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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? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (297 Votes)

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

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So now the question is if Ziva kill him and it trun out it was him can gibbs live with killing a other man who did nothing wrong

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I still say: IT'S CI Ray!! I can't believe that he is a rogue agent and is not targeting NCIS. Just sayin

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the FROG thing was a UC mission for shepard and he was ORDERED to NOT tell anyone...and even though the team KNEW that in the end, they STILL treated him like CRAP...even gibbs....who worked MANY undercover ops and had to keep SILENT....this thing of ziva's is TOTALLY different......the FROG thing was shepard's thing and she could have cared aless if tony ended up DEAD....just as long as the FROG was DEAD....i was NOT sad when she died...and even then, tony had to pay the price for following HER orders once again. alisa

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@Robin Roderick - You are soooo right in everything you said. It looks like you certainly understand what's going on here - and that's a good thing. I enjoyed this review. I also like what Author Sue said. I don't like that Ziva kept this from Tony temporarily, but then again..telling Tony right from the get-go would have been WRONG because he would've gotten all "Overprotective" & possibly even tried to stop Ziva. For sure, he doesn't want her harmed in any way. But this is ZIVA'S fight, and like Gibbs understands, Ziva DOES need this closure. I'm not shocked that Gibbs knew all along what was going on. He always knows what is up with his team. Well Ziva will need to fully depend on Tony to have her back while in Berlin or Rome - whatever. Tony will certainly have her back; they depend on each other a great deal. As he told her - she is "Not Alone".

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tony does NOT owe ziva CRAP....ziva OWES him greatly....he saved her life and risked his....and she didn't thank him because she TRUELY wanted to, but because EVERYONE told her that she SHOULD....and still in some ways, BLAMED him for it......she could have gotten BOTH gibbs and tim KILLED, by withholding VITAL INFORMATION on RIVKIN, while they were in LA....she wouldn't even TELL gibbs , when HE asked her STRAIGHT OUT.....i have NO USE for ziva...and wouldn't mind if she did NOT return next season. alisa

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i can totally see tony being nervous about going and looking for ziva after what happened with the RIVKIN thing before...and i will CONTINUE to say, that ziva does NOT "RESPECT" tony as an agent or as her SFA....i am surprised that vance signed off, on them going to ROME,though....however, being they are going after the person who MURDERED his wife, that could be why. 1 more thing: tim also does NOT "RESPECT" tony as his SFA.....even when gibbs is NOT around. alisa

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Its not that Ziva trusts McGee more than Tony its just harder for her to show him her vulnerable side and talk to him because of how much she cares about him. You could also tell that Tony was hesitant to spy on her which was why he asked Gibbs permission, his scared of pushing her away and losing her like at the end of season 6. I really do believe they could get together and continue working with each other. Been a Tiva fan since season 3

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My feedback for whatever its worth. lol
I love the relationship between Ziva and McGee...its like a brother/sister.McGee was with her from the strat. So what if its b/c he thought he was no longer ging to be the Probe. :) There relationship is solid. I was surprise to see McGee in the loft with Ziva. Great move writers.
I like that how they blend Tony between humor/serious detective. He knew somthing wasn't right with Ziva from the get go. She was 5 minutes late.
I lkie how Vance and Gibbs are are giving her permission to go and get Bodnar sp? However, I think it going blow up in Ziva's face.
Ducky/Palmer The Master and the Grasshopper.

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I enjoyed this episode but really love this show so don't try to find a lot of fault in it. From the clothing comment I don't usually pay attention to what they're wearing, unless it's Abby who definitely catches our attention with her fashion choices. She's Abby.
Of course Ziva would get McGee to help with locating Bodner,(a suggestion from Vance I'm sure) but it's logical Tony would be the one to go with Ziva to capture or kill him. McGee is the technical one of the team but Tony the one with police and field experience in catching the bad guys. It takes brains and brawn which they both have but each is more skilled in his own way.
I can't help but wonder if when all is said and done Vance will take the fall for allowing this op. Time will tell.

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GAH! got cut off! to pick where I left off . . . a little insight into the characters. They definitely need to work on shaving down Tony's inner clown, and work on Ziva's 'snarky' dialogue. They care for one another, they're scared to act on it, and don't know what to do with all that chemistry between them. It's clear the writers are on that same page with the characters!

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.

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