NCIS Review: Pardon for Parsons

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This premiere episode of NCIS was aptly named "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" - or "WTF." With the announcement of Cote de Pablo's exit from the series, writer Gary Glasberg had to scramble to plot out a decent storyline - and it showed. Intricate and detailed, this episode demanded our full attention.

It turns out Parsons was on a wild goose chase with his investigation of NCIS from the start.

He learned that he had been set to investigate them only to discredit the team because they were getting too close to the truth: that a terrorist group called "The Brotherhood of Doubt" had been forming partnerships with U.S. companies.

Their end game was to create destruction so that the companies could profit from the rebuilding.

Tony and Parsons

Between the assassination attempts (one of which was successful: sorry to see you go, Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis), Tony's tentative romantic approach to Ziva and the ex-agents getting their badges back, there was a lot of ground to cover.  

Frankly, this is the kind of NCIS show I find compelling: lots of action and lots to think about.

Tony's love life is looking more and more like heartbreak city, isn't it? You want to forget that Ziva's not going to be in the picture for long, especially as you see the gentle smile on his face during their IM session. "Count to a million. I'm on my way," he types, as he gets ready to join her in Israel. Besides, as everyone knows, they are both civilians now so there's no stopping their attempts at romance. The man is clearly vulnerable: despite the bravado of his inner dialogue, he just can't help checking with her now and then to make sure it's still okay that he join her. And the grin on his face when she (re)assures him she's looking forward to seeing him. Marshmallow Dinozzo.

Still, unrequited love must remain unrequited; that annoying red dot on his chest pretty much dumped his plans almost immediately. How frustrating for him... and for the Tiva-ites among us.

I like how Gibbs is so unflappable, even as he realizes his cover in Iran is completely blown; almost everyone is looking at him and talking amongst themselves about him. He tries to hide, but there's not much cover in which to do so.  So it's Parsons to the rescue.  Oh, if only Abby could have been there to see that: maybe she'd warm right up to Parsons. You had to wonder if that constant slap on the back that Gibbs gave Parsons as he spoke about it afterwards wasn't a little passive-aggressive, a way to show his gratitude while still administering just a tiny bit of penance on the misguided but repentant Parsons.

I hope Parsons remains a presence on NCIS. There's so much they could do with him. For starters, he has to build his trust with the team, all of whom are rightfully wary of him right now - especially Abby, who loathed him the most before. Secondly, the man's quick, and has decent investigative skills. Third, we can't ignore the fact that his findings were accurate before: almost the entire team has crossed the line at least once; so having him there would create an interesting tension as he tries to win their confidence while they work to keep their secrets secret. 

Final notes:

  • McGee has a girlfriend, Delilah Fielding played by Margo Harshman.  You may remember her as being Sheldon Cooper's assistant on The Big Bang Theory
  • Abby doesn't like her. Or doesn't know what to do with her. She tried to ignore her, and failed. So what is it about her? Is Abby jealous, perhaps?
  • We still don't know how much Homeland Security (Tom Morrow) knew about the terrorists before hand. Morrow wasn't clear when Vance questioned him.
  • Try as I might, it's hard to buy the notion that a terrorist group would form partnerships with companies in order to create an environment of destruction-reconstruction for money. Capitalist terrorists? Doesn't ring true. Maybe this can go under "stuff we can ignore so as to keep the story going."
  • We still don't know why Gibbs pointed his gun at Fornell four months later. Hopefully that will be cleared up in the second part of this story next week.
  • We have yet to see how Ziva exits the show. Although we can anticipate that Tony's on deck for a broken heart.

So...what did you think of this premiere? What do you think of Delilah? 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (567 Votes)

Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter


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NCIS Season 11 Episode 1 Quotes

I'm positive that NCIS is being set up. Sending you out here was not about Lieutenant McBride. It was about separating you from your team.


Tobias: Hard to know who to trust anymore.
Gibbs: Has it ever been easy, Tobias?