NCIS Review: Hashtag Rescue

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The first NCIS episode without Ziva was fast-paced and still interesting, which is hardly surprising, given the quality of writing for this show.

"Under the Radar" introduced us to a spitfire of an agent in the person of Vera Strickland (played by Roma Maffia Nip/Tuck fame), who was a former partner of Mike Franks. She assisted the team in the investigation of a Navy Lieutenant who was planning to kill his air school classmates out of spite and revenge because he washed out of the running for Navy flight competency.

Strickland's charm came in two parts: her ability and willingness to shoot from the hip - loudly - and her ability to make Gibbs laugh. That last one was startling, as we're not used to seeing the all-knowing impatient agent even grin very much.

Special Agent Strickland

I think her presence in this episode - which will likely be her only appearance - proved something important: Tony needs a foil, which is a role Ziva used to play quite well. He needs someone to spark against. McGee provides somewhat of an opposite to him, but just barely and only in a slightly underdog way. Vera was Ziva squared: she knew him by reputation and wanted nothing to do with him. Even his rescue of her didn't change her mind: she ended up with a sprained ankle out of the deal. I liked her, though, and wish there was hope we could see more of her in future episodes. 

Although it has to be said: there was no way she could take Ziva's place. I was relieved at learning that she was about to retire.

Speaking of Ziva's place... her desk has become somewhat of a shrine these days. The rest of the team doesn't want anyone sitting at her spot - least of all Vera. I was surprised when Gibbs steered her to another spot, one that was much more cramped than Ziva's. Guess Gibbs is going to have to find someone exceptional for that spot; he can't just put anyone there. When Ziva's phone rang, the tension was terrific. 

It was pleasantly surprising to see what the writers did with Tony for this episode. He was a lot less of a joker, much more of a serious and dangerous dude this time around. In spite of his head-to-head with Vera, he became a sort of super-Tony at the bomb-seller's place: tackling Vera to get her out of the way of the fleeing truck, then turning around, aiming and shooting out the tire of the truck, bringing it to a stop. Then he took the guy into custody and with Gibbs providing assistance, got the guy to confess. That's the Tony we've been looking for. Then of course there was this:

Tony: Want to take a ride, Vera?
Vera: Bite me. | permalink

The use of social media to track the low-flying plane was a bit fantastic. The technology of it certainly appealed to this techno-geek, but the probability seemed a bit off. Now that we know that cellphones and cameras contain meta-data that provide location information, and that tweets often contain such data as well, it's not a stretch to imagine various tweets providing a sort of data map to show the trajectory of the lieutenant's plane.  

Theoretically it can be done. The probability of enough tweeters being around during the middle of the day with nothing to do but be outside - in the daylight even! - and tweeting their responses to NCIS' request for help just sort of tiptoes past the bounds of believability. Still, we were entertained, weren't we? And besides, it gave us a reason to ensure that McGee and company got to visit the White House afterward, which effectively cancelled McGee's troubles about the misplaced credentials.

I wondered about Lieutenant Keith's plan and why it was he had duct tape around his hand.  When Gibbs talked him out of blowing up the ship and he turned his plane around, it just all seemed too easy. I thought maybe the show didn't have enough money for the special effects necessary to show the plane being shot down. Turns out Keith was holding onto a dead man's switch. Too bad he couldn't keep it together long enough to land the plane. 

Final notes:

  • There's a lot of bro-love between Palmer and Ducky isn't there? Ducky pretty much bent over backwards accommodating Mr. Palmer's incredibly annoying phone ringtones, all to support the latter's upcoming baby adoption.
  • I had no idea Palmer's wife was a mortician. That'll make for some interesting conversation with prospective birth mothers.
  • Tony had to give a small dig to McGee about his girlfriend. Nice to see a nod in that direction, as it mean's we're definitely going to see more of her soon.
  • Check out some of the other NCIS quotes from this episode.
  • For once, Gibbs wasn't able to talk someone into something (notably, Eugene, who wanted to make sure McGee got the Naval slap he deserved for his mess with the ID). The fact that Vance stepped in for the save was fascinating. Okay, technically it was the President who saved him, but at least Vance got the assist.
  • Last night Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) sent out a tweet asking her followers to send out tweets with Gibbs' line #WhatsAHashtag in support of this episode.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see Vera back again? Were you satisfied with this Ziva-less episode? What do you think of Tony? Sound off on all things NCIS below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (215 Votes)

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



Taylor want´s to join NCIS when he´ll be an adult. I wonder...either he wants to be part of the show or he wants to be part of The Navy...Slow down, kid... Navy will remain, for sure but the show: who knows....By the way How old are you??!!! mirta s. kweksilber
"touched" by such "tender" comment


I would like to join ncis when I am adult.


What is it like to know science?


I almost know by heart
the chapters that do come
to where I do live,
I wonder ....why. I remain watching Ziva
As if time wouldn´t have run
Still in the past remaining,
Just once- the blond new girl-
The pleasure we had to see her. They promised: new chapters!!
They never came
Should I watch them in google
My best choise, will be:
Doubtless see what´s living in the ass of the world, guys??? uggg...
mirta s. kweksilber


And the winner is.....Gibbs!!! right now
With so many women around...
how will he "handle" them: Coperfield´s advise for sure, he will run!!!
Tony vanish in the sorrow
´cause Ziva disapear.
And I don´t rush to watch NCIS
That love: I miss
As well as the british lady
the old one- who was "the best"
with that "five o´clock humor"
always with her pet;
The mother of "the doctor"
How come??!!..You "killed" her!!! mirta s. kweksilber


who did add capitol letters in my comment - an "A" with a "hat" on it-?
Someone disliked my words? Or wanted to...sing with me: lets walk hand in hand.... we´ll walk hand in hand.....some day...ohhh... I´m far away, just...excuse me...but please do leave my letters, will you please.... thanks...mirta s. kweksilber


I´m from South America... Uruguay...I don´t miss any episode of please...let´s taste the sweetness of love into Ziva & Tony. AND THAT VERY SONG.."A KISS IS JUST A KISS.." IS NOT ENOUGH RIGHT NOW. Let´s enjoy, unless for a while the warm feeling so we share it. Will you? It´s a show...we all know...but: When Magic works thus, it means: You did it!
Don´t sink in personnal issues....
mirta s. kweksilber. writter


NCIS sucks without Ziva. I, for one, will no longer watch. I love how there are many posts by the same people saying how great NCIS is without Ziva (like we're too dumb to notice it's the same people) to make it look like many people are happy that she is gone. And the same people keep posting negative things about Cote, which is disgusting IMO. It has been said numerous times by RELIABLE sources that her departure had nothing to do with money. She did want a year contract instead of a 2 year contract. And it's possible she wanted a reduced role or fewer publicity appearances. Or it's quite possible that some kind of personal emergency came up that required time off TPTB weren't willing to give. She said it was personal and shouldn't have to disclose exactly what the personal reason was. There have been no articles from RELIABLE sources saying her castmates were angry with her. In fact, I'm suspicious of the whole thing. I can almost guarantee that if one of her male coworkers asked for what she did, she would have gotten it. GG's rendering of Ziva's departure was despicable IMO-it was basically a slap in the face to Cote. Her lack of scenes in Ziva's so called farewell episodes had nothing to do with money. Are we really supposed to believe it cost too much to have her in two episodes when we had so many episodes in Season 9 with Jamie Lee Curtis (way too many and most likely much more expensive)?! TPTB really screwed the pooch on this one, and will hopefully realize their mistake and get Cote back ASAP!


Enjoyed the balance of the episode between the main characters, and thought the writers did a good job depicting the awkwardness, stress and discomfort that comes with having to move forward when a close (in Tony's case, very close) co-worker has left. Having said that, back to Ziva's final episode, which was supposed to resolve so many issues. Why was Tony going to her apartment every Thursday as revealed by the Mossad bureau chief in Washington???? My theory is that Tony was taking piano lessons from Ziva, given the mention of her ability to play the instrument and the presence of a piano in Tony's apartment. Was this question answered at some other point and I missed it?


Me to Priscillalea.Would love to see her in a Christmas guest appearance.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 3 Quotes

Tony: Want to take a ride, Vera?
Vera: Bite me.

Vance: Hang on. Agent McGee isn't going anywhere.
Eugene: Director.
Vance: Agent McGee and the rest of his team's presence has just been requested at the White House. His clever strategy just saved countless lives and a multi-billion dollar weapons system.
Gibbs: Yeah we'll get back to you on that, Eugene.