NCIS Review: Pardon for Parsons

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This premiere episode of NCIS was aptly named "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" - or "WTF." With the announcement of Cote de Pablo's exit from the series, writer Gary Glasberg had to scramble to plot out a decent storyline - and it showed. Intricate and detailed, this episode demanded our full attention.

It turns out Parsons was on a wild goose chase with his investigation of NCIS from the start.

He learned that he had been set to investigate them only to discredit the team because they were getting too close to the truth: that a terrorist group called "The Brotherhood of Doubt" had been forming partnerships with U.S. companies.

Their end game was to create destruction so that the companies could profit from the rebuilding.

Tony and Parsons

Between the assassination attempts (one of which was successful: sorry to see you go, Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis), Tony's tentative romantic approach to Ziva and the ex-agents getting their badges back, there was a lot of ground to cover.  

Frankly, this is the kind of NCIS show I find compelling: lots of action and lots to think about.

Tony's love life is looking more and more like heartbreak city, isn't it? You want to forget that Ziva's not going to be in the picture for long, especially as you see the gentle smile on his face during their IM session. "Count to a million. I'm on my way," he types, as he gets ready to join her in Israel. Besides, as everyone knows, they are both civilians now so there's no stopping their attempts at romance. The man is clearly vulnerable: despite the bravado of his inner dialogue, he just can't help checking with her now and then to make sure it's still okay that he join her. And the grin on his face when she (re)assures him she's looking forward to seeing him. Marshmallow Dinozzo.

Still, unrequited love must remain unrequited; that annoying red dot on his chest pretty much dumped his plans almost immediately. How frustrating for him... and for the Tiva-ites among us.

I like how Gibbs is so unflappable, even as he realizes his cover in Iran is completely blown; almost everyone is looking at him and talking amongst themselves about him. He tries to hide, but there's not much cover in which to do so.  So it's Parsons to the rescue.  Oh, if only Abby could have been there to see that: maybe she'd warm right up to Parsons. You had to wonder if that constant slap on the back that Gibbs gave Parsons as he spoke about it afterwards wasn't a little passive-aggressive, a way to show his gratitude while still administering just a tiny bit of penance on the misguided but repentant Parsons.

I hope Parsons remains a presence on NCIS. There's so much they could do with him. For starters, he has to build his trust with the team, all of whom are rightfully wary of him right now - especially Abby, who loathed him the most before. Secondly, the man's quick, and has decent investigative skills. Third, we can't ignore the fact that his findings were accurate before: almost the entire team has crossed the line at least once; so having him there would create an interesting tension as he tries to win their confidence while they work to keep their secrets secret. 

Final notes:

  • McGee has a girlfriend, Delilah Fielding played by Margo Harshman.  You may remember her as being Sheldon Cooper's assistant on The Big Bang Theory
  • Abby doesn't like her. Or doesn't know what to do with her. She tried to ignore her, and failed. So what is it about her? Is Abby jealous, perhaps?
  • We still don't know how much Homeland Security (Tom Morrow) knew about the terrorists before hand. Morrow wasn't clear when Vance questioned him.
  • Try as I might, it's hard to buy the notion that a terrorist group would form partnerships with companies in order to create an environment of destruction-reconstruction for money. Capitalist terrorists? Doesn't ring true. Maybe this can go under "stuff we can ignore so as to keep the story going."
  • We still don't know why Gibbs pointed his gun at Fornell four months later. Hopefully that will be cleared up in the second part of this story next week.
  • We have yet to see how Ziva exits the show. Although we can anticipate that Tony's on deck for a broken heart.

So...what did you think of this premiere? What do you think of Delilah? 


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (565 Votes)

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



@Carol: That first ep wasn't exactly a "taste without Ziva" as almost every scene with Tony involved Ziva in some way, even if she wasn't exactly in the room. I expect by episode four she won't even be mentioned. As for the complaints about a Ziva-less episode, that is because when it was first announced we heard Cote would "be" in "several" episodes; then it changed to "two"; and now it is clear it is "one". Please let us ZIVA/TIVA fans mourn our loss in peace and understand our frustration at the subterfuge. It is not whining, and I know I have paid attention.


Pay attention folks, GG said that the first episode was mostly Gibbs centric , that the second would be Ziva centric, she hasn't run to Adam, Tony sent Adam to find her because she was in danger. Probably safer in Israel than US actually. The first episode gave us a taste of life without Ziva. Keep up the action like that and she won't be missed too much. And if things happen right in Israel for Tony, his female trolling days may be over. The promise of a future, even a long distance romance, and no violation of the rules, could work for him.


I'm going to be unpopular saying this but I'm sick of the Tiva show, so let's move on. Loved the fast paced action and twists in the show. Also I liked Delilah and didn't find Abby funny but rude and childish ignoring her supposedly "best friend's" girlfriend. I'd be upset if anyone treated my new friend that way. Last thought, Delilah Fielding? Wasn't that Shannon's maiden name, as in Joanne Fielding?


Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. Also known as WTF. Also known as "What The F***"


halbrown: Did you watch the teaser for next week? Ziva will certainly make an appearance! Don't miss it or you'll be sorry.


I, too, was a bit disappointed in the show. But, as always, the performances shine. Loved the slap to the head/back Gibbs gave Parsons. Storyline was good. Ziva is not being killed off, so there's a way she can come back in the future. I think she just needed a break. At least, I hope so! And halbrown, don't be so negative! If you're that upset, quit watching. I, for one, will be watching- been doing it since episode one. And I will miss Ziva terribly!


I feel the writers cheated me. Lots of us who posted on the thread from the article about Cote leaving expected she would appear in the last two episodes. Instead, Ziva didn't even phone in her part of the first episode of the two-parter. She texted it via computer. She didn't even use Skype. To convey that she had chosen her Israeli lover over Tony all they did was show a photo of the two of them with Ziva's Star of David neckless draped over it. Nice way to avoid Cote appearing for an intense scene of Ziva and Tony. At least I won't anticipate Cote appearing in the next episode. We'll just find out whether she's alive or dead. If the later they could blow up a house where Ziva is supposed to be. Will we ever know whether Cote was willing to appear in her last two episodes or whether CBS was too cheap to pay her?


I have loved NCIS with all my heart. They were a family with Gibbs as the father who somehow comforted me no matter what confusing story was on. But I couldn't follow the show last Night...knowing Ziva is gone just hurts too much. I respect her "personal" reasons, but I'm heartsick. I agree with the user who speculated they'd do a Casablanca....but this episode was so mixed up and fast and furious, we may not even get a loving Casablanca scene. The writers are saying they have written a good story that will satisfy us, but I feel bad. I imagine I'll keep watching, but the essence of the show wasn't there last night..... And the jumping around the world with unclear numbers of days or months just added to the confusion. I truly wish Cote had stayed. Very painful for me. They could have written around whatever her personal situation is. This is hard.


I liked the episode i will continue watch its my favorite Show To the end


I too will continue to watch NCIS (the best show on tv) even without Ziva whom I really like but actors and actresses leave shows for various reasons and life goes on. As Mark said in an interview we need to stay number one. When Kate left, Ziva stepped in and was wonderful so hopefully the replacement will be just as appealing. Doesn't necessarily have to be a woman.
Not sure about Parsons either and who can trust a woman named Delilah. I'm sure there are lots of surprises in the future and as Mark said I want this show to stay number one.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 1 Quotes

I'm positive that NCIS is being set up. Sending you out here was not about Lieutenant McBride. It was about separating you from your team.


Tobias: Hard to know who to trust anymore.
Gibbs: Has it ever been easy, Tobias?