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+.


I can't really say that we have had any Ziva centric episodes as of yet this season, so I can't really buy that the show is turning into ZCIS anymore than the number of episodes that featured Tony in many of the chief subplots last season turned the show into TCIS. The fact of the matter is that both the character of Ziva and the actress who plays her are quite popular with the viewing public. Cote de Pablo's Q Rating is only second to that of Pauley Perrette's. Those who dislike her and the character she plays may do so with white hot intensity. It would simply seem that their numbers are less than those who like her.


I thought this was a great episode. NCIS never disappoints.


Geeze - really janet? It's important for you to know our names? Creepy. Maybe my name is janet, Michael? Myrtle? tiva4ever? Santa Claus? What does a poster's name have to do with posting on an NCIS forum and why on earth do you think it's important to know us? Yikes!! I like the word fanwank and will use it when I see fit, thank you very much. And BTW - who exactly are you to tell posters to go away? Some kind of bully?


Janet, you walked right into that one. And I know this will make you angry with me, and I'm sorry for that, but I've read past articles of this show at this site where numerous other commenters have asked you very politely and respectfully to please be kinder in your dissent. May I suggest that you take heed? Its a difficult lesson, but we all eventually must learn it. Keith, no threat has been made. "Your Mother" simply suggested that Janet respond to others in a less petulant and reactionary manner, something with which I wholly agree. I think the inference was that if Janet behaved in such a way at school, she would suffer unpleasant consequences. For a show that was intended to inspire Good Will, it is clear that somewhere, something has surely gone off the rails. What a shame. By the way Janet, my name is Alexander Kyronov. My friends call me Alex.


Janet: Thank you for proving my point so efficaciously.


There was nothing wrong with janet's comment to Alisa. It is Alisa who is overly excited and needs to get her hate under control. The people (who really do believe they are the majority rather than a small minority) who hate and despise the character Ziva and cannot discuss the matter but only rant and call anyone who disagrees names, ARE NOW THREATENING VIOLENCE, which I assume TV Fantatic allows. Can somebody from TV FANATIC do something about the psychopaths?


firstly i wish people would use there real names what are you all afraid from we all know who you really are.also enough of the disgusting word fa nwanking its old and only the trolls use it,as for the comment before this one seems that you are a bully belive me its you who needs your ass kicking
we dont need you on this site so go away little girl. \\a few of the trolls use it,as for whats her name


Janet: If this were junior high, you'd be getting your ass kicked by half the school. Everyone here seems to be able to discuss and debate issues while maintaining their dignity and having respect for others... except you. Your personal attacks towards other posters are inconsiderate and inappropriate. Mind your manners or go somewhere else. I'm sick of your childish vitriol.


Love NCIS! Love all the characters!


Leave it to good ole' janet to comment on the poster rather than the show. Her posts are as predictable as the sunrise. As for Alissa's post - agree with you. The constant fanwanking of Ziva who is a rather personalityless, poorly written character, and the demeaning of Tony, who is one of the show's unique characters, in order to woo a relatively small but very vocal part of NCIS fandom may very well be the final straw for this show. But tptb seem determined to turn the show into ZCIS - lucky Ziva/tiva fans. Too bad for everyone else.

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