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NCIS Review: 101 Uses for a Dead Mole

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This week's Ducky and Palmer Show was a welcome change from the usual NCIS storyline. 

They were forced to take a slight "Detour" when the accomplices of the dead Navy mole kidnapped them in an effort to try and figure out where he hid a USB thumb drive that contained sensitive information. Ducky employed his knowledge of corpses to figure out a plan of escape and, after Palmer shot one of the spies in self-defense (only to find out he was wearing a bullet-proof vest), they were rescued by Gibbs, Tony, Ziva and McGee.

Palmer and Ducky Picture

I expected to be bored with this plot, but found myself intrigued instead. 

The idea of the two medical experts using their expertise to foil their kidnappers was inventive and different. Relying on the gastric acid from the corpse's stomach to burn through their leg irons was smart, as was their plan to escape the kidnappers by placing a cigarette butt with gauze in an oven in order to produce an explosion. 

I have no idea how the latter idea was supposed to work, but have to imagine some other body fluid from the corpse was key to that as well. This episode was pretty much a MacGyver entry almost all the way through: emptying the corpse's heinous stomach contents in order to clear the room so that Ducky and Palmer could hatch their plan was brilliant.

The same can be said the re-engineering of the body's hearing aid to create a sort of microphone, which was used to listen in on the spies' plans.

I thought the explanation for the mole's suicide was sketchy at best: he had gotten into a fight with the husband of a woman he was seducing in order to access military secrets, after which police began to notice him. 

So instead of meeting his handlers as planned, he stumbled over to a plumber's truck and chugged down some drain cleaner. Ziva's explanation that his secrets would otherwise be exposed seemed barely logical. If the authorities caught him and discovered that he was impersonating a Navy officer, and if he was then renditioned or sent to Guantanamo, perhaps his secrets would come to light. 

Those are big "ifs," though - certainly not threatening enough for a spy to want to kill himself. Wouldn't the more rational choice have been to figure out a way to pose enough lies to buy some time?

Ducky and Palmer's innovation was once again admirable when they concocted the idea of the spy having swallowed a gym locker key in order to protect his secret, knowing full well that the key was to Palmer's own gym locker. I laughed when I saw the female spy pull out Jimmy's jersey with his last name emblazoned on the back.  Good plot twist there.

Palmer is such a gentle soul too, isn't he? His plan to "take a stand" and use one of the kidnapper's guns to take down their enemies was engaged when he emptied the gun at one of them. His imminent PTSD was curtailed once he realized that his target had been saved by his bullet-proof vest. Sort of a win-lose dichotomy. ("Hey, I didn't kill anybody. Darn, he still wants to shoot us.")

Missing from the picture was Director Vance and Deputy Director Jerome Craig. Also, Tiva. No sparks there at all: I know. I checked.

The most compelling scene of the episode was Jimmy Palmer's adamant refusal to leave Ducky to the mercy of their kidnappers. 

Palmer: Doctor, I respect you more than anyone in the world, so please forgive me when I say - go to hell. I'm not leaving you. | permalink

What was your take on the episode? What did you think didn't work? Do you think we'll ever find out what country/ group was behind the mole? Did you buy the idea of the mole committing suicide to protect his secret? Did you find this episode boring or engaging? 

Note:  Our NCIS Round Table discussion is up!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (271 Votes)

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

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Tiva

I liked the this episode I loved how Palmer and Ducky story-line. poor Tony the last one to know about McGee's getting tickets for his friends.

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@scott: I thought about that, too. If the guy had just kept walking, he would've bled out and died anyway, sooner or later. Why all the drama with the drain cleaner, which is a horrible way to die, opposed to death via hypovolemia, which is much less traumatic?

Terrie

Loved this episode......loved that they had one centered around Ducky and Palmer.............

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@MCAL I give you credit for even acknowledging "Michael the Non-NCIS fan". Most of us tossed him onto the "Ignore Train" a LOOOOOONG time ago. He's not a happy soul, quite obviously. The only folks who arguably love the Ziva character more than the Audience is probably the CAST & CREW of NCIS, so no worries!!! This episode was dull, but I give Ducky & Palmer credit for making the most of it. They were fun to watch at the end. The writing was very boring, but again....the two actors did a good job of adding some fun to a rather lousy script. So, hats off to Brian & David M.

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#eula, in my area they sometimes run it again on Saturday evenings. If you have Comcast, you can catch it On Demand. I have to watch shows that air at 10 PM or conflict with my schedule On Demand (now if they would put 'Criminial Minds'in this feature I would be happy).

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One thing I noticed in the write-up regarding the mole. It failed to mention gun-shot wound, which by itself may have been mortal. The mole, realizing this, offed himself quicker rather than bleed out painfully. Also noticed, no TIVA. :(

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I am really sadened that I did not get to watch this episode. I have never missed an episode. I usually don't work on Tuesdays but needed the money.
I wish they could show it again at 11{encore} for the people who can not watch it at 8. Or show it again sometime in the week.
Thanks for reading

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@Michael
And one more thing. No one is being made stupid so Ziva looks good. She is already liked by most (Read as MOST) viewers enough. Remember. You gave me the evidence neccessary to prove that Ziva is not the most hated female ever. In fact she is actually the most liked.

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@Michael
Sorry. I should watch my language. But still, please treat people with the respect they deserve.

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@Michael
Once again you think I am an idiot and once again you would be wrong. It isn't illegal to resell tickets unless it is over the price you bought them for which it was not and it even depends on what state it is. Some states it legal no matter what. And if I am not mistaken I seem to remember a Tony Dinozzo from Season 1 and 2 who would gang up with Kate Todd to pick on the probies (Which happened to be McGee) and who oggled woman and once even imagined Kate Todd in a catholic dress and he could see her panties. (Remember Kill Airi Part 1 & 2). Compared to that, this Tony is at least twice better then he was before. Also you worded your last sentence as if it was a crime for Tony to figure out what McGee was hiding. Now can you please stop being an ass and answer peoples questions with the respect they deserve.