A no longer missing petty officer leg the NCIS team to a corporate shell game and the mystery of several million dollars missing in NCIS Season 14 Episode 6, which also featured some decent character-building moments.
While "Shell Game" doesn't break into my "favorites" list, it definitely managed some entertaining scenes, an amusing and memorable new supporting character, and some sound technical advice.
The opening intro appeared more suited to fellow CBS offering Criminal Minds than NCIS, with the brutal treatment of the unfortunate victim by the evil creep Olek. It was an interesting twist, then to have her turn the tables on him and actually beat him to death before escaping.
Certainly not something you see very often on Criminal Minds, to be sure!
A chronic issue of long-running crime shows like NCIS, CSI, and Law & Order is that the Cases of the Week tend to be, well, weak. An element of ennui can overtake viewers if the series can't provide interesting stories after 150-plus episodes on the air.
Twists like the initial victim escaping, rather than being found dead ("Grab your gear!"), made this episode different right off the bat. Too bad her husband wasn't as fortunate, especially since he (less surprisingly) turned out to be a good and decent man.
There as an interesting contrast between Sullivan Brady and Chris Ristow; Brady met with NCIS to turn over documents, supposedly because he was doing the right thing. The documents, however, were falsified, and his supposed help to the case was merely his attempt to frame the unfortunate Chris.
Chris, meanwhile, actually discovered the malfeasance of his employers and was attempting to actually turn over evidence in reality, only to meet his end before he could reunite with his wife.
It actually reminded me somewhat of what The Flash did with its Zoom character last season, where the villain actually impersonated a heroic character for a number of episodes. Here, Brady pretended to be (semi-)heroic, but it was all a cover for his villainy, much like Zoom (though the real Jay Garrick on The Flash fared much better than Chris).
On the personal side of things, McGee fought with his email, while Torres continued his struggle to adapt to the office life.
Despite its apparently cliche nature, the whole "turning it off and then on again" is actually sound technical advice. (You should leave the device off for at least fifteen seconds to clear out certain caches.) McGee, of course, took tech support to a whole other level.
Bishop: Technology tantrum.
Torres: Joining my club, McGee?
Too bad his phantom email came from the Nigerian prince. We can't all be Lotto winners, I guess. I do advise, however, to wash your socks. McGee should know as well as anyone that a buildup of sweat can also cause things like bacteria, fungus (athlete's foot), and other conditions. Plus, it's just gross.
Torres seemed to have a bit of a breakthrough, meanwhile, when he finally gave in enough to wear Abby's custom-made NCIS sweater vest. Also, we learned that he studied sculpture during his undercover years and was quickly able to see the lawyers for the frauds they were.
He also showed the ability to think on his feet when he distracted one partner with questions about the bust while Gibbs spoke with the other partner.
To be honest, I did feel somewhat cheated that we didn't get to see Gibbs roast Brady in the end. At least Chris's evidence was delivered eventually! Though I did find it perplexing that Chris didn't immediately drive to the nearest police station once he knew his wife had escaped.
There was a brief moment where Quinn threw shade on Bishop for not trusting her judgment. I definitely agree with the sentiment, though I also thought that Bishop had a point as well about not bullying a victim. Regardless of whether or not she was involved with the embezzlement, after all, Kelly had been kidnapped and her husband murdered.
What do you think? Was Quinn right to criticize Bishop for not trusting her? Did Bishop have a point about how Quinn was treating Kelly?
For me, one of the best parts of the episode was Pale Dale, the NCIS analyst who followed the money. Poor guy; Gibbs had him completely cowed. Not surprising, all things considered, but Dale definitely made an impression on me.
A few final notes before I sign off and turn the discussion over to you:
- This episode once again saw the return of NCIS Agent Francis. Also back for more fun and games was Metro Police Detective Campbell (Andrew Hawkes), who previously appeared in NCIS Season 13 Episode 6.
- Fictitious news agency ZNN also briefly appeared via news van at the beginning of the episode. ZNN has been around since JAG.
- Abby's NCIS knitwear even used the appropriate font, in a bit of a meta-joke.
- Check out our NCIS quotes page for a rundown of some of this episode's notable lines.
- Clayton Reeves, the cast's newest addition, did not appear in this episode. On the other hand, Leon Vance did, for possibly the first time this season!
- I don't know about you, but if I just escaped from being kidnapped, my first call is going to be 911, not my husband.
- McGee got his printer back since last episode. Or he got a new one...
If you missed this episode, no worries! You can always watch NCIS online to catch up. Meanwhile, be sure to tune in on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 8/7c on CBS for NCIS Season 14 Episode 7, "Home of the Brave," which will see the return of Robert Wagner as DiNozzo Senior!
So, what did you think of "Shell Game"? Were you put off by the brutal intro? Did you suspect the seemingly-good law firm partner? Would you wear an NCIS sweater vest? Let us know in the comments section below!