NCIS Review: Hero Comfort

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After months of anticipation, the news about Jimmy Palmer's adopted baby was a huge letdown.  

An almost unrecognizable Keith Carradine played an old long-haired 80's rocker named Manheim Gold on NCIS Season 11 Episode 17.

What the NCIS team couldn't figure out was whether he was the intended target for a bomb that went off in his dressing room, one which killed a Navy petty officer and the auditorium's head janitor.

This episode gave us everything: mullets, a party at Tony's place, two sleazy agents, more mullets, a long lost son, buried treasure (of sorts), an attempt at installing a child car suit (with Ducky swearing), Tony senior tricking his son into planning his wedding... and possibly the saddest possible news of the season so far.

Lately, it seems to take quite a while to get to the guts of the crime, what with all the misdirection going on.

Was the bomb meant for the petty officer? (No.)Was it meant for Manheim Gold? (Again, no.). Who was it for??!? (It wasn't intended for anyone. It was meant to get the concert moved to a new location.)

Was there an attempt on Manheim's life at all? (Yes.) Was it the person who set up the bomb? (No.)

We finally found out that there were three crimes committed, one of which - the sabotaged brake lining - wasn't related to the other two at all.  

I think the only truly predictable moment was when the head janitor convinced the petty officer to try out the vintage guitar and said what's the worst that could happen?

That's always an ominous question, isn't it? I expected the petty officer to get electrocuted right then and there. Seeing him get blown up was only marginally surprising.

I don't think I've ever seen an NCIS character have so much obvious fun as Carradine playing the part of Manheim Gold. The man simply rocked it: his mannerisms, his manner of speech, even his saunter all combined to create a gem of a character. Kudos to the makeup artist too: there wasn't a misstep in sight with that killer mustache and long hair.  

If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you may remember Carradine as Penny's dad. That character and Gold are miles apart - and this speaks to the his amazing acting chops.

And now we get to the true highlight of the episode: Jimmy Palmer and the baby.

Man, that final scene was tough to watch. I think any dad would identify so strongly with Palmer:  his pain was so stark and raw.  

Throughout the NCIS Season 11, we got to see him vacillate from worried to excited about the adoption. The baby has been on his mind - we can only imagine how Breena has been faring through all of this.

And then to see him walk into Abby's lab, crestfallen and almost in shock. Abby's hug was welcome, but it didn't change anything.

Gibbs, as usual, was perceptive to a fault. He knew, while watching Jimmy gather up the presents, that he was struggling alone. You could tell he felt the man's pain. He waited him out and he allowed Palmer to express himself as best he could before laying into him.

Gibb's tough love was hard to watch too. I don't know if you can really expect a man like Palmer to change his mind, through all of the grief of his loss, just like that. It seemed too much.

Gibb's words at the end were true however: Palmer's grief proved him to be a dad, at least in spirit.

Final notes:

  • My disdain for Tony senior is well-founded. The man is a con artist through and through: that phone call to junior wasn't just about wanting his son to plan the wedding, but to pay for it too.
  • Tony junior on the other hand is an easily-relatable guy: you have to respect his need for boundaries to keep his sanctuary free of the kind of parade that went through it in this episode.
  • We also learned something new about Tony: he assisted in the formation of the noise policy for his building.
  • What a treat to see him read Agent Holgate the riot act!
  • I almost hate the idea of the Palmers trying right away to go for another adoption. Granted, time is of the essence, and any delay in going for it doesn't work in their interest. Still, this news comes as a kind of death, and they need to deal with it.
  • Be sure to check out our NCIS quotes for this episode: included is the exchange between Palmer and Gibbs at the end.

UPDATE: Our NCIS Round Table is up.  Come check it out and voice your opinion!

Should Breena and Palmer try again right away to adopt a baby?

Here is your first look at Scott Bakula on NCIS Season 11 Episode 18:


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter



Can anybody tell me the title of the song that Manheim Gold play at the concert?

@ Sir Dircan MacLeod

It was called "Every Road" and Keith Carradine actually performed it..............


Whenever the Palmers do have a child, Ducky or Abby will be a godparent, like how Gibbs is the godfather to Mike Franks' granddaughter.


I posted this as a reply but I'll post it on it's own seeing as people don't seem to know the difference between a Special Agent and an Agent. SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Supervisory Special Agents are the field leaders of NCIS. Supervisory Special Agents lead teams such as Major Case Teams, and are in charge of smaller field offices. SPECIAL AGENT: Special Agents are the field officers of NCIS. They are responsible for investigating crimes, serving warrants, and arresting and apprehending the offenders. Special Agents fall into a number of unofficial categories: Special Agent in Charge: Special Agents in charge of small teams, and also in charge of teams assigned Afloat.
Senior Field Agent: Senior Field Agents are experienced investigators working on Specialty teams such as Major Case, Violent Crimes, and CRTs. SFAs are training to be Special Agents in Charge or Supervisory Special Agents. Field Agents: Most Special agents are classified as Field Agents. Field agents are the backbone of the Agency. Junior Field Agents: JFAs are investigators who are still learning the ropes. JFA may also be applied to the junior agent assigned to a team. Many JFAs are in their 2-year Probationary period, hence the nickname "Probie." So the team here would be Gibbs - Supervisory Special Agent (or SAC) Tony - Senior Field Agent
McGeee - Field Agent
Bishop - Junior Field Agent

@ Humbugged1814

Thanks for posting but I'm over this in I'm not arguing about it anymore.....................

@ Terrie

That's nice, Terri, but in fact I encouraged him to repost this important information as there are I'm sure many people who didn't know the ranking structure at NCIS. I'm grateful he decided to post it at the top, rather than as a reply elsewhere.


terri--------------kate protected the president ------------on the plane where gibbs was present & met her--he asled if she would consider comming to ncis,she wasnt crazy about gibbs but it worked out through the time she was there. she was not a SPECIALAGENT--so was an agent who also learned to work with the team & learn from gibbs--she was a probie also.--where & when did she become a SPECIAL AGENT- thelly

@ thelly

Kate became a NCIS agent in episode 1x02 .She was fired from the Secret Service at the end of the first episode which was when Gibbs recruited her . As I posted below you go from Junior Field Agent (probie) to Special Agent (or Field Agent) after 2 years on the job.It's a time served promotion ,nothing more.

@ Humbugged1814

Kate wasn't fired, she chose to resign because she was in a relationship with a Marine who was killed, and she chose to leave before her bosses could fire her.

@ PatrickC

Yeah sorry your right about her jumping rather than being pushed .The point still stands that she was no longer with the Secret Service when Gibbs recruited her.


Tony can suggest a planner for the wedding, but DiNozzo Sr. should pay. My heart went out to Palmer and Breena. There is a another method of getting a child, and that is adoption. Many of the children in America and foreign countries are adoptable and babies or little. Friends of mine have 2 little children from Russia and they are adorable.

@ Carol

This WAS an adoption..................

Drama llama

I thought this episode had a bit of everything in. I was worried when Tony started to make some inappropriate remarks at the crime scene, that seemed out of place for the Tony we have been getting of late. Luckily my fear did not materialize. We got that nice scene where he shared the son's POV with the old rocker. And I do believe Tony was responsible for coming up with the first breakthrough in the case? I wonder if the real reason behind Senior asking Tony to plan the wedding is the new Mrs DiNozzo's doing. In that she recognizes both men want / need a closer relationship but when they are not in the same town they let things slip. So she is forcing the elder into this to keep open dialogue going. Tough Love. I do hope that it turns out Senior is paying for this damn wedding. Even if Tony does get his cheque book out at some point. Maybe I am giving the writers too much credit. I liked the case, the team moments and was it just me or was Gibbs visible annoyed with Bishop at certain points in this episode. All good to see. I feel there were a few missed opportunities for some witty remarks or pop cultural references from Tony once the Talent Agents were introduced. But overall this was a very good stand alone ep with a very nice reference to Flesh and Blood. Brian stole the show. I was not expecting anything but a happy ending. It's Palmer. The one character they have organically developed and they let be happy. I wonder if there is one more twist in this 'The Palmers' get a baby storyline. I admit I cried at the end. Palmer broke my heart. A stand out performance from Mr Dietzen. Gibbs' words may on reelection be questionable but Harmon did what he does best in that scene. Yes, I wish they had let Tony play or sing. The writers can be mean. Sad that next week looks to be the Bishop show once more.

@ Drama Llama

I know right? The Bishop and Gibbs drama hour - or I guess the Bishop and Gibbs drama hourS, since this is a two parter. Tony and Tim once again performing mundane and uninteresting duties with limited screen time while Gibbs and Bishop get the interesting scenes, action and case story. Blah! I'll be out of town anyway so I'll just read fan comments to decide whether or not to bother pulling it up later.

Drama llama
@ Erin

To be honest for me the last few episodes have been a huge improvement with regard to Bishop. I've seen enough Dead Petty Officers don't need to start a new show. No biggie I'll just not watch the two spin off episodes. Looking forward to episode 20. Delilah is back. Loving her this season. Should be good.

@ Erin

I don't think this was a 2 parter................unless I missed something...........Next week sets the stage for the spin off NCIS New Orleans...........Scott Bakula will be on next week......

@ Terrie

Unless Palmer's story is considered a parter, this is a standalone episode.

@ Erin

You do know next week when they show the new NCIS team right


Alguien puede indicarme si existe algun sitio donde pueda ver el reiting del programa en esta temporada, quisiera saber si ha descendido en popularidad o sigue siendo el numero 1. Igual soy Yo la que no siente chispa hacia el programa. Ha y siento tambien, que el personaje de Tony, se encuentra en caida libre.


Veo NCIS, desde su inicio, y aunque nunca fui partidaria de TIVA, realmente la serie ya no es igual, en lo personal, no siento el mismo interea de ante, ademas el hecho de que Cote haya dejado el programa no es razon suficiente para no mencionar a Ziva, para nada, pero para nada, creo que si se hiciera referencia a ella podria ubicar al programa mas en la realidad, su personaje existio por 8 años......deberian hacer referencia mas seguido, para que no exista el enorme hueco que hay en los capitulos de esta temporada.

@ Greta Plasencia Franco


@ Terrie

copy/paste into Google translate, or just ignore it...


the show really doesnt show any happiness--perhaps because gibbs is not a happy man--time to move on from that also, lets face it its not the same show ,but we watch to see if it might change in some way & thats a BIG IF------------------the past is the past & as they say you move forward but they fast forwarded too fast with the bishop girl--i said girl ................................................................................thelly


ncis -la i think heddie is so much into protecting her team--heddie has tea with them--she decorates a funky tree for xmas . she has a rare scotch that she shares- she shows her love for her team & backs them up all the way.they arent into the navy crime area--but they do have a more relaxing bullpen & they are a good team together-- & yes deeks isnt ncis --so i dont know how nsa is needed on ncis--2 different groups of people they pass on info--& i feel bishop is not needed out on the field she could sit at her desk --or rather floor & pass on to gibbs any info.about whats going on. that to me is how they should have brought her on the show,the boys could have handled the crimes themselves,& how did she become a NCIS SPECIAL AGENT --SO FAST. i guess they rushed that on us also. thelly

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 17 Quotes

All right. Okay. Put your drinks down. On a coaster. And make your way in an orderly fashion to the front door, or I will shoot you. That means you, mullet.


Palmer: I take it you heard?
Gibbs: Mmm hmm.
Palmer: Yeah, she saw the baby and just....I guess she felt the same way we felt when we first saw him. Can't fault her for that, right?
Gibbs: You should go home.
Palmer: I will. Yeah Breena and I, we just wanted to get all this stuff out of the house. You know, we wanted to give it back as soon as possible.
Gibbs: We.
Palmer: Me. She's hurting too, but she is so much stronger. She's ready to try again. And me - I feel like I can't breathe. I never felt this bad in my life, Gibbs.
Gibbs: Well, just wait until it's 3:00 in the morning, and your kid's running 104. You're just getting started.
Palmer: That's the point. I'm not starting, you know? Maybe I never will.
Gibbs: Well then fight for it, Palmer! That's what you do. You fight for your family. And sometimes, you fight like hell just to have one.
Palmer: You want me to fight, I feel like I just went ten rounds with Joe Louis.
Gibbs: Do you want to be a dad, Palmer? Because right now, this is being a dad.
Palmer: Maybe I'm not ready.
Gibbs: You wouldn't feel the way you feel, right now, if you weren't ready.