NCIS Round Table: "Damned If You Do"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Damned If You Do," this week's season finale, 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 this season-ending, entertaining hour of TV's #1 show!


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

Doug: Together in separation.

Christine: Walk away.

Steve: Unconventional.

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. What was your favorite quote or scene from "Damned If You Do?"

Doug: I actually laughed out loud when Franks started shooting the fish. The grin on Gibbs' face was pretty cool to see too. 

Christine: Admiral AJ Chegwidden! As a fan of JAG, the show NCIS spun off from, I was positively giddy when he walked in as Gibbs attorney. These two are kindred spirits. Heck, "AJ" even stands for Albert Jethro! I really hope we get to see more of him next season.

Steve: The JAG callback was great. I also enjoyed the log cabin scenes (was that what he was building throughout NCIS Season 10?) and Gibbs torching Mike's files - another callback to years past. Oh, and Delilah?!

3. What was the most frustrating unanswered question?

Doug: How the heck does an irradiated severed head, the NCIS troubles with Parsons, and the death of Kazmi all relate to each other? When Tom Morrow gave his explanation to Vance, and Vance nodded as if he understood, all I could think was "the operation was a success; the patient died."

Christine: There were so many, some of which Doug covered but for me it was what happens to Tony, Ziva, and Tim. They said they admitted to their own actions. Will Parsons file charges against them even though they've quit? And even if he didn't, what's next and how do we get them back?

Steve: How does the severed head tie into the case? And how can Ziva, Tim and Tony admit responsibility and resign, then still get their jobs back down the line?

4. What should Jimmy and Breena name their baby?

Doug: Jimmy has so much love and respect for his mentor that I can see him wanting to name his child Donald. If it's a girl he might want to name her after his mother Eunice.

Christine: Doug took my only thought. I know they're adopting but can't you just picture a little Jimmy running around with glasses? He'll make a sweet father.

Steve: Donald does seem like the obvious choice. But Timothy or Abigail would also be cute ...

5. Tony and Ziva: Forever in the friend zone?

Doug: Certainly seems that way doesn't it? That horrific kiss on the forehead from Tony to Ziva would certainly seems to seal the deal. Expect a lot of hints and innuendo in this coming year. World's worst foreplay.

Christine: Seriously, if I never hear the word Tiva again I would be very happy. What a waste. As a fan of these two characters I feel completely jerked around. Once again the show teased a payoff for this couple and then never followed through. I wish they'd just give them both steady outside love interest and be done with it.

Steve: Maybe naively, I thought they were going to kiss for real there at the end. Then Tony got friend zoned, and I think that window closed. I don't know what lies ahead in NCIS Season 11, but this felt like a turning point to me, and maybe it's for the best.

6. The plot to thwart Parsons: Satisfying or underwhelming?

Doug: Underwhelming. Convenient. Almost lazy. But for all of that - its redemption lies in the fact that it's incomplete: Gibbs is not off of the hook. The investigation into his behavior is postponed, not cancelled. I think that's a good thing too: I want to see the irritating sleaze artist come back to gnaw at the team's underparts in the next season.

Christine: Eh. Kind of underwhelming considering all of the build up. It felt like there should have been more to the fight.

Steve: It was a little of both. Underwhelming for the reasons Doug and Christine said, but satisfying in that it wasn't an easy out. Parsons wasn't undone by a hidden skeleton, and lived to fight another day. He caused the resignation of three NCIS agents, and it took a major hierarchical effort to get Gibbs out of this one - and he isn't even out of it yet. No one can say there weren't consequences or that this scandal was swept under the rug.

7. Where is Gibbs and what is he up to?

Doug: Many have suggested that he didn't shoot Tobias. I'm open to the possibility that he did. My guess is that there's a rabid mole within the alphabet soup hierarchy of the various services, and maybe Tobias is one of them. When Tom Morrow ruled out Iran and North Korea, all we were left with was home-grown terrorists or (worse) internal spies. My guess is that someone from high up has recognized his unique black op skills and wanted him to clean up the mess. As for where - I think he's on home soil.

Christine: I'm assuming he shot whoever Tobias was protecting, whomever stepped out of that car. To what end is anyone's guess.

Steve: If the implication was that the CIA took out Kazmi to cause international hysteria and allow the U.S to focus on the real threat, so to speak, then that could well be a mole hunt. Something that would definitely qualify as a black ops mission for Gibbs. He did not look surprised to see Fornell in the crosshairs, yet he did hestitate before taking what would have been a clear shot. If Tobias isn't the target, is he working with Gibbs or in the dark about the fate that awaits whomever is in the car with him? And who is the injured man with Gibbs?! So many questions.

8. There have now been 10 NCIS season finales! Which was your favorite and why?

Doug: So far, I think the NCIS Season 9 finale was the best. Having someone bomb the NCIS building while Ducky had a heart attack on the beach certainly seems to trump any of the other seasons for me. Fans scrambled to see if David McCallum's contract was renewed. And we got to see Ziva and Tony trapped in an elevator - making the fans wonder once again just what activity they would have to do to keep themselves occupied until help arrived. The writers of NCIS are the absolute masters of The Big Tease.  

Christine: Nothing has ever beaten the Season 2 finale where Caitlin Todd was killed. It was so shocking and heartbreaking that it's always stood with me.

Steve: Hard to argue with Christine. That one still gives you the chills today if you catch it on USA! But after seeing Mike Franks again this week, I couldn't help but recall his funeral in the NCIS Season 8 finale, when Gibbs' woodworking was unveiled on his coffin. That was pretty awesome.

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.


I don't know what happened to my last line. I was trying to say that NCIS has gotten long in the tooth. The season ending episode left me not caring what happens next season.


I think NCIS is starting to show its age. The writer are running out of plot ideas. Therefore the show has gotten weak. This season there were only one or two episodes that kept my attention. Quick thoughts--We all know Gibbs is not going to shot Fornell, where is the real suspense? That is nothing more than the writers playing with the viewers. TIVA?--I have always thought that Tony was more into Ziva than Ziva was into Tony. A woman always decides where a relationship will go. Ziva does not really want a romantic relationship with Tony. If she did, she would not have slept with that guy in Berlin.If Tony really meant anything to her, that should not have happened. I wish they took Abbey back to the way she was in season one. It gets tiresome to see a well educated woman act like a kid. Three badges put on the director's desk? Nothing but a ploy to keep the viewers attention. If all three really did resign, where would the show go? Like I said NCIS is getting long in the tooth. The end of the season left me not really caring what happens next season.


This is what aired on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. Would you care to try again Michael?
TV Ratings: Tuesday January 15, 2013 (NCIS Soars to Season High)
By theTVaddict on January 16th, 2013
Time Network Show Rating 18-49
8PM CBS NCIS 22.34 3.8/11
NBC Betty White’s Off Their Rockers 5.28 1.4/4
ABC Modern Family (R) 5.18 1.6/5
FOX Raising Hope 3.72 1.6/5
CW Hart of Dixie 1.41 0.6/2
8:30PM NBC Betty White’s Off Their Rockers 5.92 1.8/5
FOX Suburgatory (R) 3.18 1.0/3
FOX Ben and Kate 2.32 1.1/3
9PM CBS NCIS: Los Angeles 17.48 2.7/7
NBC Go On 4.36 1.7/4
FOX New Girl 3.63 1.9/5
ABC Happy Endings 3.06 1.3/3
CW Emily Owens M.D. 1.02 0.3/1
9:30PM NBC The New Normal 3.24 1.3/3
FOX The Mindy Project 2.79 1.5/4
ABC Don’t Trust the B… 2.71 1.1/3
10PM CBS Vegas 11.05 1.6/4
NBC Parenthood 4.95 1.9/5
ABC Private Practice 4.04 1.2/3 And now I am done with this as you will make something else up to support your baseless opinion that you like to state as fact.


Once again, I never said the ratings were because of Ziva. I said that there was new programming on the night. Here is what aired on January 8, 2013. If there isn't an R after it (which stands for repeat) than it was new.
TV Ratings: Tuesday January 8, 2013 (PARENTHOOD Pops!)
By the TVaddict on January 9th, 2013
Time Network Show Rating 18-49
8PM CBS NCIS 20.87 3.5/10
ABC Modern Family (R) 5.79 1.7/5
NBC Betty White’s Off Their Rockers 5.66 1.5/4
FOX Raising Hope 3.77 1.7/5
CW Hart of Dixie (R) 813,000 0.3/1
8:30PM NBC Betty White’s Off Their Rockers 6.14 1.8/5
FOX Ben and Kate 2.48 1.2/3
9PM CBS NCIS: Los Angeles 17.79 3.0/8
NBC Go On 4.25 1.5/4
FOX New Girl 3.80 2.0/5
ABC Happy Endings 3.75 1.4/4
CW Emily Owens M.D. 1.10 0.3/1
9:30PM NBC The New Normal 3.26 1.3/3
ABC Don’t Trust the B… 3.18 1.1/3
FOX The Mindy Project 2.83 1.5/4
10PM CBS Vegas 10.78 1.6/4
NBC Parenthood 5.25 1.9/5
ABC Private Practice 3.93 1.1/3


Then how do you know that Shabbat Shalom" and "Shiva". got high rating because of Ziva when its a know fact that no other new programming was on that night and I should know I watch all the network that night NBC show repeat of Law and Order SVU and Fox show big bang theory and family guy


played out in real life. It may be what you think but it doesn't mean that that is what will happen.


Also, @Michael, can you see the future? How do you know that Tony and Ziva becoming a couple would ruin the ratings and be a cancer to NCIS? Do you have a crystal ball that showed you the demise of the show if this occurred? I do not believe that "House" and "CSI" went down in ratings just because of shipping. I believe that a lot of factors contribute to the ruination of a show-poor writing, bad story lines, changing of the cast, big egos of actors, etc...Just like you cannot determine why people watch, you cannot determine why people stop watching. I believe that a lot of problems with CSI NY had to do with the ever changing cast and too many CSI shows in the mix. You cannot say that it is 100% caused by the shipping of a couple. I could just as easily say to you that because "Bones" and "Castle" are having success with their shipper couples that NCIS will have the same success, too. But, I can't say that. Every show is different. You cannot know for certain until it is played out in real life. It may be what you think but it doesn't mean that that is what will happen.


I did check my facts and on Tuesday, January 8th and Tuesday, January 15th, both NBC and FOX had all new programming on against "Shabbat Shalom" and "Shiva". The only major network that ran repeats during both of those weeks was ABC. In addition, the CW had new programming on the 15th and ABC family had new episodes of "Pretty Little Liars" on both of those Tuesdays. So, your claim that "it was the only new show on at that time" is not accurate.


Look NCIS will lose more fans if Tony and Ziva hook up then if they don't look at House when they did it their shipper stop watching look at CSI their shipper stop watching when they had their made character hook up. CSI NY is off the air because of their shippers let face it Shipper are like cancer they kill everything the touch.


Gary Glasberg did not understand what people want. Tiva fans are highly understimated. I did not see the whole season 9 because of tiva and I had seen only 3 episodes of season 10. The numbers of viewers will decrease. People are despondent and disappointed. If Glasberg wants the show to continue, he needs to do tiva during the time Tony and Ziva are jobless. Fans are angry. When the show will return, Tony and Ziva should be a couple.

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NCIS Season 10 Episode 24 Quotes

Morrow: There's a connection between the death of that Navy Seal and what's happening with your team.
Vance: What kind of connection?
Morrow: The murder of Eli David opened a political can of worms that was much bigger than anyone expected.
Vance: Eli and Arash Kazmi wanted to forget a peace. But Bodnar killing them opened the door.
Morrow: Homeland and the CIA wait for chances like this, to stir the pot. Distract governments so that all sorts of recon can happen. The CIA needed Iran to believe Mossad was responsible.
Vance: Are you telling me that Bodnar didn't kill Kazmi?
Morrow: I'm telling you we did it, Leon. The CIA took out Kazmi that night so that Bodnar would end up being the fall guy. Iran and Israel could duke it out while we focused on the real threat. We're all so damned worried about Iran and North Korea when the real threat is here, on home soil.
Vance: It's a shell game isn't it? Keep people distracted.
Morrow: Leon you see why I wanted you to keep your distance?

Vance: Tom Morrow may have a solve. We pull it off this could all go away.
Gibbs: For all of us?
Vance: Clean slate.
Gibbs: What's the catch?
Vance: It might kill you.
Gibbs: So could a bag of clams.
Vance: [laughs] We sure picked one hell of a career didn't we Gibbs?
Gibbs: Got to make a living Leon.