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NCIS Review: You Are Not Alone

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We're used to seeing Gibbs as the immovable and dependable rock for the NCIS team. In this episode, though, I believe that honor went to Tony.

In "Shiva," the team was under great pressure to find the mastermind to the shooting deaths of Mossad director Eli David and NCIS Director Vance's wife, Jackie. The possibility of a war loomed large, as Eli's Iranian contact - Arash Kazmi - was implicated. Eventually, they discovered that Eli's protégé, Mossad Deputy Director Ilan Bodnar, was the murderous traitor behind the deaths. 

He knew about Eli's plan to work with Iran and wanted to kill Eli and take over Mossad while implicating Iran in his death. 

The writers must be applauded:  the story flowed exactly as it should have and there was a richness and depth to almost every scene. Gone (for the most part) was Tony the comedian and in his place was Tony the rock, which we saw when he entered the temple where Ziva was praying. He didn't try to manage her, or come up with a solution or a fleeting sentiment:

Tony: Tell me. What can I do? What do you need?
Ziva: Revenge. | permalink
Ziva in Shiva

Even Ducky had his moments this time around. The first was in the morgue with Gibbs:

Gibbs: What's that?
Ducky: His liver, riddled with inoperable tumors. It doesn't appear to have been under treatment. I'd have given him six months.
Gibbs: Made killing himself easier.
Ducky: Pity does not validate cowardice. | permalink

The second was his response to the deputy director of Mossad, after being subjected to a snide jab:

Bodnar: And whose grandfather would you be?
Ducky: Well that depends. Who's your grandmother? | permalink

I have to admit, I laughed out loud at that one.

Gibbs is known for his curtness, especially around authority figures, and it was into that dynamic that deputy director Jerome Craig found himself, all nervous. Gibbs knows when to pull back, though:

Deputy Director Craig: Rest assured. This is an interim assignment. I have no intention of taking Leon's job. You and I---
Gibbs: Deputy Director Craig. I've got your back. | permalink

Tony was so tuned into Ziva's torment - he didn't make a wrong move at any time. And every choice he made was dead-on. Bringing her back to his place to keep an eye on her... then telling her she needed to talk to get what's on her mind out in the open. I thought he meant she should talk with him. Instead, he meant she should talk with Shmeil, her Israeli friend, who he found and hosted in his small apartment along with Ziva. 

What a stand-up guy. I remember a few seasons ago, when Gibbs noticed that about him: when the pressure is off, Tony likes to act up and play. But when the pressure's on, and decisions have to be made, Tony is front and center, strong and dependable. He saw it long before we got to see it.

The scene with Ziva going to the airplane and Tony coming to see her off was fraught with emotion. He didn't have to do that (as Ziva said) but I think he felt that he did. He could not let his friend go without telling her that they were on the case. The most important message to her (whispered into her ear as they hugged) was: "aht lo leh-vahd." Which is Hebrew for "you are not alone."

Some final thoughts:

  • NCIS Deputy Director Craig was played by Greg Germann, who you may remember from Ally McBeal.
  • Mossad Deputy Director Ilan Bodnar was played by Oded Fehr, who also has a recurring role on Covert Affairs (again, as a Mossad agent).
  • There are some more NCIS quotes to view, one of which includes Vance's realization about Gibb's need for vengeance.
  • Although Bodnar's plan fell through, he is still at large. Having killed Eli's Iranian contact, it remains to be seen how the NCIS team will encounter him again.
  • The song at the end of the show, played while the montage scenes of Ziva in Israel and Jackie's grave site were shown, was "Not Alone" by Patty Griffin, from the album "Living with Ghosts."

I've said enough. Some of you guessed, as I did, that Mossad was behind the killings. Which was close but not exactly true. What are your thoughts?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (751 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter

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Wonderfully emotional episode. I was hoping for a Vance-Gibbs chat about revenge and they delivered. I really like when they write Tony they way they did tonight--I don't feel as if I have to cringe every time he opens his mouth.
Is there anyone else that thinks Bodnar will resurface in time for the season finale in May?
Oh, and how awesome was that scene where both Ducky and McGee got great lines?

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I loved it. So, so good. :)

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Or maybe in some far future episode a body will turn up that Ducky will identify as Bodnar ....

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A famous TV producers versus actors incident occurred back on M*A*S*H. McLean Stevenson became a semi-star with lots of opportunities and wanted to leave the show to pursue them. The producers, angry, had to let him go -- but they killed his character so he could never come back to the show if his career faltered! And of course his career did falter. I'm just putting into the discussion that I think it is the standard nowadays to make sure an unhappy actor can't return (Kate, for instance). Maybe the Jackie-actress asked for a raise, or begged out of an episode for another commitment?

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It wasn't clear (meaning that there may be another twist coming in a future episode) that Bodnar killed David's Iranian friend. The Iranian said he would be killed by his own people if it came out he was conspiring with Eli David ... and it did come out. Possibly Bodnar didn't show up to see/kill/whatever Ziva because he was already on the run for his life for having Eli killed. That is the only thing that McGee tracked down and proved. Besides, wouldn't the U.S. be in the highest level of crisis mode if a Mossad agent, renegade or not, killed an Iranian agent/member of their diplomatic party in Washington D.C.?

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Part 2
Noticeably Gibbs was out of the picture for Ziva -- and I think correctly.. Gibbs knows full well of the relationship between Tony and Ziva and I believe encourages it in his ways..he wanted Tony to step up and he wanted Ziva to know that this IS for real.
Vance.. for the first time ever I felt sorry for him.. that did not last long, but I did.. I am however a huge fan of Jerome's! Hollar for the Dept. Director, I would LOVE to see more of him. Five out of Five Caf Pows!!!

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The plot was easily figured out.. come on kids we are veterans of NCIS plots at this point. This was all about our characters and our dear Tony and Ziva - Cote de Pablo, brilliant...Michael Weatherly brilliant.. I also thought he directing was fabulous.. As for our Tiva , you are darn right we were in heaven and rightfully so - not in a giddy way, but in a solid rock, foundation set lifelong road.. Tony was there, not just as a friend, (silliness) but because he is in full blown love with her, and I think tonight more than any other night he realized that - and so did she! This takes their relationship into an adult, fabulous level. Tony is the only one that can 'handle' Ziva, he knows when to push and when to back off, he knows what to say and when to be silent..From bringing Schemmel (sp) to her gum and magazines -- This was just two episodes that prove these characters gel in a way very few have on tv dramas -- ying and yang.

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@ColleenM Since this is a fictitious show, the real NCIS legally doesn't get to intervene. It's not like they have access to classified information and the characters don't correspond to actual people in NCIS. This is true of movies and shows about the military, cops, politics. Only if they are representing specific people (like All the President's Men) could they legally intervene.

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You people don't get it. Because all the main characters personal lives are in the crapper, the show needed some stability and normalcy. We got that with Leon and Jackie. Gasberg wanted the Leon character to have more freedom? To what? Date twenty year old twinkies. We are a Navy family. Watching this show now, I would not be surprised if recruitment for service in the real NCIS would drop. Good writers? I don't think so! At one time, yes. But that episode when the Navy yard was blown up was ridiculous. It made NCIS appear they are the Key Stone Kops and cannot protect themselves muchless anyone else. The real NCIS needs to step in and tell Gasberg to shut up and stop it. He is not presenting a fictious agency. NCIS is real. Treat it with respect. And, Lucy, you are right. Writers seem to think that one in power cannot be unless they are single, divorced or widowed.

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OK... gotta admit it, I have a little fan girl crush on Oded Fehr after his fabulous turn on Covert Affairs as Eyal. I kind of wish they wouldn't have made him a bad guy here... but I was happy to see him in any capacity! I think it could have been more interesting for him to actually meet up with Ziva and for her to realize at that point that he was the problem. Tony - wow, they really stepped him up a few notches tonight. Tony was seriously appealing, now that they made him act like an adult and not the jokester he usually is. He managed Ziva VERY well and was truly the friend that she needed. Seeing Greg Germann from Ally McBeal was just gravy. Overall, enjoyed the episode very much!