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



Great episode. It wasnt completely shocking that Noah had faked his kidnapping and tried to fake his death because after awhile the crime scene deffinetly did look staged. Ziva's hunt for bodnar is getting good. I had no idea McGee was helping her it was a complete shock to me. I can't wait for more of the story on bodnar it should be really good and it look like we'll be going to Rome soon yay. Can't wait for the next episode.


McGee is a computer whiz. Tony is not. Anyone consider that was the kind of help Ziva needed? Plus, really, who would you trust more? AND they said they were about to bring him in on it.
PLUS...does every working relationship on TV need to turn into a romance?


Dear Gary Glasberg (sigh), Maybe your next episode should be called "Tell Me Lies." I've been a Tiva Shipper from the go, but my idea of a "Tiva moment," as you have promised, is not Ziva putting Tony down. He was there for her when her father died, but now cannot be trusted. Instead, Ziva goes to McGee and chews Tony a new one when he finds her. Also, thanks for the buildup about Tony going to Berlin to help Ziva. It's not like it took anything out of that at all to see that ACTUALLY what happens is Gibbs ASSIGNED Tony to go with her. Thank you, but I don't think I'll boost your ratings for another season of Tiva promises. Tony needs a hot girlfriend and to let Ziva lie in her misery. Good grief. Same story, different season


This episode as perceived by my brain: Tony is concerned about Ziva - BLEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHH another uninteresting 2nd-person-we-talk-to-leads-to-closure/did-it-try-to-be-more-obvious-case-BLEEEEHHHHHHH Tony gets screwed over again. WTF ROME!
Entering emergency standby-coma until next week!


It was nice to Morrow back for a scene or two!
I, too, thought the neighbor was involved. He reminded me too much of the neighborhood watch from the fight club episode.
Loved the headslap and the shoutout to "Meat Puzzle." They've been doing a lot of shoutouts lately to early seasons. Awesome!
I think the scene was well-played when DiNozzo found out who Ziva was getting to help her. He really looked pissed.


OK H I understand what you are saying.Perhaps it was Ziva's gambit to make sure Tony will be interested and will be implied in her risky move to avenge her father's death.


What does you being French have to do with anything? The episode was just awful and this is coming from a tiva fan. The last scene did nothing but hurt tiva, not help it. She doesn't trust him enough to involve him in her search for Bodner, yet they're going to seal the deal in the next episode? Whaaaaaaaaa? That makes no damn sense.


I disagree with you H. I am french and i think we don't see things with the same eyes. I am a diehard Tivafan and i decided to boycott the show after the end of season 8 because of tiva. I was fed up. Tony and Ziva are playing cat and mouse. It's clear they love each other, they reach out each other. I was both despondent and disappointed by season 8 because of the nefarious character of EJ and CI Ray. Having EJ and Ray around stirs up lots of feelings for Tony and Ziva, they never reveal quite enough. I decided to see the two last episodes of season 10. I loved the show yesterday.I am too confident Tiva is coming very soon.It won't ruin the show. It will be like spices in meals.


Yeah, she wants to protect Tony, but uses McGee. Guess she doesn't want to protect him, huh? It's all utter crap.


I am french and from time to time, i see the show on CBS while in Paris.
This episode was great, i think this episode is the beginning for Tiva. As regard the show, Ziva is getting closer to Tony. I disagree with the comment saying that Ziva doesn't trust Tony. It's wrong. She trust Tony and wants to protect him because she has feelings for him. Mac Gee is like a brother for her.
Ziva will be with Tony in Berlin, they will be in jeopardy and get closer than ever. Tiva will happen. Tony and Ziva will seal the deal while in Berlin.

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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.