NCIS Round Table: "Detour"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Detour," this week's episode of TV's #1 show, in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Eric Hochberger have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this installment.

Join in as we analyze this unusual Ducky and Jimmy-centric hour below!


1. Describe this episode in one word (or two, or three, or four).

Steve: Unusual, unexpected, utterly enjoyable.

Doug: Ducky and Palmer take a wild road trip.

Eric: You've been played!

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. Favorite quotes or scenes from "Detour"?

Steve: Plot holes aside, I loved Ducky and Palmer's jailbreak and the aftermath. They may not be adept when it comes to firearms, but no one knows their way around bodily fluids like they do. Because they're not agents, the events in the woods played out much like you'd expect. Glad they both got quality screen time, and for the sake of Palmer's psyche, that he didn't kill that guy.

Doug: I enjoyed the entire tense scene in the woods, where we got to see the depths of Palmer's affection for his boss. Palmer's stubborn determination to keep him safe, with "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" was offset by his horror at having so severely (he thought) destroying their enemy. I always enjoy conflicting scenes like this, where intent struggles against reality. In this case, his relief at the guy's survival warred with the imminent danger they once again faced.  

Eric: Ducky and Jimmy arguing over the music, and the mentor schooling the student at crosswords.

3. What was your biggest problem, if any, with the episode?

Steve: I had no real problems with it. Wasn't my favorite episode, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Doug: I thought the mole's frantic suicide was way too convenient for the plot. He'd been, as Gibbs said, under deep cover for years - surely he could have figured out a way to keep his mouth shut while the police investigated him. It wasn't as if he had a big sign on his forehead saying "navy spy at work." His only visibility to them was that he got into a fight with a man who had been cuckolded - it doesn't get any more banal and boring than that.

Eric: Along the lines of what Doug said, the drain cleaner ingestion was confusing to me. He was probably going to bleed out anyway, no? And how would he have known he'd be exposed for what he was?

4. Did you enjoy the rare Ducky-Jimmy focus of the episode?

Steve: For sure. I've always viewed Tony, Ziva, Tim and Abby as Gibbs' "kids" in a sense, while the Palmer-Ducky relationship has similar elements. It was fun to watch those as the focal point this week.

Doug: I really did. Jimmy in particular has been missing from the scene for a while, which was worrisome, as he is actually a pretty strong character. With Ducky you could almost see the Illya Kuryakin coming out (Man from U.N.C.L.E.).

Eric: Was nice to see Palmer back after being MIA. Brian Dietzen is deserving of his promotion to series regular and I love his interplay with David McCallum, especially out of the morgue for a change.

Vintage McCallum

5. Bigger surprise: Ducky hoofing it in the woods, the bad guys leaving them unsupervised that long, or Palmer actually unloading on that dude?

Steve: The bad guys allowing for that MacGyver-style plan to be enacted. I know the place reeked and our favorite M.E. tandem isn't much to be threatened by on the surface, but if you're the type of person who takes hostages, you'd probably check on them every few minutes, right? Worst spies ever.

Doug: Definitely watching Palmer emptying his gun at the guy was a surprise, especially after previously displaying the gun to Ducky in a way that suggested he never held one before and didn't know which way to point it. The writing here was believable too, as it tapped into a real life truism: despite our vaunted and intense emotion at "what I'd do if someone tried to hurt me" (an emotion Palmer showed so well), the reality of a situation like that tends to prove differently. Some people don't follow through, whereas others - like Palmer - do exactly what they thought they'd do, only to be horrified afterward. 

Eric: Ducky outrunning Palmer in the woods. That must be some cardio rehab!

6. Tim McGee: MIT Mascot. Lord of the Tickets. What other surprises are up this guy's sleeve?

Steve: That he's secretly dating the girl from "Kill Screen." Wishful thinking, I know.

Doug: Great question! I'm guessing that the next secret to be revealed will be that the quiet and reserved Tim has been living with his polar opposite for quite some time: A wild and beautiful woman he met at a rave. And he hasn't told his colleagues about her because he knows how they'll react. Can you imagine Tim at a rave? I think that'd be pretty entertaining.

Eric: I don't know, but hopefully something else that would make Tony jealous, confused and a little uncomfortable knowing McGee is more multi-layered than we think. Maybe, given Tony's aversion to kids, McGee mentors at-risk teens and they actually think he's really cool (which he is, but you know what I mean).

7. Do the writers make Tony too much of a clown?

Steve: It's part of what makes Tony so beloved, so I'd hate to see him change who he is; however, sometimes I think the writers do lean on this a little too heavily, making him the butt of jokes almost by default.

Doug:I think so. It seems to have become a staple of the series that there always needs to be a "Tony as big goof" moment, but does there? He's proven his mettle in "Shiva" and in earlier seasons as well. I think this popular series won't suffer a bit if they allow him to evolve to an almost Gibbs-like demeanor. We definitely see that every time he's in the interrogation room, so why not when he's outside as well? Maybe he could interact more with Abby with his seriousness too. He's bigger than a clown and needs to be seen that way.

Eric: This is hard to say. I thoroughly enjoy Michael Weatherly's delivery and think Tony adds a lighter element that really makes the show click. People say he needs to "evolve" more but I think we all know he steps up when it matters most ... the clown-ish side never impedes him from being a Very Special Agent. I say don't fix what ain't broke.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


NCIS was a great show last night. Good story line.


I thought this comments section was suppose to be about the episode Detour, not about other shows.
Season 10 is better than season 9 which I loved but this episode is the best. I loved the 'McGyver" trick. David McCallum, even at 79 has still "got it."
Palmer was his usual 'fumbling along with his mouth" Very enjoyable episode.


@Michael. Well, you typed in Brno. How was I supposed to know? Also, his actor died, not the character. Anyway, there's an episode of NCIS tomarrow and it takes a one week break and then two more episode.


I agree with Julia64 and others who would like to see Tony be more of what he used to be - a bit of a class clown and occasionally immature but always sharp as a tack and all business when he needed to be. It seems that in the past couple of season the writers have taken to having Tony play the clown even in critical situations, not just when joking around in the office. He truly has regressed in maturity as he has gotten older. Some people seem to like it that way but I am not one of them. I think the writers are missing a golden opportunity to feature a more mature Tony who is starting to sense his own mortality and the lack of a meaningful private life.


Michael, I submit to you that 22 million people are not going to waste their time watching something that they really don't like all that much, if at all.


Leonard W. "Lennie" Briscoe is a fictional character on NBC's long-running police procedural and legal drama television series Law & Order. He was featured on the show for 12 seasons, from 1992 to 2004. You know what suck after tonight NCIS they take like a month off then its the season finale which is good because I ready for a new season while these one has had its up and down mostly downs I think the writers need a break and to get some new blood amoung the team more cop drama writres less One Tree Hill


This episode was directed by Mario Van Peebles, hope he does more!


I'd like to believe you, but law and order never got anywhere near 30 million viewers. It never even got to 20. And no such character called Brno existed. So how would you know anything exactly?

Sue ann

My favorite quote was at the end: "You've been played." I worshiped at the feet of David McCallum when he portrayed Illya Kuryakin, and I still do. He is utterly adorable. This was a lovely episode, which reminded me more of Mission Impossible than NCIS. Nothing wrong with that, though. I'd be happy to see two Ducky-Palmer-centered episodes a season, if they were this good. The biggest surprise was Palmer not taking the gun away from what he thought was a dead man. Anyone watching American television the last umpty decades knows to do that. I think McGee is in love with Abby to a degree which interferes him getting another girl. Yep, kind of tired of silly Tony. But too much of his life is portrayed as sad these days. He is too alone.


Okay just because NCIS is getting 22 million rating does not mean people like what their watching look at law and Order it use to get 30 million rating but after Brno die people stop liking the show. And Guest how does calling some a clown and a worthles waste of space pulling them up or telling them that their going to die alone

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 16 Quotes

Palmer: Oh my God.
Ducky: What?
Palmer: I just realized that I missed my nine-month wedding anniversary. Breena's going to kill me.
Ducky: You do know I have a heart condition.

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.