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?

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Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (605 Votes)

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


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Just watched the promo for Revenge again and if LJG sheds tears, I am done. Done.


My thoughts:
1. The new Mossad director is involved far more than we are led to believe. I am thinking she helped engineer the frame job on Bodnar.
2. Tony was able to make a minor last second adjustment to minimize the impact to the passenger-side. Anxious moments waiting for next week's episode....


Estoy he visto el capitulo, solo los cortes, en Mexico vamos en el capitulo 16.....puede alguien decirme si el accidente es en Berlin, o Washinton?


...thing. Anything, lol.


McGee hacking Mossad, impossible.
McGee hacking Mossad,and they didn't know they were hacked, impossible.
Anyone who had the skills it would take to do all of the above wouldn't have a paygrade that would have him calling Gibbs 'Boss'.
The girl who plays lil Ziva is an amazing likeness.


I felt it was not a bad episode. Abby was watchable (yay) and I loved seeing McGee's hacking rear its head again. There's a precedent for his abilities...he was nearly arrested for treason a few seasons ago for alleged hacking. And it isn't the first time he's hacked a high-security system for Gibbs. I enjoyed Marina Sirtis as the new Mossad leader until they used that tired old NCIS trope wherein any strong person with a vagina quails before the terrifying power of Gibbs' penis, lol. Not to mention his bullying his peers and even those above his station. I remember when Gibbs, and the rest of the characters, were fallible human beings. The show was more interesting to me back then. The end was very exciting, however, and I applaud the lack of spoilers. I doubt that there ill be any lasting effects from the accident, just as I doubt that any of Glasberg's comments about "team peril" and consequences for their previous actions. He says it every finale. And it never amounts to anything. As much as I like Ziva (ok, the old kickass Ziva), if this show had any huevos left, it would have gone ahead and killd her off or at least had her dealing with the aftermath well into next season. I remember back when Gibbs was blown up and lost his memory. That was compelling drama that played out in an extended arc. I miss that kind of story-telling.


Ok, I love McGee, but that was a really stupid probie mistake he made at the rowhouse in Baltimore. Gibbs fired Vivian in the "JAG" spinoff for making such a mistake.


@nelswort- only Michael, Sean, Abby, Leon and Vance signed new contracts last year. Mark signed a one-year extension in February. Only Cote has yet to sign beyond Season Ten.


@Sara: you could be right that the "messy" part is trying to keep things underwraps. (and hopefully undercovers-sorry, couldn't resist!) :-)


The car crash was interesting: from inside the car they made it look like the SUV slammed into Ziva's door. From the photo's of the cars spinning out of control, there is no evidence of damage to the side of the car, front right fender and hood only. Makes more sense to survice the crash, with major whiplash and cuts from flying glass. Tony's hand is severely cut from the scene.

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.