Former NCIS director Tom Morrow is dead... and there's a former MI6 agent who is out to assassinate at least six more NCIS agents.
We learned the truth about Tony's apartment, and why it's now a gold mine for him, plus we discovered maybe a little too much about Fornell's new dating habits on NCIS Season 13 Episode 21.
Join the conversation as TV Fanatic panelists Kathleen Wiedel, Christine Orlando, David Taylor and Douglas Wolfe discuss all of the above and more on this week's NCIS Round Table...
How would you describe this episode in a few words or sentence?
Kathleen: One name down.
Christine: You paid what?
David: Oh Giiiiiiiiibssssss.....your British spy's gone walkabout....and he's ticked.
Doug: For sale: spacious one bedroom three murder apartment.
What are your thoughts on Fornell and Gibb’s friendship?
Kathleen: They're a riot. I've loved seeing the two of them rag on each other since Fornell totally dumped DiNozzo out on the highway in "Yankee White."
They're two of a kind in many ways, experienced senior agents who can't be bothered with politics and shenanigans. I think their friendship is quite possibly the strongest relationship on the entire show.
Christine: I love the episodes with Fornell. He gets Gibbs in a very different way from the rest of the team and they can say things to one another that no one else will say to them.
David: They're like a squabbling married couple – you can't help but smile.
Doug: I like the way Gibbs seems to genuinely come alive when Fornell pays a visit. Even though Tobias seems self-serving at the best of times, it's like they're roughly affectionate brothers.
Share your favorite scene or quote.
Kathleen: Let's go totally dark for a moment and say that final scene with the team finding Morrow's body while his oblivious wife asks them if they want anything to drink. Poor woman.
Christine: Gibbs calling Tobias out on ditching the case on NCIS even though by all accounts it looked to be the exact opposite. They know one another so well, and I loved that Tobias' reason was because he didn’t want to get stuck with the paperwork. That’s experience talking.
David: That banter in the car before capturing Cassio was a riot.
And to add to what Christine said, Fornell was similarly relieved when Gibbs gave the command since that also relieved Fornell of an administrative burden. However, what Christine calls "experience" could also be misconstrued as "laziness." To-may-to, to-mah-to.....
Doug: My favorite is the same as Kathleen's. The poignancy of that last moment when Morrow's wife was so cheerful and oblivious to her husband's death was breathtaking. This was a very well-written scene.
Is Tony being subtly pressured to leave the team? And if so, what will it take for him to make his final decision?
Kathleen: I think it's really easy to read into things like this since we know that Michael Weatherly is leaving at the end of the season. I don't think that the character is being pressured so much as the writers are doing some less-than-subtle setup pointing that direction. (To paraphrase: "Oh, look! He could sell his place for so much money if he ever moved out!")
At this point, I don't really want to speculate at what will be the final kick that will send him out.
Christine: I agree with Kathleen. It’s only not so subtle because we know what’s coming…although finding out that Tony bought his amazing apartment for a steal and could sell for a healthy profit did seem like an unmistakable sign of what was to come.
David: I'm with the ladies. We know the real-world situation so now we're on alert for anything that suggests DiNozzo's departure.
Doug: I agree with you all about the apartment, and our collective hyper-awareness of clues that point to him leaving. I was thinking about Fornell's willingness to go toe-to-toe with DiNozzo....over something completely ridiculous.
Again though, that could be just another hyper-awareness thing going on. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. (I would have loved to see them actually get into it though.)
NCIS team members routinely break the law (as Bishop did in this episode) in their efforts to catch the bad guy. What are your thoughts on that?
Kathleen: If this show had any actual relationship with reality, they'd almost certainly be fired and likely brought up on charges, too.
Christine: You need to give TV law enforcement a lot of leeway for shows to be enjoyable. On Castle they gave the main suspect in a terror investigation the laptop to work on that was the key to the case. On Rizzoli & Isles they found a victim whose legs had been blown off but didn’t bother to call in the bomb squad to check the scene until a detective was standing on a bomb.
First rule of TV seems to be that if you just go with it, you’ll be a lot less frustrated.
David: It's all about plausible deniability. I think Vance covered his ass by nodding assent rather than a verbal confirmation. As Doug wrote in his review, I hope nothing comes of it--and if they catch Simon, all will be forgiven because this is TV.
Doug: Being a long time fan of the show often means you become adept at picking out inconsistencies and ways in which the show departs from reality. Kathleen is right: in the real world, the repercussions are tremendous. People lose their livelihoods (and in some cases, their freedom) over some of the antics the NCIS team gets up to, from to time.
You're right though: maximum enjoyment means overlooking these things.
Was there anything that didn’t work for you?
Kathleen: Eh, the fact that everyone didn't start panicking when they hadn't heard from Vance for over five minutes despite everything that's happened in this series up to this point.
On a side note: I really, really would not want to ever be Director of NCIS, because that job appears to be cursed. Jenny Sheppard died in a shoot-out. Now we have Morrow assassinated in his own home! And that's not counting the truly absurd number of times that Vance has just barely skirted getting killed himself!
Christine: Vance may be alive, Kathleen, but his wife is dead, so the job still seems to be cursed! I agree, that if it were that dangerous to be Director of NCIS in real life we’d have some real problems filling the job.
David: It's a detail I grant you, but Fornell didn't know about the prohibition on cell phones in MTAC? How long has he been working with these people?
Doug: I would have liked to have seen Fornell and DiNozzo throw the gloves down. The first rule of entertainment (in my book anyway) is: don't just talk about something. Show it, instead.
If Fornell was truly spoiling for a fight, they should have fought.
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.