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



Why is it bad that NCIS is like Law and Order? They are both procedural, so there will be similarities between the two, but the difference between NCIS and Law and Order are very, very different, including but not limited too, funnier characters, bigger story arcs and better continuity (ie. Referring to something in season three like they did in this episode.)


@Foreverenlv not to get off the topic but their breaking Castle up the showrunner said it was the biggest mistake he ever made All I could think of was these was boring just like these season has been boring nothing changes and now what worse is they are copying Law and Order I really wish NCIS would get back to what made them Number 1 for so long now its like seening a love one die


I love this show & look forward to every Tuesday at 8pm to come. My opinion is this relationship is a long time coming & it's either Bodnar or the New Director & or associates that caused the crash. I hope we don't ose both but I think Tony will have to find a new love again. Keep the show coming it's worth waiting for on tuesday night


Great episode.....looking forward to the next episodes leading to the finale.. I agree with those who think it's time for Tiva to happen....ridiculously long drawn out relationship between two people who evidently care deeply for each other....definitely done with ncis if they don't do something. End the looks...teasing...etc or allow them to have a solid working and personal relationship without ruining the show. In the meantime I'll watch Castle and smile.....they figured it out!!


That was ending that one never saw coming. In the final scene,after the crash,when Tony seems to take hold of Ziva's hand. To me that was very touching. I can't wait to see the next 3 episodes. I am beginning to think that the writers are going to leave the viewers hanging like in the last season's final.


@subwaystinker- too true, but the thing to remember is that this show is nothing like real world. "-)


I'm still somewhat in shock over that last scene. The moments leading up to the crash were just beautiful and then - WHAM!
I'm not entirely certain who's behind all this; it could easily be either Bodner or Orli (she certainly hasn't been all that forthcoming so far). I'm very curious to see how this plays out.
As for Tony and Ziva, I'm just floored at how close they've gotten over the past season. I think that with everything that's been happening between them lately, and especially in this episode, they will most likely (finally) be in a romantic relationship by the end of the season.


Mike Franks is probably coming back as a part of Gibbs' conscious like he did in the 200th episode.


I loved this episode but was shocked by the ending, and I sincerely hope that they don't kill off Ziva the way that they did Kate or Jenny. I just wonder why it is always the woman on the team who dies...does she get a red shirt when she signs up or something? Now I hear that Mike Franks is somehow coming back (I can't imagine how as we all saw him die and saw Gibbs at his funeral) so again, it seems like the guys are invincible but the women, not so much. I would freak out if they killed off Abby, as she's the best character on that show! I love that Tony and Ziva got some quality time together, and I also loved those scenes with Ziva as a child and the man who played her young father was amazing! I also always enjoy McGee and Ducky whenever they're in an ep, but Jimmy Palmer gets on my nerves, he's so annoying.


Not the ending I was expecting. Especially since I am totally against anything Tiva. All I want is for Tony to be okay and for the show to continue the team as a family aspect that has worked so well in seasons past. If they kill of Tony, I will stop watching. The same if Tiva happens.
I'm looking forward to finding out what on earth is going on in Mossad but I mainly just want Tony to be okay and for Palmer to get some more screen time. They made him a series regular and then practically cut him out of the show!

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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.