NCIS Review: Hunters and The Hunted

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Get ready: this episode was the launching point for the major story that will take us to the end of NCIS season 10.

To that end, this was one of those installments where the last 10 minutes were the most compelling, particularly that slow approving nod from Vance to Ziva.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

The title - "Chasing Ghosts" - was a play on words, as the "ghosts" here were twofold: the first was the missing Navy reservist's husband, Noah Daniels, who was later presumed dead.  The second was Bodnar, who's been in the wind since the death of Ziva's father and Vance's wife. Both the Navy reservist - Callie Daniels - and Ziva were looking for closure. 

Tony, Abby, Gibbs and Ziva

In the case of Daniels, it turns out he had staged his own kidnapping at his home - and then later staged his own death by killing Darryl Orton, a man he had previously met in a restaurant. And then left a fake suicide note, directing the investigators to (supposedly) Daniels' dead body. 

The degree of Daniels' commitment to the ruse was found in his willingness to have his girlfriend lop off his ring finger, as well as his willingness to kill the stooge.   Daniels' marriage was going through rough times and he didn't want his wife being able to access his trust fund or come after him for it in the event of a split. He had hoped that the staged kidnapping and death - complete with the fake confession from Orton - would allow him to be free to flee with the money and his girlfriend. 

The discovery of Daniel's finger in the garbage can sort of creeped everyone out, especially Tony who tried to make light of it:

Tony: Hope this doesn't turn into one of those whacked-out games of tic-tac-toe. You know, a finger here, an arm there, you find a head and you've got a meat puzzle... | permalink

There were two other subplots, which I found much more interesting. The first involved Palmer's career evolution. We're so used to seeing him make lame jokes that go nowhere and being considered a clown who is slightly lower in status than Tony. 

Consequently, it appeared that Ducky didn't take him seriously, trying to shoo him out of the picture when it came time to do a psychological profile of the man who they thought had kidnapped Daniels. Palmer's heartfelt rejection of Ducky's dismissal is recounted in the NCIS quotes from this episode. And it was beautiful. 

The final subplot was mostly about Ziva and, to a lesser degree, Vance. Finally we saw most of the NCIS gang find a way to support Ziva's hunt for Bodnar - whether it will end in his apprehension or (more likely) Ziva's vengeance on him. Throughout the episode Tony was in full investigative mode when it came to Ziva, even to the point where he took note of her five minute tardiness in getting to work. 

This bugged McGee to no end, a fact I found a little strange until near the end, when we discovered that McGee had been helping Ziva all along. 

Interesting that Tony didn't try that hard to hide his misgivings from Gibbs, choosing instead to ask for his permission to find out where she was and what she was doing. Equally surprising was Gibbs' agreement and encouragement to do so "now!" Tony - and likely all of the viewers - were surprised to find McGee in that room with Ziva.  None of us saw that coming. Not so surprising was the fact that Ziva had been active in her search for Bodnar all along, employing the help of contacts from all over the world. 

Even Abby was on board, despite her misgivings, in helping Tony track Ziva down. 

The next surprise was Gibbs' knowledge of this activity and his active agreement with it. I had a hard time trying to figure out whether I was amused at Gibbs' fake innocent expression as Ziva and Tony shared their apprehension prior to Ziva's confession to Gibbs... or Ziva's shock at learning that Gibbs' not only knew all along, but was more than willing to allow her to do some traveling to find Bodnar, even to the point of sharing with her the latest intel: that Bodnar was in Rome.

And then there was Vance. A man who had his own closure to deal with. He too approved of Ziva's hunt for Bodnar and indicated so by his slow nod at the end.

This is going to be good.

Final notes:

  • I was positive at the start that Daniels' neighbor had kidnapped or killed him, out of a misplaced attraction to Daniels' wife. Did anyone else suspect him?
  • Even though McGee had been helping Ziva all along, Gibbs told Ziva to go to Rome and to "take DiNozzo." Not McGee.
  • Tony got one of Gibbs' "slap upside the head" in this episode, something we haven't seen in quite some time.
  • We learned something from Ducky about the custom of having the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the right hand. Certainly this was news to me anyway.  "Vena amoris" - literally, the vein of love.

What do you think will happen next? Does Ziva intend to bring Bodnar in or kill him? When Tony first spoke to Ziva after getting Abby's help in finding her, he said that he wanted to help. Do you think his help will extend to helping her kill him if that's her goal? How do you think Vance will fend off Homeland Security in order to allow Ziva to continue her manhunt? 


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (299 Votes)

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



Much as I enjoy the banter with Tony and Ziva I do not want them involved just yet. You lose pleasure of waiting. If Ziva fell in love really in love with this man and it was mutual there is no way on earth that she is going to go to the other side of America just to please Gibbs. With her language skills there are plenty of agencies in Washington who would hire her and she would still have her friends. Gibbs is cruel. You would never know he almost lost them last year.


Actually he was referring to Tony being worried about Ziva which was bugging McGee.


Oh and btw, was happy that the gold-digger wife got stiffed on this one.... when she exited the scene at the bus terminal, it was clear to me that she was NOT happy about losing the opportunity to get ALL that money...


One small correction regarding the first scene and Ziva David being late, the author states "This bugged McGee to no end, a fact I found a little strange until near the end, when we discovered that McGee had been helping Ziva all along." Actually, McGee was cool with it, it was Dinozzo who was going bonkers.... :-)


If Gary Glasberg wants the show to be long lasting, he needs to give a romantic turn to tony and ziva relationship. Only Tiva can refresh the show. If Tiva does not happen, there will be a lack of audience. Viewers will decrease.It's a long time tiva fans are waiting.


There was no surprise that she was looking for her father's murderer. At the end of the episode where Vance was looking for a Nanny we can see her tracking someone, then hiding it when Vance approached. Sending Tony instead of McGee also makes sense. Gibbs can't send all three of them, works goes on, and if Ziva and Tony need computer assistance they can call on McGee who at NCIS has access to very powerful systems he might not be able to access in the field. But it did make me happy she asked for McGee's help first.


Yo, solia ser una fan de TIVA,pero creo que...ya paso su tiempo, en el capitulo del martes, paso que, A) Ziva no acude a Tony porque ella definitivamente NO QUIERE INVOLUCRARSE con El, y B)la mirada que Tony da a Ziva en la Estacion de de "ME DUELE EN EL ALMA, PERO YA ENTENDI...NO ME QUIERES COMO YO A TI"... Siento que la quimica, que generaban hace meses, ya no existe, se enfrio.


Did anybody else love Tony's sly reference to "Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon" and how appropriate it was to the episode?


I have LOVED season 10 so far & I'm looking forward to the upcoming episodes. I enjoyed "Chasing Ghosts". Like many, I would have preferred it if Ziva had included Tony in her search sooner, but I don't believe it was a personal attack. She also did not the share the information with Gibbs for whom she respects & cares. I think she simply needed to include McGee sooner because of his technical abilities and I think Gibbs/Tony may have (in her mind) been more likely to try to stop her. What she has been doing is not exactly 'by the book'. It was probably best not to include (or incriminate) any more people than necessary. I am a Tiva fan & would love to see these two characters get together. I don't expect, want or need to see kissing or any other public display of romance in every episode. NCIS has many good characters and many more stories to tell. It is enough for me to know they are finally together & are going home together at the end of the day. They deserve happiness in their personal lives.


The CIA santioned the hit on ELI and Vackie was collateral damage. I think this Tom Morrow fellow is up to no good. Whay say you all????

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 20 Quotes

Ziva: It's not about a choice it's about survival. She will not stop until she gets her closure.
Tony: We still talking about the lieutenant?
Ziva: Please do not go there. I'm fine.

Ziva : I would like your permission to travel to Europe to find Bodnar. I have been trying to locate him with the help of McGee and various contacts.
Gibbs: I know.
Ziva: You have known all this time? Then why did...
Gibbs: You needed to be ready to tell me. He's in Rome.
Ziva: That's what I thought too.
Gibbs: What are you waiting for? Take DiNozzo. Go.