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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!

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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 Round Table Logo NEW!

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.

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is best for him and seem to have access to his personal thoughts and ideas at all times.

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@Michael
The only other TV show that Michael Weatherly has been on since NCIS started is an episode of Major Crimes this summer. I watched it and, really, not much made that character different from Tony.I actually think it made Tony look far superior to this guy. The character of Thorn Woodson was an egotistical, womanizer who was sleeping with several married women and had questionable morals. And he kinda looked like an idiot throughout the whole episode. One reviewer said that Thorn was "an obnoxious loud-mouthed "life coach" played by Michael Weatherly. Weatherly's DiNozzo character in NCIS is getting to be very tiresome and in this show he takes that character to a ludicrous extreme. I assume it was supposed to be an amusing portrayal but it was just annoying." So, I guess he isn't doing a very good job of getting away from typecasting. I personally love Michael Weatherly and the character of Tony. Maybe you should be counseling him on his career choices since you know what is best for him and seem to have access to his personal thoughts and ideas at all times.

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@bob - How do you know? @guest - Yes, I think I did hear that these are CdP's demands! LOL.

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I still don't understand why people can't enjoy NCIS for what it is. Is there something so wrong with doing just that?

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believe me, MW and all the other actors don't give a flying CRAP how their character is written. they only care if their paycheck is signed. they put on an act like they do in interviews so people will think they care. people who think they do are delusional. lol

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On another note, Cote de Pablo has yet to re-sign for season 11 because she has some pretty hefty demands. First of all, she wants the name of the show to be changed to ZCIS and then she wants top billing in the credits and then she also has stated that she will only do scenes in which she is made to look superior to all others and all the other characters have to look like idiots compared to her, especially Tony! Sorry, none of the above is true! In case you haven't caught on, that was sarcasm! Please people, get off the Ziva bashing bandwagon; it is getting so old!

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part 3 Ziva: You are Tony DiNozzo. The class clown. And that is why we love you.�) So yes, it is Ziva who people accuse of being the one to tear Tony down who is actually the one who tries to build him up. Are all the characters on this show exaggerated? Absolutely. They each have a part to play. If they were real people I doubt that Abby would be that joyful and naïve all the time or that Ziva would be an emotionless ninja who only wants to kick ass and be perfect or McGee would be the techie nerd or Palmer the bumbling idiot, etc….There is a formula and the writers are sticking to it. After being the number 1 drama for over 3 years and continually pulling in over 20 million viewers most weeks, why would they change it? So, sit back, enjoy the ride and stop taking everything so personally. It is a TV show. Enjoy it for what it is-pure entertainment.

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Part 2 season 2 in Eye for an Eye, Tony tells Kate “ he's meditating but Kate disagrees, stating that he's probably thinking about how much he drank or trying to remember some girl's name�.) Most of the characters have been made to look superior at the expense of Tony. But he has matured, too. The talk of his sexual exploits has been greatly toned down and he doesn’t seem to be talking about all the women he has “had’ lately. He has also been shown to have compassion and concern for the people around him. (i.e.. in addition to the Tony in Shabbat Shalom and Shiva there is also the Tony who showed the guilt he felt over Brenda Bittner and the trouble he went to, to get the lovely Christmas present for Delores in HR. And Ziva has even been the one to point out his strengths. She is the one who tells him he should be proud for saving the boy from the fire and she is the one who told him. “Ziva: But you need to be – who you are. Tony: And who am I? Ziva: You are Tony DiNozzo. The class clown. And that is why we love you.�) So yes, it is Ziva who people accuse of being the one to tear Tony down who is actually the one who tries to build him up. Are all the characters on this show exaggerated? Absolutely. They each have a part to play. If they were real people I doubt that Abby would be that joyful and naïve all the time or that Ziva would be an emotionless ninja who only wants to kick ass and be perfect or McGee would be the techie nerd or Palmer the bumbling idiot, etc….There is a formula and the writers are sticking to it. After being the number 1 drama for over 3 years and continually pulling in over 20 million viewers most weeks, why would they change it? So, sit back, enjoy the ride and stop taking everything so personally. It is a TV show. Enjoy it for what it is-pure entertainment.

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Part 1
When has Gibbs ever been the butt of the joke on the show and why would that happen now? Since day one, Gibbs has always been portrayed as being superior to everyone else. He is always putting other people in their place. From Kate, to Ziva, to Tony, to McGee, to Vance, to Jenny, to Jimmy etc…you see my point. The only one who may have put him in his place is Ducky and that has rarely ever happened. Some of you really need to re-watch seasons 1 and 2. Tony has always been portrayed as the class bonehead and a womanizer chasing everything in a skirt. And Kate always put him in his place. (Who else can recall in season 1, Dead Man Talking, “This was where Tony tongued a transgender person while working undercover, which Kate teased him about mercilessly knowing how much this upset his macho male ego.� Also in season 1 there was Minimum Security in which Tony was scared by an iguana in his room and made to look like a fool much to Kate’s delight.. Then there is season 2 in Eye for an Eye, Tony tells Kate “ he's meditating but Kate disagrees, stating that he's probably thinking about how much he drank or trying to remember some girl's name�.) Most of the characters have been made to look superior at the expense of Tony. But he has matured, too. The talk of his sexual exploits has been greatly toned down and he doesn’t seem to be talking about all the women he has “had’ lately. He has also been shown to have compassion and concern for the people around him. (i.e.. in addition to the Tony in Shabbat Shalom and Shiva there is also the Tony who showed the guilt he felt over Brenda Bittner and the trouble he went to, to get the lovely Christmas present for Delores in HR. And Ziva has even been the one to point out his strengths. She is the one who tells him he should be proud for saving the boy from the fire and she is the one who told him. “Ziva: But you need to be – who you are. Tony: And who am I? Ziva: You are Tony DiNozzo. The class clown. And that is why we love you.�) So yes, it is Ziva who people accuse of being the one to tear Tony down who is actually the one who tries to build him up. Are all the characters on this show exaggerated? Absolutely. They each have a part to play. If they were real people I doubt that Abby would be that joyful and naïve all the time or that Ziva would be an emotionless ninja who only wants to kick ass and be perfect or McGee would be the techie nerd or Palmer the bumbling idiot, etc….There is a formula and the writers are sticking to it. After being the number 1 drama for over 3 years and continually pulling in over 20 million viewers most weeks, why would they change it? So, sit back, enjoy the ride and stop taking everything so personally. It is a TV show. Enjoy it for what it is-pure entertainment.
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MW has had to defend his character with varying amounts of success for a while now (at least since DPB left). In Bounce he was concerned (and there is an interview in the DVD) that he was concerned about the way Tony was depicted, but he was informed that he just needed to suck it up and act the story he was given. I also recently read a post that said in the original script for Rekindled, Tony was written as being jealous and competitive with Jason and MW complained, and this time they listened to him. I personally find Ziva to be like nails on a chalkboard most of the time, but would probably like her better if she wasn't constantly shoved into the limelight, to the detriment of other more interesting characters, to be the dramatic axis of every arc that Gibbs isn't the focus of.

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.

Palmer