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



@Alisa Can you please think of something NEW to say. Yes, we all know about your school girl crush on Tony and Michael Weatherly. That is so great that you like him. However, can you please find a new comment besides saying over and over how no one RESPECTS Tony? It has truly been beaten to death now. I am a Tony fan but even I will admit that Tony has had his moments of not respecting people. Have you forgotten the several one night stands he has implied and his womanizing ways? Yea, it's really respectful to constantly oogle women when in a professional setting. How about how he hurt Brenda Bittner and she had to go to counseling? Real respectful there. How about all the insulting nicknames he has given McGee? Why should McGee respect him? How about how he asked Ziva if she was still crazy? Or how he told Ziva he was looking down her top? Yea, real respectful. You have to give respect in order to be given it. Do I care about these things? No. But I am showing that Tony is not always this perfect person. And lighten up, it is just a show. All these little exaggerations are what make the characters interesting.


This weeks episode was nuts!! I just keep thinking Ziva can't be dead because she would be the third female main character that they killed off with out a single male main character dying. Tony can't be dead because then Ziva would have lost her father and Tony. I think either way there would be way too many upset fans. Possibly some serious injuries or amnesia though??? Should be interesting to see how they wrap up the season!


tony used that pet name for ziva in "under covers" it really ISN'T new...and if ziva is KILLED, i won't be shedding any tears....tony would be different. why ANYONE would want tony with ziva i'll NEVER know....she doesn't respect him as an agent or her senior agent while in the field. and tim needs to work on his field work and NOT being seen'd think after all the years working with gibbs and tony,he'd have learned something....ziva is rubbing off on him and NOT in a good way. alisa


Pward--I don't think Bodner is the bad guy. I agree something is up with Schmeil. ?????????????


@Magda: actually, the first pair he bought for Ziva, if you can imagine that! haha


This is the second pair of lederhosen that Tony buys to McGee! The first was on the same occasion when he gave Michelle a stapler "made in China".


It would be unusual if Bodnar, the seemingly obvious bad guy set up earlier this season, turned out to actually be the bad guy. Early setups usually equal a misdirect. The turn always comes. My money says that's way too easy for season ending arc.
I really liked Gibbs and Vance playing well together but I can't find sufficient adjectives to express how much I detest TIVA. Don't necessarily want them to kill off ziva but would be very happy for them to kill off Tiva. Though killing off Tony (or Gibbs of course) would be the only deal breakers for me. I can always choose the tiva moments to head into the kitchen.


I was so focused on Tony and Ziva's conversation that the crash completely caught me of guard. I am now positive after hearing Cote talk that Tony and Ziva will be alright, but I think Tony was somehow the more injured of the two. I had a bad feeling about Tony getting hurt in this arc although I hoped I was wrong. As for the new mossad director, I agree with the people that don't trust her, but I think on the bodnar thing that she just wanted to get her revenge like Ziva said. I hope we find out more about bodnar it looks like this story could have some huge twists. Overall, intense episode and I can't wait till next week!


NCIS is my favorite show for years now. First I was so upset when they killed Kate, but I think Ziva was a very good choice. Liked this season and I also liked the show last night. I have no idea how many people here on this board are from Germany or even visited my Country. I always find it so funny that a) All Germans speak with an American/ English accent
b) That no matter in which part they are supposed to be, they seem to think Germany = Bavaria. Sure, if you look around in Berlin, you would be able to find this kind of restaurant where they where sitting, with a waitress dressed like this or you will be for sure able to buy the gift Tony bought there somewhere. But nothing should be associated as typical for our Capital as it was there. I am not upset or anything and I think many people make the same mistake when it comes to other countries, I just wanted to point it out. Oh and I am from Bavaria (Munich) ;) Sorry for the of topic Kudos


true fans of NCIS must realize michael is a fake he goes on these sites to put shows down dont know why maybe he has problems,as for castle they are having there best season so far and andrew marlow never said it was a mistake.anyway i think it wasnt an accident as its the same car that bwas watching gibbs and mgee.

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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.