NCIS Review: The General

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"Shell Shock, Part I" started out as a fairly routine NCIS case when a marine, Michael Torres, was found beaten to death in an alley. 

The investigation became more complicated when his fellow marine's story didn't check out and Gibbs figured out he was suffering from PTSD. That was a compelling story, but NCIS ended with a surprise that blew the top off the entire mystery.

Very Special Agents

The story of what happened after Wescott and Torres left the convenience store changed several times throughout the investigation. Initially, NCIS thought that a known criminal, Sam Mathis, was looking for a fight and followed the marines. Only it wasn't him, since he was enjoying a lovely evening at a local strip club. Tony conveniently knew someone at the club who could verify Mathis's alibi. Hmm ... okay, Tony.

Wescott's memory of the attack, along with the terrible video recording, led the investigation in the wrong direction. They were looking for a group of attackers, rather than just one. It was Ducky's autopsy that debunked the theory that a multitude of people beat Torres to death. Initially, Gibbs rejected Tony's suggestion that they look more closely at Wescott, but after seeing the marine's deteriorated mental state, he re-evaluated. 

McGee was able to clean up the video enough to show that not only was Torres only attacked by one man, but that Wescott and Torres had followed that man out of the convenience store, not the other way around. The man in the video matched the sketch that Wescott provided. His name is Randall Kersey. Was Wescott responsible for his own friend's death? It looked like he played a role.

The lack of accurate video evidence and Wescott's own distorted memory provided the perfect catalyst to confuse the investigation. The combination of the two provided a unique roadblock, which allowed Wescott's PTSD to naturally reveal itself to Gibbs, Wescott's brother and most importantly to Wescott himself. 

NCIS questioned Kersey and he confirmed that the marines followed him out of the store and that Wescott went after him. Torres tried to break them up by stepping between the men, but ended up getting punched from both sides. Torres was killed when Kersey pushed him out of the way and hit his head on the ground. Was it self-defense? Or was Kersey responsible? It would be easy for the court to decide that Kersey was the victim here as much as Torres was in the end. 

Wescott mistook Kersey for someone that was involved in the marine attack. He realized he needed help for PTSD after the events leading up to and including Torres' killing. Gibbs was integral in helping Wescott come to terms with what happened. And he encouraged him to talk about the attack and the men who were lost. Wescott's visions of the ambush in Afghanistan caused him to misinterpret events. Or had it?

The twist at the end involved Wescott's repeating of the letters I-J-I. The team tracked down the meaning and tied it to a terrorist group in Afghanistan that was responsible for the attack on the marines. Through surveillance, they saw a picture of none other than Randall Kersey. Wescott wasn't crazy. Yes, he had PTSD, but in this situation, he was right. He was afraid of Kersey and followed him for legitimate reasons.

PTSD is a troubling issue for many who have returned home after being deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This episode handled the issue with amazing grace. It's always a pleasure to see Gibbs take on the role of a mentor or confidant to other military members. He has been through so much over the years and seen even more at NCIS, that he is in the perfect position to help others.

This case though is just beginning. At least for Wescott, he will get some solace when he finds out that he correctly identified Kersey. Perhaps that will help him overcome some of his guilt regarding the loss of men in Afghanistan. It wouldn't bring the killed marines back, but at least those responsible will be held accountable.

We'll have to wait for the conclusion next Tuesday to find out what Kersey has planned. Does he have a bomb? What or who is he targeting? 


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (197 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


hello from france for an french fan this episode is very good. tony open Open his(her,its) heart has ziva I think that he moves forward to his relation with her, for the French fans the tiva has to conclude otherwise to become it over. As you knowthe frenc remains mainly romantic and specialy withe the tiva. this episode open the beginning relatioship betwenn tony and ziva regard salut à toutes et tous gerard from paris


@vincegfan @me Right Way to go! All the characters should be treated with respect even if a person doesn't like the character. All of these talented actors and actresses work hard every day to present the enjoyable program of NCIS to you.


Um hello? I love this show, hate the Tiva nonsense. I respect the people who can discuss, not rant and belittle those of dissenting opinions. I've made friends with people who don't see this show the same way I do. There is no one on this board or any other who has the right or authority to tell me how to express my love of this show, other than to use good manners and spell check. To quote Ziva....Man up, folks. Deal with the difficult idea that not everyone in this world sees things the same way you do. People like you are destroying the fandom, not the antis or the Tiva fans.


I think it is great to have a forum such as this where we can all have different ideas about the same show. That being said, I think that whether or not you like a particular character is your personal business, but be respectful of other's opinions. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't mean they are not a "true fan". I happen to be a huge Tiva fan, but I don't expect everyone to have the same opinion. It's ok not to like Ziva, Tony, McGee, or anyone else on the show, but have a little respect and act like adults.


NCIS FAN,well i stand by Dani and Janet they are the real fans they wont let any of the so called fans put down ziva or anyone else on the show for that matter so keep on rocking girls your doing a great job.


I'll second Really?'s post. Dani, we've reached a sort of detente here, please, please don't get people riled up again. We'd all like to be able to participate in a reasonable, adult conversation without any drama or hysteria. I am asking, with all consideration and courtesy, that you respect that. Even the moderators will tell you that if you keep chasing people off this site, and the number of "hits" falls, then TV Fanatic loses advertisers and, in the end, we ALL lose. Either that, or this website could start blocking IPA's, and that will include those of any poster they deem to be contentious or antagonistic. Please work with us in this.


@Dani hi Dani your comment is spot on,yes i know everyone has there own opinion but when they write hate comments esp about Ziva i cant keep quiet they should take there hate somewhere else.dont know if you read you know who just cant say his name anyway he said wendy and ej are gay how does one ignore these stupid comments(by the way ive got no problem with gay people)but i am going to try.


@Dani -Good grief - you think everyone has to "love all character equally" to be a worthy fan allowed to post here? Squeeing posts only? Everyone has to walk in lock step with your view of things? Grow up dear and realize that many adults actually think for themselves and have opinions which might be (dread and horror) different from yours. And adults also handle the differences without ranting, threatening. name calling, or foaming at the mouth. As for the haters you think you ran out - they likely realized trying to have in intelligent discussion here was a lost cause.


@The ORIGINAL Janet (not the wannabe imposters) Janet..don't ever worry. This board is frequented by the majority who actually LOVE the show & ALL of its characters equally. We, the "Regulars", HAVE not - and WILL not- tolerate embittered, venomous lashing out of ANY NCIS character, regardless of WHO it is. NOBODY on THIS site will get out of control and start "backflashing" to Jr. High with threats of bullying. If they do, it will be THEY who get bullied..right OUT of here - just like another Hater got "shown the door" recently. We stand by JANET, because she is a builds UP the show & its characters - not tear them down. If you cannot do the same, you WILL be called out - every.single.time.


Michael: Let it go. Let's not start this sh*t all over again; its done.

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