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NCIS Review: The K9 and the Nannies

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You can never go wrong putting a dog into the star seat in any TV episode. And Dexter filled the role especially well in "Seek," a NCIS story about a K9 expert who was killed by a sniper after saving a child from a Taliban mine field in Afghanistan. 

As it turned out, the murdered Marine's widow was correct in her suspicion that he was not killed by the Taliban, which the NCIS team was able to figure out with the limited number of clues it obtained.

Gibbs and McGee on the Case

The dead Marine - Ted Lemere - had been using his canine to help some contractors clear some empty buildings of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), not realizing they were searching for loot left behind by Afghanis who had previously fled from the Taliban.

When he discovered what they were up to, they offered him a cut of their take - and when he refused, they killed him.

In the midst of Tony's hilarious commentary, Ziva's secrecy and Vance's search for a nanny, Dex stood out as the top dog for this show, gathering good will and love from everyone right from the start when he settled down beside his murdered handler. 

The chemistry between Dex and Ted's widow was apparent from the get-go, and despite her acceptance of the fact that Dex couldn't stay with her because of his continuing commitment to Marine services, I couldn't help objecting just a little bit: surely the companion deserved to stay with someone who obviously loved him, especially after he lost his handler. 

The writing for this episode (kudos to Scott Williams) was clever.  Even the name of the episode - "Seek" - served to bring the themes together in a collage of purpose:  Vance was seeking a nanny; Ziva was seeking Bodnar; the NCIS team was seeking Ted's killer; and Dex... well, Dex's purpose was to seek out mines and IEDs.

The writing set up a cool sequence as well, starting from Tony's quip about Vance's search for a nanny:

Tony: If Vance is waiting for Robin Williams in drag to come floating on some magic umbrella, singing "Do Re Mi", he's going to be waiting a long time.
McGee: Wow Tony, three movie nannies in one reference. That's impressive. | permalink

This was followed by the character of one of the prospective nannies who encapsulated at least two of those same movie nannies: Mary Poppins (complete with umbrella) and Maria from The Sound of Music:

Maria [prospective nanny]: It was so very nice meeting you, Director. And I do hope you'll do me the honor of being governess to your lovely children. We'll play games and sing songs and...
Vance: Well that sounds great Maria but I do have a few other applicants to meet...I promise I'll let you know soon. Thank you. | permalink

Tony was in full joker mode in this episode, too, as he showed when he and McGee went to meet Mr. Pitt:

Pitt: My sister's kid. Useless.
Tony: Useless. Well with a name like that, what do you expect? | permalink

It's rare to find him and McGee sharing the same head space, as they did when commenting on an obvious point:

Pitt: Me, I'm not the coddling type.
McGee and Tony: We've noticed | permalink

Additionally, they shared a fear of dogs this time around. In fact they had more in common than not in this episode, even agreeing that Pitt should be charged for "assault with a deadly Dobie."

As it turns out, we may have an explanation for Ziva's mistake from the last episode, where she didn't realize her notes were being read by a detective: she's been working late at night continuing her search for Bodnar.  I had forgotten about him, and so when Abby questioned Ziva's recent unavailability, I thought maybe Ziva had a romance going or something. It wasn't until Vance interrupted her investigation that it was apparent that Bodnar was still on her radar. Vance seemed to know this, too, but chose at this point not to address it. 

(See the rest of our NCIS quotes for more details and clues)

There was a lot of concern from last week as to whether Vance was back to form after losing his wife, so Ziva was able to help him figure out. I thought her advice to him was dead-on and practical. Seems like the moment he figured out that he was sabotaging his search for a nanny, he was able to see a little more clearly, such that when the right person came along, he was able to recognize her as a good fit for his children.  Mind you, that other Mary Poppins character was too weird for words, regardless of Vance's motivation. 

The end of the day belonged to Dex. That magnificent animal so loved by his original handler Ted, Ruby and Gibbs. I knew that when he was shot he would live (prime law for animals in any episode: don't let them get killed off), and was pretty sure he'd be retired from active duty. Still, it was a relief to see him being left with Ruby at the end. More than a relief, really: it was a little overwhelming. That, or I got some dust in my eye. I'm not sure.

Final notes:

  • This episode was directed by Michael Weatherly. The continuity with the other episodes was dead on and the acting and interchanges were lively and entertaining - I think he did a great job with it.
  • We know the Bodnar plot will now go on  It seems likely that Vance will confront Ziva about it at some point.
  • Tony took note when Abby brought McGee - and only McGee - a coffee. Hmm.
  • It's only been a few weeks/months and Vance is still in mourning and still misses his wife but... the new nanny is interesting, isn't she?
  • Check out this week's NCIS Round Table

What are your thoughts? Did you like Dex (bearing in mind, the only acceptable answer is "yes")? Where do you imagine Ziva's search for Bodnar will go? Here is next week's promo:

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (220 Votes)

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

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@S @Alisa @ Patricia part 2 other characters because of your misguided rage to find any flaw you can in Ziva? I really do not understand where such extreme hatred for a fictional character comes from. Do you all believe that one day you will end up with Tony and Ziva is a threat to you? I must assume that you all think he is a real person because of your mean girl tendencies toward and school girl jealousy of Ziva. Not REAL people. Relax and enjoy the show and stop psychoanalyzing every little thing. And quit trolling!

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@S @Alisa @Patricia "Trolling is an Internet slang term used to describe any Internet user behavior that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else. It is often associated with online discussions where users are subjected to offensive or superfluous posts and messages in order to provoke a response." This describes all three of you to a T. I have seen your constant rants and Ziva bashing on these pages and on the pages of the TVLine site. Your comments are not helpful, rational or insightful. You only are happy if you can say derogatory things about Ziva and Cote de Pablo. You say the same thing for every episode and for every topic. You say these things even if the topic/episode is not particularly about Ziva. It must be extremely painful for you to watch any episode of NCIS. I imagine that you must be tense the entire hour as you try to find that one thing (or usually several things) that you hate about Ziva. Can you even enjoy the episode or focus on the other characters because of your misguided rage to find any flaw you can in Ziva? I really do not understand where such extreme hatred for a fictional character comes from. Do you all believe that one day you will end up with Tony and Ziva is a threat to you? I must assume that you all think he is a real person because of your mean girl tendencies toward and school girl jealousy of Ziva. Not REAL people. Relax and enjoy the show and stop psychoanalyzing every little thing. And quit trolling!

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..... character, that would be Tony/Jimmy I just react strongly to things which make no sense whatsoever, as do some of the posts on here sometimes!) (not necessarily just yours) Anyway! On topic, it was a good episode, I liked Gibbs with the dog, Tony was no different to any other time, thus disproving the 'theory' MW 'hates' how his character is portrayed, and I'm looking forward to the next few episodes. Yay! :)

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Right, so you admit then it's one rule for one, different for another, depending on their likeability? Interesting. That's all I needed to know really. The fact is, Ziva has screwed up no more or less, than anyone else, and I would love to bore everyone else to tears showing you the proof, but I'm sure you would ignore it anyway. A shame because I do like a reasoned discussion. However! I will leave you with this. Your reasoning for Tony's possibly (thankfully not) cataclysmic rule break, is that is was with 'good intentions' Well I put to you Ziva's decision NOT to ruin a dinner party being held by her boss, and hold off for an hour or so, turning in her own Father, who wouldn't have been in taken in to custody anyway, by anyone, let alone a JUNIOR AGENT (your words) who was also his daughter, was possibly done with......... good intentions? So going by your own argument, that makes it right, right? (Btw, before you put me in the 'Ziva lover' box, you're wrong, she's not my favourite character, I just react strongly things which make no sense whatsoever, like some posts on here)(Not necessarily yours)

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I guess the point could be made that Tony inviting Schmiel to comfort his grieving friend, helped the situation and did not cause an international incident. Good call. Ziva, disregarding protocol in how to proceed with confessed killers ended in disaster. Bad call. Tony was read the riot act and told to "take one for the team" when he simply he went to Ziva's apartment, and ended unexpectedly fighting for his life. But whenever Ziva screws up, it's time to pull the victim card and have another pity party for victim Ziva and another tragedy arc. I agree that lots of irregularities have been swept under the rug on NCIS, but Ziva seems to have more than the others put together, with the possible exception of Gibbs. She's a junior agent. When she screws up she ought to be held accountable like anyone else. Perhaps she hasn't admitted to anyone that she with held information twice about her murdering father. As usual, we get the wobbly lip and all is forgiven.

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And Patricia, I'm sorry to say, you're incorrect. Eli's death WAS a big secret, I suggest you should watch the episode entitled 'Shiva' again. No-one outside of NCIS (execept SECNAV of course) knew, and I give you a quote from Gibbs 'A secret worth keeping... to prevent war' Tony himself told Ziva she was to tell no one. Yet he did. I agree with what he did. And I think you've just proved my point! If the rule break is 'with good intentions' (and it's someone you like) all is fine! If it's someone you don't like? Well......... Thanks for that! :)

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Patricia, I will assume your comment is in reply to mine, even though you've adressed it to someone else. Frankly, having watched NCIS since the start, I could write a list right now off all the times, every single one of the characters has broken the rules, not followed protocol, gone off on their own leading to trouble, and it been brushed under the carpet. Gibbs, Vance, Jenny, Tony, Ziva, Ducky, McGee, these stories are for entertainment, as it is after all a show meant to provide entertainment. My question is, do these rule breaks only count if they are by the character you hate? Because that is certainly how some posts read on here. And that is the only thing which is 'silly' I'm afraid.

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First off: Alisa- STIFLE IT!(as Archie Bunker used to say) Michael Weatherly used a light hand with the directing and it showed- great job! I, too cried at the end, especially when Dex stood at attention at the casket. And then cracked up when Gibbs said "He's not a dog; he's a Marine." Very good episode. I only have a few shows I watch and this is no. 1. As for the Ziva thing, there is more than meets the eye here. And I'm so glad Vance is here to stay (I hope!) Next week looks to be interesting- we get a real backround on McGee's character.

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@Misa - I realize that for some, anything Ziva does is justified because the writers always portray her as the poor maligned victim, and because Gibbs gives her a free pass for anything that she does that turns out badly. But if Ziva had immediately taken her father into custody when he confessed to being the murderer in NCIS's current investigation, the dinner party would never have happened. I don't know of any other time when murderer has gotten to attend a special dinner after confessing, do you? As for others culpability - I agree that GIbbs and Vance also shared some responsibility, since they did not insist on giving Eli protection once they learned he was in the country. As for Tony telling Schmiel being some kind of big no no - well that's just silly. Lots of people already knew and it was a well intentioned gesture of friendship. ALISA - You go girl!!

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And whilst we are on the subject of rule breaking Alisa... where do you stand on Tony breaking the rules to tell Schmiel Eli had been killed, and flying him in to comfort his bereaved partner? A rule break that had it gone wrong could have led to war? What in your opinion should happen to him? Head slap? Fired? Killed in some grisly manner as you think Ziva should be? I'd be very interested to know. Thanks. (For the record, I like all the characters, and am unable to hate people that, you know, don't exist, so I think it was the right thing to do, and very sweet)

NCIS Season 10 Episode 18 Quotes

Vance: I worry that the act of hiring a nanny means that I'm moving on. And if I'm moving on, I worry that Jackie's death will....it'll feel like...
Ziva: It's a bit more final?
Vance: [nods]
Ziva: Well then I suggest you take your time, Director. Hire a nanny or do not hire one. But do not let anyone tell you when you're ready or should be ready to move on. That is entirely up to you.
Vance: You may be on to something.
Ziva: I have some experience.
Vance: Yeah? Where were you a week and a half ago?

Tony: You know, I've been thinking about getting a dog.
Gibbs: He's not a dog. He's a Marine.

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