Bishop, move over. There's a new, even younger agent in town.
NCIS Season 11 Episode 23 provided surprise after surprise in what was easily one of the most exciting and engrossing hour of the season.
This rightfully could have been called "the Tony Element" because he pretty much stole the show.
Finally, we got to see Tony as the quiet, serious and deadly agent that we know him to be. He had been laughing and joking, right up until he got to the door of the NCIS Marseilles headquarters. The minute he opened the door and saw the carnage, we saw him flip the switch.
He was all business and stern, having no tolerance for Inspector Cheblis' flirting. His sole focus at that point was to hunt down the Admiral's daughter so that he could get her home.
Once he caught up to her, his patience for Amanda's flighty ways was pretty much at zero. A behavior which, as we learned later, was exactly what she needed from him, as she carried out her own mission for the Defense Clandestine Service.
When he finally had enough of Amanda's escape attempts and arguments about going back to Marseilles, I liked how Tony finally cut through the haze of her stories with: I'm a federal agent, Amanda. I know when people are lying to me. And that's all you've been doing.
It raises the question: we know that Inspector Cheblis had been lying through her teeth too. When Tony finally "succumbed" to her flirting by agreeing to see the sights of the town with her, had he seen through her then?
They say it takes a liar to know a liar. Tony was trained to lie, which is how he was able to bluff so well at the stand-off, right before Interpol came to the rescue. He only showed his hand when he was startled by seeing those laser dots showed up on the spy's body. I wouldn't want to face him in a game of poker.
Nor would I want to face Amanda. She surprised me with her revelation, as well.
As if the episode wasn't satisfying enough, we finally got the icing on the cake: Breena is pregnant!
- The game used by Tony and Palmer for communication - Symbolese - doesn't exist (yet) for the iPhone or Android platforms. It should. It would be major hit. That game was a highly innovative plot device for this episode.
- Nice to see the probie tradition being carried on by McGee to Bishop (with Tony's full approval). Neat to witness how quickly she figured out he was using a double-sided coin.
- I laughed when Gibbs' little joke at Abby's expense - about the septic tank - went over like a lead balloon. Abby is kind and giving, but likely has a short fuse about some things. Crawling into septic tanks probably ranks right up there (pun intended).
- Did you notice the brilliant camera angles used when Amanda was flipping the bird at Tony? We saw enough of that familiar stance to know exactly what she was doing, but they stopped short of showing us the finger itself.
- Breena's out-of-the-blue announcement to Palmer was accompanied by a background song: Rock-a-Bye-Baby.
- Rule 39.
- Check out the TVFanatic NCIS Round Table for this episode.
Did Tony suspect that Inspector Cheblis was lying from the get-go?
Here is your first look at the emotional NCIS Season 11 finale, which airs on Tuesday:
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.