NCIS Review: The Relationship Whisperer

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Tony functioned as the "Dear Abby" of this NCIS episode, becoming the point man for all relationship issues. It was sweet, but a tad unsettling.

Meanwhile, the unique sort of sideways Case of the Week wasn't supposed to be case at all. 

On NCIS Season 11 Episode 20, Delilah went against her boss's strict orders - all because of her presumption that something wasn't right.

So okay, fine - it turns out her suspicions were correct and the CIA secret mission wasn't actually a mission at all, but a cover-up within a cover-up. 

There was no way she could have known that, and, in fact, she proceeded on the basis that Kit Jones was murdered. She figured no one cared enough in her office to investigate, which is why she ignored her boss' orders and took the case to Gibbs.

I didn't buy it. It doesn't seem possible that she could get away with such defiance without consequence. She should have been fired.

We're not talking about a regular workplace: she works for an intelligence agency and that means above all else that she has to maintain the discipline of her unit, regardless of any "gut feelings."

The right thing for her to do would have been to have an all-out discussion and argument with her boss, while understanding that, at the end of the day, her boss's orders were final.

Now, as for Tony... what role is he supposed to play in the unit? I get that he's got a lot of relationship wisdom which he's willing to share, but since when did he become the trusted confidante of everyone? 

Even McGee sought his help in figuring out how to approach Delilah in asking her to move in with him. And McGee would probably the last person who you'd think would ever do that. He tends to keep to himself.

When Delilah called, it wasn't made clear exactly why she didn't want to talk to McGee. She said she "didn't want to get him in trouble" - but what was supposed to happen to Tony? Was it okay for his career to go on the line for her? 

Later, she confided to him about the job opening in Dubai and moaned about the fact that she needed to broach the topic with McGee. It felt a bit like a soap opera at that point.

Finally, there was the one truly bright spot in the episode, where McGee made the mistake of patronizing his girlfriend:

McGee: Look you've only been back to work a week. Maybe you should slow down.
Delilah: Slow down?
Gibbs: Delilah, what he's saying is let us check it first. Right Tim?

Nice catch by Gibbs there. I really liked Delilah's raised eyebrow at Tim and, frankly, couldn't believe he actually said that to her.

Did you notice: Tim seems to say all the wrong things, while Tony says everything perfect to her? She wants to be a "James Bond" - which DiNozzo emphatically encouraged. He stroked her ego so much you could almost hear her purr.

I'm glad Tony isn't playing the bumbler anymore, but this? This is a little ridiculous. 

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's some redeeming value to this intricate and involved episode. I'm not seeing it.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

UPDATE:  TVFanatic's NCIS Round Table is now up.  Come over, check it out and then provide your own answers to the questions!

Meanwhile, what about the plot hole with Delilah's insubordination?


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (87 Votes)

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



Oh "Honestly" you sugar coat everything ?
I hardly agreed with one line you said
If you can not see that Bishop is a dull boring unnecessary character on this show - well, I feel very sorry for you. You must enjoy Glasbergs tripe ! But this show is ruined.


It's like Ziva haters all over again, just a slightly different vintage. They had to bad mouth Ziva any chance they goy, including times when she was not part of the conversation. Now the same goes for Bishop! It's ridiculius. Just once I would love to see someone with enough integrity and respect to NOT slam her at any given opportunity. That may be expecting too much; single minded people are usually also too small minded for introspection. Get over it people, or at least keep the whine to your tumblrs and your letters to TPTB so the rest of us can enjoy ACTUAL conversations. Also, yeah, what were you watching tvfanatic? THESE are the characters we love, Tony becoming a better and more openly compassionate person while still being Tony, McGee being sweet but bumbling at times, and a good guy sticking their neck out for a "gut" feeling ala Gibbs. I adore DELILAH and I hate the idea of her being gone. No it's not the traditional view of a television relationship with all the snogging and sexy stuff, it's sweet and saccharinely cute, and what's wrong with that?


Glad that the NCIS: New Orleans tie-in is over. Seems like the regular NCIS has been gone forever. Not a bad episode this week but I don't get the whole Dubai thing. You are in a growing, healthy relationship and just a few weeks removed from a traumatic injury so naturally you pick up and move to the Middle East. Huh? Maybe the writers are just trying to stash the Delilah character until they can figure out what to do with her. It will be an interesting final few episodes since there is no existing story arc to use as a cliff-hanger. Despite the much-hyped Ziva departure and the introduction of Bishop this has really been a tame season so far to date.

@ Gregg

There's no existing story arc for the season finale yet. Some of the story arcs didn't begin till we were near the end of the season.


first of all D's was an informant (secret) so she couldn't get in trouble. tony is growing as a person he is not so shallow as before and his friends take notice . tim always liked dominate girlfriends and although Delilah is a strong person she doesn't take control, and as for bishop i tried to like her but i can't seem to nothing to do with ziva leaving although was not to happy to see her go.:[ .i think they could have left that position open until another actress or actor fit better .


This was a good episode for McGee, my favorite agent. He seems to have emerged from the stiff, flat portrayal of his character that has been the norm for the past couple of years. He was more like McGee of several seasons ago. He showed expression, humor, spoke up more, was more assertive and took the lead in several scenes.
His relationship with Delilah, however, is something I have never been able to get my head around. Although they started dating the end of last season, the best way I would characterize their relationship is "awkward". In fact Delilah seems more comfortable with Tony. They have never shown much romance or affection except an interrupted kiss, they certainly don't appear deeply in love. Now Delilah wants to transfer to Dubai. I can understand that she needs to get her life in order since her catastrophic injury but to ask Tim to remain in a long distance relationship thereby preventing him any social life is I think rather selfish. Of course this could be the way TPTB intend to write her out of the show-she goes to Dubai, meets someone else and that's it.


I too find it curious that Tony has such a comfortable and easy way with Delilah yet Tim's interactions with her as so stilted and awkward. It has to be scripted that way on purpose but I just can't figure out why. I don't think they're writing her out though. She appears to be a more likable and popular character than Bishop. She certainly has more chemistry with the team. Too bad they didn't make her the new agent and found a different actress to put in the role of girlfriend.

@ Easton

I have been wondering about that as well and my thinking is we are seeing major changes in McGee life each time Delilah as been in the ep and that's why he is awkward compared to Tony who has no stake in the relationship. I am rather shocked by the review though Tony has empathy and while he can be over the top has always been there when anyone of the team needs him and his advice most of the time is good maybe not the delivery but the advice is.
Tony is just bad at his own personal life, not surprising when you know his Dad. And as for the romance side when he commits he is always 100% it's the women who have left him for something else they want out of life not the other way round

@ guest

Very much agree with your assessments on Tony. Can't understand why the TVF reviewer doesn't see that. But then again he quotes Tony as saying "James Bond" instead of "Jane Bond" as Tony actually said so perhaps he didn't give it his full attention. And your thoughts on McGee and Delilah make a lot of sense to me. Thanks for sharing!


How many time has the long distance relationship story been done to death


It was clear that it was a coverup from the moment Delilah's boss reacted the way she did. A coverup without any kind of explanation? If you're going to expect your employees to do something that is clearly unethical, at least give some kind of explanation. So no, I don't think Delilah was wrong. I think her boss was wrong and franky, I would've done what Delilah did in a heart beat. Delilah has a conscience. These idiots with their coverups within coverups clearly don't.


Very surprised by the TVFanatic review. I enjoyed this episode more than any in recent memory. I felt completely entertained from start to finish. Not only did I enjoy all the moments with the veteran characters, (and there were so many!), it certainly helped that Bishop's presence was lessened. I hope Delilah is around for a long time to come. She has good chemistry with the rest of the cast.


Lost some of my comment. Loved the face time given our well loved characters. The writers have nailed their essence once again and these actors all play off each other well. Good job.


Tim has always had his foot in his mouth - nothing new there. This is the newer post-Ziva Tony who has been attending a support group. I like him much better and he still is instinctively politically incorrect (hi wheels). I too enjoyed this episode more than any since the first Parsa episode. Noticed that there was very little Bishop although what was there was still boring and meaningless.Any of the others could have been given her lines and there would not be any stilted acting like Gibbs whenever he interacted with Bishop. But the writing was much better and the producers are starting to respond to fan response by giving Bishop a low profile. Hopefully she will be gone next season and they will take longer in thinking out a new, more believable, less annoying character who does more than frown. My guess is that ratings would recover quite quickly. Loved the humor and the face time

@ C Roach

How are they responding to fan when they been doing the same thing to bishiop since she join the show


I enjoyed this episode a lot more than I did the last two. Mostly I thought that it was well written and edited better. I also liked that Tony and Tim were actually key players for a change. I disagree completely with the reviewers problem with Tony being a "go to" guy for his friends' to discuss their dilemmas. I think that some viewers can't accept Tony unless he's being insulted by his team mates. What a shame. The Tony humiliation formula has become over used and I thought it was quite refreshing to see Tony more respected.

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NCIS Season 11 Episode 20 Quotes

Jones: If I'd know you were coming I would have stayed and baked cookies.
Tony: Hey. I have to ask.
Jones: Brisco kept me so high I barely remember crawling out of that place on my hands and knees. I found a gun that he left behind and I hid in a storm drain across the street until the drugs got out of my system. Agent DiNozzo, if I was in on this, why would I risk coming back for Melody?

Jones: Agent McGee! We forgot witnesses. Any chance you two could help us out?
McGee: Absolutely.