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NCIS Round Table: "Monsters and Men"

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The manhunt for Parsa came to a gripping conclusion in NCIS Season 11 Episode 14, the final installment before the CBS' series February hiatus.

With a new episode on tap tonight, our Round Table panelists Doug Wolfe and Christine Orlando look back on "Monsters and Men" and look ahead.

Gather around below and find out in TV Fanatic's Q&A discussion!

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1. How would you sum up the episode in one sentence?

Doug: Takedown of a Monster.

Christine: It is not events that define us but how we respond to them.

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2. What was your favorite scene or quote?

Doug: I really enjoyed the brotherly discussion between McGee and Tony regarding Delilah. The subject matter - whether to bring Delilah up to date on the hunt for Parsa - was flimsy, but the camaraderie between them was not.

Christine: I liked Parsa and Bishop face to face in that room. Despite all of the horrors he's inflicted, it all came down to a young man who lost his parents and he responded to that tragedy by becoming a monster. I liked that Bishop called him on that.

3. Is there a scene - other than your favorite - which provoked an unexpected thought or emotion?

Doug: I was honestly taken aback by the portrayal of the live action Seals sequence, as they entered Parsa's compound. It was hard not to fear for them, especially given Parsa's nonchalance about killing.  What if he'd prepared for such an event and booby-trapped them? That scene put me on the edge of my seat.

Christine: Actually I almost choked on my popcorn at Tony and McGee's exchange... Tony: "Having flashbacks to my childhood. Reminds me of Sunday dinners with dad. Stepmoms two and four." McGee: "What should we do?" Tony: "Same thing I did as a kid. Keep your head down, wait to be excused, you go to your room and play with yourself."

4. Gibbs said he couldn't work with someone he couldn't trust. Bishop withheld information on Parsa because it "wasn't relevant to the current situation." Bishop is now a probie with NCIS. Are you satisfied with the resolution of this apparent dichotomy? Why or why not?

Doug: No, not really. The fact that she proved herself later doesn't negate the fact that she withheld information from her boss. Not only that, she'd been in trouble with her previous boss for the same problem. I get that she's intense and focused and has her own mind on things.  But... we're not seeing enough of an evolution, or of growth here. So we have to believe that somehow Gibbs is now okay with her and trusts her.  His initial reaction about not being able to work with someone he can't trust seemed real. The absence of that tension later on does not.  I would expect that, after saving her from Parsa (in real life) he would have sent her back to the NSA.

Christine: I don't believe she was intentionally being deceitful as much as holding back to protect herself. Gibbs has made enough of his own missteps to be able to detect someone who is willing to learn from them and he's always seen something unique in Bishop.

5. If you were a director of NCIS and had a tightly-knit team like this one, would you hire someone like Bishop? Why or why not?

Doug: Absent the trust factor that came to light, yes I would hire her. As a supervisor (at my day job), I'm keen to hire people who have strong minds and take the initiative to accomplish our overall goals. I especially see the need for people who aren't "yes-men": folk who don't mind speaking up when they think their boss might be wrong. There is high value in those types - and oddly enough, they're the hardest to hold onto, because they tend to advance quickly. People like Bishop tend to bring a positive change to the group dynamic.  Bosses (those who aren't working on self-esteem issues) tend to appreciate that. It challenges the status quo. We only worry about negative team fallout, and watch everyone closely to make sure that doesn't happen. As long as everyone knows that at the end of the day, the boss has the final say, and are willing to live with that - as Bishop does, once the dust has settled - they're okay in my book.

Christine: Teams, much like families change and grow over time. Ziva is gone and this team needs to develop and grow without her. I think Bishop has a set of skills that definitely adds to the team and I think she fits in well. I'm also really enjoying the big brother/little sister vibe that's between her and Tony and McGee. It's kind of sweet and useful given that she's a probie, without being condescending.

6. On the basis of this episode, what are your thoughts on Tony's character development?

Doug: In every scene with Tony, we're seeing a true leader emerge. His discussion with Bishop in the washroom was dead-on: informative and wise. He knows Gibbs well and proved it with his advice to Bishop. Plus, he knew what she needed to hear, and he gently steered her the right direction. His supportive approach to McGee was the same: wise without being condescending. I really liked the fact that he used his own peculiar appreciation of movies to make his point. Honestly, this is a guy you want heading up your team.

Christine: I'm enjoying Tony more than I have in several seasons and as much as I liked Ziva, I find myself liking the team's new dynamic and how Tony has grown because of it. He's turned into more of a leader without losing any of his unique humor and without turning into Gibbs. I've got my fingers crossed we get to see a bit more of his personal life before the end of the season. I definitely want to see more Tony!

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

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Doug , I waited anxiously for this round table in the hope that you and your group could shed some light on what I was unable to feel . The word is this - feel . As a spectator in front of a TV program I try to feel emotions and varied emotions : fear, anger , lust , compassion ... That is, feel what the characters feel . And that can only with good stories , good characters and great actors .
This girl who plays the Bishop is not charismatic and is not significant . She has no stage presence . She did not " pull " the other actors and they are failing to " pull" for her too . Maybe, maybe , " the problem " is that point . I say maybe because I'm no expert. I'm just a spectator and I speak as such. I still insist on trying to see the program come yet read about the show because I've always liked NCIS . NCIS always felt different , irreverent regarding the working relationships between members of an office . And the team of actors made ​​it believable irreverence , with grace , with humor . Glasberg said in one of his interviews that everything is still there . But honestly, does not work . You can have all the best ingredients in their hands along with the best recipe yet tasty dish not leave if you're not a great cook , someone who really knows how to cook .
When someone said that NCIS was without testosterone and I agreed , I was not referring only to Tony and Ziva . Sexual energy is a boost of life , right? It's what I miss . Energy , vibration. The set itself is pretty bland .
Sorry, but rational explanations , analyzes of behavior , justifications , not chase away boredom when I sit down to watch the show . A TV show should entertain, amuse , thrill . That's it .
Anyway , you do a great job here . Thank you for your patient attention.

Wolfshades
@ Fay

Thank you Fay for your quite reasonable reaction. I think one can't really argue with audience effect - which you outlined so effectively. If you're bored with the presentation, you're bored, and there's just no arguing that - and writers are well advised to pay attention. I think some of the elements you mentioned - mostly about how the team dynamics have changed - have had a different effect for me as a spectator. The one thing I've been reading from so many people is that the show isn't what they're used to watching. It has changed. And maybe that's the attraction for me, because they're right: it has changed, no about about it. I like the new dynamic, but agree it's not the same show we're used to seeing. The sexual tension between Tony and Ziva is gone, and now there's no new target for Tony. He's also changed in that he's no longer the butt of jokes, and no longer the clown. His irreverent observations have matured into something we can respect, and we're now getting the full force of his love of movies. I had wanted him to become more of the strong silent agent we saw in "Shiva", but that's not what happened. It's a new show, for sure, and therefore a lot of folk don't like it. I do. I think maybe because I was getting bored with the old team dynamics in last season.

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Give it time.. When Kate was killed we had to adjust to Ziva. P.S. I really miss Mike Franks!! His death really surprised me.

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I don't agree with you.

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@ Carol

My reply was to guest for Tony bashing.

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What a summation for a character nobody likes!
I don't have a problem with a Ziva replacement because I have never been a fan but that Bishop character is ridiculous!
And Tony, a leader, that's a funny one, looks more like a babysitter for Agent incompetent to me!
And the very special Parsa expert needs years, a paralyzed Delilah and two dead marines to prove that she gets the job done! Congratulations NSA, you got rid of Bishop!
NCIS with Bishop is no longer a show worth watching!

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I guess if people view maturing as standing around and offering casseroles then yes, Tony has matured. I suppose if maturing means talking about bath beads from some
random girl and another random girl
leaving her phone number on a tennis
ball on your pillow-then yeah, Tony
has matured. If maturing means
losing your sense of humor and not
harassing the new probie as one has
done in the past, then ya, I guess Tony
has matured. I am not buying it. I find
Tony to be a shadow of himself and I
hope the Tony that I love shows up
soon because this one is getting old,
fast.

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@ guest

I guess all those talks with McGee about the problem with Delilah and those attempts to cheer him up didn't happen.

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@ guest

If you're a Tony fan who grew quite tired of the constant dissing and criticism of Tony by Ziva and Tim the last few seasons, plus the fact that Tony had been reduced to basically the comic relief, and his skills and strengths regressed drastically, you might understand being very happy that the character is moving forward this season. Tony is more than the funny guy or the "T" in Tiva. I'm sorry you've only focused in on casseroles and baths, and missed the fact these were used to show him supporting a teammate or taking some well needed time out for himself, in addition to his mentoring a new team member. It's called maturity, growth, moving forward. And he still has his sharp sense of humor. He's more reined in, which makes perfect sense, considering everything the guy has been through the past 11 years. He's not the same old Tony, but he still has the same core, the same qualities that have made him such a special character. JMO. Sorry you don't like him, but I do.

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@ Mel

Good for you. That's my opinion. You can have yours. I loved the dynamic between Tony and Ziva. I miss their interactions. I still love Tony. And fyi, I wouldn't stomp all over your opinion because it doesn't agree with mine. I would just respectfully refrain from telling you that I didn't agree with you but not replying to your post. I was responding to the round table, not asking for someone to tell me my view of things is wrong.

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Agree with every one of your comments. I found it unconvincing that Gibbs got past Bishop withholding information so quickly, but look at how easily he gave Ziva a free pass for lying about killing Ari all those years. In any case, I'm liking Bishop and especially the new dynamic she's brought to the team. And I couldn't agree more with your POV on Tony emerging as a real leader. Now that he doesn't get insulted and dissed at every turn by his teammates, he's grown more mature and has been allowed to show his strengths again. I like this closer team dynamic. I keep reading criticism that Bishop does everything and the rest of the team just sits around, but I'm not seeing this at all. In this ep especially, we saw how much she needed the team's help, and how,despite her considerable skills, she really is just a Probie in many ways. And that's fine with me. I love Tony having the opportunity to be a mentor,and hopefully McGee will follow suit. Characters leave, new ones arrive, and the dynamic changes. I respect that some fans aren't happy, but I'm enjoying the show more than I have in years.

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@ Mel

See, I didn't respond because this is your opinion and you're
entitled to it.

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@Michael. Of course the writers are responsible for the content of the show and how a character is presented. Every bad thing that Ziva did was written by a writer. Every thing that bothers people about Bishop is because of how the writers have chosen to develop her. No one is responsible for the words that come out of Tony's mouth except for the writers and MW on the rare occasion that he chooses to ad lib. If I have an issue with something Bishop does it is because of how the writers have written her. It had nothing to do with the actress or Cote de Pablo. You see, she has been gone for 6 months and has nothing to do with the current state of the show. Surely you cannot be that naive to think that the writers have nothing to do with the content of the show? Emily Wickersham and Cote de Pablo both have a job to act out the words that are written by the writers as they are directed by the director. They have no control over that. If their is a flaw with a character, who should I blame? The craft service people? The sound editors? The make up artists? The actors? No. It all comes down to the writers and the show creators.

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@ guest

Your analysis is spot on. Fortunately I'm happy with this years developments, although am greatly saddened by the loss of Mr Waite. Glad to see this will be addressed at seasons end. As for the writers they are essential the same crew, some have been there from the beginning, like Cardea and Shrenck. Together they and the producers create a season long story board of sorts, and general pathway. Just imagine what that board looked like the day after, you know what happened. Is it surprising that this feels like strange territory? Not to me. Keep on going, that's what you do until you've got the piano back in tune, with the cast that you have . Not who you wish you might have.

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@ guest+

Exactly. When you have a well oiled machine, it is bound to get squeaky when someone new is thrown into the mix. I'm willing to see if these few wrinkles can
be ironed out. I was excited to
hear Tony yell "probie!" in the
commercial for tonight's show;
so hopefully we will see Bishop
learning the ropes and
following along instead of leading the way. Keeping my
fingers crossed. ..

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Bring Cote Back...as Ziva

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For me, the show is ruined and I can not watch it anymore. I can't believe as many actresses and writers that need work, this is the very best they could come up with!! Season 11 is an absolute horror and I'm done

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@ Sarah

Sarah - you are very naïve. Emily Wickersams Uncle works - in a rather high position - at CBS - that is the answer !
EJ's Uncle on the show was SecNav
Bishops Uncle in real life - got her the job
No other explanation as to WHY she is still there.
Other than they are really mad at Cote for daring to ask for a raise !
No respect for this show any longer.

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@ Brian Silk

And where did you come up with this info? You can't state something like this without proof to bacl it up. Provide the link to this info or at least your source before you make such statements. I could easily say that Cote de Pablo is my best friend and give you the reasons why she left in order to fit my own agenda. So, if you can't prove your post you should refrain from making such statements.

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@ Brian Silk

seriously, can't you just let the casting couch stuff go? So then it follows that the only reason MH is there is because of his friendship with Les Moonves, really? A show on this long and they bend over to corporate? I don;t think so. I also don;t know so but neither do you.

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Tony has turned into a leader? wow. Tony was a leader from the beginning of s4, IMO, and has gotten stronger over the years. To me it seems like he has lost himself this year. I haven't seen him do anything leadership-wise since he went on the search for ziva and finally stood up to Gibbs. Tony is the real hero of this series. Gibbs has remained stagnant and hasn't really changed(except to let bishop get away with anything she wants to get away with) while tony has grown exponentially over the last 11 years. I am not sure why Glasburg insists that this year has been growth for tony. I haven't really seen it, and if that growth mainly consists of making casseroles, using bath salts ans going to a men's group, I hope he comes to his senses and leaves to go to Be with ziva. He had a lot more impetus when she was around.

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@ Natalie

Tony has become more mature, sure. But but but ... the character is extinct . I can't find Tony's previous seasons. Neither Tony of PPF. It is the Tony I want to see. But now he looks like a old boy forties. Well... yes indeed he's a single forties. But having lost Ziva and become mature does not mean to be completely different from before. Even his jokes are saying about a flat tone as if he had taken Ritalin . I don't know if it is voluntary to show the change in his way of being, but it's like Bishop, it is poorly written. I thought we would find the Tony for " Shiva ", "PPF", " Berlin ", " ToC ", " Bounce ", " Rekindled " , etc ... Not this guy all quiet , old and too wise . Or I did not understand the character of Tony ... Well I say this and I say nothing . But even if the ratings are good and actors always equal to themselves, the spring is broken, and Bishop does not provide the solution to fix it. Instead ...
and excuse my English, not my native language

NCIS Season 11 Episode 14 Quotes

Gibbs: What are SecNav's orders?
Vance: Now that we have Parsa - press him for intel. Enough to disable his entire terrorist network.
Gibbs: How hard?
Vance: Whatever it takes.

Welcome aboard, probie.

Gibbs
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