NCIS Round Table: "Phoenix"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Phoenix," Tuesday night's episode of TV's #1 show, in 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 this week's Ducky-centric installment.

Join in as we analyze the medical examiner's surprising role in the case and much more:


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

Steve: Lighter, lots of laughs.

Matt: Good, but not the best.

Eric: Different, and terrific.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. Best quotes or scenes from "Phoenix"?

Steve: A few stand out: 1. David McCallum's face lighting up when Ducky got the green light to take the lead. 2. Tony and Tim being partnered together (and the latter getting his chops busted over the Life Recorder). 3. The "kids" ganging up on Palmer at the crime scene. 4. The eccentric, somewhat unexpected perpetrator.

Matt: It was Ducky's week for sure. McCallum was terrific in lighter scenes as well as the serious ones. It was great when no one could pronounce the guy's name and Ducky just rattled it off like it were second nature.

Eric: Three words: Rock n' roll!! Also, McGee's reference to the Star Trek convention, because of course he was there, and because this week's guest star Rene Auberjonois of Deep Space Nine fame may have been too!

3. Biggest gripe with the episode?

Steve: Michael Des Barres' cameo. I loved it, of course, but that guy could've had a much bigger role and been even more of a hoot. They need to bring him back for a jam session with Michael Weatherly.

Matt: None really. Even if it wasn't the best episode nothing negative stands out.

Eric: My man Tim needs a big storyline coming up. Other than that, it was great.

4. Discuss Ducky's performance in his new capacity.

Steve: It wouldn't work the same way again, but given what he just went through and the unique circumstances of this particular investigation and the tie-in with his cold case, I'll accept the one-time #Rule 38 use.

Matt: He did well, and I thought he looked conflicted to go back downstairs. Perhaps he didn't want to give Palmer a de facto demotion? In any case, he is needed most down there, which I think he soon realized.

Eric: I wasn't a fan at first, but Gibbs rules are Gibbs rules, so I gave the man the benefit of the doubt on this one. By the end of the night I was glad I did, even if he's clearly more in his element talking to the dead.

5. Is the team really whole again?

Steve: They're getting closer, one week at a time.

Matt: They're trending that way, but Ziva may have jumped the gun a little bit. There's a big two-part PTSD-themed arc coming up, so my guess is the after-effects of the bombing will resurface soon enough.

Eric: There are still issues there I think. Hopefully as we work through them we'll get to see how Tim and Tony are coping. I don't say Gibbs and Ziva because they've seen so much, they're probably not even fazed.

6. NCIS team MVP of the week?

Steve: Is this even a question? (Yes, I'm aware I ask it every week.) Gotta go with the obvious, under the circumstances: Ducky, with an assist to Gibbs for the way he handled the situation with the Doc on leave.

Matt: Tony, for that sharp new suit! Yeah, yeah, and Ducky too.

Eric: Besides Duck? Abby, for getting past the big kaboom.

7. What the heck is Gibbs building in his basement?

Steve: My initial thought during the premiere was that Ducky was going to move in there, and that he'd be fixing the place up to be more accommodating. With the spring back in Ducky's step now I'm not so sure.

Matt: Some sort of special memorial to the bombing victims? The timing of Gibbs' first reference to whatever he's building leads me to believe it's connected to that event in some way. I welcome readers' theories!

Eric: I noticed one of our readers suggested a pavilion of sorts for Palmer to get married under, since the team missed out on the big event this spring. I like the idea of that so I'm stealing that for my answer. Side Note: Did Palmer and Breena elope or not? Has that been established or was it lost in the shuffle amid the Dearing case?

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.


Sorry again, didn't realize their was a word limiit. Regarding basement: not enlarging it, don't think it's a memorial, don't think it's a room for Ducky or his dad; a leg is completed so it's going to be attached to something. Could be a crib, but I don't think Gibbs is close enough to Palmer to build him future baby furniture. Good ep!


Oops! Think it was Rule # 38. Sorry about that, Chief!


My favorite so far of the first three. I liked the premiere, but it was too much for one hour. "Burn Notice" is getting a 2-hr premiere but not the #1 show? Come on! Two words: David McCallum. I have loved him since "Uncle" and also kudos to Mark Harmon/Gibbs for his compassionate understanding of Ducky's problem. I have also been injured at work and I lost my career. I love what I am doing now, but I definately felt that no one cared and completely forgot about me. Gripes? Tony calling Ducky an old coot. Very disrespectful and I would hope Tony had more class than that. Gibbs invocking rule #39, giving Ducky the lead, albeit needing some hand-holding and solving the case was what brought our Duck back. I think Ziva's comment about the team being whole again does not refer to emotionally whole, just that everyone is now back at work in their assigned positions. The team is whole, altought individually they may not be. Gibbs is clearly not enlarging his basement, since it is in the ground. I also disagree with the Memorial Idea. What's he going to do, charge admission for people to come look at pieces of brick and glass? If Gibbs would have gone there, it would have been for Shannon and Kelly. We can see a "leg" has been completed, so he is building at least one item that needs to be supported by legs. I'm with the crib gang, but I don't necessarily think its for Palmer. I don't think Gibbs is that close to him to build him baby furniture. AS far as a room for Ducky, what about all those empty bedrooms upstairs? Same for his dad. They would have to go downstairs to get into the basement, so unless he is planning to install a Bat pole, or motorized stair lift, I don't get it. Any way, good epidose overall.


is there an ncis next week if so where is the promo?


@Notimpressed. I agree with you. Tony calling Ducky an old coot was so tasteless and OOC. But the writers don't seem to mind making Tony look bad time after time after time. The show isn't funny and all the new tender Ziva moments seem as forced and contrived as the tiva moments. I think they've run out of ideas.


@sam yes you are so right but i just hate the lies that are written by you know who.


I can't wait to next week for a new. Episode


If this is a taste of what the show will become I'm outta here. I thought the plot line was absurd and the attempts at humour fell flat for me. -10.


@janet He/She is picking a really interesting spot to spread their special blend of wit, whimsey, and wisdom.


Also - thanks "ATM" for the heads up on the Mcallum references.
I'm old enough to remember enjoyng McCallum in U.N.C.L.E. when it first aired.

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