NCIS Round Table: Can't Touch This

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The NCIS gang shivered while they worked to resolve a case involving human trafficking.

Bishop tried to capture it all in a letter she wrote to a Harry S. Truman, on NCIS Season 13 Episode 13.

Join the discussion as TV Fanatic panelists Christine Orlando, David Taylor, Kathleen Wiedel and Douglas Wolfe hash out this and much more!

NCIS Round Table 1-27-15

How would you describe this episode, in a few words or a sentence?

Christine: The Concubine Case Comes Back

David: Farewell my concubines...but not for long.

Kathleen: The insidiousness of corruption

Doug: The Painfully Obvious Criminal

What are your thoughts on the case of the trafficking ring?

Christine: For once I agree with Jimmy. It’s just downright scary. When you send your kid off to college you expect certain challenges and even certain risks, but having them fall into the hands of human traffickers, sold to the highest bidder and shipped overseas should not be one of them. It’s truly frightening.

David: I agree with Christine. I have two young nieces and I can only hope that by the time they're of college age, human trafficking will be a thing of the past.

Kathleen: Unfortunately, human trafficking is still very much in the present.

All too often, I read releases from my local district attorney's office about pimps prosecuted for human trafficking; the victims' stories usually aren't as *dramatic* as the kidnapping seen in this episode, but much more horrifying. Lured in with sweet lies and false promises, they find themselves trapped in a snare of fear and violence, often drugs, and threats against their families should they try to escape. It's a terrible situation I would not wish on anyone.

And the thought that there are people out there who would do these things to another person... It's almost too much to contemplate.

Doug: It's a huge problem that doesn't get a lot of publicity.

This episode did a disservice to the issue, as it could have (and should have) been stretched over at least two episodes. As it is they managed to cram everything in to the extent where the viewer couldn't get as invested as they could have been. That scene with Jimmy felt forced. It wouldn't have been, had they bothered to flesh the story out more. Instead, they chose to play "connect the dots" until we found out what the case was really all about.

Did the subplot of Bishop’s letter to the President add anything to the story?

Christine: I’m still not sure I get why she was writing to Harry S. Truman. I’d be interested in knowing why she chose that particular president. The letter writing gave us a few insights into her thought process but other than that it felt a bit like a gimmick.

David: Harry S. Truman was the founder of what became the modern-day NSA so her letter had a certain poignancy to it. However, the plot device of writing to the dead had already been done with McGee's letter to his father (and don't even get me started on that Christmas bummer) so this just seemed recycled to me.  Even so, "talking" with someone who understands the nature of the work can be cathartic so I can see why she did it.

It's basically a journal entry disguised as a letter.

Kathleen: I'm with David; the letter-writing felt a bit "been there, done that" as a literary device in this instance, and I could tell from the very beginning that they were trying to blatantly manipulate us with it with the whole "reevaluate why I became a federal agent" bit. That, in particular, felt heavy-handed and definitely irked me.

Doug: I wasn't bothered by the repetitive aspect of the letter-writing. I was trying to parse out the content of the letter, and why any of us should care about what she was writing. Her focus was all over the place.

It added nothing to the story.

What was your favorite scene or quote?

Christine: Oh, definitely the final scene where everyone is having a sleep over at Gibbs. I loved that they were watching Holiday Inn, had the fireplace going and arguing like siblings. This group really is a family and it was nice to see them all huddled together enjoying themselves…the only things missing were hot chocolate and popcorn!

David: Christine and I in sync once again--slumber party at Gibbs' place. Tony's "stop kicking me" was cute.

Kathleen: Jimmy Palmer, usually the butt of the joke in every episode, twice got to shine, and it made me very happy indeed. First, when he discovered the key piece of evidence (the fragment of RFID chip in the body), and second when he shared his fears about the dangers of the world now that he's a father. Thank you for that, NCIS.

Doug: I really enjoyed watching Tiffany exhibiting her professionalism with Tony and McGee right from the get-go. The fact that she believes animals have the right to personal privacy made me grin.

What could have been done better?

Christine: I figured out that Adam Conner was involved in the human trafficking case almost immediately but other than that I mostly enjoyed the entire episode.

David: Like Doug mentioned in his review, when the female agent called for a meet-up, I knew she was next. Not a great episode, but I'm glad we got a character episode for Bishop that focused on her work rather than her marital woes.

Kathleen: I pegged Adam as dirty nearly right off the bat, and Daisy was doomed the moment she asked for the meet.

What I found more egregious from an in-universe perspective, though, was Bishop going after Adam without telling anyone! She's supposed to be a trained field agent these days! Yeah, the rest of them figured it out and showed up soon after, but going in alone was just plain stupid.

Doug: I'm with Kathleen. After they captured Adam, I expected Gibbs to tear a strip off of Bishop for going in without backup. Instead he stood there and smiled at her. Made me grind my teeth.

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

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NCIS Season 13 Episode 13 Quotes

Tony: We were hoping, Tiffany, that you could...
Tiffany: Trace this to a particular buyer.
Tony: Good guess!
Tiffany: You're cops. This is evidence. Duh.

Palmer: It goes without saying but, this kind of stuff effects me a lot more since become a father.
Bishop: I'm sure it does.
Palmer: I mean with this kind of evil in the world.... People who will do this kind of...How am I supposed to let Victoria leave the house.
Bishop: Pretty sure she'll leave the house eventually, whether you let her or not.