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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!

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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.

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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.

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I think they made a definite effort on the show to distance Marina Sirtis from Counselor Troi. I really disliked Orli's hair style but realized that was to make her very un-Deanna Troi - very untouchable. The only hints of Troi I picked up were her voice - particularly when you didn't see her face on screen - so you pictured Deanna Troi in your mind. Just my take on it.
Yes, it was the episode where Tony and Ziva were undercover as husband and wife assassins that he called her Sweet Cheeks and she called him Hairy Butt - or something like that.
The dynamic between Vance and Gibbs is becoming more like the way it was with Franks and Gibbs or the way it works with Fornell and Gibbs.

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I thought lots of your points were right on. I do have to say that I also enjoyed Marina Sirtis character far more than I thought I would. As Ducky said "there's trouble when Mossad comes to town" (or something like that) I can't help but love when they come to town. The actors that portray these characters do an amazing job. Michael Nouri did a fantastic job as Ziva's father and he was a character that I loved and disliked, as is the new Mossad Director. They do such a wonderful jobat making you love how Mossad they are. I mean I dislike like things they do and the games they play, but I love them for that. I am so interested to see where Orli Elbaz goes from here. It should be a wonderful and wild ride. As always put NCIS did a fantastic job and so many of the scenes were perfect. I love the push and pull of the Tony/ Ziva relationship. Vance and Gibbs together are beginning to become some of my favorite scenes. I don't think you can ever go wrong with Rocky Carroll and Mark Harmon. So excited for the last three episodes but don't want the hiatus.

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regarding nicknames... I think if one goes back to the very first undercover op for Tony and Ziva, she calls him "Hairy-Butt" but in french.

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Good direction, they build up the obvious car crash at the end - Is Ziva being killed off? It seems that Tony would go into a downward spiral that would be difficult to recover from. First losing Kate, then finding out that his partner in Baltimore PD was killed and now Ziva...he'd give Gibbs a run for his money in the brooding dept. I love this show, one of my faves, but have to admit I am getting board with it. After 10 seasons I am ready for a big shake up; guess we will see. As an aside, thoughts on the new Mossad director? I'm not sure yet, have to get past the fact that I am looking at an older Deanna Troy.

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.

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