NCIS Review: Devil's Trifecta (With the Devil Always Being the Ex)

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They say that marriage can be a bitch, but tonight's NCIS episode, "Devil's Trifecta," gives that a whole new meaning in my opinion.

It's one thing to have to deal with an ex-wife, pay alimony, and all of the other crap associated with making a bad choice in a spouse, but when that ex-wife actually almost gets you killed, that's a completely different story.

With as many ex-wives as Gibbs' has had, you might have guessed the target would be him, but the poor victim turns out to be Agent Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano). My favorite sidekick of Gibbs had always been Mike Franks (Muse Watson), and ever since his character was killed off, my favorite has been Fornell.

If there is an episode that features Gibbs and Fornell, you can almost guarantee it to be a hoot-feast, and tonight's episode was no exception.

Devil's Trifecta (and Ziva)

As serious as the episode began with Fornell almost being killed, it quickly turned into one laugh right after another when the center of the entire mess turns out to be Gibbs and Fornell's mutual ex-wife, Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw).

Of course, like every crazy ex-wife of Gibbs and Fornell, she's remarried and now is back to work for the IRS, not as an auditor but as an enforcer. She's investigating an IRS fraud ring involving filing tax returns under fake identities and conveniently uses her Gibbs and Fornell aliases as cover identities, which lands Fornell on the wrong end of a bullet.

The punchline of the entire case involved smuggling goods inside fish of all things, but like most NCIS episodes, the case wasn't the center of the episode (although smuggling crap like DVDs inside fish was, well, an interesting idea), and instead, the focus was on the characters, this time on Fornell, his ex Diane, and somewhat on Gibbs, at least towards the end of the episode.

People can say all the bad crap they want about their ex's but their true colors show when that ex potentially lands in the arms of someone else. In this case, that someone else is our dear Agent McGee. 

This is where things got really weird, and I think it's going to take a long time before poor Timmy's co-workers let him forget about this one. McGee was assigned to protect her, and after being a complete jackass to him initially, she breaks down and admits that her current husband is leaving her and maybe she's a bitch from hell after all, which is why she can't seem to keep a husband.

Tim, being the super-nice guy that he is, ended up comforting her through the night, which is completely misconstrued by the entire team, especially Fornell. As much as Fornell seems to hate his ex-wife, you can't help but see the jealousy in his eyes when he believes that Diane got it on with a cute, younger guy. Yes, on the surface, Diane appears to be the bitch that every ex-husband has nightmares about, but it also appears that Fornell may actually still hold a torch for her, even if it is a small one. I certainly don't think there's a chance in hell they'll ever get back together, but there's still some feelings there.

But, the best parts came at the end with the scenes with Gibbs and Diane. We all know that Gibbs true soul mate was Shannon, and his other wives were only cheap replacements. But, when it is revealed that Gibbs does actually remember how he proposed to Diane, it shows that while he may not have loved her like he did Shannon, he certainly did care - and still does.

This culminated at the end of the episode when Gibbs confronts Diane about her current marriage and what she needs to do to save it:

       "Give Victor a break for being him, not for being someone else"

For those who remember previous episodes with Gibbs' other ex-wives, he's given them similar advice, showing that the man does truly have a big heart. Most men don't give a rat's ass about their ex-wives, but Gibbs is different. He does care, and he wants to help.

The episode ended with Diane asking Gibbs if he just going to end up being alone for the rest of his life. I love his response: "I'm not alone". 

That's exactly right. First, he has the dear memories of his true love, Shannon, and their daughter. And, most of all, he has his NCIS family - Tony, Tim, Ziva, Abby, Ducky, all of them. It may be the holidays and while most of the characters may seem to have relatively empty lives, they have each other, and that's the true spirit of the season.


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (249 Votes)

According to this website, Episode "Shabbat Shalom" airs January 8, 2013


comment continued since it got cut off: We have never seen her at a funeral of a family member. Not sure how that gets translated into Ziva going to jail except that it is "something we have never seen her character go through." I think it's a bogus spoiler made up by people who have nothing else better to do.


I have just re-read all of the "Ask Matt" on TV line from Aug 2- Dec 13, and nowhere does it say anything about Ziva going to jail. From Cote herself, this is the closest that it is something bad: Matt-'I point out that showrunner Gary Glasberg has hinted at an “unexpected reveal“/�big sort of turn� pegged to Eli’s encore.' “I’ll agree with him on that…,� de Pablo allows. Without revealing specifics, she shares this much more about the twist: “It’s an interesting thing to explore – and something we have never seen my character go through.� We've seen her kill a relative, and we've seen her go through the death, of same relative. Having said that, I do think Eli is a goner. She's been charged with murder already by the FBI, when she was set up by the Iranian terrorist, and Eli charged Malachi to go to the US to blame the death of that Marine on the Damacles on Ziva, so we have seen her interrogated. We have never seen her at a funeral of a family member. Not sure how that gets translated into Ziva going to jail except that it is "something we have never seen her character go through." I think it's a bogus spoiler made up by people who have nothing else better to do.


@Keith VlasakandSAM it was a spoiler from TVline from the ASK Matt page It was between Hollween and Thanksgiving I should of save it will remember next time, The reason why I THINK that what going to happen is because of all talk of Ziva father we have gotten latly. Me personal I would like to see the season finale this year pay tribute to season 1 operner


There has been nothing in any of the spoilers hinting that Ziva, or any member of Gibbs' team, or Gibbs himself, going to jail for the murder of Eli or anybody else. If someone has seen something along those lines, please give us the name of that source.


Like I said, I could find nothing -- but teases are like what he may have read/seen/latched onto (??)(if someone is falsely accused of something and taken into custody (even if it's to sit in a room for a few questions, the tease will be about how will the character adjust to prison or some cliff-hanger). That's all -- and, I'm not jumping on you here, Michael, but sometimes, like who Ziva's sleeping with, you do get things wrong ... for instance, it might be that what Michael saw is a misinterpretation of one of the spoilers I was looking at which speculated that the NCIS producers may want to get rid of the actor who plays Ziva's father because he was recently arrested and in jail and so could be killing him off. That was the only mention of jail I was able to find ....


of course ziva wont go to jail there would be no NCIS without her


@Keith Vlasak Your are correct sir there is specailtion that Ziva will be sent to jail for killing her father and that it will somehow affect Vance job


@Keith Vlasak
No. In one of the forums, Michael said something about how Ziva should go to jail because she helped kill Kate Todd and the ICE agent in the "Legend" story. Sounds ridiculous, I know.


I can't find anything about jail, but I think Michael was referring to something he read about what's upcoming in January, first episodes after the Christmas hiatus -- which is a 2 part story ("Shalom," in which Ziva's father shows up strictly to visit with Ziva, and "Shiva", which is a week long mourning for immediate family, in which episode there is also supposed to be flashbacks). Anyhow, couldn't find anything about jail, but do think Michael wasn't wishing for Ziva to go to jail, but that he read something that she was going to???

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