NCIS Review: Sweet Cheeks and Crumpled Fenders

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Rome, Berlin, misdirection, a duplicitous new Mossad director, "sweet cheeks" and a car crash. I'm not sure we could ask for much more from such an enticing NCIS episode as "Berlin."

The hour opened with Mossad agent Amir Mantel waiting for a contact in a parking garage. A car pulled up and someone he recognized rolled down the window and shot him. Abby later figured out that the communication earpiece he was wearing wasn't from the latest Mossad equipment, so Mantel could not have been working (or at least wasn't communicating) with Mossad at all, despite Mossad Director's assertion that he was, and that a member of a rogue faction from within Mossad had done the shooting. 

At the end of the episode we still weren't sure what that was all about.

Tony and Ziva Scene

The Tony/Ziva tease brought us much closer to what so many were hoping to see, but not yet all the way. We're not done with NCIS season 10, though, and so we're left hoping for more - providing everyone's okay after that final scene.

As soon as Tony and Ziva started off in the car, I imagine many of us anticipated that imminent crash, but then forgot to worry about it when this happened:

Ziva: You know I keep thinking if it was not for Orli, things would have been different. I would be a different person.
Tony: Then I should catch her before she leaves. You know. I'd thank her. | permalink

So rude of that assassin to smash into them just when they were holding hands and starting to get into it. It made me wonder: was that Bodnar trying to do away with Ziva? He knows her and is aware of her tenacity. He had to know she'd never give up trying to hunt him. I'm surprised she didn't roll her eyes when he advised her via video-link to let it go: please forgive me and walk away. Vendettas lead to nothing but heartache.  

Interesting, too, that he told her that there was more to the story - and that nothing was at it seemed.  Food for thought there: was he actually trying to justify his killing of Eli? Or perhaps it wasn't him at all who killed him and there was no attempted coup? What's the real story here?

We now know that the supposedly rogue faction of Mossad that Director Orli Elbaz spoke about was a lie and that the supposed rogues were all valid agents still in good standing with Mossad. We also know that Director Elbaz wanted NCIS and the other U.S. agencies to spin their wheels looking for Bodnar in every place other than where he was:  the U.S. The questions keep piling up, and there's no real light being shed here.

For example, during the plane ride home, Ziva and Yaniv had a conversation about family loyalty:

Yaniv: You would do anything for your family, if they had done wrong, would you not?
Ziva: You wrote him off. You had not spoken in years. I do not understand this loyalty.
Yaniv: It never leaves us. Does it, Ziva? | permalink

That last question seemed rather pointed, suggesting that perhaps in addition to killing that reporter, Eli David had done something else wrong, something worthy of his own death. Or at least it leaves the question open.

At the end of the day, Vance decided to let Mossad off of the hook with their misinformation, all in an effort to ensure there was no further wasted effort in the hunt for Bodnar. 

Ziva's back story with her father is worth talking about as well.So many of her choices were based upon the events of her family life: her father constantly going out on "business trips;" the breakup of her parents' marriage, as a direct result of Eli's indiscretions with a young Orli Elbaz (no wonder Ziva hates her!); Ziva dancing with her father as he says: My Ziva. One day you will dance with a man who deserves your love.

So touching to watch that scene as she remembered it while dancing with Tony. 

You get the sense too that Tony's new pet nickname for her will now be "sweet cheeks": after calling her that in the hotel room, she laughed and said she remembered the first time he referred to her that way. It seems he called her that in season three, episode eight - though I don't know the circumstances. She didn't like it back then but this time, it was different: he called her that again on the dance floor. In season three, I think she saw it as derogatory, but this time it was a term of endearment. 

I have to admit, I'm enjoying the chemistry and romance between these two: 

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know. | permalink

There's no doubt that these two are going places. 

Some final notes:

  • Marina Sirtis fits the Director Elbaz role well: I expected to see a slightly older version of Deanna Troi but instead encountered someone who fully took on the Mossad director character. Entirely believable and engaging. 
  • Ben Morrison embodied the young Eli David role well, too, right down to his mannerisms and voice. That was some great work, both with his acting and the costuming.  
  • Ziva seems to think that Director Elbaz's duplicity involving Bodnar's location has to do with the love she had for Ziva's father - and that she shared the same motivation as Ziva: to hunt and kill Bodnar without interference from government agencies. I'm not so sure - nothing with this woman is at seems.
  • Check out this week's NCIS quotes.
  • This week's NCIS Round Table discussion is up!  Come over and add your take on our discussion.

Now it's your turn: Is Bodnar's suggestion that Ziva's seeing the whole thing in the wrong light accurate or is he just trying to save himself from her? Was he behind the crash - or was that the work of Director Elbaz? Or someone else? 

What key piece of information have we missed here? Is there anything that can help us figure out exactly who Amir Mantel was and why he was killed? And finally - what's going to happen with Ziva and Tony? Will this budding romance go into the next season with them?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (605 Votes)

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



I have a feeling that Trent Cort is involved since Homeland Security and the CIA seem dead set on Gibb's team not getting involved. Also, Director Vance had earlier connections with Eli David as well as Trent Cort, and has always been very secretive about that part of his past. On a side note, is Gibbs building a sailboat for Dr. Ryan and her son? (Remember the drawing Dr. Ryan showed Gibbs of the sailboat, and how her son just wanted the two of them to sail away). I seem to remember Gibbs picking it up and staring at it for a lengthy time.


@Douglas, your comment here made me laugh "There's no doubt that these two are going places." What places? I still see no chemistry between Tony and Ziva. I see a friendship, and I see that Tony really cares about Ziva, but I don't see Ziva with any feelings for him. I guess people see what they want to see. I personally wish the writers never put them together.


I am sure you are right about the cast list and not releasing it bc of clues. I know that we will see Ilan Bodner (read it in a spoiler). I wouldn't mind seeing Malachi, I enjoyed his character. Maybe if he did return and there was a resolution, it could finally be an end to the whole Mossad thing for Ziva. At least for a little bit anyway. I too, DO NOT want it to be C-I-Ray. Although I don't think there would be anything there, I don't want any other kind of wrench thrown into the Tony/Ziva thing. It is already complex enough. Plus isn't there enough for them to deal with (car wreck, Bodner, an upcoming investigation into the team and their actions). They don't need an ex-boyfriend in the mix. Tuesday cannot come soon enough. Can't wait!


Cote de Pablo is an amazing actress, and her character, Ziva, is quite amazing too. Ziva spices things up at NCIS. Without her, the show would be kind of boring, even though we got Tony (Michael Weatherly). Also, without her, I for one would miss all the bickering, and etc. between Tony and Ziva. I hope she renews her contract, and that everything will be ok after the crash. It would be sad to see her leave.


Sticks and stones . . .


@SIS: no cast list for "Revenge" yet. It was probably suppressed before because of the medical personnel which would give us a hint that someone got majorly injured. Now they are hiding who was driving the SUV, which will probably be someone we know. And I don't think it's Kort, because I think he's dead and he has a strange gait, very unlike the way the person was walking in the promo. Could be wrong though. I hope it's not Ray, because I would think someone would know he was released from prison and I don't want to see him. My fear is that it is Malachi, which I don't want to happen either. Either way, I will probably not be happy.


Is the guest cast list for Revenge out yet? Not knowing is making me think of all the wonderful people who could return.


@yuck name matches no you stick a fork into yourself you are done.


@Yuck Your comments on TIVA, Ziva and CdP are poorly written and show poor judgement and taste. Stick a fork in're done.


@Yuck If you're going to pull info like that from printed sources it would be better to actually copy and paste rather than paraphrase, when the way you put it distorts the original intent of the comment. From BuzzFeed Entertainment Wonderfully Weird Michael Weatherly Thinks His Onscreen Relationship Is Like A Cold Sore "Did you not foresee that it would progress like this for such a long time?" MW: "It was like a herpes virus. It laid dormant for so long, I thought it had gone away. And I'm talking simplex 1. I'm not referring to any sort of genital herpes. But still, the simplex 1 can be painful and unsightly. Not to compare Tiva to herpes — I guess that's unfair. But I did not see it coming. I still don't see it coming — not in any real way." He's talking about the way the virus symptoms go away and return without warning and comparing THAT to the TIVA relationship. He's NOT call the relationship a disease. Maybe a mistake...but NOT a disease.

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 21 Quotes

Ziva: When I have a man, the favors I offer have little to do with clothes.
Tony: That's good to know.

Tom Morrow: What are we proposing here?
Vance: Well with international tensions being so high on this, I'm proposing that we look the other way.
Tom Morrow: You can't be serious.
Vance: I am, Tom. We come down hard on Mossad now, then what happens? Talk to me about wasted manpower if Bodnar gets away after all of this? But understand: this one pass is the last one Mossad ever gets from me.
Tom Morrow: That makes two of us.
Gibbs: Three.