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



All cast members signed new two-year extensions on their contracts LAST spring, so no; I do not believe that "Ziva" will perish from the accident. What I DO believe is the corpse we glimpsed in the morgue is that of someone else, possibly related to the accident, or not. . . After watching JAG for all 10 seasons and now NCIS, I've learned to not "buy" what all the spoiler previews present. One thing for certain, next week's episode "Revenge", will be just that!! I can't wait.


If they kill off Ziva, I will no longer watch. It's just that simple.


The corpse in the previews could have been the driver of the other vehicle, although I can't imagine it was an accident rather than intentional (and maybe the other driver and the diamonds will be gone -- or maybe just the driver who wasn't interested in diamonds). All kinds of possibilities -- but only if both survive. They can always kill Ziva later if it's a matter of contract.


This was a great episode. At the end I was screaming at the TV- there's no way you can let one of them die!!! I'm wondering where that little Deputy Director Craig went. He just seemed like a weasel to me. I think he is involved somehow just can't put my finger on it. All in all this is a great show, but please don't write of characters that make the show what it is.


omg I wasn't expecting the end of NCIS I yelled and my cat ran out room I think too soon to kill of Ziva if Cote doesn't come back but I don't think she be killed off it get a lot a of fans upset


How many Truck into car crash have we seen on cop shows seem like they all do it,The dance sound kinda of a playbook out of One Tree Hill I can't believe Gary went back on his word and his promise but I guess who you have a network fill with bullys you have no choice


Tony first called Ziva "sweet cheeks" in the ep where they weremundercover as married assassins. Are we sure that the crash wasn't just an accident? Did Cote De Pablo renew her contract?


Bodnar's words are replaying in my I'm really starting to think that they are chasing the wrong ghosts; that the killing of Eli and Jackie had less to do with Eli and more to do with Jackie. but of course, I always go for a good conspiracy. Marina Sirtis was fabulous. Manipulating yet driven by revenge is a hard thing to play and she played it well. And as much as I loved the Tiva dance, it was Ziva's flashback of dancing with her father that made that scene. Eli's words, "My day you will dance with a man who deserves your love," took the cake. Not only does Tony deserve Ziva's love, Tony already has Ziva's trust; and in the long run that was always what was going to bring the two of them together. Maybe after they recover from the crash we'll get another heart-to-heart.


I am still in shock and of course full blown emotional duress. However. Tiva is now firmly planted and absolutely 'going to the next level'. While it will take a few more 'turns in the road' - tonight's episode was perfection..until....What in the name of Tiva was that ending? It took me two hours to breath - tears were flowing with friends on the phone and on line --that was a heart breaking way to end an episode. Yes, we all get the intricate plot lines --regardless this was all about Tony and Ziva and it was fundamentally about Tony being a man and Ziva letting her little girl trust again.


was not expecting the crash at the end im 99.9%sure ziva will not die if she does so does NCIS.maybe they will say she died to flush out the killers.

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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.