence. As usual, Gibbs signs off on whatever she wants. Whatever happened to Gunny Gibbs? By the way, I did think this was the most fun episode so far this season. McNozzo is funny and sweet. I just get tired of Ziva always having to come out as the "winner". Please PTB - vary the formula.

    Gatorgal

    Ziva telling Tony that he missed his chance was her referring to Tony and Tim "going out" and not inviting her in the first place, I think. Maybe she was jealous Tony asked McGee instead of her, altough I'm not sure it stated in the epidose who initiated that Friday night get-together; or that, as stated in the end, she was not happy to be excluded from the team.

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    To those of you who supported my comments, I appreciate it very much. It is never my intention to stir up trouble. I have no issue with people having a different opinion when it comes to an episode or a character. But, I will still stick with my original statement: Something meant to entertain you should not bring such stress and hatred to your life. Me suggesting that you turn the channel is simply that, a suggestion. I stated that opinion without naming names or singling out anyone but the same consideration was not granted to me. And after all, if this is the free thinking forum that you say it is, my opinion should be just as valued as everyone elses. This is the last I will comment on this as I want this to remain a pleasant place for fans to come and talk about a show we enjoy watching and discussing.

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    Loved this one!!! I love agent Borin i say bring here back she works well into the team and I love her as an actor.
    Mcgee and Tony acting like they had dates was pretty funny not as funny as Mcgee attempt to ask Borin out omg that was so funny and cute id say yes to him!! ;)
    Any one get a lot the hints in this one first Ziva says Tony had his chance!!!??? what??? when??? and can he please just go for one date is it really to much to ask??? lol
    annnnnddd when Tony told Borin he didn't want to leave because you cant get better people she said you have better people to ask she meant Ziva!!!!

    This made me proud of those people who dont give up and hope that their are people like this pilot willing to stand up to a greedy crew.
    Good one loved it all




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