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NCIS Review: The Evil McGee

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"Double Blind" can be summed up in one word: loyalty.  Or, if you like, four words: "I've got your back.'

Never has the family aspect of the NCIS team ever been more evident and on display, particularly in the face of a common enemy. 

Tony, Tim and Parsons

The team was called in response to a Petty Officer's frantic concern that he's being followed. At first, Gibbs and McGee seemed to think he was just being paranoid, until McGee found a GPS tracker under the man's fender. 

It turned out that the man had signed up for an experiment to examine the psychological aspects of subjects who were placed under surveillance. Right after agreeing to this, he was mugged and - as a result of being hit in the head a crowbar - suffered a concussion... which removed all memory of the experiment. 

So his fears of being followed, while real, were not criminal. Upon realizing that his surveillance - while suffering from amnesia - lead to the cameras getting pictures of his UA wife (UA stands for Unauthorized Absence, which is similar to being AWOL), he burnt down the testing center in order to destroy the data.

The character of Richard Parsons was well written.  Colin Hanks played the part very well too, coming off at first as a sort of harmless mild-mannered Columbo:

Parsons: Relax director. I'm just here to cross some "t"s and dot some "i"s. I'll be as quick and painless as possible. | permalink

I truly expected him to walk away from questioning one of the team, only to then turn back with the standard oh just one more thing....

The writers - through Parsons' activities - played NCIS fans like a flute in this episode: at first putting the spotlight on Ziva, with Parson's intense questioning regarding the nature of her friendship with an Israeli operative. Then this exchange happened when Tony attempted to defend Ziva during an elevator ride with Parsons:

Parson: What makes you think I'm going after Ziva? | permalink

Which I think was meant to make us believe that Tony was the real target. Then after examining his files, the team was sure he was investigating Vance. Then, after bugging Parsons' phone, McGee finally discovered the true target, which was Gibbs himself.

While all of this was going on, it was great to see the entire team trying to look out for each other. Parsons played Abby so well by criticizing her lab technique such that she was angry at him at the exact moment that he asked her a key question. I don't think he needed to go to that effort with her, as she is generally an innocent and open book anyway. Her opinion of him was formed after she blurted out the fact that Ziva had discovered that Eli was a murderer and had told Gibbs about it:

Abby: I knew that guy was trouble. He's like an evil McGee. | permalink

I had the same thought while watching him make the team dance on his puppet strings.

When they thought Vance was his target, the team gathered in his office and inadvertently destroyed his plausible deniability by telling him how they were going to find out what he was up to, including placing an electronic bug on his phone.  Vance saw it for what it was: they wanted to "have his back.'

I think the most compelling scene though was when all of them (minus Vance) gathered in the lab to discuss Parsons. I don't know if we've ever seen all of them gathered like that, including Palmer - who in this episode had nothing to say. It was a true family moment for them. Interesting to see Tony complete Gibbs' thought, too, regarding the "playing cards" metaphor.

In fact, I think Tony resembled Gibbs in another scene as well when he barged in on Parsons during the interview with Ziva and announced that the interview was over. When Parsons objected with you don't have the authority, Tony barked back: It was over two seconds ago.  Door! And I thought it was perfect: Tony protecting Ziva like the stand-up guy that he is, using as few words as possible. Just like Gibbs.

Tony's exchange with Ziva about her sleeping with someone in Israel because, as she put it, I felt alone was touching and a little sad. It looks like the writers are intent on teasing us with these two, to keep us tuning in just to have us try to figure out which direction this particular love boat will sail next. (The complete dialogue of that scene - as well as many other exchanges - are on our NCIS quotes for this episode).

I think that while Vance may be the NCIS director, Jethro Leroy Gibbs is the father of that unit - and so the final scene focused the tension on him, once we learned that he is the actual subject of Parsons' investigation.  Great ending to this episode... and you can be sure next week's finale will be fairly amazing.

Some final thoughts:

  • The episode title "Double Blind" refers to a phrase commonly used in experiments, and refers to the fact that neither the subjects nor the ones administering the test are aware of who is getting treatment and who (in the case of drug testing) are getting placebos. I'm not sure the title fits, for either the case they investigated or the investigation of NCIS itself.
  • Parsons' lab knowledge and tech savvy (as evidenced by his knowledge that his own phone was bugged) really put the exclamation point on Abby's assertion of him being an "evil McGee." Makes you wonder if he was aware that the team was sorting through his files too, and hacking into all kinds of places where they had no business being.
  • The writers gave us some misdirection with the promo for this episode. When we saw Parsons barking at Ziva Did you sleep with him? we had no idea that the question had nothing to do with Tony.
  • That was an awesome new Camaro that Ziva was driving at the beginning of the episode. You have to wonder if she'll be questioned about it, and about whether she can afford it. It would be neat if she had accidentally kept one or two of those diamonds for herself. Unrealistic and unlikely, but pretty cool. (By the way, I tried to track down the title to the song that was playing on her stereo but couldn't manage to get it.)
  • Our NCIS Round Table discussion is up!  Come over and take a look and then chime in with your thoughts.

What are your thoughts on the episode? How do you see the final episode of NCIS Season 10 playing out next week? 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (321 Votes)

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

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Gatorgal

@Big Oops: there is a character limit to comments. You went over your limit, no one cut you off. Happens to me all the time.

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I guess my brother was right. If people don't like what you are saying, then it doesn't get published. The only logical conclusion since there was not one bad word in the whole thing, just comments that don't agree with everyone else. Feel free to reply, moderator.

Gatorgal

@Michael: you are just ridiculous.

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Am I the only person who likes McGee? Gibbs and Abby use him. I have no sense that either cares about him as a human being. In season 4 when McGee shoots a cop by accident, Gibbs sends him alone to the DC Metro interrogation, then apologizes for "leaving him down." No way he would have forgotten Tony or Abby were going. When Gibbs deals with Ziva's father, he insists she be addressed by name. When Gibbs deals with Tony's father, G tells him Tony doesn't want money, he wants a father. When Admiral is verbally dissing Tim, Tim sends a look, get me out of here, Gibbs does not allow it. Gibbs solution, Tim be the bigger man. Some support. Vance speaks for Tim, Gibbs says nothing. Abby has said a zillion times she prefers to work alone. But she doesn't. She works with McGee. I think Gibbs hired him to take care of his favorite. When she badmouths McGee, he is never allowed to defend himself. How many months can G tell Tony to get out of Tim's desk and never back it up? The only one who seems to have any real care for Tim is Ziva and I loved it when Tony walked in to find Ziva and Tim working together without telling him. I be the Marines wish they were not so associated with NCIS. Two years of abuse by Tony and Todd, 10 years with Tony and Ziva. That is no way to build unit cohesion, something vital to the Marines when they go into action. Gibbs certainly has never demonstrated it.

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part 2
character that bothered me as much as Ziva seems to bother you. If she makes you that miserable don't watch it anymore.

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@Michael
Please state the episodes where Ziva has called Tony a coward, a dead beat, a big baby or told him the world would be a better place without him? You are ridiculous. Ziva has referred to him as a child, when he has been acting like a child. And she did say he was trying to save his "Worthless ass" but hey, that was after he just KILLED her boyfriend. He has called her crazy and makes inappropriate comments about looking down her shirt, etc...Plus, we have seen him staring at her behind, too. So, the disrespect goes both ways. And who knows what kind of relationship Kate and Tony would have now after 10 years? If Sasha Alexander would have remained on the show the lines they write for Ziva would probably have been written for Kate. But, alas, we will never know that. Quit putting Kate on a pedestal. She was only there for 2 seasons! Ziva has been on for 8 years. If you are that unhappy with her, just stop watching. I would never continue to watch a show with a character that bothered me as much as Ziva seems to bother you.

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@Ravie
Thank you. One of the reasons I enjoy this site is because it allows me to see the views and opinions of others. It also allows me to see how they interpret the episodes and at times provides insight and ideas I did not think about. It is always nice to be able to interact with others who are respectful and willing to discuss the show in an adult manner.

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@gatorgal
Kate never called Tony worthless a big baby a coward a deadbeat OR said the world would be better of if you were dead like ziva has told him

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@guest, yes that's what I mean. I'm done talking about Tiva but I will continue to discuss the show. Of course if the writers actually do bring about Tiva, then I am free to discuss that too. :) @Sis, thanks for respecting my opinion. I appreciate it and I respect yours as well. @MCAL, I don't know where McAllen came from. Sorry. I had no plan to type that. lol.

Gatorgal

@RAvie: I never felt Tony was attracted to Kate. She certainly didn't care for him. Except when he was dying from the pnuemonic plague, she was far more insulting and belittling to him than Ziva has ever been. In fact, in the very early eps, a relationship between Tony and Abby was hinted at, in that Tony was interested in going out with her. Abby was also much more sedate and mature, her voice and delivery was even different, sorg of a tone of wry amusement. It was only later that they started making her more eccentric and hyper.

NCIS Season 10 Episode 23 Quotes

I knew that guy was trouble. He's like an evil McGee.

Abby

What makes you think I'm going after Ziva?

Parson [to Tony]