NCIS Round Table: "Under the Radar"

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Our NCIS review broke down "Under the Radar," this week's episode of TV's #1 show, in detail.

Now, TV Fanatic staff members Steve Marsi, Douglas Wolfe and Christine Orlando have assembled for our weekly Round Table Q&A discussion of various events and topics from the installment.

Join in as we analyze the first episode sans Ziva David, Twitter and more from this hour ...


1. How would you describe this week in one word (or two, or three, or four)?

Doug: Too close for comfort.

Christine: #ShootNow

Steve: No credentials at concerts!

NCIS RT - depreciated -

2. What was your favorite quote or scene from the episode?

Doug: I enjoyed Gibbs' little dig at Eugene when McGee escaped his clutches over the investigation into the loss of his credentials. "Yeah we'll get back to you on that, Eugene." Gibbs knows a stuffed shirt when he sees one, and has little tolerance for them.

Christine: Can I go with the scene that bothered me the most? I have to believe that plane would have been blown out of the sky the moment he got over open water. Giving him time to get to the ship or worse, turn back over a populated area seemed ridiculous to me... but this is TV.

Steve: I liked the maligned McGee subplot and how he ended up saving the day in the end. I was legitimately sad to see the episode fade to black before we got to see Tim at the White House!

3. Vera Strickland: Refreshing temporary addition to the team or disruptive?

Doug: Both, I think. She breezed in and was going to help herself to Ziva's chair, until the team in unison said "not there!" I would imagine it wouldn't matter to Gibbs one way or the other, but he showed sensitivity to his teammates by guiding her to the other desk. Still, I liked her brash and bold manner. Probably because she seemed to bring joy to Gibbs.

Christine: Refreshing in small doses. I loved that she could joke around with Gibbs and that she knew all about Tony and wanted nothing to do with him. It was fun but too much of it could get on my nerves.

Steve: Refreshing and not disruptive, at least for a week. It was fun to see Gibbs react to her like he did, as well as how she got called into active duty with Tony due to Tim's issue.

4. The use of Twitter to track the plane: Believable or unlikely? Why?

Doug: I've read the comments about this, and I still say it's highly unlikely. Or at least, it is around the geeks I hang with anyway. People have jobs and places to be during the day. Ain't no one got time for tweeting about plane locations in the middle of the day. People will gladly tweet each other when a celebrity asks them to, but to go outside? Forget it. Plus - what's the likelihood of there being the necessary concentration of band followers available along the flight path? Seems just a bit out of reach.

Christine: Both. The technology certainly allows for it with location and metadata tracking of tweets and smartphones. And given that the request was put out by a popular band that might have millions of followers, anything is possible.

Steve: In concept, I don't think it's that far-fetched. If, say, Lady Gaga asked her Twitter fans do something like this, they would heed her words with immediacy. The only thing that made it slightly iffy was the concentration of fans over the exact flight path in Virginia, as Doug notes. Had the plane been flying over a major city like D.C. I don't think I would have even questioned that. As Christine notes, the bigger stretch was that the plane wasn't shot down immediately if not sooner.

5. How would you describe Tony's activity and behavior this week? Has he been changed by Ziva's exit?

Doug: Confident, cool, still a bit of a brat (re: his innocent-but-not-innocent invitation to the hobbled Vera to join him for a ride), serious and man of action. I was honestly pleased by the slight change to his character for this episode (the last two episodes don't count as he was pre-occupied with Ziva). I think we're seeing more of the serious side come out now. That scene where he tackled Vera and then turned and shot out the tire of the truck was amazing. Note to the writers: More of this, please!

Christine: He's still smarting from her absence which I'm happy with. I'd hate it if they just glossed over it. I think it's going to be a long time before he'll be comfortable seeing someone else at that desk.

Steve: We definitely saw the full range of DiNozzo actions and emotions this week, didn't we? I liked how it clearly impacted him that Ziva was gone, but he isn't completely hampered by it either. He's still a very special agent and a character with a job to do and who has a good time doing it.

6. What should be in the job description for the agent who will take Ziva's place?

Doug: Number one, she cannot be a carbon of Ziva. Absolutely cannot mimic her in behavior or personality in any way. No one can take her place, and no one should even make the attempt. Number two, she can be pleasant to Tony but she can't allow him to get away with anything. I'd like to see a more nuanced and subtle agent acting as foil toward him. Or maybe - maybe we can just have an agent who's an agent, who wants to get the job done. Let's avoid the whole "will she/won't she" possible romance angle here. If there has to be a romance, why don't we have her have a crush on Abby instead? I think the new agent should be a woman, by the way, just because I'm against a sausage-fest field workplace for this team. The team always needs balance.

Christine: I agree that she needs to be very different from Ziva. Someone strong but very much her own person. Ziva's predecessor, Kate was just as unique but still very different from Ziva. I don't have the magic formula for this one. I think it's going to be a process of trial and error until they find the right person.

Steve: My fellow panelists said it well that Ziva's successor should not be a Ziva clone. She has to be a woman to even up the gender teams, but beyond that I'm open to anyone compelling for their own reasons, not just to replace all the tangible and intangible things Cote de Pablo brought to the table.

What's your take on these issues of the week on NCIS? Discuss below!

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 3 Quotes

Tony: Want to take a ride, Vera?
Vera: Bite me.

Vance: Hang on. Agent McGee isn't going anywhere.
Eugene: Director.
Vance: Agent McGee and the rest of his team's presence has just been requested at the White House. His clever strategy just saved countless lives and a multi-billion dollar weapons system.
Gibbs: Yeah we'll get back to you on that, Eugene.