NCIS Review: Just A Little Faith

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How fitting that, at this time of year, an NCIS episode would be all about faith.

Abby's Holiday Spirit

On NCIS Season 11 Episode 11, there was little faith to be found at first. Vance didn't trust the motives of his estranged father-in-law. And the parents of the first little girl who was stricken with an unknown illness certainly struggled to keep hope alive, what with Bishop rhyming off a number of possible causes for her condition.

And Palmer had no confidence about being a father, particularly as the case wore on, and he struggled with Abby and her friend Carol to identify the virus that seemed to be mutating, affecting a wider and wider number of children.

The writers couldn't have provided a better red herring than the creepy guy who wanted to infect his "girlfriend." His explanation was: I figured if I helped her feel better again, she might appreciate me more. 

Right. Here's a hint;  when someone says I'm not a monster, after all - you can be sure that person is the poster child for the word. Good thing this one was mostly impotent, unable to come up with anything resembling a virus.

Ducky profiled him perfectly, too: the "girlfriend" either didn't exist, or if she did, she had no idea that Comey (the creepy guy) even existed.

As we saw, it was fortunate that this was not a case of bio-terrorism, as Tony feared. It was a treatable bug, brought over from the Congo.

Rocky Carroll played to his strength in this episode: he has always done suppressed rage very well. His target this time? His father-in-law Lamar Addison (played so well by  Ben Vereen). 

When Addison showed up on his doorstep - after warning him that the next time he darkened his door, his agents would be taking him elsewhere - I was surprised that he didn't just pop him one then and there. Not overly surprised, though: Vance was always one to maintain his cool, regardless of the provocation. 

Still, the man feared for his kids, especially after this unwelcome father-in-law came by the house when Vance wasn't home.

Enter Abby, the Fairy Godmother of hope for two of the faith-impaired. As the anti-skeptic of the world, she was completely frustrated with Palmer's angst over being a father. Without realizing it, her words of wisdom hit both Palmer and Vance at the same time:

Life isn't always perfect, you know? But sometimes things would work out for the best if you just had faith.


As much as I like Bishop, it's good to know she has flaws. We saw one big one where: when her emotions are engaged, she finds it nearly impossible to let go. Usually when one makes a social blunder, the custom is to think about it, shudder and then try and forget about it. 

Not Bishop. She just had to go talk with the parents of that little girl once more to try and bolster their faith that the child would come out of it. That was her self-inflicted penance. 

The parents gained hope, based upon Bishop's statistics about other horrible illnesses, and then they hugged her. That was my cue to shudder. What if the girl had died, as the old man did? It could easily have happened. How great would her guilt have been then?

The hope here is that something similar to this happens again and Bishop does a blunder that can't be fixed. She needs to learn how to roll with misfortune... especially those that are self-inflicted.

Final thoughts:

  • Now that the Vances have reunited with Jackie's father, the hope here is that we'll get to see Ben Vereen a little more. What a great casting choice!
  • Gibbs and Vance seem to have grown even closer. After Vance turned down Gibbs' first offer to help, and Gibbs persisted, that small smile from Vance said it all, and was good to see.
  • Here's hoping we see more of Abby's friend Carol (played by Meredith Eaton) as well. She's been on the series twice before: once in 2009 and again in 2011. As noted in the NCIS Sneak Peek for this episode, Eaton is Pauley Perrette's real-life friend.
  • Apparently, cinnamon puts a smile on Gibbs' face. Tony knows his boss well - and Bishop picked up on it. 
  • The song at the end was Nothing More by The Alternate Routes.
  • The holiday wishes to the military at the end was perfect. 

NCIS returns on January 7, 2014 and you can watch NCIS online in the meantime.

What did you think of the episode? What are your thoughts about Ducky's profiling of the creep-monster Max Comey? Will Palmer and Breena get approval to adopt? Do you imagine there will be any more friction between Vance and Addison? Would you have appreciated a bite of that delicious coffee cake?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

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



bishops too imature,they shouldnt have rushed to find someone to fill zivas desk so quick,she will become another daudhter for gibbs & i think thats another mistake heading up the track,tony will be a big brother & mcgee her mentor,way too young for the role she has & i dont get why they never mention ziva,esp gibbs he was quite bla when he said she wanrted to move on,she didnt want to kill anymore there is a difference. i know shes not there anymore but shes not dead.she did alot for the team,right to the end killing bodner & it just wasnt for her father it was for vance too,^ he has never mentioned her. nice family they turned out to be,for all the butts she saved,& respect she learned to have for ncis, i just dont get it,yet they mention kate,the women has been gone for 8 yrs, ill keep watching because i like the show,but they are getting to far away from navy crimes,now will have bishop solving parsa who is he & where did he come from ,has he got anything to do with the navy, well i do feel bad that ziva is not talked about & think its dead wrong. because shes not dead, mic


i dont think this bishop girl,in which she is a girl,isnt all that good i dont get how she supposed to be so smart & act so immature,i dont think tony & mcgee are ajusting to her yet. i for one think they should have gotten some one more mature,well i guess gibbs will have another daughter now that she gave him the cake, or kissing up to him. im not into the show as i was,& its got nothing to do with ziva,although she can never br replaced.i also dont get that they mention her at all. isnt bishop interested to know about her.they should have let the guys be alone for a while until they found the right one to fill that desk,& i dont mean someone for tony that would even be more stupid.,i guess the plan is to make her into some kind of hero & get gibbs headslap when she proves her self. i wikk lways miss ziva & feel bad that they dont mention her at all. WHY kate was mentioned---is it because ari killed like it was zivas fault or something she saved gibbs didnt she & thats never mentioned, oh something is not right that they dont talk about ziva -- why because she left you can get board with thngs in your life-- i feel bad that they dont speak of her at all,never once did gibbs mention her name. oh well we will just have to wait it out on the teeny bopper bishop, i feel she is not needed. mic


Tho I miss Ziva everyday I've really grown to like Bishop. She's a little rough around the edges, what newbie isn't, but she does show promise.I also like how she's married and know for sure there won't be any on the job romance relationships (Tiva forever!)


The reviewer is only now seeing flaws in Bishop this episode? I found her slighftly more tolerable as she was a joke the first two outings, but I wonder how she's managed to have any type of relationship since she is so tactless and clueless about the feelings of others. Her husband must either be her clone or incredibly patient. Finally, both Tony and Tim put her in her place and said things that indicated they weren't impressed with her way of doing things. I was pleasantly surprised that Tony's bout with the pneumonic plague was even mentioned. This show is not known for it's continuity. I give it a C+, but only because Bishop is still annoying by sitting on the floor, etc and doing her own thing without regard to others. Don't like her one bit.

@ Barfingaswespeak

Oh please Ziva's gone for whatever the reason. What did you want another super Israel born ninja killer? Christ it's people like you give all NCIS fans a bad name

@ Barfingaswespeak

Right cuz viewers that like Bishop and still watch the show are idiots

@ Braddock

Where did Barfingaswespeak say in the above comment that she wanted Ziva back? They didn't even mention Ziva. They
also never called anyone an
idiot for liking Bishop. They
stated their opinion. Quit
jumping to conclusions. I loved
Ziva but I really like Bishop.
Hating Bishop doesn't mean
someone loves Ziva or vice
versa. Quit putting words in
other people's mouths. To each
their own.

@ guest

Thanks for having my back. People read what they want to, and apparently anyone who is not jumping on the Ellie Bishop bandwagon is a delsional, vapid Ziva fan who "just can't let go". Simple people say simple things.

Karen siwik

Nice holiday episode. However, I've enjoyed other holiday episodes more (i.e. "Faith" and "Silent Night"). Wonder if Tony finally got a new car since he offered Bishop a ride to the airport. Loved the scene between Vance and Gibbs when Gibbs asked him if he was doing okay.


I liked that the case of the week wasn't a brutal murder (although someone did die) and that everyone pulled together. However, I'd be curious to know why "Septic Santa" didn't land in the hospital.

@ MrWriteSF

Disease carriers are often immune or at least asymptomatic. They didn't show it, but it would have been appropriate to have brought him in to make sure he was ok.


I think this episode was marginally better than last weeks, but I miss the exciting vibe the show use to have. Bishop seemed more at ease last night, but I do not find the character compelling in the least and I am continuing to fall out of love with my very favorite show. Come on guys, pick up the pace...

@ Sally

I agree with you in that the show could use a little more of the 'fast, suspenseful edge' it used to have. I think that quality actually started whittling down by increments long before Ziva left -- beginning season 8 or so. This episode was a nice comfort food for the holidays, and season 11 has had a lot of touching, characterful moments, which were very nice. But I hope they start picking up the pace now that they've gotten the new character somewhat settled in.

@ Sally

Then don't watch for someone who claims to not like NCIS anymore you really take the time to somehow know enough of the episodes with Bishop to make comments.

@ Shane Vendrell

You voiced your opinion, I have voiced mine and have just as much right to do that on this forum as do you.


The show is so much better without Ziva, its obvious now how much she was bringing the show down.


So Bishop has a husband... Can't wait to see that episode !!


I liked the episode but it was not as good as some Christmas episodes in the past. My favorites are "Silent Night" and "Newborn King". I think Bishop is fitting in well and Tony, Gibbs and McGee are mentoring her well.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 11 Quotes

Palmer: I'm so not having kids.
Abby: Okay Jimmy. That does it. Excuse us, director, but something has gotten into Mr. Palmer, and I would like to get it out now.
Vance: Well don't let me interfere.

Life isn't always perfect, you know? But sometimes things would work out for the best if you just had faith.