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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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Gatorgal

@MCAL and Patricia: It's not. Vance knowingly invited a human target to his home. Who's more to blame for the death of his wife? I think that had as much or more to do with Jackie being killed than Ziva waiting until after dinner to call Gibbs. And Vance knows about Eli and the murder and his own guilt: Ziva tried to apologize when she and Tony were at his home babysitting and he said and I quote "Agent David, you don't need to say anything else; not another word." It would be nice if the negative Ziva commenters on this site would heed his words as well.

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It was a good episode and there were tears and laughter. The dog certainly WAS the star, kudos to his real life training and handler. The bait and switch regarding the real murderer was excellent. Was it the military captain covering his butt? was is the contractor who wanted Ted in on the plot? was it the other dog whisperer who fought with Ted? I liked that tension interlarded with dog humor. Vance was ready to talk about his Nanny Hunt when Ziva initiated the contact and of course the next nanny, the sharp, outspoken black woman who immediately appeared would be the one. Glad rouge evil Israeli Bodmar is still on the radar, how would we ever get to the real mastermind if Bodmar gets away? Weatherly did very well as director.

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A great episode they just keep crank them out . To all the cast and the star (who retired from service "Not a Dog but a Marine.)." You were just the best Man's best friend at the top.
Challon

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great episode all round. I too had a little dust in my eye at the end.
Thought Dex would have made a great nanny.

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@Patricia
Ah... That makes much more sense. I've been disillusioned by people making stuff up, so I'm happy to know someone actually makes logical arguments.

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A wonderful episode!!!!! I laughed out loud when Tony and McGee ran from the dogs and yes cried at the end when Dex got to stay with the widow and of course the funeral scene.
I can't believe anyone wants Ziva to leave the show. Of course she had father issues, look how she was raised. No doubt the final episode will leave us hanging with her trying to get her father's killer.
Loved the nanny at the end and am sure she will be a good influence on Vance. She's no nonsense like Jackie was.
Go Michael!!! good job directing.

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@MCAL - I think that the problem for some of us, is that if Ziva had followed protocol and turned her father in the minute she learned that he was the murderer, in the case the NCIS was actively investigating, there would have been no dinner party for anyone to get killed at. Ziva shirked her duties as an NCIS agent to follow her personal wishes. And while covering for her father may on some level be understandable, she had just gotten through telling Gibbs that she wanted to be up front with him, and then failed twice to reveal pertinent information. She also had no way of knowing about the shooter, but again, if she' taken the murderer in, rather than sitting down to dinner with him, it's doubtful that at least Jackie would have been killed. Once again, Ziva breaks the rules, and so receives a pity party, rather than a reprimand. Totally agree with ALISA's post.

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... Pitt should be charged for "assault with a deadly Dobie". ... Poor Dobies, working dogs beyond compare, loyal to a fault, more of them lost in wars as working dogs than we would like to remember ... As owner of two dobies that are magnificent, intelligent and gentle, please find another way of portraying them. Lysanne

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I liked that Gibbs gave one of his medals (we know from prior episodes he just keeps them in a draw) to the Widow since he claimed that Dex deserved an award. The problem was that Dex earned a Purple Heart and I think that one IS awarded to service dogs who are wounded (or killed) in action as Dex was.

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@Patricia
Eli David killing the reporter had nothing to do with the drive by shooting. They were two completely unrelated incidents. The murder of the reporter didn't tip anyone off as only Ziva and NCIS had access to the photos.

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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