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)

This episode was just awesome. I did not stop laughing the entire episode. It was hilarious with the snark remarks from Diane and everyone. I especially love Leon's reaction to all three of them being made to work with each other. keep these episodes coming. it was great!


Oops...forgot to mention that although we don't see him often, Danny Nucci (the actor who played the check-cashing guy who turned out to be the mastermind) is STILL h-a-w-t HAWT!!!


Add me to the list of people who would loooove to see this threesome again. At first I thought it was kind of lame to make her yet another "Special Agent:" however, I very quickly got into the spirit of the thing. Diane is one of the best characters this show has seen in a long time. She's clearly smarter than Gibbs and Fornell, and has a bigger pair of balls than both of them. Put together. Fan-freaking-tastic!


It felt like the old NCIS last night the case was the foucs and the teenage drama was no were to be seen


I enjoyed this episode. I liked the " proposal" as a way to get her away from the abductor, and also let her know that he does have memories of their good times. Gibbs is such a good guy. And nice to see Tim get into the mix rather than Tony all the time, however much I adore Tony.. And Fornell was full of hysterical one liners "have you noticed she never gets sick? Even germs avoid her."


i didn't like the ex-wife giving orders to TEAM GIBBS and gibbs NOT saying anything...and the team just following HER orders....that drove me crazy with Col. Hollis Mann....tony, tim and ziva work for GIBBS...NOT the FBI or such....and i was expecting the eppy to have RJ...that's what was listed in the TV GUIDE....and i REALLY "DON'T " like diane. alisa


Why does ever NCIS review trun into a sex talk cant we for once talk about the case


dee: Gibbs has been married 4 times but only has 3 ex-wives. We met one ex-wife in the episode where his relationship with Col. Mann ended but I don't remember which ex she was. I don't know if we met his other ex-wife.


We still have one more ex-wife to meet. It'll probably happen sometime before it ends. I really like it when Diane shows up, though, since I know Fornell will be involved. I think it would have been really fun if Diane had been able to interact with Mike Franks before he was (STUPIDLY) killed off. Now, THAT would've been some fireworks!!


The episodes with Gibbs' ex-wives are always funny, Diane in particular. I kind of wish they would find someone for him, though. It would have to be someone who can relate to his work. Col. Mann was great and I really like his chemistry with Coast Guard Agent Borin. That defense attorney who kept calling him "mister" Gibbs instead of "agent" was excruciatingly annoying. I am sooo glad that that potential romance never went there. I didn't feel any chemistry between Gibbs and Dr Ryan, either. I remember when he first met Col. Mann. She came to his house to discuss the case and he snuck a look at the backs of her legs. To cover-up, he turned around and she looked at his butt. Cute!

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