A secret mission for Tony in Marseilles involving the daughter of an Admiral who just wants to party.
A French police inspector who can't decide whether to flirt with Tony or kill him.
A room full of dead NCIS staff.
The body of a man who'd been tortured before being killed and stuffed into a septic tank.
These were the components of NCIS Season 11 Episode 23.
Come join TV Fanatic panelists David Taylor, Christine Orlando and Douglas Wolfe as they discuss this exciting installment of NCIS!
How would you describe the episode in three words or a sentence?
David: Spy vs. spy...with help from another spy.
Christine: Tony's Three Days of the Condor.
Doug: The Russian Doll Caper.
What was your favorite scene or quote?
David: The two instances of "Am I being punked?"
Christine: Gibbs smiling at Abby over her having to go into the septic tank and telling her it could be worse. He could have to go in. We don't see Gibbs joking and looking truly happy often but most of his lighter moments come when he's with Abby and they always make me smile.
Doug: I enjoyed all of the whole Tony-Amanda interactions. More so once she revealed herself to be a spy though. An actor playing an actor - I don't think it gets much better. And she portrayed the party girl brat so well, especially when she flipped the bird at Tony. I bought it completely and so was pleasantly surprised when Tony finally confronted her about her lies.
David: This ep was so much fun that I watched it twice. While she didn't get to me the first time, I realized how much Inspector Cheblis bothered me. Everything...the phoned-in name, the accent that didn't ring completely French, not to mention that she had a thing going on the side....irked me.
Christine: That Bishop would be gullible enough to fall for the fake coin trick more than once.
Doug: This episode was so well done that I couldn't find much of anything wrong with it. The scene where Cheblis confronts Tony and Amanda outside the night club didn't seem real. Until she shot her partner, they had no reason to believe that she wasn't a good guy. Cheblis could have used their naivety against them, captured them and then shot her partner before killing them both. Still, it's a small point, and it didn't interfere with the suspension of disbelief.
Does McGee have what it takes to torment Bishop as the probie, or is he a lost cause?
David: I think he's too nice a person, except in extremes like in this ep. I'd sure pull rank if it saved me from plunging into a septic tank.
Christine: I'd agree with David but I wouldn't have expected McGee to use the fake coin and it sounds like he's used it multiple times not just for the septic tank, so maybe McGee's got more Tony in him than I thought.
Doug: I agree with David too. It doesn't fit his character to take advantage of her like that. Remember, McGee is a man full of anxiety at the best of times. He'd be more suited to teaming up with Bishop against Tony.
Tony took a front seat this time and pretty much ran his own mission. Is it time he had his own team?
David: Maybe. He seems to have just about shed that frat-boy persona and Vance obviously thought enough of him to select him.
Christine: Could he have his own team? Absolutely. Does he want that? I don't think so. Gibbs' team is his family. These people seem to be the only personal connections he has in his life right now. I don't see him leaving that any time soon.
Doug: We saw how the producer and writers dealt with Cote de Pablo's exit. They had to step up their game and create an entirely new dynamic and backdrop for the team, which involved Bishop. I think they succeeded. So it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to try experimenting with Tony and giving him his own team. There'd be a temptation to create a spin off series - but that wouldn't be necessary. I'd like to see it happen, because it would preserve the continuity of his maturing role.
We've seen Abby doing a forensic analysis on a number of large objects: at one time she took a car apart and in this episode she had to work with a full-blown septic tank. Is there anything more we can fit in there?
David: Well, next week, their NCIS colleagues in LA run into a submarine. Maybe a crossover ep would push that envelope.
Christine: The septic tank was more than enough for me. As she said, blood and brains are one thing but that…ewww.
Doug: When I saw that monstrous septic tank sitting there, I just couldn't believe it. The lab is like a clown car - it doesn't matter what you put in there, there's always room for more. Maybe it's time to let Abby out of the lab and out into a back parking lot or some place a little more realistic for examining such evidence. And does it all need to come to the lab for her investigation?
NCIS Season 11 Episode 24 finale will focus on the death of Gibbs' father. What are your hopes for the episode?
David: I don't know how many episodes have featured Waite but I haven't seen very many. With limited information, I just hope they do justice to Waite as an actor, and that Gibbs tosses aside his stoicism and lets the team give back when he needs it most.
Christine: I'm sure they'll do both the character and the actor justice. I can never not think of The Waltons when I look at Ralph Waite but I thought he was a great fit as Gibbs' father. It will be good to see the show give him a proper send off and I hope it has some ripple effects for Gibbs and the characters closest to him.
Doug: I'm hoping they treat Waite's passing with finesse and don't fall into the trap of being maudlin. I'm not worried though - they've had a long time to work on this episode, and it seems fitting that he's the focus for the final episode of the NCIS Season 11. All eyes will likely be Gibbs as he steers through emotional waters on this. I expect Tony will once again step up and offer his genuine brotherly support.
Douglas Wolfe is a staff writer for TV Fanatic Follow him on Twitter.