NCIS Round Table: "Berlin"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Berlin," this week's episode, in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Christine Orlando have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from this installment.

Join in as we analyze another entertaining hour of TV's #1 show!


1. How would you describe this week's episode in one word (or two, or three, or four)?

Doug: Smashing romance.

Christine: More than friends.

Steve: Heartbreak and intrigue.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. What was your favorite quote or scene from "Berlin?"

Doug: I really enjoyed the interrogation room scene. The wily Director Elbaz tried to be coy with Vance, and then alternatively tried to bully her way out of the room by discussing the authorization that allowed NCIS to snoop into Mossad's database. She got up and said "I believe we're done" and Vance retorted "I don't think so." The rage and passion he displayed there was mirrored in Gibbs' furious calm. It's not often we get to see Gibbs and Vance so completely on the same page - but lately that's been happening more often than not. It was good to see, and it was great to see Vance not back down from her. He was fed up - and became especially intolerant when she tried to play on the sympathy of his wife's death: My wife is not a tactic. Perfect scene.

Christine: Tony and Ziva talking in bed or Tony and Ziva dancing...or how about Tony and Ziva holding hands in the car. I've been waiting all season for scenes like these and they packed three of them into one episode. Each one was better than the last. 

Steve: "My Ziva. One day you will dance with a man who deserves your love." What an emotionally loaded quote from the Eli flashback, followed by the much-anticipated present-day dance. So good.

3. What, if anything did you find wrong with this installment?

Doug: TV and movie computer scenes leaves me smiling sometimes. The scene in which Tim hacks into Mossad's "database" (as if there is just one file he needs to access) and then immediately pulls up the relevant information on screen was one such time. I tend not to write about it, because the story needs to advance and the writers don't have all day to painfully outline the steps needed to get that information - if it's even possible, in this case, given Israel's superior systems. Given the time factor, I can't think of a better way to make the data available to the story. Still, I think more and more viewers are fairly tech-savvy so maybe it's time for the writers to start thinking more about this.  

Christine: Really, nothing. I thought the story moved along well and I got the Tony and Ziva scenes I was craving. All good. 

Steve: Maybe that Mossad waltzed in and inserted themselves into the case a little too easily? This was ultimately rectified when Gibbs and Vance reasserted themselves, however.

4. If Ziva is "Sweet Cheeks," what should Tony be?

Doug: Thunder-buns? I'm good at coming up with friendly buddy punch names like Tiny, Too-Dense and Snaggletooth. Not so much with the male romantic pet names though. I can't imagine Ziva using a traditional western term of endearment ("pookie" or "snuggle bunny") - but I can see her using a Hebrew term. Something which would be privy only to her and Tony.

Christine: I kind of hated "Sweet Cheeks." Nicknames just don't work well for these two but there were enough 007 references that I wanted Ziva to start calling him Mr. Bond just for kicks.

Steve: Whatever she wants to nickname her overgrown frat boy teddy bear of a very special agent partner, in typical Ziva fashion, it has to be ever-so-slightly off, and endearing.

5. Mossad Director Elbaz: What is her endgame?

Doug: She's one confusing mess isn't she? We know from Ziva that she had a romantic relationship with Eli David - and Ziva seems to think she's out to kill Bodnar because of it. I'm not so sure. There's a sub-story going on here which hasn't been revealed yet. So I don't know if she is perhaps the real culprit responsible for the death of Arash Kazmi and perhaps even Eli. She developed so many misdirections in the show that I'm not sure we can believe her when she says "good morning." Her motives at this point are entirely opaque. She's anything but transparent - always a good quality in a spy, which probably makes her the ideal choice to head Mossad. Maybe that's been her intent from the start? Who knows.

Christine: It's Mossad so who the heck knows. Nothing is ever what it seems but I have to say I enjoyed Marina Sirtis in the role more than I expected. Counselor Deanna Troi was nothing but a faint memory.

Steve: Surely cementing her leadership within Mossad is part of it, but on a personal level, who knows what's driving her. What I do know is that her clashes with Gibbs could become truly legendary.

6. Who was behind the car accident?

Doug: The immediate thought is Bodnar. However that seems too easy, so my guess is that there's an Iranian faction involved and that they are responsible for the crash. Can't quite bring myself to believe that Director Elbaz would do such a thing - even though I know she's now aware that Ziva has connections all over the place which, combined with her tenacity makes her the most likely person to catch Bodnar.

Christine: I agree, if not Bodnar then who? He seems the obvious choice but again, that's what makes me question it. At the same time I can't figure out why Elbaz would want Ziva dead and who else is there?

Steve: Bodnar's cryptic statements that Ziva isn't seeing this in the correct light, and the simple fact that it's NCIS (where things are never quite as they seem and story arcs can be surprisingly complex for a procedural crime drama) make me almost certain he wasn't behind it. We've got rogue Mossad agents, deceptive Mossad directors, Iranians with their own agenda and who knows how many other agencies involved. They've left us with no easy answer, and that's either commendable or frustrating - depending, of course, on the eventual payoff.

7. How hard will Gibbs and Vance go after Bodnar now?

Doug: Remember Gibbs' rage after the bombing of NCIS? He was worried about his "family" above everything else. He and Vance are on the same page - so I expect some righteous rage and retribution here. Near the end of this episode they seemed to be on the same page as Tom Holland - but we can expect this to go away. Especially given Tom's earlier warning: I'm your friend, Leon. I'd hate to see this blow up in your face.

Christine: This is going to get intense. Vance is still raw from losing his wife and Tony and Ziva are family to Gibbs. There's nothing he wouldn't do to protect them and end this but that may bring about its own set of consequences. I think we're in for an exciting ride.

Steve: They were already sympatico on this case, and given what has now happened to Ziva and Tony, this manhunt could go seriously rogue and out of hand if they're not careful. Then again, that's probably what the show is going for as Season 10 concludes. As we learned from our Gary Glasberg interview, boundaries are pushed, lines are crossed and people are watching. Will this be the time they go too far, and what will the consequences be? I'm curious to read your responses in the comments, and can't wait to find out.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


im thinking that it WAS BODNER behind the attack on ziva and tony for 2 simple reasons he KNOWS he pissed off ziva 1 2 he knows just how deadly she can be not just because of who she is but I learned a LONG time ago NEVER EVER really piss a woman off know you have to know that in trying to kill both tony and her and GIBBS is beyond pissed off and that is A MAJOR SCREW UP there is NOTHING worse than someone defending there family when it comes to someone defending there family THERE ARE NO RULES ANYTHING GOES THEN


@ Eli- you missed the point of Ziva remembering her dance with her father while dancing with Tony: Eli told her that one day she would dance with a man worthy of her love and we dissolve to Tony. She was remembering that comment more than she was remembering dancing with her father.


Ziva referred to Tony as "My Little Hairy Butt" and "My Little Furry Bear" in "Under Covers", in English. I don't like it when Tony says "Sweetcheeks", because it means nothing. I guess he used it in "Berlin" to remind Ziva of their time undercover, and it was probably the most he was willing to try to get away with at this point. I don't want to see it as a standard term of endearment between the two. It was used by Tim also, to Ziva; and we don't see Tim and Ziva together.


part 2 of 2 I think once CBS figured out what fans liked about it - the natural family dynamic - they've exploited to the point of being unnaturally forced.


I thought Bodnar seemed rattled/scared/anxious in the video-not the cocky, rude SOB he was in "Shiva", so something is definately afoot as they saw. I thought the CIA might be behind it, and their searches are only cover stories, but who know? Someone hacked the Iranian database in "Shiva". What happened to MC, which was such a big deal in "Canary"? Could it all be related?


The show was better than I expected since I hate Mossad revenge arcs (although I had had very low expectations given the storyline). The tiva anvils weren't quite as bad as I expected either but I don't see why people think the dance between them was romantic. She thought of her father while dancing with Tony. That doesn't scream romance to me (if it does - just ew...)That screams fondness, comfort and good friendship but not romantic love. I wish CBS would stop shoving tiva at us. I know there are a lot of fans that like it and that's their choice but they aren't owed anything, particularly if it hurts the show overall. Many of us have ships we enjoy but I'd prefer to not have any of them become canon. Romance between co-workers is a bad idea. Let them get back to good cases and a good, natural team dynamic. I don't want PapaGibbs anymore, either. He's their boss and he can care about them a lot without having to be a daddy figure for them. I think once CBS figured out what fans liked about the show - the natural dynamic between the cast - they've gone out of their way to exploit it and it's beginning to feel unnatural and forced. I love NCIS but it could be so much better than it is right now. This season had some really great eps (Seek and Devil's Trifecta) - but more eps this season than any other have gone into my worst eps of all time and mostly because of the weird familial forced dynamic, inconsistent characterizations and weak cases than anything. I'm hoping Season 11 fares better and I think some major shake-ups probably need to happen to make that work (which should have happened with the premiere of Season 10 but which sadly lacked any real drama). I'd love to see some real consequences of Vance and Gibbs disobeying Homeland Security and allowing Ziva, yet again, to have her own agenda. I think that would be the only thing that might salvage the season for me as I think it's disrepectful to the real NCIS to show agents using the agency for personal ends. I hated it when Jenny did it. I hate that Gibbs has also seem to be able to skirt the law a little too much at times for his own brand of vigilante justice.


I agree that Bodner was not behind the killings and he was set up but by who? I can't imagine the new Mossad director especially if she loved Ziva's father. I tend to favor the Iranians. Ziva is not dead as I cannot see them killing her character off at this point. We know the last episode is named "Damned if you do" so we know that NCIS does some things that are not okay with the DOD and Homeland Security. I could see Vance falling on the sword and losing his job for the operation. I think he will say he needs to step away to take care of his family.


If one thinks it possible the Elbaz could be responsible for Eli's death, it follows that she could then be responsible for Jackie's death...right? That will give Vance some more thunder...


Perhaps McGee just needs to say, "Been working on that, Boss!" That would give us the impression that it did not come easily or quickly...


I loved it! The only people I trust are my NCIS team – everyone else is questionable and so are their motives. Even hot Adam – that diamond arrest seemed a bit too easy for me. I still don’t think Bodnar is as guilty as Mossad wants us to think. And why would he call Ziva?? Shouldn’t he be laying low? More questions than answers! Loved Tiva and I fully expect roadblocks to go up for them – keeps us on our seats! I hope Cote resigns cause I want more Tiva, but not a soap opera version. I think if written correctly, Tiva can work. And I’m hoping for more Tiva. I’m wondering if Tim gets nailed for hacking Mossad. I know he did it per Vance’s instruction, but I can see someone wanting him to pay to screw Vance / Gibbs. Great episode!

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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.