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)

I really love these episode and it was so nice for it to be about the case for a change and did anyone beside me not know the IRS had agent(cop) see that a other reason I love NCIS it teachs you stuff.


No hypocrisy at all...he very obviously told her to NOT be like him and to quit wishing that Victor was someone else (like he was always wishing his wives were like Shannon). He obviously has a soft spot for Diane and wants her to be happy.
LOVED the episode. It was fast-paced, funny, and had clever dialogue. I love the Fornell/Gibbs exchanges and the hug scene with McGee was hilarious...and the guys giving Tim a hard time in autopsy was classic. So many great moments. The case was just okay. I thought the tuna thing was pretty dumb. They were making millions on the identity theft thing...why would they need to smuggle a few thousand cells phones for some extra dough?
Overall, one of the best eps in the past few years.


Was it just me or was Diane's character a little inconsistent with her previous appearance? She wasn't quite as much of a rhymes with witch last time around. Also as sweet as the scene between her and Gibbs was, I couldn't help but feel like his advice was a tad bit hypocritical. In Diane's last episode it was as much as stated that the reason she and Gibbs divorced was because he kept wishing she was Shannon. His telling Diane to accept Victor for who he is, is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. The hypocrisy only grows when you realize that the one she wished Victor was is Gibbs (last time she openly stated that he was "her Shannon"). I'm not saying that I don't love Gibbs, however sometimes the writers try a little too hard to make him the perfect hero.


I loved this episode it was so funny. When Tim took Diane back to his place and she was talking to him and then she said she needed a hug and Tim said no and then Diane tried yelling at him to give her a hug he went over to her slowly and he let her hug him when she hugged him tight the look on his face was great he looked so weirded out. The team passing on rumors about Tim and Diane was great and funny. It was funny watching tony interigate her he was so scared of her and just kept looking at Gibbs. I thought the way Tim got stuck with Diane was funny since he was standing their with abbey and made the comment he knew were she wouldn't be staying he got suck with her because of that. Can't wait till the next episode it looks great.

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