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!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (200 Votes)

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


(Cont'd) money off of the "Tiva Cash Cow", and they certainly don't apologize for it. Tiva's relationship is obviously helping to keep NCIS & its cast rolling along into more seasons, and they darn well know it.


@Chelle *Clapping* BRAVO!!! I wish I'd brought my pom-poms XD. Nicely said! ENOUGH with the Hate. The people who post on this thread don't care for that kind of Negativity! I liked the ep, but I didn't love it. The characters were fun - Tim & Tony were sooo crazy! I thought it was sort of weird for two grown, able-bodied men to be spending a night playing video games. I hope the writers are listening: TIM REALLY NEEDS A GIRLFRIEND - and quick. Tony's in danger of ending up like him - EW! Please get the Tiva date over with, too. After all this Tiva Hype the show has been doing, Tiva should have been dating a LONG time ago!! I disagree with Steve Marsi in the fact that NCIS never was about just that anyways, so he shouldn't even worry about it. But I DO blame NCIS for making Tiva such a highly promoted feature on the show. If CBS didn't want some viewers interpreting it as "The Tiva Show", they should have stopped exploiting Tony & Ziva years ago. They've made a LOT of money off of the "Tiva Cash Cow". Tiva's relationship is obviously helping to keep NCIS rolling along, and they darn well know it.


your hateful comments. Perhaps you should all stop watching before the big Ziva storyline begins in January so we do not have to be subjected to all your negative ideas. And remember, if you can't be kind, please be silent.


People who come to the TV Fanatic NCIS page do so because they are fans of the show. I love all the characters. I love how they all relate to one another. So here is my opinion-if you hate a character so much, like those who have been ranting against Ziva, you have the option of changing the channel; it is as simple as that. I, for one, would not watch a show that inflamed so much hatred in me for a FICTIONAL character. Didn't your mother ever tell you that "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? I find it sad that you all spend so much time letting yourself fester over someone that doesn't really exist. I love Ziva and I think Cote de Pable does an excellent job of portraying her. Several writers have stated that she is a very good actress and they enjoy writing for her. Remember all the characters and what they say are a creation of a team of writers. Don't hate on the actors who are directed in a performance written for them. Or at least refrain from your hateful comments when the big Ziva storyline begins in January. Perhaps you should stop watching at that time. And remember, if you can't be kind, please be silent


I loved all the fun, drama, and interaction between cast. One of my favorite shows. The cast is great. I liked Diane Neal on Law & order, liked her on this show too. Keep on, keeping on.


This was just brilliant and fun, from start to finish. Always a treat to see Borin again, and clearly Team Gibbs felt the same. :)


It was a good episode with mystery and laughter. Ducky was definitely evident in this episode. Laughed till I cried about scene with McGee and Tony about the tickets. The advice Tony gave Borin was priceless. For those who don't remember the scene, they were standing by the car and each was talking about their role in the agencies. Tony mentioned that he was once offered his own team in Spain. Borin asked why he didn't take the position and he said it was because of the people he works it. Any question about loyalty! Tony looked great in his entire wardrobe yesterday. Just for Tony fans, let's hold on because a Tony episode should be coming soon.


I liked RJ, she was a lil hottie with some moxie that matched tony and they was sizzle between them. also would like ziva and tony to rekindle that flame, add some more fire to the great show. as to those who criticize, just go away, why do you bother here?


I loved this episode. It was good to have a less complicated case in just the one episode too, easy to follow. I picked Quinn as the bad guy as soon as he turned up, but wondered how they connected. Again loved all the humour that goes with the sibling rivalry of the team and then the gentle and moving moments with Gibbs and Habbs helmet at the end. But the very best was Ducky and his covert prowess.


I love Ducky handing Gibbs the key card all 'I used to be a spy' like. Where and how did he get it? Hot little fingers?

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