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



The only one who doesn't fit in is Bishop. I don't like her. I am surprised that Tony calls Gibbs scrooge to his face. That's different. I love Abby and her faith that spoke both to Vance and Palmer. Good episode.


Bishop kind of reminds me of the other blonde girl on arrow. Nerdy, socially awkward and say very weird things with good intentions. Tony and Tim are kind of cool together 'I didn't agree to a drink' 'I never asked' it's nice to see those to act brotherly to each other.

@ Braddock

Yeah I've noticed McGee and Tony have become sort of equals now. And yeah I see the similarities between Bishop and Felicity from arrow.


Loved the episode. I loved seeing Carol again the episodes always seem to be really good when she's in them I hope we see more of her. Bishop messing up with the little girls parents then not letting it go and near the end I love how she just walk up and said there's something I want to tell you and her first words are small pox and the parents are just like are we going to want to hear this and then she goes and lists off a bunch of other terrible diseases I was think where is she going with this then she said they weren't around any more and that's why they were going to find out what this thing was and she gave the parents back hope I thought it was very sweat. Abby and Carol yelling about Jimmy about this time of year and how he needs to meet with the birth mother was funny and really nice and I liked how Vance also heard it and it made him introduce his kids to their grandfather. I feel like at the end Tony offered to give Bishp a ride because he wanted to meet her husband because he offered after she said she was meeting him there and that's something Tony would do. Can't wait till the show returns.

@ marissa

"... a bunch of other terrible diseases I was think where is she going with this then she said they weren't around any more and that's why they were going to find out what this thing was and she gave the parents back hope.... "
I did the same thing - already shuddering that she just couldn't let go - and then said 'WHAT'? And just couldn't believe mum had to hug her for that. Hope, really? Do you know how many children died BEFORE those diseases were 'eradicated'? It took years, decades, centuries of trial and error. What kind of hope is that when your child has an unknown disease the doctor's don't know how to treat. Oh yea, wait for it, 20 years from now ..... There was no excuse for babbling about statistics right behind distraught parents, but I can forgive her for being too eager and committed, and simply forget where she was. But after realising it and being told by Tim to let it go, still go and do it again, but now royally and grand and into their faces???? And how helpful were her statistics this time to solve the mystery? In the end it was Gibbs' intuition - which used to be central to earlier seasons. I know it's early days, but so far we get an awkard female, sitting on the ground, ignoring the boss, hugging her laptop and not actually contributing much, aggravating things even - and that wouldn't be so bad if we were not told that she is the best thing ever to happen to the team. And indeed, why was Kate not mentioned???? I loved Kate and that ep was (to me) the best ever.

@ Amiche

I agree with your take on Bishop, and frankly I am thrilled she wasn't the one to "solve" the case, since she has been the star Agent both of her other eps. But I am confused about why you thought Kate should be mentioned. It was amazing they even had Tony mention he got the plague in the first place. And Bishop was told about Kate her first day at NCIS, yet not once has Ziva been mentioned to her (on screen). I think this is wrong considering Ziva just left and Kate died 8 years ago.

@ Barfingaswespeak

yes my brothers..with you


This actually felt like an honest to God NCIS episode. Bishop is starting to fit in to the team and it showed with Gibbs' speech of 'you made a mistake now move on and soon' very in character for Gibbs.

@ Shane+Vendrell

Still think Gibbs is way too soft on her. Ziva's first case he didn't let her have a weapon much less lead an interrogation or contribute anything. Bishop is being handed everything on a silver platter and it's tarnishing the show.

@ Barfingaswespeak

But Ziva was the half-sister to a Hamas terrorist (Ari) who killed one of Gibbs agents, tried to kill Abby, and then tried to kill Gibbs. So, personally, I think it's logical for Ziva to not have anything on her first case.

@ PatrickC

Patrick right plus Ziva try to kill Tony and Mcgee in her debut


I loved this episode. It was so team oriented. EVERYONE was involved and EVERYONE got along. Wasn't it wonderful how McGee was mentoring Bishop? And then the rest of the team rallied around her in the bullpen when she was upset. She was more like a probie which I really want to see more of. And what can you say about Palmer & Breena - what a beautiful couple. And Vance & Addison, who didn't have tears in their eyes at the end... All with the help from Abby & Carol. Liked how they brought up Tony's plague and took it seriously especially Jimmy taking courses after!! And Ducky being so patient with Jimmy, who is becoming just like Ducky -- Like father like son! Love the Christmas Carol references. But I guess my fave part was the ending in the bullpen... Tony & McGee stopping for drinks after dropping off Bishop (do you think they'll meet her husband??) and Bishop giving Gibbs some cinnamon & Gibbs smile - what more can you ask for!!!

Sue ann

Considering Vance's temper, I cannot imagine that there would NOT be more friction between Vance and Addison. Vance is almost always on the prod. (I just LOVE Ben Vereen -- since his Chicken George days). Palmer and Breena are sweet, kind, generous, smart, well-employed, respectable individuals, very much in love. They have a lot to offer to a child, and any agency which met them should be able to see that. They should not have more trouble than anyone else getting a child. They might have difficulty getting a healthy white baby, though. The supply is limited. I'm always up for coffee cake. Ducky's a wizard at profiling.

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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.