NCIS Season 12 Episode 4 Review: Choke Hold

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Wheels within wheels turn round and round... and eventually someone loses their head over it all.

NCIS Season 12 Episode 4 opened with a ghastly scene in which a Navy research scientist was sitting on a park bench helplessly anticipating her imminent death. She tried to prevent that garrote from killing her by warning everyone not to move her, but do you think they would listen?

I guess when the motorized garrote started up and her head popped off, the whole scene became one of those "slap of the forehead" moments. "Oh, NOW I see why she didn't want us to move her. My bad. Totally."

Did no one watch the movie (referenced by Tony), The Counselor?

The case of the week was interesting, even if it felt a bit like filler. You've got to appreciate the friendly bad guy in Russian counselor Pavlenko, what with all of his lying and misdirection and Snidely Whiplash smiles.

We already know he's got a love/hate relationship with international assassin Sergei Mishnev, but I don't know if he realized the extent of Mishnev's involvement with the death of the scientists. We certainly don't know everything.

For example: we don't know exactly what Mishnev wanted the scientists to do for him. We know that they were involved with laser technology. Not the weaponized kind, though, as Doctor Havana assures us. 

We were also told that the manner of their deaths was designed to send a message. The obvious message was to Benin: Join us... or else. Was there another message, however, this time to Gibbs and the NCIS?

Kind of neat to see the multipurpose use for those motorized garrotes: great for keeping doors closed, killing people and, ultimately when all else fails, keeping its owner out of jail. Although maybe that last one might be a little radical.

Once again we got to see Tony acting like a bit of a clown, as he got surprised by what looks to be his new love interest, Agent Leia Pendergast. 

First, there was her misdirection as he stood post outside of the washroom as she pretended not to know what was going on. Then there was the ribbing he took from Bishop and McGee over his interest in Pendergast

And speaking of Pendergast... I don't like her. She's brash and full of herself. Tony feels differently, of course, and it's apparently because her most compelling feature is that "she fights back." Tony has a type - and apparently it's Ziva 2.0.

Whatever floats your boat, Tony.

What did you think of this episode?  Do you like Tony's new love interest? What are your thoughts on the season arc advancement involving Mishnev?  Watch NCIS online and let us know your thoughts!

Take a look ahead, meanwhile, to NCIS Season 12 Episode 5:

Choke Hold Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (76 Votes)

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


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NCIS Season 12 Episode 4 Quotes

You know what Tony is spelled backwards? Y not? Think about it


McGee: Gibbs would never leave you out of the loop on something like this.
Tony: He didn't.
Bishop: You knew? So why bother fighting with her?
Tony: She fights back. I have a type.