NCIS Review: Prankster vs. Prankster

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Someone's been pranking the NCIS gang, just as the writers of the series have been teasing us with possible replacements for Ziva. 

NCIS Season 11 Episode 6 centered on an explosion at an oil rig, which necessitated the involvement of CGIS Special Agent Abby Borin, as well as SecNav Sarah Porter, the latter of whom was sent to oversee the investigation, just in case it turned out to be a matter of national security. (Read: terrorists). 

Turns out it was just another get-rich-quick scheme by a lawyer for the oil company, who decided to short-sell his stock in the firm right before he smuggled a bomb onto the rig. He netted tens of millions of dollars out of the deal. 

Gibbs and Abby Borin

The story for the case included some well-crafted plot points, which diverted the team (and us) from the real culprit all the way through.  Funny, isn't it, how whenever a man-made disaster happens, the first instinct is to wonder if terrorists are involved? 

The fact that this was the first go-to point for the NCIS gang allowed viewers to dismiss it immediately. Their cases are almost never that straightforward.

The next diversion, involving a possible revenge attack by an about-to-be-fired oil rig worker, was more believable. Although perhaps less believable was the notion that a best friend would deliberately take the fall for him so that he wouldn't get fired. Perhaps such people exist - I've just never met any.

The third diversion - that of an eco-terrorist attack by a computer geek - was completely believable  It was almost disappointing to find out that wasn't the case and that the real culprit was someone who was just out for a few bucks.  Tony's note about the eco-geek brought a chuckle:

We live in a strange world, McGee. I miss the days when computer nerds looked like you.


It's great that DiNozzo got caught up on all of his sleep because the man was a grin a minute with all of his McQuips at Tim's expense.  Looks like the jokester is back. And for a while there, it looked like he was on jokester steroids, with all of the pranks that were played on the team. 

Except... I don't think it was him. Even though he denied it, I'm about 99% sure it was Gibbs. It's perfect, really, as he'd be the last person anyone would suspect (except for Abby Borin, who was the only one to raise a suspicion). 

There were a few clues:  when Tony told the team he didn't do it, and that he had a date after work, Gibbs chimed in to say that he stayed late and that he saw that Tony was still there. Which of course means Gibbs was still there too. Either one of them could have done it.  Another clue that might cause us to suspect that Gibbs was acting out of character was this little exchange:

Gibbs: Whaddya got?
Tony: Crabs.
Borin: We have a problem.
Gibbs: Worse than DiNozzo's crabs?

The final clue was Ducky's assertion that the prankster had to be Tony because everyone else got nailed except him - after which Tony also got pranked. Ultimately, everyone got pranked except for Gibbs. Gibbs the innocent, never-do-wrong father-type guy.  You can almost sense his smirk.

Final notes:

  • Borin got sort-of-offered Ziva's spot and sort-of turned it down. We can breathe easy - even though this is the fourth false alarm in as many episodes (Vera Strickland, Susan Grady and Delilah Fielding being the first three).
  • Benham Parsa wasn't mentioned by accident: the writers want us to keep his name front and center. We can expect to see him and his gang showing up soon.
  • Couldn't help noticing the soft lighting in a couple of scenes: one with SecNav Porter and another with Abby Borin. Almost a little too obvious. 
  • Speaking of Porter: the gang seemed nervous at her presence, even though she assured Gibbs that everything was fine, as long as his team kept delivering.  I miss Vance - he at least is a known entity.
  • Gibbs is getting a little predictable with the elevator: when he rushed to join Porter, you just knew he was going to hit that button.
  • Have you ever heard an annoying beep in your home? If you have, then you know it's frustrating as hell trying to figure out where it's coming from: might be the battery indicator on a smoke detector or it might be a message waiting indicator. So it wasn't difficult to sympathize with Ducky at all. Interesting note on that device that he found: it does exist and it's exactly what McGee said it was. It's called a ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron.  Also, I bought one tonight. 

What are your thoughts on the episode?

Would it have been such a bad thing if Abby Borin had joined the team? What are your thoughts on Porter, given that she was seen talking with a few other new people above the bullpen? Do you think she has another agenda?

Oil and Water Review

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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 6 Quotes

Borin: I didn't just lose three fellow Marines in that blast. Gibbs I lost my Marine. Liam. He always had to be the one leading the charge. That was his style. He was strong, stubborn. God. Cocky as all hell.
Gibbs: Marine's a Marine.

Gibbs: Whaddya got?
Tony: Crabs.
Borin: We have a problem.
Gibbs: Worse than DiNozzo's crabs?