NCIS Review: The Mann Effect

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To say the inscrutable Leroy Gibbs is a romantic might be an understatement.  

As would the observation that he rarely reveals much, preferring instead to keep his cards close to his chest, especially when it comes to resentment. So watching Hollis Mann pry him open so skillfully was fun to watch.

Finding the Drone

NCIS Season 11 Episode 12 opened with the death of Petty Officer Daniel Coyne, who was killed by a Navy drone attack.  

It turns out the drone strike was a test run operational precursor to a larger target: a Conrad Institute dinner gala, where McGee's girlfriend Delilah was due to be honored.

The second drone strike was successful: four people were killed and a number were injured, including Delilah. The terrorist mastermind Benham Parsa escaped, although at least two of his underlings (three if we include the mercenary responsible for the first attack) were killed.

Tony fairly ruled the roost here. After a few weeks of rocking on his heels because of Bishop, he's come back to focus. Although Bishop is confident in her investigative process, it's not everyone's. And, as the newbie, she doesn't get to say otherwise. 

Bishop: We still have a dead petty officer and a missing drone. Shouldn't we be, you know, investigating?
Tony: This is our process, Bishop. You have your earbuds and chess metaphors, we have this. Don't knock it.

I like Bishop a lot. She's still finding her way, though, and learning how to fit in. Tony's leadership will help with that.

Perhaps her short-lived panic over firing the shot that she thought caused the explosion and death of a suspect will provide her some much needed humility.

Overall, the episode had everything: troubled romance, action, excitement and danger. For that it gets high marks once again. The series is not nearly as formulaic as it once was and that just keeps everyone interested and engaged.

Take Tim, for example. We haven't seen Delilah in weeks; and finally she showed up, vibrant personality, high level clearance and loving devotion to McGee all in hand. And McGee didn't know what to do with her.

Abby's advice set him - and us - straight.  Delilah is not at all clingy. In fact, she truly is the best thing to ever happen to him. Abby read him like a book. Or maybe she just stated a truth that's common to many guys: that men are adverse to messy emotions and the situations that can cause them.

It seemed a little weird that Delilah didn't read him the riot act a little more forcefully  though: this was a dinner at which she, McGee's girlfriend, was being honored, and he clearly didn't want to go. I expected her to rise up in righteous fury. She merely seemed slightly perturbed, doing nothing more than draw his attention to it.

When Tim finally showed up - literally and figuratively - and he got that phone call, warning of the imminent drone strike, I was on the edge of my seat. Especially when Tim complained that he couldn't hear Tony very well and then sent Delilah into the dinner ahead of him. The only thought that came to mind was "oh no. Saved by a phone call."

At least Delilah wasn't killed outright. She's in the hospital being operated on after getting hit with shrapnel. Here's hoping she pulls through.

The ending was superb as well: Gibbs finally realized the value of Bishop's eccentricity and unique style of analysis, working her accordingly. Watching him put the laptop on the floor with her files and bluntly demanding that she get to work was satisfying.   There's a tool for every job and Gibbs has finally keyed into her function, which he plans to exploit to full effect in their hunt for Parsa.

Final notes:

  • We haven't seen Hollis Mann (played by Susanna Thompson) since season 4. Hers was a welcome and moderating presence for Gibbs. Hope we see more of her.
  • There's just something a little warm and inviting about Gibbs emptying out a screw jar so that he can offer his guests a drink. 
  • Abby's investigative abilities extends to matters of the personality as well. Her ability to empathize allows her the means to speak to her friends and colleagues in a way that doesn't give room for offense. McGee even thanked her.  You really can't help to love her.
  • Erin Pace's statement about the ability to remotely cause destruction was passionate. Always good to see the bad guys' honest and heartfelt side of the story.

Now it's over to you. What did you think of the episode? Do you think Delilah will pull through? Was Gibbs secretly bothered by Hollis until her explanation and apology?  

What did you think of Tony? Has he come into his own as the senior agent for the team?  


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (124 Votes)

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



Love the review! Love Bishop! Love Tony as Bishops mentor & his new sensitive side. Hoping Delilah has a miracle because I want to see more of her & McGee, love them together & individually. These episodes are more like it! Abby was great again instead of stuffing food in her mouth acting like an idiot. Ducky & Palmer in just the right amounts. I had missed Jenny for awhile but I'm now on board with Vance. Loving the way he & Gibbs can seem at odds yet be there for each other. Nice dynamic! Hollis is good & i like Boren a lot too. All the new characters have given the show a much needed boost. RIP Jackson & Franks. We miss you. Ziva you came in while we were still mourning the delightful Kate & made us all love you! We will miss you as we have missed Kate. Maybe like Hollis we will see you down the road. Finallly, Gibbs the irreplaceable, glad to see you smile again. Great show.


The Bishop character is loathsome.


Shane +Vendrell I could not agree with you more. I remember his comment after he had seen Cote de Pablo. "No time for birthdays, weddings or funerals.It is a full 15+ hour day.The next day he dialed it back and make a comment about how good the money is.But then he would have to wouldn't he.Over in the UK the show has just started to "It has started to look dated" reviews. This means nothing to NCIS fans or CBS as long as it is getting 19 to 20 million viewers in the US.It is all advertising folks.


I love having Hollis Mann back, even if it will be short lived. She may have married but her heart still has Jethro written on it. But he will never settle down ever.
They need to let Tony show his mature side, please. When they allow, he shines brilliantly. I love McGee and hope Deliah survives intact. they are so cute together.

@ Patty

I did now the story line that she just left 6 years before. Since there is a character opening, just think Gibbs meets Mann in a DC Park where she is walking with a 5 1/2 Yr child (boy)?


I don't think Delilah is going to die. It seems too obvious.


Where did McGee's girlfriend come from?? You're kidding right? Too much rapid fire human interest....No interplay that viewers can relate to. .The characters that made NCIS the most popular show in the first place were a BLEND of character traits. The team needs this combination to work. These writers are getting lazy. Unfortunately, I don't believe they will ever find all the appealing qualities of Ziva in any one person.

@ Marilyn Ingram

I think they got the adult writers back instead of the porno loving writers


Philipa, hate to tell you but it is a disappointing episode. I watch the reruns of previous years on USA - they are superior to this season. Maybe the current writers should watch a few to try to get their timing back. Mark Harmon, come on, don't let such a great show crash and burn like this!!

@ Sally

The writers who have their stories on NCIS or Tony DiNozzo Fan Fiction Internet are excellent. Even though I'm enjoying every episode of NCIS, it would be a good idea for the writers to get some backgrounds for the television series.

@ Sally

No last year was horrible it was so bad that the USA network didn't know if they were going to show season 10

@ Michael

They are showing it. What's your point?


Haven't seen the latest episode as we are behind here overseas. But just looking at the promo photos tell me that the new girl is getting pushed to the front. She's front and centre in several photos whilst McGee, Ducky and Jimmy are seen from afar in a group shot. They want to do a Ziva replacement and I preferred it early this season when it was just Gibbs, Tony and Tim. Ellie's trying too hard to be a cross between a "beautiful mind" and a Luna Lovegood character and it's awful.

@ Phillipa

She wasn't


Good episode i think Tony needs a little more respect. I like Bishop but i dont like how shes new favrite with Gibbs. I not sure if Deila will make it poor MCGEE will blame himself


I wonder what the end game is did NCIS kill someone he knows or loves.. Kinda of wish we learn more about Bishop seem like we hardly seen her since she joins the show.

@ Michael

You are clearly confused. Every episode since "Bishop" came on has showcased this character. I think you meant Delilah. And it's true, we know next to nothing about her.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 12 Quotes

Bishop: No, Daniel Coyne is a victim. Whoever else has been targeted is a victim. You're a terrorist, and you're going to serve fifty years in federal prison.
Tony: Minimum.
Pace: They're incredible, these weapons I've helped build. You sit behind a computer monitor. Point, click and thousands of miles away, total destruction. Parsa thinks it's only fair we get a taste.

Bishop: Should we go to the hospital?
Gibbs: No. No, we should find Parsa.
Bishop: How?
Gibbs: You start at the beginning, Bishop. Come on. This is what you do. Come on, come on, come on. Bishop. Come on! Get to work.
Bishop: Okay.
Gibbs: You find him. Get this son of a bitch.