"Prime Suspect" centered around a barber who was worried his son might be a serial murderer.
When Gibbs showed up for a haircut, he asked him to discretely investigate, with the hope of clearing his child as a suspect. The team took it on while investigating an unrelated case, involving a Marine who was suspected of stealing $100,000 from the cash sales office where he was assigned and then fleeing to the Bahamas with his girlfriend.
Tony and Probationary Agent Ned Dorneget were sent to the Bahamian resort to bring him back.
Frankly, I had a problem with the outcome of the "Dead Rose Slasher" case, in which we learned that the original set of murders were done by a guy who died in a bar fight and that a copycat was on the loose and murdering women three years later. It stretches the imagination to conclude that a TV reporter did the deed. Tim asked the question I was asking:
You think he became the copycat to resurrect his career? | permalink
The show was otherwise light and a bit surprising with all of the relational subplots - and there were so many of them.
Tony convinced Dorneget that Vance had resurrected a long-defunct GS11 NCIS exam, for which he needed to memorize an enormous book of regulations. This was surprising on two fronts:
- That Ziva conspired with him in this.
- That Vance and Dorneget conspired to provide payback to Tony, which took the form of a rejection of Tony's Bahamas expense report and a notification that his expenses for the past two years were being audited.
Mad respect to Vance for playing a prank, which I think might be a first.
Another interesting subplot involved Abby, who was desperately worried about Vance... to his frustration. His gentle deflection of that worry in asking Abby to help his daughter with her science project was intelligent, believable and understanding. In fact, his assertion that his daughter needed a "strong woman" in her life felt true. I liked that, as it seems that Vance is evolving past the cold and implacable director we're used to seeing.
Along with the prank, this means we're going to see some more layers to his character in the future. He told Gibbs that he's back - but where is Deputy Director Craig?
The third subplot (or maybe it was an extension of the first one) had to do with the trip to the Bahamas and Tony's submitting him to a "probie" by trying to get him to run errands and by instituting a 3:00 a.m. wake up call. Their bickering provided yet another "Tony the clown" moment when the girl they were monitoring concluded they were a gay couple. Not complaining, though, because it actually was funny.
Two of my favorite NCIS quotes from this episode came from Tony. First:
Tony [to Ned Dorneget]: What in the name of Brooks Brothers are you wearing? You look exactly like what you are: a pubescent federal agent. | permalink
But the one that got me laughing out loud was:
Vance: Where is he?
McGee: It's haircut Tuesday, Director Vance.
Tony: Yeah, the bowl should be coming off his head just about now. | permalink
Abby's reunion with Ramsey Boone - her college roommate - was interesting. You have to wonder if we'll be seeing more of him; he certainly seems to be her speed and shares her science geek enthusiasm.
Episodes like this are so welcome - when almost all of the cast gets a small but meaty role to play. (Except Palmer this time, of course. He's the Cheshire Cat of the series it seems: sometimes there, often times not.)
So what did you think of the episode? Did you buy the outcome of the "Dead Rose Slasher" plot? Has your impression of Vance changed? What are your thoughts on Ziva and Tony teaming up to prank Dorneget?
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.