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+.


@Janet How come when someone say something you don't like you call them haters or Troll but when say stuff you know going to piss people off you tell them to deal with it?


@my way - well there's a new take on it. I think it's far more likely that they are just former fans of NCIS who aren't fans of ZCIS.


Ive been a fan of this site for quiet a long time but never commented,i feel that i must speak up for all Ziva fans and there are many,NCIS wouldnt be NCIS without Ziva as without tony or mgee or gibbs they are a family and they go well together.they dont like Ziva thats ok but when they put her down with every comment they write then something must be wrong with them,could it be that they are not fans but planted on this site by a rival station.


If they wrote Ziva as insultingly and unflatteringly as they write Tony, her popularity would plummet. MW is so innately talented and genuinely charismatic and funny that he can hang onto popularity with fans despite tptb obvious efforts to make sure he's portrayed as a jerk and a loser half the time. Ziva has to be constantly portrayed as wonder woman, sympathetically tragic, constantly admired, and BFF with everyone, and many fans are still bored with her.


Dont know why people dont like Ziva she rocks.


Agree with sameold,sameold. Is Ziva such a weak character that they have to give us constant jealous TOny in order to convince the viewer that she is so awesome?


@ keith vlasak hi keith nice comment i know we should just ignore the haters but smtimes its hard but i am going to try


Well Sam, it seems Tony's world must now revolve around Ziva. In part 2 of Shell Shock, we'll be seeing Tony jealous about Ziva going to the opera, plus one of Ziva's famous lip wobbling moment as she recounts her sister's tragic death. Then, promised in Gone - we have super Ziva and Abby going on protection detail, with a side of - you guessed it - jealous Tony, over Ziva's" mystery man". TPTB have moved straight on to non stop promotion of the January Ziva two parter. Skipped right over Tony's one and done - which will, without a doubt feature Senior drooling over wonder Ziva, with Tony - - - - - - - - wati for it ---------Jealous!!


@janet ignore the trolls they are not worth it.


@SAM Last Year Christmas episode and the come back episode from Christmas as well as the 3 after that were Heavy Ziva episode for exsample in the Christmas one that had Ziva able to shoot two gun at 4 bad guys and hit all of them and yet they could not land a bullet on her. Then after that is when the brought EJ bad just to make her Gay same with Wendy making her gay too so that the only woman that can have Tony is Ziva.

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