Tuesdays 8:00 PM on CBS
Ncis

NCIS Review: Covered Up Undercover

by at .  Updated at . Comments

Bishop, move over. There's a new, even younger agent in town.

NCIS Season 11 Episode 23 provided surprise after surprise in what was easily one of the most exciting and engrossing hour of the season.

This rightfully could have been called "the Tony Element" because he pretty much stole the show. 

Tony in Paris
Tony heads to Paris to bring home "The Admiral's Daughter" on NCIS. This is the 23rd episode of the show's 11th season.

Finally, we got to see Tony as the quiet, serious and deadly agent that we know him to be. He had been laughing and joking, right up until he got to the door of the NCIS Marseilles headquarters. The minute he opened the door and saw the carnage, we saw him flip the switch.

He was all business and stern, having no tolerance for Inspector Cheblis' flirting. His sole focus at that point was to hunt down the Admiral's daughter so that he could get her home.

Once he caught up to her, his patience for Amanda's flighty ways was pretty much at zero. A behavior which, as we learned later, was exactly what she needed from him, as she carried out her own mission for the Defense Clandestine Service.

When he finally had enough of Amanda's escape attempts and arguments about going back to Marseilles, I liked how Tony finally cut through the haze of her stories with: I'm a federal agent, Amanda. I know when people are lying to me. And that's all you've been doing.

It raises the question: we know that Inspector Cheblis had been lying through her teeth too. When Tony finally "succumbed" to her flirting by agreeing to see the sights of the town with her, had he seen through her then? 

They say it takes a liar to know a liar. Tony was trained to lie, which is how he was able to bluff so well at the stand-off, right before Interpol came to the rescue. He only showed his hand when he was startled by seeing those laser dots showed up on the spy's body. I wouldn't want to face him in a game of poker.

Nor would I want to face Amanda. She surprised me with her revelation, as well. 

As if the episode wasn't satisfying enough, we finally got the icing on the cake: Breena is pregnant! 

Final notes:

  • The game used by Tony and Palmer for communication - Symbolese - doesn't exist (yet) for the iPhone or Android platforms. It should. It would be major hit. That game was a highly innovative plot device for this episode.
  • Nice to see the probie tradition being carried on by McGee to Bishop (with Tony's full approval). Neat to witness how quickly she figured out he was using a double-sided coin.
  • I laughed when Gibbs' little joke at Abby's expense - about the septic tank - went over like a lead balloon. Abby is kind and giving, but likely has a short fuse about some things. Crawling into septic tanks probably ranks right up there (pun intended).
  • Did you notice the brilliant camera angles used when Amanda was flipping the bird at Tony?  We saw enough of that familiar stance to know exactly what she was doing, but they stopped short of showing us the finger itself.
  • Breena's out-of-the-blue announcement to Palmer was accompanied by a background song: Rock-a-Bye-Baby.
  • Rule 39.
  • Check out the TVFanatic NCIS Round Table for this episode.

Did Tony suspect that Inspector Cheblis was lying from the get-go?

 

Here is your first look at the emotional NCIS Season 11 finale, which airs on Tuesday:

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (75 Votes)

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

.

Tags: ,
Avatar

I was wondering if anyone could explain to me how Gibbs got the town of Rota from the picture of a bus and a road... It was a bit of a mystery to me.

Julia64

I absolutely loved this episode, what a total joy to have a return to old style Tony and a glimpse of the old relationship between Tony and Gibbs that so many of us have missed for so long. Favourite moments included Gibbs properly calling DiNozzo "Tony" for the first time since Season 7's "Flesh & Blood" and Tony shooting the bad girl Bond style at the end of the episode. Having waited so long for an episode like this I'm just praying that Tony won't revert back to clown Tony as he has so often in the past. I note that Michael Weatherly said that Tony can't be the hero all the time or you'd wonder why he doesn't leave to head up his own team. Okay maybe he can't be the hero every episode but that doesn't mean he has to take a back seat as the idiot making chops and casserole and worrying about bath salts the rest of the time, and secondly, the series leaves so many plots unexplained, e.g., what's happened to McGee's dying father last seen in season 10 and gave no explanation for Tony's change from competent to idiot Tony in the first place, that does there have to be an explanation anyway? And if an explanation is required, why does that mean changing a previously smart, competent, brave, sensitive, at times heroic guy into an insensitive, incompetent idiot? I've been following NCIS reviews for the last two seasons and this is the first time that I've seen so many of the fans united in positive reviews for an episode and in their pleasure at once again being presented with old style Tony. I just hope the writers take note! And here's an idea writers - if you want justification for why Tony isn't leading his own team, then let's see plenty of smart, competent and a bit heroic, Tony in season 12, and then perhaps half way through, he gets seriously hurt undercover fanfic style (nothing wrong with some of those well written fanfic stories) and has to take several episodes over coming those injuries, and once recovered to full health, he can either take over the team if Mark Harmon decides to leave in favour of Exec'ing his new NCIS-NOLA, or decides that though he's now okay he wants more time with his 'family' before moving on. All of which would be something juicy for Michael Weatherly to get his teeth into too!

Terrie-lynn-mcdonald-coleman
@ Julia64

Mark Harmon definitely won't be leaving to executive produce NCIS NOLA...........he will executive produce both........ Did you ever think that Tony may not want his own team and is content where he's at? I don't think that idea is so far fetched.........not to mention that some things should be left to the imagination............and there's been plenty of other shows that have left unanswered questions................. I also don't think you get that Tony doesn't need to be the hero all the time. He may come off at times as an "insensitive, incomptent idiot" but he's always there when needed...........

Avatar
@ Terrie Coleman

Not saying Tony has to be the hero ALL the time just some of the time and a little less of the idiot is far more enjoyable to watch and to play - re Michael Weatherly's own description of Tony having been the 'idiot in the corner'. And yep no desire to see Mark Harmon leave, but not sure you get that NCIS-NOLA will be out of his own production company. I'm only saying that after 12 years and into his 60's he 'may' at that point wish to concentrate on Exec producing his own show - a role which will give him much greater flexibility than his current on screen one. But only time will tell and since neither of us know the guy it can't be ruled out as an option in the future.

Avatar

I loved this episode so much I actually watched it twice! This is the first time this season that has happened and it is because of Michael aka Tony. I appreciate when they show Tony as a serious agent instead of the joke/clown of the show. This episode was perfect. I also need to watch Three Days of the Condor! I think part of the reason that there is no chemistry between Bishop and Tony is because she is married (which I love). The other agents were open game for Tony and now he doesn't even go there with her so the romance has shifted to Palmer (and his future baby!) and McGee (though his girlfriend is gone for now). If they want Tony to have a romance, maybe bring in someone like Gabriella from Burn Notice---some spy to keep him on his toes. Oh I have to add that I think the writers from Elementary, NCIS, NCIS LA, and Person of Interest must do happy hours together because many of the themes are very similar. Makes me laugh every time!

Avatar

I love how Tony suddenly speaks French, which he never did before. Not when he dated Jeanne (whose name he mispronounced for a full season) and when he went to France with Ziva. Ziva was the linguist and now the cast is all white bread, so I expect us to encounter some more language surprises. By the way, loved him speaking French. He did great. :)

Julia64
@ Dido Twite

I remember when he used to be able to speak Italian too. I recall an episode way back when, when Gibbs asked him to translate a newspaper article. Sadly in later years that seemed to be forgotten and only Ziva had any linguistic skills.

Avatar

I did my little review on this episode and promised one of the posters than I would comment on Bishop. Okay, here goes. The Bishop Effect? One of the characteristics of NCIS viewership is that it generally rises from the first episode and reaches a peak at the episode which airs just after the New Year. From there, viewership tends to decline for the remainder of the season.
The two largest declines occurred in Season 7 and in the current season [11]. Wickersham was given a three episode try out [the three episodes before the Christmas break]. Ratings remained relatively strong as viewers gave her a chance. The New Year began with the Parsa trilogy and the rating for episode 12 was nearly 21 million. The following two episodes hovered around 19.5 million [episodes 13 and 14]. Then, in episode 14, Gibbs makes Bishop a Probie. The following week, the ratings drop 2.5 million viewers. Viewership hovered around 17.25 million for the next 8 episodes. With episode 22 [Shooter] which was so completely hacked up, many viewers, who endured those 8 episodes of Bishop as Probie, finally gave up. And so with the debut of episode 23 [The Admirals’ Daughter] viewership dropped another 1.4 million viewers. Viewership, a number advertisers tend to watch, is off 4 million from the Season 11 premiere and off 5 million from this season’s New Year peak.
What is the problem? It seems clear that Wickersham/Bishop has got to go. But Season 12 cannot be built around finding and then showcasing a new team member or else it will be as big a waste as Season 11 has been. It was clear after the three-episode Bishop try out that she was not going to work out. They could have returned her to NSA [easy]. They could have had her put on one of those defective bulletproof vests [nasty]. They could have ditched her in New Orleans [convenient]. They could have had her drown in the septic tank [gross]. But instead, they did nothing. It does not seem that they will resolve this issue with the season’s final episode and any attempt to do so would be quite awkward. Perhaps the Season 12 premiere should just start without her present and with just a bit of offhand dialogue saying that she went back to NSA.
That leaves Season 12 as a blank slate. Viewers would like to see stronger stories that feature the key characters rather than leaving them as cameos. Do they need another agent/probie? Perhaps, but a seasoned agent rather than a 20-something would be much better. Some have suggested Diane Neal [agent Borin]. Gabrielle Anwar [Fiona from Burn Notice] is available [arrived from MI-6]. Perhaps fans will have more suggestions. And hopefully, the producers will take our criticisms and suggestions to heart.

Avatar
@ Zack B

She and everyone else resigned for season 12

Julia64
@ Zack B

I don't think it's just Bishop which is the problem, though IMHO I do think they cast too young and initially the writers just tried too hard pushing her to the forefront of the episodes, with the result that viewers felt the new character was not only being forced down our throats but they made her just so brilliant with the result that she was surpassing our boys - even Gibbs, whose gut was seriously out to lunch. She then went on to make several huge mistakes which Gibbs would never have allowed in the past. I have found myself warming to her a little during the last few episodes, but maybe that's just because she's taken much more of a back seat.
However, another big failing I believe has been a run of rather poor and actually somewhat boring scripts. Maybe you could dismiss some of the early ones as a result of being rewritten following CdP's unexpected departure, but not months into the series. Though to be honest I worked with writers for 20 years in British TV and frankly when it comes to highly well paid professional writers, they should be capable of writing a decent script even at short notice. The writing between recent episodes and the terrific "The Admiral's Daughter" bears no comparison and as for Tony - what a total joy to see a return to something of his old form. I just loved it and have watched the episode several times - something I can't say about much of the rest of the season.

Terrie
@ Zack B

The viewership may have went down, but I don't believe 20 million to 17 million is that huge a drop for a top 5 weekly rated show--and also especially with the ad revenue it brings in...........a lot of the shows that are now scrambling to remain on the schedule are only pulling 1 million viewers........... I also don't agree that Emily Wickersham has anything to do with it either..........A lot still have their drawers in a wad because Cote De Pablo left. They didn't make her leave. She choose to leave. She isn't coming back(they may get her to for a series finale) so everybody just needs to get over it and move on. In no way should her replacement have been exactly like her..............and I think that's what most were expecting and why they continually gripe about Wickersham..............

Avatar
@ Zack B

Your comments about the ratings is interesting but it isn't necessarily linked to Bishop but rather the opposition from the other channels. I concede it's possible a small margin of viewers may have left but then it's almost impossible for a series in its eleventh year not to experience a decrease in viewers. It has to happen sometimes and yes, it is possible that Ziva leaving might have been enough for some viewers to feel the show had lost some of its spark. But as I said in a previous post, while I didn't like Bishop originally, I'm finding, to my surprise, that I'm warming to her and even like her. Don't forget a lot of people didn't like Ziva's character when she first appeared and those same people are possibly the ones who now complain the loudest about her going and how much they dislike Bishop - and I'm not saying you are in this group, btw, I'm just pointing out one of the funny things about human nature.

Avatar
@ Shallow

What opposition from the other channels? NCIS has gone against the Voice and American Idol in the past, and did fine.

Avatar
@ Dido Twite

Yes, it has always done well against these shows but it has only got the 20 million viewer amount when there's been little opposition. Once some of these other shows kick in, like The Voice, the viewer amount has gone down.

Avatar

This was an excellent episode. My favourite of the entire season. There's been so little focus on Tony this year which is such a pity because MW is an extremely gifted actor. And I have to say, while I wasn't impressed with Bishop's character originally she's really grown on me and has come into her own now that they've made her simply part of the team rather than having too much focus on her. I do think it was a mistake of the writers to give her character so much emphasis when she first appeared. Back to this week's ep, I do hope Tony's character has some strong storylines next year. His acting ability is such that he can handle any storyline given him.

Avatar
@ Shallow

by coming into her own, I guess you mean BIshop was put in the background and thank god. ONce he was released from Bishop babysitting jail, Tony got his brain back, and it was awesome. I have missed him so much. Hallelujah. and Amanda was fantastic and I hope Gibbs hires her and boots Bishop. in one episode she was all the awesome that they have tried to tell us Bishop is, except we are not stupid.

Avatar
@ TullaT

Not sure I would bet the farm on Meg Chambers Steedle [Amanda], but I think Glasberg may be anxious to get cover for his over zealous choice of Wickersham. He had numerous chances to ditch Bishop this season and took none of them. Don't think he will do it at the Ralph Waite memorial.

Avatar
@ Zack B

I wouldn't bet the farm on her either, but she made EW look like a talentless hack whose role was bought for her by a relative at CBS. He doesn't want to ditch Bishop because she is his creation and he is digging his heels in. She is a complete failure, and I wonder what it will take for him to get it.

Avatar
@ Shallow

Sorry I can't edit my last post. I don't think she is coming in to her own at all. She is doing less and less in every episode. This week she contributed exactly nothing. They scoured the script to find lines to take away from other characters, I'm convinced.
People keep screaming at me to give Bishop a chance. I did. for the last SIX FREAKING MONTHS. I tried and tried.
Guess what? In one single episode, "Amanda" cam in and was instantly 1000 times better than Bishop, and she was a hateful jerk at first. Even so she had instant chemistry with Tony, and over 45 minutes she evolved into a great character.
Bishop had 14 FREAKING EPISODES SO FAR and she only gets worse. are people this stupid? She is not working. she will never work.
Fire Bishop, hire Amanda, get the show on the road.

Avatar
@ SandraM

I am not fond of the Bishop character, but I somewhat "buy her" as a "cyber nerd". However, I think if they were really looking for a more convincing female cyber nerd, they would spend some time on college campuses actually scoping them out & they likely WOULD NOT be married. The reason they want a "young" female is the Hollywood "obsession" with: 1) The 18 - 49 year old demographic (never mind MANY in this demographic either don't watch TV, don't watch regularly, or watch it "on demand", thereby skewing the ratings). 2) LOVE placing "much younger women" in the company of men too old for them. 3) Can't pass up a pretty face, (whether she can act or not is irrelevant).

Avatar
@ Shallow

TOTALLY AGREED! Tony has been tossed aside for the whole season. what a RELIEF to see him act with a strong woman (which is where he is best) and be a real agent. Sorry to disagree but I think Bishop is a disaster. She has NO chemistry with Tony and he has been dumbed down in every scene with her. He got let out of JAIL in this episode and it was wonderful.

Avatar
@ SandraM

Blame Ziva that woman has dumb down the fanbase so much they think anyone with talent is stupid

Avatar
@ Tony fan

Hi Michael.

Avatar
@ Tony fan

This must be Michael the troll.

Avatar

THE ADMIRAL'S DAUGHTER was a great episode. Michael Weatherly is an extremely talented actor and should have more of an opportunity to showcase his character. I'm proud of Tony in this episode. Let's see more Tony episodes such as this one ! In the past, I have made comments of using fan fiction as a basis for a story. This episode had DiNozzo fan fiction emphasis.

Avatar

Congrats on a comprehensive review. It was a great episode and wonderful to see Michael Weatherly get the opportunity to showcase his considerable acting ability. Moreover, what a relief to see Tony DiNozzo as an astute and highly competent law enforcement officer rather than, as Michael himself described, "the idiot child in the corner." For several seasons, while TPTB pandered to the frenzied demands of TIVA enthusiasts, loyal Tony fans sat quietly in the background dreaming of the day that DiNozzo would be portrayed, not as a buffoon, but as the "best young investigator" Leroy Jethro Gibbs had ever worked with. Our passion may not have been as deafening or as boisterous as the TIVA's but it was no less fervent. Finally, FINALLY, we were rewarded for our patience with "The Admiral's Daughter" and our heartfelt appreciation goes to writers Steve Binder and Christopher Silber.

Avatar
@ Michael

What I noticed is that the instant Tony was relieved from BIshop babysitting duty, he magically got his brain back. Weatherly plays best against a strong woman character like Kate, Ziva, or Amanda. It was a treat to finally get to see him do that again.

Wolfshades
@ Michael

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Michael. Yes, you couldn't find a more happier reviewer than me with this episode, specifically because of the direction they chose for Tony. They've finally dropped the stumbling clown dynamic (which went out the door near the end of last season) and we're seeing more of the guy we know Tony to be. One of the questions for this week's Round Table is: should Tony have his own team? Be sure to weigh in on that one once it's published (likely later today or tomorrow at the latest).

Avatar
@ Douglas Wolfe

Absolutely yes. He is stagnating on the current team. His talents are being wasted.

Avatar

Agree! Loved to see Tony as I knew him fro the first seasons. He had Kate to play against then and that worked flawlessly. Never got into the Tony-Ziva thing; it made him needy and clownish. Amanda was very much like Kate and one can see how that works with his talents (and the writers finally honored them).
True about Bishop going from super ueber woman to naive, dumb little blond (ok, this is black-and-white on purpose). If the producers had listened to the fans and adjusted her accordingly, they did not succeed and went too far! I think they are very unfair to the actress, as I am sure she could do and be so much more. But in shows like these it really boils down to chemistry and Bishop just does not have it with any of the team - no real sparks, no confidentialities, no shared jokes. It's not her fault, one cannot create chemistry, but the way she is written makes it even harder to succeed at it. Use the actress who did Amanda or find someone similar, to show of Tony's talents, have Abby truly play against and cement the family feel the team always had. Note: loved how they said (Gibbs and/or Vance) 'we've got our best man on the ground' - that's how it should be and not the constant head slapping and stupid jokes, for Tony had worked hard for his senior position and is supposed to be a professional.

Avatar
@ Amiche

I got the impression that "the buffoon act" was Tony masking his hurt at losing Ziva. Seems like a natural reaction...hide your hurt behind zany behavior...aka "a clown".

Avatar
@ Amiche

Big difference, though. Tony from the first seasons was a sexist pig. Another difference, Amanda was no priss or nag. She reminded me much more of Ziva. Kickass spy who isn't afraid of sex or men. No surprise at all Tony got along with her.

Avatar
@ Amiche

I found Kate too whiny and prissy. She was a great agent, at least. I didn't mind her interaction with Tony too much, but I never really warmed up to her.

Avatar

Good episode I wish they got Amanda to replace Ziva she seemed to fit more. I loved they ending Palmer "I don't understand what Brena trying to tell me " shows Tony the phone shows bun and oven Tony " I think she's baking something" Palmer " no she's more of a cook then a baker" Tony "Palmer that's a bun that's an oven do the math" Palmer "oh OH" lol

NCIS Season 11 Episode 23 Quotes

Vance: If it were up to Admiral Kendall, he'd authorize Seal Team Six to exfil his daughter.
Gibbs: Well, one way to go.
Vance: I'm warming to the idea.

Tony: You know what I think? I think you're not some brain-dead little party girl. I think that all of this is an act. And I think you are some kind of spy, working for Amir and the Iranian government. Am I crazy?
Amanda: Half crazy, Tony. I am a spy. But Amir works for me, and I work for the same people you do.

x Close Ad