When the corpse of a congressman is discovered, Louisiana NCIS Special Agent Dwayne Pride heads to D.C. to pay a visit to his old friend and colleague Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
This first of a two-part episode concentrated more on the NCIS team in New Orleans, and on the sights and sounds of the town itself, while the crime investigation took more of a back seat.
What did panelists Christine Orlando, David Taylor and Doug Wolfe think about the unique story approach in NCIS Season 11 Episode 18?
Gather around and find out in our TV Fanatic discussion below!
How would you describe this episode, in three words or a sentence?
David: To catch a killer....again?
Christine: My Many Brothers.
Doug: A little too laid back in the Bayou.
What was your favorite scene or quote?
David: The cross-cutting, or near-cross-cutting, between the obnoxious lobbyist and his equally obnoxious nephew, both of them nursing their wounds with ice packs.
Christine: I really enjoyed the banter between Gibbs and Pride, particularly the elevator scene. Pride: "You stole that my move. I used to be the one that stopped elevators." Gibbs: "Stole my ass." Gibbs is just a little bit laid back with Pride and it's fun to see.
Doug: There were a lot of great scenes in this one. The one that stood out for me was the scene where the lobbyist kept poking the bear: issuing insult after insult, even after Pride growled his calm warning. Seeing Pride slowly lose his cool was cathartic, especially when he launched him over the car.
What, if any, were the problems that you saw in this episode?
David: Well, there's the obvious, which is that the killer wasn't caught---there was no resolution. I'm also a bit mystified that the team didn't seem to catch on to the killer's plan to draw them out until they WERE drawn out. And one minor note: doesn't Fornell know by now that Tony's last name is "Di-nose-oh", and not "Di-notes-oh"?
Christine: My biggest complaint was that a trained FBI agent wouldn't know to look in her back seat before getting into her car. I mean, I was taught to do that when I was 16.
Doug: Christine is right - that scene was a little too convenient. It's getting predictable too: whenever a show focuses on a character getting into a car late at night, it's almost a given that there's someone in the back seat, and that the character will never look first.
The other scene that didn't ring true was the one with Gibbs and Bishop working on her car. I actually liked that scene but can't imagine a world where Gibbs doesn't know the actual names of engine parts. Maybe that was by design though. It feeds a theory I have about their relationship - more on that later.
So we saw Bishop get a bit more of a spotlight. What did you think?
David: I liked that we got to see her away from the rest of her team and a bit out her element; she looked like a little kid at a carnival when Gibbs had to hurry her along as she was admiring the scenery.
Christine: I generally like Bishop and it will be fun to see how she works with the new team in New Orleans but I was disappointed that Tony and McGee weren't allowed to join in. I was really looking forward to seeing DiNozzo in the Big Easy. Think of all the great movie references we're going to miss.
Doug: Gary Glasberg - the showrunner for NCIS - has to be aware of the positive and negative buzz around Bishop. I think he has used the few Bishop scenes in this episode to tweak fans' noses a bit. Hey, when you don't have the Tiva scenario to kick around, you've got to come up with something else, right? This fits the bill: Bishop fixing her engine and using cute names for the parts (I mean, come on! If she can memorize a book on autopsies, cover to cover, surely she can remember the names of engine parts), plus the scene where she asks for food and situates herself on the floor of the New Orleans NCIS office seems to be slight overkill. Glasberg is having some fun here.
The other thing that comes to mind is: why does Gibbs treat her so differently than the way he treated Ziva? I think it's because he didn't see Ziva as a kind of daughter, whereas with Bishop he does. In fact, that engine scene, where he used non-technical terms for parts speaks to me of accommodation. It's something I would (and have) done with my own daughter. It's the only reason, that I can see, why he didn't use the actual engine part names.
What are your thoughts on Dwayne Pride? Good guy or someone with unresolved anger management problems?
David: I think he's a bit damaged like Gibbs, but not for identical reasons. He also seems a bit more forthright than Gibbs--I don't recall the latter flat out asking a member of his team if he/she was running from something. I'm not sure anger management is a problem, at least not right now--I think Gibbs would've have polished the car with the lobbyist if Pride hadn't done it.
Christine: I've always liked Scott Bakula and I think he fits in well here. I'm not sure if it's anger issues or just going old school but it was certainly fun seeing that lobbyist hit the pavement. Of course he's screwed up in his own way, we'll just have to keep tuning in to find out why and how.
Doug: I think he's a genuine good guy who has some anger issues. Vance pointed that out to him near the beginning, as a reason for allowing a new interrogator to join the NCIS New Orleans team. I'm glad we got to see that temper in action though. At least he's somewhat controlled about it. And it's a facet to his personality that will serve well in the proposed spinoff.
New Orleans as a backdrop for an NCIS unit - does it make sense?
David: In a strange way, I think it does. We're used to seeing spin-offs that are set in more "glamorous" cities like NY, Miami, and Los Angeles - skyscrapers, sun, and sand. This one goes where no spin-off has gone before.
Christine: Sure. I love New Orleans. I haven't been in years but I'd love to go back for a visit. It should be a fun backdrop for a new series because it is just so unique. There's no place else like it.
Doug: I have to admit: the music of the place pulled me in. It's a great location for the new NCIS unit, as the seriousness of the crimes they investigate will run counterpoint to the laid back culture of the place. It's a smart move.
Did the Fed 5 catch the real serial killer all those years ago?
David: I was under the impression that they had, but there were some telltale signs during the episode that made me think otherwise: the conversation in the elevator; the Feds quickly absconding with the body; the Federal ME "mutilating" the wound sites to obstruct a legitimate autopsy.
Christine: Well that's the big question, isn't it? Is the copy cat really a copy cat or actually the original killer? I honestly don't know but I'm looking forward to finding out.
Doug: David is right, especially about the deliberate destruction of the wound site. I can't buy that the Feds just didn't want to alarm anyone about a serial killer. Someone may have made a mistake all those years ago - and its come back to haunt them. The fact that the guy they caught kept protesting his innocence for so many years after being imprisoned puts a real question mark on the whole case.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.