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.


This was an excellent episode, highlighting David McCallum's talents and showing the group getting just a little bit closer to whole (still cant vouch for Dir. Vance, or Gibbs).
My favorite moment was in the "bullpen" when Ducky realises that he has had his one chance and he smiles, shrugs, sighs and says he is going down to the lab.
Gibbs' embarrassed look, and Ziva's amused, yet loving smile said it all!
Emmy nomination for David McCallum for supporting actor in a dramatic series would be MOST appropriate for this episode.


can you belive it you know who is now spreading hate on the castle site my god whats wrong with him or her seems doesnt like couples getting together


@Luanne: Who knows? Abby Angst is NCIS canon anymore. She's the only character on television that not only de-evolves, but actually regresses. If this show goes on much longer, Crabby Abby will start showing up at work wearing a onsey, clutching a My Little Pony doll and demanding to be burped. Its time for Gibbs' little girl to grow up already. I love this show, but some things have just been done to death.


What happened to Abby to keep her from crossing the line into the Autopsy


I felt the NCIS writers may have (finally) heard the ground swell of fan complaints about how far away from the original premise the show has gotten. This one episode seemed to be closer to "classic NCIS" and its first 3 seasons than it has been in several years. Head slapping, busting eachother, more of the regulars and much fewer guest stars, they solved the crime but kept eachother and us laughing all the way. I hope the trend continues.


Great episode; Binder is one of the better writers for the series. He knows the characters very well. Classic Ducky...MVP all the way. This was HIS party; he rightfully ran the Point. I loved him throughout. I loved Palmer getting his first "foray" to Gibbs' basement - and how he abruptly left - hee hee!!! I think the PTSD arc will not have as much to do with "The team", as it will with the actual Marine that is being featured. I kind of think that's what these first three episodes were for: to focus on the team getting better. Any "team recovery" going forward will be more indirect than not (with McGee being the possible exception)


1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four). Steve Binder's episode, good of course. 2. Best quotes or scenes from "Phoenix"? Ziva: "we are whole again" and the look Gibbs gave her after that.
The Gibblets ganging on Palmer and Gibbs' arrival, making them look like mischievous pranksters. Very funny. 3. Biggest gripe with the episode? Some slow moments, in the middle
Tony calling Ducky a hoot. 4. Discuss Ducky's performance in his new capacity. Well, he had tons of help, thankfully (and thanks to Gibbs mostly), but he did manage in the end. So... good job! 5. Is the team really whole again? No, as Terrie said, PTSD arc incoming. 6. NCIS team MVP of the week? Gibbs for allowing Ducky to get better, and helping him along the process.


1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).
I agree with Matt's assessment. "Good but not the best" 2. Best quotes or scenes from "Phoenix"?
Ducky........ 3. Biggest gripe with the episode?
Where was Vance? 4. Discuss Ducky's performance in his new capacity.
This was definitely Ducky's week. He was the best thing
about the episode. 5. Is the team really whole again?
Being as there is an PTSD arc coming I'd say not. 6. NCIS team MVP of the week?
Do you really have to ask.....Ducky brainer..... 7. What the heck is Gibbs building in his basement?
That and how the team is coping with the big kaboom are the questions of the season thus far..........a couple of the theories I'm seeing are plausible but I can't pick one yet.....we'll see.


I loved this episode, from start to finish. So much goodness in here. :) Ducky was awesome, and it was so nice to see everyone back to their usual selves by the end of the episode. All is well in the world of NCIS again... for now, at least. :)


I agree, Alex...Why can't it be another boat? I love his boats. Maybe his eventual retirement boat? Don't see why it'd be a memorial. They already built a stone one.
They're basically half-logs now, but I'm sure he would plane them down. I'm not a boat builder but I'd think the center bottom piece has to be a pretty sturdy affair to hook all the ribs to?

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