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NCIS Review: Tony's Blessing

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Tony's dad came to town in honor of the 250th installment of NCIS.  And then he watched his son shoot a guy.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 16 featured a scummy private detective, an earnest senator's assistant (ultimately, her dead assistant), an AG investigator and a troublesome father with some important news for his son.

Tony and Dad
Welcome back to NCIS, Robert Wagner. The actor guest stars on Episode 250.

The hour began with Tony and son meeting outside a hotel. When Tony spotted a uniform inconsistency on a passing Navy officer, he tried to halt the man, who turned and fled. Tony Senior followed his son as he chased the man into into an alley and saw him shoot the man dead. 

Only the now-dead Navy guy wasn't who he appeared to be: he was disgraced private detective Nick Bodeen, who had just killed a man in an effort to cover up an elaborate bribery scheme involving the closing of some Navy ports of call and a plan to re-prioritize which ones would remain open before the Senate could vote on it.

As it turned out, one of the Senator's assistants - Jennifer Morrison - was in on the scheme with Bodeen and she was heartbroken after Tony shot him.

I must admit: I'm not fond of episodes featuring Tony Senior: he often comes across as an overgrown child who thinks nothing of intruding into his son's life, as if the welcome mat's always out and there are no consequences to worry about.

This one was marginally better: the childish nonsense was diminished, although the usual "I'm going to turn my phone off so you can't get hold of me" business was tiresome. Granted, Tony did the same, but at least he had a compelling reason (or thought he did).

I was amused when Tony started to sell his dad down the river with his explanation to Eugene Coyle that his dad might have been having age-related memory problems. 

Speaking of Coyle... shame on him for the misdirection. When Tony told him that he pulled his gun out only after Bodeen did, Coyle said that his story didn't mesh with Tony senior's recollection. This was only because Tony Senior didn't recall exactly what happened at all. 

He wasn't a witness. He was an anti-witness. Effectively useless in the investigation. Coyle has it in for Tony, obviously.

Abby isn't fooled. She knows the score with Creepy Coyle:

Coyle: What is with you people? I am not the enemy. I am conducting a mandatory agent-involved shooting investigation.
Abby: Well I don't like it when people mess with my team.

As for the case itself, it was good to get back to the basics of NCIS: a murder and a set of facts that need to be collated and made sense of; Abby doing her magic; Ducky and Palmer doing their dead body routine; the pieces coming together and a conclusion finally reached. 

And now we have a probie being picked on once again too. Although she's getting off easier than McGee ever did. I think she might be getting better treatment even than Ziva did as a probie. Picking up a bunch of feathers doesn't seem that onerous. Notice that she didn't roll her eyes in disgust like Ziva often did. She merely frowned.

Final notes:

  • As irritating as Coyle is, I think we need to see some more of him. Clearly he's a misfit - which means he'll make great fodder for Tony's humor.
  • We never got to see Tony Senior's fiance. Seems like a mistake - rather than talk about her, we should have seen her and have had the mystery of the pregnant young woman (her daughter) cleared up that way.
  • Tony as the noir detective was fun to see. That hat of his and the use of the word "dame" was perfect.
  • I'm glad Tony went against Gibb's orders and started doing some investigative work. It would have been a waste having him sit at that desk all episode.
  • The end scene was touching, with both men professing their love for each other. It looked as though Tony junior might have been a bit misty-eyed too.
  • The next episode of NCIS will be in two weeks, on March 18.

What was your take on Tony senior?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

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

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are you all happy that they finally took zivas picture off the cast picture. it has been mentioned more then once,from several people. perhaps they heard you. i think jardeen would have been a good choice to be on the team . she was smart & did just fine in the epidsode going with tony to irag .i also noticed that the only person of color is vance & has been since he started--um i wonder why that is, its time for ncis to hang up the spurs & ride on. its gotton so bad on this site with the opinions of those that only like what they say --chill out people its only a tv show. mic

Authorsue

I was there when Robert Wagoner lost his wife. He was devastated. She really was the love of his life. I'm sure it haunts him to this day that they were drinking and arguing when she took off for shore. The other person on the boat verified everything that happened. Mr. Wagoner was never a suspect. He was emotionally destroyed.

Drama-llama

DiNozzo Senior episodes usually make me jeer because they just seem to be a repeat of the first installment. I was pleasantly surprised with this helping. It feels like there is potential for forward movement. I loved that Senior saw what Tony's job actually involves. Finally, he gets the fact that his son risks his life doing his 9-5. I loved that just when you thought Tony was going to get found out by Gibbs, he got himself out of a jam with some quick thinking. And I loved his honesty with his father, and Gibbs, with regard to what was going on with family matters. Weatherly owned this episode especially in Bodine's office, and he can most certainly keep that hat on! I wish the writers would make more use of WeatherIy's ability to ad lib. It certainly spices things up. I was a little let down by Wagner's performance though. I feel the material was really there this time for a standout performance and it just wasn't coming. A good case and nice to see Bishop being a Probie. It feels like we have had the same version of Bishop two weeks in a row now. She is certainly shaping up to be Tony's protege more than McGee's. Gibbs is very hands off with her. I wonder whether this means it might fall on Tony to discipline her when it is needed? And perhaps that's one reason Bishop is there.... for Tony's development rather than just to fill a void. But again the episode felt a little flat. Perhaps telling the story out of order might have given it a little more PAH. But hooray that a) no love triangle. b) no young step mom that likely would be gone by Christmas c) no sordid affair between Senior and the God Mother whilst mummy was alive d) it's a step sister for Tony NOT a long lost half sister. I also couldn't help but draw some comparisons. The Fornell's asked for blessing and now Senior has asked for blessing. Is there a theme here? Finally I liked Taylor. Can we see her again? Unlike some folks I like that we haven't met 'mum' yet. Let the casting guesses begin. I'd rather see more of the ever expanding Family DiNozzo than ex-wive #2 who is scheduled to appear.

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@ Drama Llama

Very well said, Drama Llama! I really like your POV that perhaps one of the reasons Bishop is there is to serve the purpose of helping Tony develop and move forward. I'm definitely enjoying watching him do some mentoring with her. I also think having a Probie on the team again has added a fresh perspective. And while I agree with your criticisms as well, it's nice to see a positive POV. I may have my issues, but I'm enjoying the show this season overall, and am very pleased with some of the growth of Tony as well as McGee. I've read a lot of criticism that Tony is too serious or laid back this season, but the same fans were the ones who bashed the character for years for being "too" silly or immature. I think the character's changes this season make perfect sense, if you've paid attention to the past 11 years. Michael Weatherly said we would see a deepening of his character this season, and I think we are.

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There were some lovely moments in this episode, but over all I have to say I was disappointed. I'm a big Tony DiNozzo/Michael Weatherly fan but sadly he seems to have been sidelined of late, in fact pretty much since Bishop joined the team. I loved the start of the episode, it was great seeing Tony again as the competent investigator and I thought that Robert Wagner was terrific, and with an IA investigation under way and Senior as the only witness I was looking forward to a tense and potentially angsty episode. But then we got into the quite complicated case which for me swamped and unbalanced the episode. In my opinion the writers tried to pack too much in with three equally important plots vying for attention: the case, the AI investigation and Senior's secret, with the result that the latter two suffered by being rushed. After being the focal point at the start the AI investigation just seemed to fizzle out and Tony's acceptance of the fact that his godmother was marrying his dad just felt too quick. Instead of the very brief Gibbs/DiNozzo scene in the bullpen I would like to have seen Tony seek out Gibbs' basement (in the same way that Senior did) when perhaps Gibbs could have admitted that he was less than sympathetic and didn't listen to his dad when Jackson bought a woman to Shannon's funeral and they ended up estranged for 30 plus years, adding that Senior's an old man now and maybe Tony should give the situation some serious thought before letting this come between them. It also felt odd to me that Tony's "Godmother" didn't make an appearance. Apparently she had known Tony all his life and faced with the possibility of being responsible for coming between her fiancé and his son why didn't she try herself to convince Tony that she had not had an affair with his father. It was lovely to finally have a few decent scenes with Palmer, but where was Vance?! Very surprised that the 250th episode did not feature the entire team, particularly when the plot called for him to be there, i.e. surely the Director would have had something to say when one of his agents was under an AI investigation. However, aside from what I felt was a bit of a mishmash of a plot, I have to say that I thought both Michael Weatherly and Robert Wagner were terrific, I would just like to have seen more of them.

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@ Lorraine64

Let's see more of Tony/Michael Weatherly in serious story lines.

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Good thoughts ncis fan

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Agreed!!

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I loved this episode!! I like Bishop's character, not the actress. I believe she is forcing her acting too much and needs more practice. I also believe that the NCIS fans need to accept her character. It is just like when Kate's character was taken off the show, we weren't really accepting of Cote's role as Ziva in the beginning, but then we began to love her. I think it will take some time, but just like in Ziva's case, we will learn to love Bishop. I loved this episode and I think its wonderful that Tony is going to be a step brother and and uncle!! That's great!!! I think it really develops his character and bond with his father.

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@ ncis fan

I agree with most of what you say but as for Emily Wickersham's ability as an actress needing more practice, I definitely do not. She is listed as starting out in 2006 on IMDB and given her body of work to date, I hardly believe she needs to "practice". although I believe most thespians are never satisfied with their own performances.

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i like the show, i like that Tony in the love with Ziva..yess!!!!

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That's interesting, PatrickC; I didn't know that. However, while we're on the subject, it has always been my belief that Robert Wagner's "girlfriend" was in some way "involved" in Natalie Wood's demise.

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Since the conversation about Robert Wagner possibly being a killer came up, I thought I'd share the interesting fact that when a film was made on it, Robert Wagner was played by Michael Weatherly.