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NCIS Review: True Honor

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Richard Parsons would have flipped his wig if he had ever learned how far Gibbs and the late Mike Franks had bent the rules.

While the story in "Anonymous Was a Woman" revolved around the "honor killing" death of an Afghan woman (masquerading as a Navy sergeant) the deeper story was one of regret. The profound and thoughtful universe behind Gibbs' quiet demeanor was ripped wide open for the viewers, but not at all for the rest of the NCIS team. And what a sight it was.

Mike Franks' Support

Who knew that Gibbs had lived with such a horrible memory? The flashback scenes with him and Franks rumbled with portent and angst, as the two men battled out the tension between lawful duty and the rescue of abused girls and women from certain death. While we always knew Franks was one of the truly good guys, we got an amazing look at what made him such a credit to the human race. I mean, what a guy! 

Not content with just saving one girl from a life of horror, Franks went on to run a sort of - as he put it - underground railroad for endangered Afghan girls and women.  

I like how Gibbs found out Elina's story:

Gibbs: Where are your parents? Your mother? father?
Elina: Sold me to man.
Gibbs: What man?
Elina: Husband. Old. Like you. | permalink

Gibbs laughed, only then getting a glimpse into what Franks was up to. 

The writing stayed true to Gibbs' no-nonsense character, while showing us the grey area that he at the time refused to see or even acknowledge: that sometimes you have to do what's right, even if it means breaking the rules. The argument between him and Franks (captured in the NCIS quotes for this episode) showed the painful points, and Gibbs' fateful decision to not help Franks in that one instance. It was a decision that ended in the deaths of the six women that Franks had wanted to help. 

There was one comment that Gibbs made that showed the enormity of Franks' efforts: How do you choose, Mike? Who do you pick? The subtext: "you can't save them all." Franks never answered, but you get the sense that he's thinking "maybe not, but you can do what you can do, at least."

Interesting that, in trying to follow the law-and-order example of his boss, Tony initially decided to report the refugees in America to Immigration... until Gibbs overruled him. And Tony had really no idea why, but he knew that he had to follow orders, not just because it was required but because he trusted that Gibbs knew what he was doing.

Trust the writers - in this case, a grateful nod to Steven D. Binder - for once again building the terrific tension by putting Gibbs front and center with the menacing locals in Kabul. Everything: Gibbs standing tall with arms folded, McGee watching his six, Tony relaying the satellite positioning of the locals and the individual attacks on Gibbs prior to his rescue by the U.N. team served to keep us on the edge of our seats. 

You have to imagine that, though, that while McGee and Catherine Tavier (the woman who ran the Afghan women's shelter) praised Gibbs for standing up to the locals, and for bringing the women to the U.S., his thoughts were still on the women who died years earlier because he refused to help them. He did the right thing this time, but it doesn't erase his earlier actions. 

Final notes:

  • McGee and Tony kid each other a lot, but when Tony's not around, Tim has his back, as we saw when he busted Palmer for snooping at Tony's desk. Tony's worry about McGee while the latter was in Kabul was real, too: we don't ever hear him say stuff like be careful Tim.
  • Seems like Tony has changed even more than we realized: the letters in his desk, written to women he has dated, indicate a man who is a little less glib and a lot more thoughtful than he was before.
  • Tony got Gibbsmacked. Haven't seen that one in a while.
  • Eventually, Gibbs is going to have to find a replacement for Ziva, even though Tony and McGee don't see the need. Their relief that Special Agent Susan Grady (played by Jackie Geary) had no intention of applying for the position was palpable.
  • Revealed:  Gibbs' rule number 14. Bend the line. Don't break it. 

One final quote that sums the NCIS close-knit team dynamic, and then it's over to you for your thoughts on this episode:

Grady: You all really care. About the job, but also about each other.
Tony: Well sometimes it's a pain in the ass. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (196 Votes)

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

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    Took me a bit of work to find out what Gibbs says at end of program 10-29-13 "Semper paratus" always be prepared or ready!

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    @Michael: that's rich, coming from you one of the most hateful posters on this site; Nothing I said was hateful. Are you suggesting that hating on Ziva/Cote is what made NCIS #1, since that is the only thing I called people on the carpet about? You are ridiculous.

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    @Guest

    just drop it man you got to stop hating on what made the show number 1

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    Unfortunately I've been laid up sick this week, and with time on my hands I've been watching the first series again. It reminded me that for the most part the team used to stick together, went on cases together, and it occurred to me that "Anonymous Was A Woman" might have benefited from Tony joining Gibbs and McGee in Afghanistan, thereby leaving the scene with the "ladies" to Susan Grady and the MTAC scene to Susan and Vance. Just a thought…...

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    There are times when he says something in the bullpen and Gibbs completely ignores him. The best agent Gibbs had ever worked with was definitely MIA. To be honest left to season 10 alone I'd likely not be watching, and without doubt Tony would not be my favourite character. Why would he be, other than a couple of nice Tiva scenes he was just the unfunny comic relief. I was sad to see Ziva go, and very unhappy with "Past Present & Future" which left too many loose ends and too much to "our imaginations" but if her leaving means we get the return of a competent, smart Tony (and it's beyond me why we couldn't have Ziva and smart Tony) and a return to the team dynamic then I can't in all honesty be completely sorry.

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    @Erin Agreed. I'm not a Ziva hater, but sadly the writers didn't do her character any favours. I actually liked Tiva - MW and CdP had great chemistry, I was just fed up of the constant teasing and feeling manipulated by the writers. To begin with she was part of the team and she and Tony shared lead, e.g., Boxed In and Under Covers, but as time went on she was pushed to the forefront and in one episode (sorry can't remember the title) Tony ends up hiding out with a guy, I think he was a witness, in a back room, whilst Ziva takes on several gunmen single handed, standing between two doors, a gun in either hand. Now if that isn't superwoman I'm not sure what is. By the time we get to season 10, Tony is for the most part portrayed as all but incompetent, a bit of a twit, butt of all the jokes - some on occasion quite cruel, slow on the uptake (Prime Suspect) and without any skills - we don't even see him fire a gun. There are times when he says something in the bullpen and Gibbs completely ignores him. The best agent Gibbs had ever worked with was definitely MIA. To be honest left to season 10 alone I'd likely not be watching, and without doubt Tony would not be my favourite character. Why would he be, other than a couple of nice Tiva scenes he was just the unfunny comic relief. I was sad to see Ziva go, and very unhappy with "Past Present & Future" which left too many loose ends and too much to "our imaginations" but if her leaving means we get the return of a competent, smart Tony (and it's beyond me why we couldn't have Ziva and smart Tony) and a return to the team dynamic then I can't in all honesty be completely sorry.

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    Ok, I see what you were looking at now. You really have to hunt to find that table.

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    They just came out with the Live +7 DVR ratings for week one, so you couldn't possibly know what happened weeks 2 and 3; and especially 4 since seven days haven't even passed yet. I don't care, it's not like I want NCIS to tank or anything, but you shouldn't make comments about things that haven't been reported yet. Maybe week 2 and 3 are out, but 4 definately is not. Wishful thinking don't make it so.

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    Its close but for week 2and 3 and now 4 NCIS has the most same day viewers, and for +7 day for week 2 edged out TBBT for total viewers.

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    NCIS may still be winning Tuesday night ratings by the skin of their teeth, but they are no longer No. 1 in total viewership for the week. The Big Bang Theory took top honors premiere week. Bound to happen.




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